Thursday, June 16, 2011


Saddest thing about Anthony Weiner's resignation announcement? This:

Mr. Weiner announced his resignation in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, at a senior center where he announced his first campaign for City Council in 1991. But while that moment was filled with promise and excitement, his resignation occurred in a raucous and circus-like atmosphere, punctuated by shouting from a group of hecklers.

Forget the political aspect of all this -- making the announcement there is like being unambiguously dumped and then showing up to meet your ex clutching a memento of your first great romantic moment together. "Remember that day we ...?" No, don't -- please don't. It's over -- really. Just go. Please.

But he can't. He's still clinging to what he had. I understand it, even though it makes me wince. (I think it makes me wince because I understand it.)

And yes, I know that this isn't an exact analogy, because he's never been definitively dumped by the voters of his district. But the end was inevitable, and going back to that site makes it seem as if he still can't completely face that fact.

That was the weakness that got him into this mess, and that's the weakness he showed today: he's needy. He did all this online sex stuff not to hurt the public, but because he has seemingly unfulfillable emotional needs. In a nonsexual way, he seemed needy even before this happened -- he seemed to need to draw a crowd. I was skeptical about the usefulness of his approach to politics -- he never seemed to win votes in Congress or bring fence-sitting Americans around to his way of thinking -- but the maliciousness and mean-spiritedness and cultivated ignorance of Republicans puts them on a much, much lower moral plane. All that directly harms voters. I wish the worst thing you could say about Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell and Roger Ailes and Karl Rove and the Koch brothers was that they're emotionally needy. They'd be far less dangerous.

I hope Weiner figures out a way to have a second act. I'll admit, though, that that's hard to imagine.


(The post title is a variation on the title of a Richard Pryor biography. Weiner's neediness reminds me of the neediness of standup comics. Maybe comedy will be his second career. He seems like a frustrated comic.)

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