Tags: Anthony Weiner

Bob Filner and the Bad Boys of American Politics


The final Morning Jolt of the week features the shocking news that the NSA behaves as badly as we always feared; a review of Planes, the latest Pixar/Disney effort to separate parents from their money; and then this big lesson from our seemingly endless cavalcade of scandals:

Bob Filner’s Psychotic Behavior Needs to be a National Teachable Moment

Bob Filner and the rest of the bad boys of modern American politics are spectacular, vivid reminders of why the Founding Fathers distrusted the accumulation of too much political power, and sought to spread it around and install checks and balances.

Allahpundit at points out what we’re learning as one accuser after another comes forward against Filner:

He wasn’t “coming on” to people, like a random person at a bar might do; he was using his status as mayor to pressure women, supposedly in great volume and sometimes with unwanted physical contact, who worked for him and with him into socializing with him. Given the freakish tenacity with which he’s clung to his office, it seems like the power stroke he got from all of this was at least as exciting as the prospect of sex. In which case, why wouldn’t he target a great-grandmother? Every woman he met was potentially at risk, I’d bet, but especially the ones who had official city business with his lordship, the mayor.

In short, Filner wants power, and his refusal to step down in the face of great embarrassment, abandonment of his allies, and public outcry and ridicule suggests a certain psychological addiction to power.

A lot of people want power. With power, you get all the other stuff you want. For Anthony Weiner, power brings young women who want to talk dirty to him on Twitter. For Eliot Spitzer, power brought him access to the Emperor VIP club and the really expensive prostitutes. For Jesse Jackson Jr., power brought a lot of money in campaign donations that he could spend on “$43,000 gold Rolex, cashmere capes, nearly $20,000 of Michael Jackson memorabilia” and a lifestyle significantly more luxurious than that of a standard-issue congressman.

My television viewing habits recently added Camelot, which early on features the villain King Lot, a classic brutal conqueror-ruler character. His motives are simple; He wants power, territory, sex, food, and the ability to enforce his will whenever he wishes, including the brutal murder of anyone who would defy him. That desire is not as rare as we might think in this world. Just look at Egypt; just look at Syria.

Thankfully, the United States does not suffer marauding warlords, raping and pillaging as they please. But we (and the rest of the Western world) do have our share of people who see political power as a path to achieving a certain status of fame, wealth, and so on, in which they can indulge themselves of anything they desire with no negative consequences. Look at Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the alleged ‘party king’ of Paris and Washington, holding orgies with prostitutes in luxury hotels. Look at Silvio Berlusconi. Look at John Edwards, convincing his wealthiest supporter to finance a secret effort to keep his pregnant mistress quiet and hidden from the media. Heck, look at John F. Kennedy and his use of 19-year-old interns while in the White House.

What’s more, these folks can pursue their own wealth and pleasures while convincing themselves and some segment of the public that they’ve dedicated their lives to public service.

If you’ve met some figures in public office who have earned your respect, and who show no signs of being a Nero or a Caligula, good. Not every politician is a selfish monster seeking to turn their public office into an entry key into a bacchanalia that would make the Eyes Wide Shut parties look tame. But a sufficient number of them are, and as a result of that, they shouldn’t be put up on pedestals, and they shouldn’t be greeted with messianic reverence.

They’re contractors, and both we and our elected officials would be better off if we all remembered that.

Tags: Bob Filner , Eliot Spitzer , Anthony Weiner , John Edwards , DSK , Silvio Berlusconi

Why Democratic Women Stick By Their Creeps


From the Thursday edition of the Morning Jolt:

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.

Tags: Anthony Weiner , Eliot Spitzer , Bob Filner

The Most Carlos Dangerous Game


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

Did Sanford’s Comeback Trigger the Weiner and Spitzer Bids?


If former South Carolina governor Mark Sanford’s comeback bid for the U.S. House had failed earlier this year, it’s possible that scandal-ridden former governor Eliot Spitzer and former congressman Anthony Weiner wouldn’t have launched their comeback bids.

