A Fitting End for Anthony Weiner's Campaign

People who enter a political campaign bereft of any dignity or humility tend to leave the same way.

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Republicans argue that the raft of sex scandals involving Democratic politicians prove that the Democratic Party is the one waging a 'war on women.'
Republicans argue that the raft of sex scandals involving Democratic politicians prove that the Democratic Party is the one waging a 'war on women.'

There's an edict in politics that those leaders who acquire power undemocratically tend to leave office undemocratically. Those who seize power in a military coup, for example, tend to depart not after a smooth and non-violent election, but by a revolution or another coup.

So it makes sense that a candidate who entered the New York City mayoral race with an abundance of hubris, anger and utter lack of self-awareness would leave the race the same way.

Anthony Weiner never seemed to understand what he had done wrong, or why his behavior made him a poor choice to represent the nation's largest city. His was not a "sex scandal," as it was short-handily referred to in the media. This was not someone who had an affair that was no one else's business except that of the individuals involved. Nor was his a case of sexual harassment – the women with whom he exchanged racy (and rather crude) messages and photos were, sadly, very willing participants who might even have been foolishly confusing fame with notoriety.

[See a collection of political cartoons on the Democratic Party.]

No, this was a man who sent graphic pictures of himself in his underwear, in an aroused state, to women on the Internet. Then he lied about it – even to House Democratic leaders who had initially stood by him (understandably so – what kind of adult member of Congress would actually do such a thing? Anthony Weiner, it turned out.). Then he went into a purported era of self-reflection and penance. He was supposedly working on his marriage – again, only the business of himself and his wife.

The decent thing would have been to lay low for an extended period, and perhaps find another way of serving the public or helping people other than insisting on the big title of New York City mayor. But Weiner entered the race anyway, displaying what seemed to be a herculean level of hubris. That looked tame, later, though, when it was revealed that he continued to send sexually crude texts to women even after he had been forced to resign from the House.

So what does Weiner do, after he got about 5 percent of the vote in the Democratic mayoral primary? He continued to claim he had the "best ideas" – but lamented he was an "imperfect messenger." An imperfect messenger? That's what you call a FedEx deliveryman whose shorts don't fit right. Weiner took off his shorts and took pictures of it, displaying a level of narcissism and immaturity that makes him ineligible to make important decisions for millions of people.

And when he left his good-bye press conference, he lifted a middle finger to the local media. Classy. But then, what should we expect? People who enter a political campaign bereft of any dignity or humility tend to leave the same way.

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