AT THIS POINT, I FEEL LIKE APOLOGIZING FOR APOLOGIZING
My first reaction to the Anthony Weiner story was to say it looked suspicious. Then I was persuaded that he was a victim and I was an idiot for believing that the haters' version of events might be in any way accurate. Now there's, er, this, and I'm beginning to regret my apology:
Rep. Anthony Weiner says he "can't say with certitude" that the lewd photo of a man's crotch sent using his Twitter account to one of his followers isn’t of him.
"I didn't send that picture out," Weiner said in a Wednesday afternoon interview with NBC News.
"That's not a picture of you?" reporter Luke Russert asked.
Weiner responded: "You know, I can't say with certitude."
The one post I'm never going to apologize for is the one from this morning, in which I said Weiner isn't handling this well. Dude, you put your foot in your mouth talking to Luke Russert? Journalism's most unqualified nepotism case? You can't even weigh your words carefully being interviewed by this amateur?
I think there's a paradox here, one that applies at least to Weiner's handling of the situation, and quite possibly (if I was right the first time) to the fact that he got himself into this mess in the first place: Weiner (like a lot of us) thinks that no matter who's guilty and who's innocent, who's wrong and who's right, Republicans are protected even if they screw up, and Democrats are attacked even if they don't screw up. In that case, Weiner may have been more likely to do things that could harm his career -- certainly he hasn't been circumspect after this story broke, and maybe his lack of circumspection extended all the way back to being guilty of something sexual that could end his career. If you think you'll be under assault no matter what, maybe you just figure there's no point in being circumspect -- instead of thinking, "I'm a Democrat, so I'd better be extra careful not to give them an opening," you think, "Screw it, I can't win either way, so I may as well do what I feel like doing."
I don't know how far that extends -- but at the very least, Weiner seems to follow this line of thinking with regard to crisis management: "Screw it, they'll twist my words no matter what, so I'm just going to let loose and say whatever the hell I want." And so he said what he just said to Luke Russert, and he sank a little deeper into the hole he can't seem to stop digging for himself.