“If he can do it, I can do it” is an optimist’s mantra, and it requires the public to gloss over any differences.

When Sanford’s disappearance from the state became public knowledge, he returned to the U.S. and, in front of the cameras, Sanford confessed his sins . . . and kept talking . . . and kept talking . . . and kept going until almost everyone in the state begged him to stop talking about it. A messy divorce followed; a state legislative ad hoc committee voted to censure but not impeach him. (Sanford may have been helped by the fact that quite a few political factions in South Carolina wanted the lieutenant governor, Andre Bauer, to have a leg up in the upcoming gubernatorial race.)

In some voters’ eyes, adultery is adultery, and the details don’t matter much. But Sanford’s scandal didn’t quite fit the standard template of political sex scandals. Rather than the usual chasing-the-secretary-around-the-desk, Sanford and Maria Belen Chapur had met in person just four times in eight years, and the two wrote effusive e-mails, calling each other “my love” and “sweetest”; Sanford later publicly referred to Chapur as his “soul mate.” The govenor and Jenny Sanford had separated, at her request, when he went on the infamous trip to Argentina.

After the Sanfords divorced, the governor and Chapur got engaged. In a country where roughly half of all marriages end in divorce and 19 percent of marriages that occurred in 2008 were the second marriage for at least one spouse, the sad ending to Mark and Jenny’s marriage is regrettable, but hardly uncommon.

Weiner, of course, did not confess when caught. He vehemently denied the reporting of Andrew Breitbart about the lewd images and claimed his Twitter account had been hacked; he and more than a few allies, like CNN’s Jeffrey Toobin, suggested that Breitbart was probably lying. The controversy triggered days of questions about how and why someone would hijack Weiner’s account to send out those photos, and increasingly implausible comments from the congressman, including his famously telling CNN’s Wolf Blitzer that he could not say whether or not the photo was of his own underwear-clad private parts. Weiner let his friends, like Kirsten Powers, go out and lie for him, contending the allegations couldn’t be true. He audaciously denied the charges with indignation, calling a reporter a “jackass” during a press conference.

A few days later, Weiner called a press conference in a hotel in New York City to admit that, indeed, that was him in the photo, and he had engaged in sexual chat with young women on Twitter. But before Weiner arrived, Breitbart stepped up to the microphones and “hijacked” the press conference, denouncing Weiner for lying and the media for uncritically repeating his lies.

Spitzer’s scandal was not mere impropriety; it was illegal. What’s more, Spitzer had, as attorney general, led the prosecution of two alleged prostitution rings and other companies he believed had ties to prostitution. Here’s the reasoning from Michael Garcia, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, on why he didn’t press charges:

ELIOT SPITZER has acknowledged to this Office that he was a client of, and made payments to, the Emperors Club VIP.

Our investigation has shown that on multiple occasions, Mr. SPITZER arranged for women to travel from one state to another state to engage in prostitution. After a thorough investigation, this Office has uncovered no evidence of misuse of public or campaign funds. In addition, we have determined that there is insufficient evidence to bring charges against Mr. SPITZER for any offense relating to the withdrawal of funds for, and his payments to, the Emperors Club VIP.

In light of the policy of the Department of Justice with respect to prostitution offenses and the longstanding practice of this Office, as well as Mr. SPITZER’s acceptance of responsibility for his conduct, we have concluded that the public interest would not be further advanced by filing criminal charges in this matter.

Resigning from the governor’s office appears to represent “Spitzer’s acceptance of responsibility for his conduct.” Spitzer believes he’s spent enough time in the penalty box of the private sector, hosting shows on CNN and Al Gore’s Current TV, and is ready to return to public life.

As the song goes, “It’s up to you, New York.”

Tags: Mark Sanford , Anthony Weiner , Eliot Spitzer

Can Anthony Weiner Get Voters to See Beyond His Scandals?


