So, in the end, as so many here suspected, in spite of his denials and obfuscations, it was, according to him, Anthony Weiner's very own private part which he photographed and sent in a tweet to a young woman.
His public statement this afternoon: “Last Friday night I tweeted a photograph of myself that I intended to send as direct message as part of a joke to a woman in Seattle. Once I realized I posted it to Twitter, I panicked, I took it down and said that I had been hacked. I then continued with that story to stick to that story which was a hugely regrettable mistake.”
What was he thinking? How many times has that been asked of politicians when they mess up with the inappropriate sexual conduct? And they don't learn. They won't learn from this episode, either. There will be another soon enough.
After only a decade of many public sexual blunders by many politicians—a list too long to list here—the logical assumption is that eventually everyone in public life would get the message: you’ll get caught. But that disregards the power of the bubble. The “bubble” is the invisible but real shelter in which elected officials live and work, where layers of staff, friends and even family, innocently, and not so innocently, conspire to protect “the man”-- and it’s almost always a man-- from the public finding out who they really are.
Interestingly, as time and scandals roll on, the power of the “bubble” has strengthened rather than weakened and is finding its sinister way into the executive suites of corporations and private institutions. It’s the lure of celebrity, of making it onto some Vanity Fair power list, but with the need to have absolute control of the image and message. That’s bubble power. Until it bursts.
When the "Weiner's wiener" photo went viral I looked at it and thought three things:
--Those are some really unattractive undies, or boxer briefs, or whatever the hell they are called. Gray? What an unbecoming choice for a close-up. Not hot.
--I guess that’s an erection I’m looking at, or is it just another cucumber, as Harry Shearer bestowed upon his character Derek Smalls in “This Is Spinal Tap?” (Cukes are bigger)
--There’s only one person who this picture is really gonna matter to, and that’s Mrs. Weiner, Huma. She’ll know instantly, and that will determine the course of everything.
The way Anthony Weiner behaved last week—everything from absolute denial to tentative awkward contrition--made me think that maybe Mrs. Weiner did have an opinion, and it was strong and not necessarily favorable. And now we know my guess was right, because Weiner in today's public statement said his wife was not at all happy and asked the logical question: how could you do this to me? I feel for her. I would have loved to hear the counsel she received from her boss, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
The next days will see a flood of reports from women who were in some kind of contact with Weiner. It will be cringe-worthy. For me, basically pervvy. If his constituents find that okay, so be it.
As for his insistence he won't resign: Oh, Mr. Weiner, Mark Foley is holding on line one.