Jacob Heilbrunn

The Pornography of Anthony Weiner

 New York Rep. Anthony Weiner has been busted, or at least accused, or considered to be in trouble, or something, for a picture of his crotch clad in grey underwear sent from his Twitter account to a twenty-one year-old lass in Seattle. Was Weiner trying to lasso her? The  British Daily Mail reports that he has about 50,000 followers on his social networking site but has zeroed in on 198, most of whom have two X chromosomes, including one Miss Ginger Lee, a porn star who considers Weiner to be her "hero" and cherishes what she says are personal messages from him.

This is pretty heady stuff, let's face it, for what is, at bottom, a dweeby congressman who would probably be the kind of fellow that wears the dingy underwear featured in the alleged picture of him (though why he would think it would offer any kind of frisson is another question). Until now, Weiner has been known mostly as an impassioned loudmouth. Now he's voicing off about his sexual travails. For the record, he says it's all bunk even as he apparently revels in all the publicity. His account was hacked. He doesn't really know if the picture is of him or not. "I want to make it clear this is, in my view, not an federal case." According to Weiner, "In my view, this is not an international conspiracy. This is a hoax, and I think people should treat it that way." An international conspiracy! Truly the man does not underestimate his own significance.

It's silly season, in other words, in Washington, and the spectacle of Weiner pinned like a butterfly is an amusing sight. It's fashionable to say that this is what happens in the summer. Except that it seems to be silly season most of the time. Sure, the silliness gets punctured, briefly, when something big happens like polishing off Osama bin-Laden. But otherwise it's the pecadilloes of politicians that capture the headlines.

Sometimes the foibles of politicians are legitimate fodder. Newt Gingrich thus got into hot water for his big payments, or to put it more precisely, debts, to Tiffany's. In his case it was a legitimate story. The Tiffany's flap seemed to reveal a stark contradiction between the man who was saying that he would lower the budget deficit and couldn't keep his own under control. In addition it's hard to pose as a populist and social conservative when you're racking up enormous jewelry bills for your third wife, Callista, who appears so frozen that ice cubes might shatter when she looks at them.

But Weiner-gate, as it's being called? Does it really rise to the level of full-time coverage? Apparently so. Fox is fretting that the "far-left media' has begun to "circle the wagons" around Weiner. Politicio, however, says this is bunk:


Weiner has never been a favorite of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), and at least one leadership office wasn’t exactly thrilled with Wednesday’s media blitz.“Watching Anthony Weiner’s Twitter and press blitz is like watching a Charlie Sheen meltdown. It’s amusing, uncomfortable and not necessary,” said a Democratic leadership aide not in Pelosi’s office. “If Weiner really wants to get beyond this, he’ll shut up and let Democrats get
back to their Medicare message.”



Ooh lala.

So the focus on Weiner's family jewels is messing up the crown jewel in the Democrat's message for the fall elections in 2012. Maybe his wife Huma Abedin can bail him out. She served in the Clinton White House and should know intimately how to deal with sex scandals.