The only thing holding back Anthony Weiner’s mayoral campaign is the fact that the candidate is Anthony Weiner.

The intriguing thing about Weiner’s video announcing his mayoral candidacy is that if it weren’t from Anthony Weiner, almost everyone would concur with his assessment of what ails the city: a cost of living that crushes the middle class, “regulations that nickel and dime small businesses to death,” schools that can’t provide a good education for every child, “the people who put everything they had into this city are getting priced right out of it.” But voters — and certainly the media — may not hear any of that; they’ve got a mental picture in their heads that just won’t go away.

It will be interesting if we see a similar dynamic as in Mark Sanford’s recent successful comeback bid in South Carolina: Everyone outside of the locality knows the politician for his scandal and finds his return to office unthinkable, while those within the locality have known the politician since the beginning of his career — and evaluate him on more than the scandal.

Tags: Anthony Weiner , Mark Sanford

Comparing Our Two Most Recent Improbable Comeback Attempts


The Wednesday edition of the Morning Jolt features a lot of discussion on what we know, and don’t know, about the Boston Marathon bombing, and then this gradual return to “normal” politics:

Contemplating the New Sanford-Weiner Era

Oh, goodness, do we need a lighter, sillier topic.

Anthony Weiner, you’ll do.

As a guy who was not opposed to Mark Sanford attempting a political comeback, I suppose I should attempt to extend the same mentality to Anthony Weiner.

But he’s not going to make this easy.

Anthony Weiner sounded contrite in his first TV interview in two years, as the disgraced Democrat considers whether to run for New York City mayor.

“I think I’ll be spending a lot of time, here on out, saying I’m sorry,” Weiner told New York 1 in an interview that aired Monday night.

Weiner’s political future is now a source of fascination and speculation, following a lengthy New York Times Magazine cover story and the release of a 64-point plan to improve New York City. The Democratic primary for mayor is in September.

Weiner, 48, declined to go into detail about the sexting scandal that led him to resign from Congress in 2011. When asked by the 24-hour news cable channel to go into some of the specifics — such as how many women received lewd photos and messages from him — Weiner would only say “more than one person, several people.”

“I have been excruciatingly honest, in letter by letter, detail by detail, with my wife,” Weiner told New York 1. “An embarrassing amount is in the public domain … But out of respect for the idea that I’ve laid it all out for her and out of some respect for the privacy of the people who were at the other end of these correspondences, who had their lives turned upside down, I am not going to go into the details of every bit of it.”


From Andrew Breitbart’s book:

The next twenty-four hours—even though it was Saturday of a Memorial Day weekend—were going to be critical. We knew that the organized left was going to wage war, and by the time I woke up the next day, after launching the story, I realized that the Democrat-Media Complex was playing for keeps. For starters, the Daily Kos, the proto–Huffington Post whose founder, Markos Moulitsas, is still granted Meet the Press airtime, published a post immediately declaring war on me. Without bothering to investigate the veracity of our allegations, the Kos post simply declared: “Breitbart to use SEX SMEAR on Rep. Anthony Weiner.” The post was later updated to accuse me of faking the photograph. (Kos, months earlier, led the charge on another Saturday morning when he tried to blame me for the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords by the insane Jared Loughner. Within these battles against prominent Internet lefties, there are no repercussions when their side lies, cheats, and attacks. How could Kos get away with publishing a declaration of war, without having the facts, even after having been proven so egregiously wrong in trying to connect a political enemy to the despicable behavior of a lone, crazed gunman? As Dennis Prager often says, being a liberal means never having to say you’re sorry.) …

On day two of the Weiner scandal, conspiracy theories were building steam suggesting that there had in fact been a hacker, or hackers. One such theory was that PatriotUSA76—the still-unnamed person who drew my attention to Weiner’s errant re-tweeter—was the alleged hacker. The second one, which was started by the Daily Kos and took on a life of its own, became the narrative Congressman Weiner was hoping would stick—namely, that I was the alleged hacker. While I was screaming back into the phone, amid picturesque cacti and red, rocky terrain, I put the phone on mute and looked at my wife and friends and emphatically told them: “I have no choice. I apologize profusely. I’m fighting for my media life.” At one point, I tried to explain to the other two husbands what was going on. “Have you ever heard of Congressman Anthony Weiner?” I asked. Both had a passing knowledge of his existence. “Well, I’m in the middle of breaking a story that will be huge, if I can just get past Memorial Day and into the real news cycle.”

