It is not necessarily the most important question before us, but it is one that persistent and widespread this week: Just what is Huma Abedin thinking?
The delightful Kemberlee Kaye asked why so many Democratic women are willing to overlook, accept, or forgive creepy and awful behavior from their elected officials:
“Public service has nothing to do with bedroom service. 98.4367% of men cheat. I do know a few good men who don’t. Leave Weiner alone,” Tamara Holder tweeted. Bogus statistic aside, why should anyone ignore the actions of a sexual predator*, particularly one currently seeking the mayorship of the largest city in the United States? And the young women he sought out? What about them?
See also Ted Kennedy, John F. Kennedy, Bob Filner, Elliot Spitzer, John Edwards and Al Gore. Their legacies, at least in the minds of the collective left, do not include their abhorrent treatment of women. No, no, Democratic women wouldn’t dare criticize the way these power-drunk politicians treated their wives, mistresses, ladies of the evening, et al. At least not publicly.
*If you momentarily feel the instinct to dispute the notion that Weiner was a sexual predator, keep in mind he chatted online with a 17-year-old girl but assured the world that “nothing inappropriate took place.”
We should try to resist the temptation to believe that you and I are better, smarter, or more moral than other people because we’re conservatives. That’s just not true. You and I are better than everyone else because you read this newsletter.
Yes, you can find plenty of folks on the Right who fail to live up to their own ideals or general standards of acceptable behavior. But thankfully, for all of our flaws, you don’t see a lot of conservatives arguing, or, the idea that certain creepy behavior has to be accepted out of party loyalty. And that represents a key philosophical difference with the Left, at least in practice.
Whether you come from a more socially-conservative perspective or a more libertarian one, your philosophy gives you some strong arguments about why this sort of behavior is unacceptable.
If you’re socially conservative, your values are likely shaped by a Judeo-Christian teaching that every person is created by God and thus deserving of respect, etc. So besides the usual Biblical/Torah-based teachings – don’t commit adultery, etc. – sexually harassing your underlings, using an employee as a sexual plaything or using your wife as a human shield during an embarrassing press conference is to objectify them and pretty obviously not in line with God’s teachings.
If you’re libertarian, one of your core tenets is the value of the individual and the need to protect the rights of the individual – and sexual harassment undoubtedly represents an infringement upon the rights of an individual. You may have less of an issue with adultery between consenting adults or even with prostitution (freely-agreed contracts!) but ultimately whatever happens must be agreed upon by both/all parties. Cheating on one’s wife and humiliating her in a public scandal isn’t usually part of an agreed contract. (Someday we may have a political power couple in an open marriage, and it will be interesting to see what the public reaction will be.)
However, modern liberalism usually defines the world in terms of groups and group rights. The rights of the individual are much less important (see how often the Left criticizes our society as too individualistic or “go it alone”) and their vision of a wise redistribution of money, power, authority, rights, etc. often requires the correct person or group to be in charge. Having the Left’s preferred people in charge is, in fact, the preeminent value on the Left, and any other “rule” can be broken in its name – i.e., it’s okay to serve on corporate boards and make lots of money, as long as you donate to the party, etc.
In short, the rights of a female employee of San Diego Mayor Bob Filner don’t amount to that much in the minds of a lot of San Diego Democrats, compared to the need to keep Filner in charge so he can enact their preferred policies. In fact, when forced to take a side, they side with the powerful man running the gravy train:
The local Democratic Party has known for a long time about sexual harassment allegations against Bob Filner, a former Democratic assemblywoman said in a Thursday interview.
“I blew the whistle on this two years ago to the Democratic Party leadership,” former Assemblywoman Lori Saldaña said.
Saldaña said that in summer 2011 six prominent women in local politics, business and education told her that Filner had physically or verbally harassed them. Saldaña had been exploring what turned out to be an unsuccessful bid for Congress and the conversations came in the context of the 2012 elections.
Saldaña said she contacted former party Chairman Jess Durfee with the allegations and Durfee was among a group of Democratic leaders who met with Filner to discuss them that summer. She said nothing happened.
“As disgraceful as Bob’s behavior has been, it’s been tolerated by our Democratic Party leadership,” she said.
Saldaña said Filner never personally harassed her and declined to say who alleged to have had run-ins with the mayor. She said former City Councilwoman Donna Frye, who is calling for Filner’s resignation over unspecified sexual harassment allegations, inspired her to talk.
Saldaña has a long history of conflict with Filner, most prominently over a failed border sewage treatment project about a decade ago. She also wound up endorsing him for mayor.
Party leaders, she said, made it clear that if people didn’t support Filner they wouldn’t receive their support again.
Most of us recoil from that as a soulless and ghoulish way of seeing people, as insignificant cogs whose well-being is easily sacrificed in the name of the “greater good.” But that’s why we’re on this side.
Discussing this on a conservative e-mail list, Emily Zanotti of NakedDC noted:
A lot of these Democratic men use their power and position to cow these women. Sanford was a schmuck, but his affair was consensual. Weiner (and Clinton and Spitzer) all had affairs with women who basically worshiped them. The latest girl revealed to be messaging Weiner kept saying, ‘I can’t believe I’m talking to you!’ ‘wow, you’re so awesome,’ etc. Clinton banged an intern. Spitzer paid sex workers.
It’s a combination of power-broking and power-worship that probably results from the ideology but takes on a really perverse sexual form.
While we’re on the subject… dear Mainstream Media: every disgraced politician wants the kind of soft-focus powder-puff coverage that People gave Weiner and Abedin in 2012 to help their redemption narrative. Don’t give it to them.
“I’m very happy in my present life,” Weiner, 47, tells PEOPLE in an exclusive interview. “The only next dramatic steps I’m planning on are Jordan’s first,” he says, referring to his 6-month-old son and remaining noncommital on whether he will run for office again.
In his first joint interview with wife Huma Abedin, who is deputy chief of staff to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the couple address how they survived Weiner’s lewd text and photo scandal that led to his resignation, as well as who has diaper duty.
Around the same time as that interview, Weiner was beginning his online relationship with his new 22-year-old object of affection.