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The Campaign Spot

Election-driven news and views . . . by Jim Geraghty.

The Most Carlos Dangerous Game



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Really long Morning Jolt today. Besides today’s preview on the sleaziest mayoral candidate in the country (Carlos Danger – er, Weiner) and the sleaziest mayor in the country (Bob Filner), there’s news of a new group forming to retire Lindsey Graham, another deal from Terry McAuliffe looking at, and thoughts on Man of Steel and superhero sequels.

The Era of the Psychotic Candidate

Remember Alvin Greene? He was the guy who scraped together the filing fee to appear as a candidate for Senate on the Democratic line, and who won, even though almost no one in the state knew who he was. One of his major ideas to improve the economy was making an action figure of himself. We all had fun laughing at the surreal Forrest-Gump-come-to-life, and he was enjoyably crazy candidate, right up until the moment he started howling and wailing at a reporter who showed up at his home, and then it started to feel like we were laughing at a man with serious mental health issues.

We can still laugh at Anthony Weiner… and we will be laughing at him for a long time. But it is starting to feel like we’re watching a man with serious, deep-rooted psychological issues relating to his sexuality, his self-control, his ability to assess risk, his inability to admit the truth unless confronted with overwhelming evidence of his falsehoods, his willingness to see others as objects and God knows how many other issues…

New York City mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner said he sent texts and lewd photos of himself to a woman over the Internet after he resigned from Congress, prompting at least three rivals to call for him to drop out.

The gossip website The Dirty posted correspondence between the unidentified woman and Weiner, 48, who left the House of Representatives in 2011 after similar pictures sent to women surfaced. The latest images used the name “Carlos Danger,” the website said. It displayed a photo taken straight down a man’s body showing bare feet and strategically placed pixels.

“I said other texts and photos were likely to come out, and today they have,” Weiner said at a press briefing in Manhattan with his wife, Huma Abedin, a longtime aide to Hillary Clinton. “While some things that have been posted today are true and some are not, there is no question that what I did was wrong. This behavior is behind me.”

Weiner said he would stay in the race for mayor.

God, I wish Andrew Breitbart were still alive so he could have hijacked the podium again yesterday.

Full video of the most brilliant comeuppance of the modern media era.

Did anybody really think Weiner had really changed from the man caught in scandal two years ago? Some may have hoped that fatherhood would make him grow up some, and some may be surprised that he would be so reckless as to choose to run for mayor with additional women out there, waiting to tell their tales of his much more recent tawdry behavior… but did anybody really believe that he had turned over a new leaf and become a changed man? Back in June, BuzzFeed’s Ruby Cramer quoted professional therapists who contended Weiner’s description of his short stay at a psychiatric evaluation center did not come close to what they would consider serious treatment.

People go into politics for a lot of reasons – some altruistic or idealistic or principled, some base, and for many, a mix of both. A career in politics can provide an individual with a lot of what they desire – power, admirers, fame, money. Kissinger declared power to be the ultimate aphrodisiac, so perhaps political stature is indeed a great way to enhance one’s sex appeal. (Right now, half my male readers working in politics just mumbled to themselves, “I must be doing it wrong.”)

Clearly, those fulfilling those desires can be addictive. We’ve seen the comeback playbook executed by politician after politician, time after time, so that it has become a boring, predictable cliché; the more a candidate sticks to the playbook, the less persuaded we should be that there is any real remorse or acceptance of responsibility.

After the “deny, deny, deny” strategy (as Monica Lewinsky quoted Bill Clinton) blows up in a politician’s face, he admits some portion of the accusations, but denies others. (A “modified limited hangout.”) There may be counter-accusations; there is an acceptance of some consequences but not others. At the press conference, the wife may be rolled out as a human shield. There is an insistence that the focus on the scandal has been a distraction from the politician’s real work. There is an insistence that this wrongdoing was a private matter and not the public’s concern. The accusations are driven by partisan motives, anyway. There is an admission of sin and often a very public seeking of spiritual counsel from political allies who are religious figures. There is a soft-focus interview that appears to be an open confession but that remains vague on key details; the privacy of others will be cited. God will get mentioned a lot. And throughout it all, the politician remains convinced: I can come back from this. This isn’t the end of me. As his presidential campaign flopped and his sex scandal ticked like a time bomb, John Edwards was utterly convinced he could trade his endorsement for the running mate slot to either Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton; when that effort went nowhere, he set his sights on being attorney general or, ultimately, nominated to the Supreme Court.

They need this. They so, so need this. They really cannot go on to living a life outside the spotlight, just practicing law somewhere or running a hardware store. (Well, John Edwards is apparently returning to practicing law.)

The spoils of political victory – power, fame, groupies, lucrative post-elected-office jobs in lobbying or consulting – will always attract a certain number of unscrupulous head cases, egomaniacs, narcissists, and borderline unhinged. They will only go away when the voters say “no.”

Speaking of “no”, and how some politicians don’t realize it means, “no” …

San Diego Mayor Bob Filner: Heroic Veteran of the War on Women.

Okay, San Diego. What’s it going to take?

A former employee of San Diego’s mayor stepped forward Monday claiming she was forced to resign after she said the mayor treated women as “sexual objects or stupid idiots.”

 “The past six months turned out to be the worst time of my entire working life,” said Irene McCormack Jackson, former communication director for Mayor Bob Filner.

McCormack Jackson had worked as a journalist and as a manager with the Port of San Diego before she accepted the position on the mayor’s staff.

Among the allegations: that Mayor Filner told her to work without panties.

She also claims the mayor said he wanted to see her naked and couldn’t wait to consummate their relationship even though they had only a working relationship.

“He thought it was acceptable behavior to regularly make sexual comments that were crude and disgusting,” McCormack Jackson said.

Wait, there’s more!

SAN DIEGO – San Diego city attorney Jan Goldsmith will question the police officers in charge of Mayor Bob Filner’s security.

A lawsuit filed Monday by former Filner communications director Irene McCormick Jackson claims the men who guard the mayor witnessed sexual harassment.

“McCormack Jackson was in an elevator with … Filner along with the police officer…” the lawsuit alleges.
 
“The police officer was fixing his handcuffs,” the lawsuit claims. “The mayor put a headlock on (McCormack Jackson) and said, ‘You know what I would like to do with those handcuffs?’”

The lawsuit also says Filner stopped the harassment when a member of his security detail walked in on it.

“Mayor Filner only ceased trying to kiss her when the elevator stopped and a staffer got in with them,” the lawsuit said.

Remember, Filner’s excuse is, “I’m a hugger.”


Tags: Anthony Weiner , Eliot Spitzer , John Edwards


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