Affairs are bad; I think the wrongdoing is exacerbated when you attack, or let others attack, the folks who are telling the truth about you.

For contrast, once confronted with his wrongdoing, Mark Sanford didn’t deny it. He laid it all out, in cringe-inducing detail, at the South Carolina State House upon his return from Argentina. In fact, within a few days, most people, left, right and center, wanted him to please stop talking about it and going into the way-too-personal details.

(I’m fascinated by which details of the Sanford story entered the national consciousness and which ones didn’t; when I mention that Jenny Sanford had known about the governor’s mistress in Argentina for six months before the public revelation, that the pair had begun a trial separation and that the pair had not spoken for two weeks before that day, most folks are surprised. All of these facts are written on page one of the prologue of Jenny Sanford’s book, Staying True.)

Anyway, this is why I… oh, for heaven’s sake, Governor, what have you done now?

Former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford must appear in court two days after running for a vacant congressional seat to answer a complaint that he trespassed at his ex-wife’s home, according to court documents acquired by The Associated Press on Tuesday.

The complaint says Jenny Sanford confronted Sanford leaving her Sullivans Island home on Feb. 3 by a rear door, using his cell phone for a flashlight. Her attorney filed the complaint the next day and Jenny Sanford confirmed Tuesday the documents are authentic.

The couple’s 2010 divorce settlement says neither may enter the other’s home without permission. Mark Sanford lives about a 20-minute drive away in downtown Charleston.

Jenny Sanford said Tuesday that she has custody of the couple’s four boys.

She said the complaint has nothing to do with her former husband’s efforts to rebuild his career in politics. She said it was filed with the court the day after the incident and when a family court judge last month set the case for the docket, it happened to be two days after the election.

“I am doing my best not to get in the way of his race,” Jenny Sanford told the AP. “I want him to sink or swim on his own. For the sake of my children I’m trying my best not to get in the way, but he makes things difficult for me when he does things like trespassing.”

Tags: Mark Sanford , Anthony Weiner

Could You-Know-Who Be Considering a Comeback?


From the first Morning Jolt of the week:

Guess Who’s Getting Ready to Run for Mayor of New York City?

The Anthony Weiner comeback story… is beginning.

The Atlantic looks at his recent filing with New York City election authorities and notices he’s spent $115,000 already… clearly he’s getting ready to run for something.

Anthony “Disgraced Congressmember” Weiner has filed initial paperwork with the City of New York, suggesting that he has already spent about $115,000 toward a bid for Mayor.

This isn’t entirely a surprise. Last summer, rumors began to circulate that Weiner was planning a comeback. Nor is it a surprise that he’d aim for the city’s top job. Before Mayor Michael Bloomberg finagled a third term in 2009, Weiner’s name was mentioned among the possible top candidates for the job. The intervening years, of course, have not been kind to the one-time Democratic star. Or, rather, Twitter hasn’t been.

So what did Weiner spend money on? According to the filing, five things: rent, taxes, phones, polling, and consulting.

His pollster, David Binder research, was also the Obama campaign’s pollster. Obama paid that firm $3,416,740 in this past cycle.

So, who will run the “Anthony Weiner for Mayor” campaign’s Twitter account?

As usual, if your Morning Jolt suddenly stops coming, e-mail [email protected]. (For those of you who missed it, Newsmax handles the distribution, advertising, and some marketing, but not the content. Every word you see is written by me… except the “hey, why haven’t you booked your NR cruise cabin yet?” messages from Jack Fowler.)

