So, there's a sex scandal going on, but the politician involved refuses to leave the race. This is increasingly difficult because it's the second time the politician has been found in this situation, and voters were expecting better behavior after having been so forgiving the first time.
Moreover, the last time the politician wasn't seeking a promotion from those voters. This time, that is not the case. And there is no doubt the politician is guilty. There are photos everywhere … all over the Internet, even in the newspapers.
So why does she – yes, she – hang around?
It's a common question these days. Huma Abedin – the wife of Anthony Weiner, New York mayoral candidate, former congressman and America's most widely known sexter – seems intent on staying by her husband's side for now.
It would not seem that she would need him. She is beautiful. She has spent virtually her entire professional career at the side of Hillary Clinton. Between her connection to the Clintons, her parents' connections all over the world and her own relatively sterling professional reputation, it would seem she could flourish almost anywhere.
But there she was at the press conference Tuesday, head dutifully bowed, distance between them appropriately chilly, saying all the right things about therapy and forgiveness and standing by her man.
Why on earth? Hillary and Bill came to public life together. They were a package deal. This is not the case with Huma. They were both public figures before they met and existed together on the political stage even after they started what was then a low-profile courtship.
So what is it? Could it be Weiner is not even the most ambitious or vain person in this marriage? Are even matters of the heart secondary to political goals for her? That's what a growing number of commentators suspect. Rush Limbaugh – no friend of the couple, for sure – says she is hanging on for "a payoff later down the road." Adam Weiss, the political media consultant, says plainly, "Power is more important [for Huma] than dignity."
Her bet doesn't seem sound right now. Her husband has fallen behind Christine Quinn in the crowded Democratic primary for mayor of New York. Even if he can finish second and force a runoff, that would mean additional weeks of editorials screaming for him to leave the race, Carlos Danger jokes and obligatory "holding hands and still in love" photos for Huma and the wayward husband.
It is hard to see how he survives politically. Yes, Americans put up with more from their Mark Sanfords and Bill Clintons than they did 30 or 40 years ago. But Sanford just seems like that unfortunate guy who didn't find his soul mate until he had married someone else, and Clinton was simply Clinton.
Also, this has something those scandals didn't – a suggestion the candidate himself is utterly incapable of controlling impulses. The "Danger" name tells the story. He is a thrill-seeker, seeing how close to the fire he can get without getting burned. Can he be put in control of the public till? Can he manage a workforce where responsibility to the community is key to performance of duties? Could he spend a day as mayor without being heckled by the public, the press and even many of his fellow pols?
This is not a small job he seeks. This is mayor of one of the world's largest cities. It is akin to being governor of one of the 10 most populous states.
Please don't interpret this as a call for him to leave the race. I love the spectacle of it all, the "humiliation for public gain" media frenzy. Moreover, it's good entertainment for political junkies until the 2014 midterms truly kick off.
So that's my explanation for staying tuned. But what is Huma's?
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