Also, check your spam filter first; we are sending this to oodles and oodles of people and apparently some e-mail systems interpret e-mails to lots of people as spam. Apparently e-mail systems have all kinds of tripwires and malware detectors and content filters, and on any given day the Jolt’s content can set it off. Really, if I type H-O-T-A-I-R-.-C-O-M without the dashes, apparently some e-mail systems won’t carry it because of some reason the tech guys tried explaining to me, and I continually fail to grasp entirely.

Tags: Anthony Weiner , Crossroads GPS

Anthony Weiner, With Pants, Voted Today.


Boy, in that special election in New York’s 9th Congressional District, Democrat David Weprin just can’t catch a break. Now Anthony Weiner is admitting he voted for him.

In the linked report, it says that Weiner “showed up alone, wearing jeans and a blazer.” It’s bad when news reports need to emphasize you were wearing pants.

In New York, polls are open until 9 p.m. In addition to Republican Bob Turner and Democrat Weprin, the ballot also includes Socialist Workers Party candidate Chris Hoeppner. The Socialist Workers Party submitted 7,080 signatures to qualify for the ballot.

Tags: Anthony Weiner , Bob Turner , David Weprin

Anthony Weiner, Tainting Our Political Class


Anthony Weiner’s press conference ended this hour. (It’s worth recalling that these things aren’t finished until the paperwork is competed and everything’s official; Sen. Larry Craig (R., Idaho) famously announced his intent to resign, thought about it for a few days, and then quietly declared he wouldn’t be resigning, and served out the remainder of his term.)

The press conference was every bit the disaster one would expect; off-color questions from Howard Stern’s followers loudly and frequently interrupted Weiner’s statement.

On MSNBC, anchor Tamara Hall said, with little sense of irony, that Weiner was “trying to preserve some sense of dignity and pride in his resignation.”

Chuck Todd seemed appalled and befuddled by what he had just witnessed, asking why Weiner felt the need to hold this press conference. “He knew this was going to be a circus. He knew Howard Stern’s guys would be there.”

Precisely, I suspect. One of the few things that could spur sympathy in a viewer is watching Weiner get berated with obscene questions as he attempts to do what all of his critics have been demanding. If Weiner envisions a comeback someday — does anyone doubt he is narcissistic enough to envision this? — a bit of sympathy at this moment may soften the public’s memory of him until he reemerges, “cured” and eager for redemption. Mind you, Eliot Spitzer now hosts a television show; Marion Barry returned as mayor of Washington, D.C.; Barney Frank continues to serve in Congress; Wilbur Mills survived being caught with a stripper; and there are plenty of other examples of politicians returning for a political second life after scandal.

One of the MSNBC analysts wondered about Weiner running for governor of New York someday. It will be hard for any future opponent to argue that he is morally unfit to occupy the office that Eliot Spitzer once held.

To some analysts, this scandal is a momentary summer distraction, an unimportant, sordid story with little relevancy to our larger political culture. I disagree; I think this entire mess has reinforced public cynicism about politicians. Many Americans believe that their elected officials are not merely underperforming or doing their jobs badly; they look at the political class and see twisted, self-absorbed, arrogant, and sometimes sexually depraved head cases who are incapable of acting on much beyond their own immediate needs and gratification. Thankfully, not everyone in elected office has the deep, disturbing traits of Anthony Weiner; hopefully very few emulate his bad behavior and ludicrously arrogant belief that he could escape the consequences through large, implausible lies. But a significant chunk of the electorate increasingly suspects that this is what politicians are, making voters even more distrustful, suspicious, and cynical.

Tags: Anthony Weiner

What Is Bill Clinton Thinking as He Watches Weiner?


The Wednesday Morning Jolt features a look at Michele Bachmann adviser Ed Rollins’s slam of Sarah Palin and Obama’s argument on the economy, but first . . . what is Bill Clinton thinking as he watches the Weiner scandal unfold?

The Fallout of a Radioactive Weiner Spreads

I suspect that some recent night, in plush surroundings, Bill Clinton poured himself a drink of some sort of brown liquor and lamented to some trusted male friend, beginning with a sigh. “Shame about the Weiner kid. We’ve all been there, right? Although I have to admit, I find the whole thing kind of creepy . . . Stop laughing. I mean it. I mean, back in my day, if you were gonna have a little piece on the side, you had to actually reach out and touch the girl. These young guys today, with their texting and their sexting, I don’t know . . .” His shook his head and his gaze turned to the window. “I think if you’re gonna cheat, you really ought to have the person right there in front of you. Otherwise, there’s no, you know, honor in it. What’s with these kids today, so darn busy that they have to squeeze in their affairs on the web and with their blackberries and all their doodads? I made time for girls when I was talking to members of Congress about putting U.S. troops in Bosnia! Multi-task, man! If the woman on the side means enough to you, you’re willing to make that commitment. Otherwise, this cyber-flirting — it’s all so cold and impersonal, a disconnected way of expressing a really personal connection. Weenie says he was carrying on with six or seven women — hey, how special do you think each one of them feels? ‘I’ll Tweet ya, I’ll sext ya.’ Hey, Facebook is no substitute for face time. Or whatever body part time you prefer.”

He takes a final sip. “It just feels like these politicians today, they’ve just forgotten their values.”

This is entirely fictitious, but you could see him thinking this, right? Bill Clinton, traditionalist adulterer?

Democrats are slamming doors on Weiner as if he had kissed President Bush after the State of the Union speech or something. CNN just posts Harry Reid’s comments verbatim:

Senate Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid gave embattled Rep. Anthony Weiner no love on Capitol Hill Tuesday.

“I know Congressman Weiner and I wish there was some way I can defend him, but I can’t. OK?” Reid said.

And then there was this exchange with reporters:

Q: You didn’t say whether you thought Congressman Weiner should resign.
Reid: I’m not here to defend Weiner.

Q: What do you think he should do?
Reid: That’s all I’m going to say.

Q: Senator Reid, what advice would you give him if he asked you?
Reid: Call somebody else.

In the Corner, Matthew Shaffer lays out how none of those who were most loudly pointing the fingers at Andrew Breitbart’s sinister hands behind all this have recanted or apologized — not Eric Boehlert of Media Matters, not anyone at Kos, not Charles Johnson, nor Joy Behar. I particularly like the theory from one lefty blogger that Breitbart is blackmailing Weiner into claiming responsibility and covering up his Breit-work.

This is who they are. When reality does not conform to their theory, they do not toss away the theory. They just adjust it to make their heroes more saintly and their opponents more dastardly.


Tags: Anthony Weiner , Bill Clinton , Harry Reid

How Long Until This Weiner Is Burned to a Crisp?


So . . . guess who gets a lot of attention in the Tuesday Morning Jolt?

Sometimes, Under Intense Heat, Weiners Split Open

So, did anything happen today?

Perhaps nothing for the rest of the year, will equal Andrew Breitbart strolling up to the podium of Anthony Weiner’s confessional press conference before it began and, in classic Breitbart style, vehemently denying the absurd ‘hacking’ accusations from the Daily Kos folks; revealing he had more photos of Wiener that were much worse than what we had already seen and that he had no intention of revealing that photo . . . so long as Weiner admitted that Breitbart had not hacked him.

But after the Mother of All Embarrassing Press Conferences, the news for Weiner got worse Monday night.

For starters: “House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Rep. Steve Israel, the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, have called for an investigation into Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) over the series of sexually explicit conversations and lewd photos he exchanged with a half-dozen women during the last several years. ‘I am deeply disappointed and saddened about this situation; for Anthony’s wife, Huma, his family, his staff and his constituents,’ Pelosi said in a statement released on Monday night. ‘I am calling for an Ethics Committee investigation to determine whether any official resources were used or any other violation of House rules occurred.’”

At least Weiner can rely on the Last Line of Liberalism, the editorial board of the New York Times, to get his back, right? Er, not really: “If it shows that he did abuse his office, he should resign. But if he chooses to run for re-election next year, voters in Brooklyn and Queens will at least have a chance to decide whether they want a man like Mr. Weiner representing their interests in Congress.”

Cheer up, Congressman, you’ll always be able to count on the single most dedicated hack on MSNBC, the unequaled Ed Schul-HOLY SMOKES! “Fresh off his suspension, MSNBC host Ed Schultz is turning heads by calling for the resignation of Anthony Weiner.”

Megan McArdle makes the case of why we should care, and why the Clintonian “it’s just sex” line isn’t working as well as it used to: “Even if they’re eighteen and completely legal, a middle-aged man who is sufficiently indifferent to social convention as to start sending suggestive photos to high school seniors is deeply creepy, in a way that I, as a voter, would kind of like to know about. I don’t think there’s much danger that finding out about it would have deprived us of the next Churchill . . . What he actually did is bad enough: sexting from work? With strangers he met over the internet? As with Clinton, this is strange and reckless behavior for a public figure whose inappropriate behavior could be used to blackmail him. I don’t think it’s somehow out of bounds to point it out . . . Maybe it’s because I’m older and tireder but these days, the ‘not our business’ school of sex scandal seems to function as a get-out-of-monogamy-free card for powerful men who want to behave badly.”

One of my readers offers an assessment of how this scandal could tie into a broader theme of 2012: “Peggy Noonan has it right: the best slogan against Obama will be ‘he made it worse.’ The message is simple. ‘Look at these people, see what they have done to us . . . the economy, the taxes and the whole works. And for themselves, who are they? Frat boys, or man behaving badly . . . and yet after they get caught, they hang on . . . for what . . . pay nothing for their irresponsibility? They say they’re doing the work for the people — yeah right, look what have they’ve done. They’ve done more than enough. They make things worse…time to clean house, get rid of these people, and have a fresh start.’”

Tags: Anthony Weiner

Ali and Me


As promised, here’s the video of my appearance on CNN’s “American Morning” today, wondering if Rep. Anthony Weiner fears filing a false police report, along with an interesting exchange on the value of looking at the unemployment rate during the Bush presidency and during Obama’s term:

The Daniel Henninger piece in the Wall Street Journal that I refer to can be found here.

Tags: Anthony Weiner , Barack Obama , Unemployment

CNN’s American Morning: Romney, Weiner, Me.


I have another early-morning appearance on CNN’s “American Morning” today, scheduled to pop up sometime shortly after 7 a.m. EST. The topics du jour are Mitt Romney’s campaign kickoff and this double-entendre-laced scandal on Capitol Hill that you may have heard about.

UPDATE: Well. CNN’s Ali Velshi did NOT like my observation that barring a sudden drop in the unemployment rate between now and November 2012, the unemployment rate for every month of Obama’s presidency will be higher than it was for every month of Bush’s two terms. He dismissed it as a “talking point” and told me, “you have to come better armed than that.” He noted that Bush didn’t have “the Great Recession.” (I do seem to remember some sort of tech bubble bursting as the decade dawned, and some sort of intense economic disruption from a big event in fall 2001, but perhaps my memory’s hazy.)

Attempting to get a word in edgewise, I tried to point out that this is a central point of the traditional argument of challengers against presidential incumbents: “Are you better off now than you were four years ago?” For eight years, Democrats painted the Bush years, with their 4 to 6 percent unemployment, as the bad old days of economic deprivation. (Here’s a letter from Nancy Pelosi and Tom Daschle bewailing high unemployment and the tough job market in December 2003, when the unemployment rate was 5.7 percent.) Sure, Obama and the Democratic Congress inherited a tough economic circumstance — but with large congressional majorities able to pass the stimulus and the health-care bill, most Americans haven’t felt any significant improvement in their lives.

I suppose either you find the comparison of the economic performance under Bush and under Obama relevant, or you don’t. It seems that the pro-Obama argument relies on the notion that the Great Recession just happened, and there just wasn’t much Obama could do about it over a four-year period. (Of course, if there was nothing that could be done to really mitigate it, that more or less undermines the central argument of liberalism that sufficient government spending can create economic growth.)

When the video is up, I’ll post it, and let you decide for yourselves.

Tags: Anthony Weiner , Mitt Romney

MSM to Weiner: No, Really, We Can’t Believe Your Story


A bit of Weiner-roasting in the Wednesday morning Jolt:

. . . Sometimes you just have to give a Weiner story time to cook on the grill.

New York magazine can no longer hide their skepticism of his story: “We won’t pretend to know the truth behind Weinergate — whether Weiner was the victim of a hacker or prankster or conservative conspiracy, or whether he was personally responsible for sending a college girl a photo of a man’s bulge over Twitter. But what’s clear is that Weiner is only inviting more suspicion on himself by the way he’s handling the attention. During an encounter with reporters earlier today, Weiner refused to answer any questions about the incident, including whether that was his own package in the photo, why he contacted a lawyer instead of law enforcement, and why he was following the college student on Twitter in the first place. Instead, he pointed reporters to his previous statements (which don’t actually address those questions) and expressed his desire to move on to more important business… Evading questions, however, is a strategy most often utilized by people with something to hide, and will only further pique the media’s interest. Weiner either has something to hide, or he has no idea how the media operates.”

Ah, that Congressman Weiner. If only he knew how the media operated. A shame I’ve never seen him on television before.

Is it just me, or does that post read like a friendly media source begging for a “modified limited hangout” admitting some flirtacious shenanigans? Between the lines, doesn’t it sound a little like, “hey, pal, we’re your friends and not even we can swallow this I-was-hacked-but-I-didn’t-call-the-cops-and-hired-a-lawyer routine.”

Michelle Malkin analyzes it all with, if not sympathy, a certain understanding borne from experience of watching powerful men brought down by runaway, reckless libidos: “Even the Beltway press is not buying it. Lefty blogs are not doing themselves any favors with wild and desperate conspiracies about this being a right-wing hit job. And MSM types who are dismissing the story are not doing themselves any favors with their selective moral policing of Dem vs. GOP politicians. So many other conservative blogs have done yeomen’s work digging into Weiner-gate. Memeorandum has links galore on all the forensic work. (Note to Ace of Spades: There’s no “embargo” among the “conservative media establishment.” Don’t throw in the towel. You should be taking a victory lap. Fit is hitting the shan. Petards are being hoisted. And it wasn’t necessary to have every conservative site featuring the story in Armaggedon-size font. That is a good thing.) … My best guess about what really happened: As a dedicated Twitter user myself, the most likely scenario is that Weiner himself mistakenly DM’ed (direct-messaged) the “prank” photo to the young woman in Seattle and intended it to be private. It takes just one wrong keystroke for a private DM to appear in one’s public timeline. (Allah wonders if Weiner would be so stupid as to post the photo through publicly-viewed Yfrog, but as we’ve seen from the recent bipartisan parade of — pardon my language — political wankers from Ensign and Edwards to Schwarzenegger and Sanford, etc, etc, etc — politicians do supremely stupid things when they think with the wrong organ.)”

There’s also a quick look at Sarah Palin’s meeting with Donald Trump, and her seeming approval of the concept of a “Palin-Trump” ticket. Because when I think of the qualities usually associated with a good vice president — loyalty, humility, a willingness to let the boss shine in the spotlight, a willingness to do the less glamorous tasks, an inner peace that accepts being a background player, seen and not heard — I think Donald Trump.

Tags: Anthony Weiner

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