Huma Abedin, wife of New York mayoral candidate and proud private part owner Anthony Weiner, pens a piece for the September issue of Harper’s Bazaar explaining why she decided to stand beside her wiener:
“Quite simply, I love my husband, I love my city, and I believe in what he wants to do for the people of New York. I didn’t grow up in New York, as Anthony did. But I spent just about every summer with my cousins in Queens, chasing the ice cream truck up and down the block, playing in the street, and getting a taste of the New York childhood that Anthony always talks about. Now I’m one of the millions of New Yorkers who have come from virtually every other state and country to make a life here. Putting down roots has reinforced for me that this is the greatest city in the world to raise a family, start a business, pursue dreams—anything is possible.”
I don’t know. I love New York City and all its boroughs of wonderlands too but I don’t think my passion for cheesecake and good shopping, among other things, is going to keep me with a dude, who literally does not know how to keep it in his pants. I mean, if push comes to shove, you can always visit on the weekends. Granted it is nobody’s business why she stayed with him. But I just think that if you are going to bother to write a piece to answer the “whys,” it probably should sound a little more heartfelt and lots less like it came directly from a piece of campaign literature, someone put in your hands at the train stop.
What stood out to me most during Tuesday’s press conference was how unaffected Abedin appeared to be at, once again, having to listen to her husband publicly explain, why his married peen is in the inbox of some young women. There she stood, posed and smiling graciously by his side, looking more like a woman playing hostess at a garden party than a woman shouldering the public embarrassment over a scandal. And it has to be humiliating having to go through this publicly – especially since this is the second damn time it has happened. She has to be thinking, why can’t he keep it in his pants? And why do you have to take a picture of it and show it all over the Internet? And Carlos Danger? Ha, you wish. Got-damn fool!
Yet Abedin just continues to smile, even while in the midst of apologizing publicly to her, Weiner takes the time out to patch things up with the voters, with the admonisher that they should focus on his “vision of the middle class.” If that wasn’t awkward enough, Abedin, who most ironically is a close advisor to Hilary Clinton, then takes to the podium to deliver her own speech in which she offers Weiner forgiveness and pledges her continued and everlasting support to her husband – and his campaign. She claims nerves but honestly, her performance would make even Mellie Grant proud.
It’s hard to say what impact this will have on the primaries mainly because I haven’t been following the NYC mayoral race too closely to even fake some level of expertise. But I imagine that for most folks, how they view this scandal will largely depend on what side of the partisan aisle they sit. What I’m more interested in the one question, which has probably haunted the hearts and minds of many political – hell, if we are being honest, many non-political – wives of philandering husbands: Do I or don’t I stand by his side?
Personally, I have a strong aversion to the use of wives as some sort of props to redeem a politician caught up in some sex scandals. For one, it is horribly sexist. Secondly, no one believes for a second the grinning supportive wife routine – not if you’ve ever been in a relationship yourself, or even just seen an episode of “Cheaters” before. And finally, why should she be forced (mainly for the sake of his career) into a position of having to publicly offer him redemption for his mistakes? The whole thing just seems awfully self-serving if you ask me. Or as Lisa Bloom writes in this honest-to-God-truth editorial for CNN:
“Sure, she can keep him around if she wants to. But we don’t have to bless their craven political move to stand together before the cameras to protect his career, nor do we have to play along as they both pretend that this is something other than more public degradation of her. That they are both consenting adults who participate in this behavior does not make it acceptable to the rest of us. (Simple test: Would you want your daughter in that tableau?) We have the right to say that we will not enable this anymore; we will not endorse it; we will not bless it just because it is her “choice.” Instead, we will call a public figure’s cheating on his wife, then bringing her to the mea culpa press conference, not only offensive to her but a slap in the face to women in the electorate.
To stay or to leave should be her choice. And I’m sure that whatever Abedin decides will be in her, and her family’s best interest. But I would be lying if I said that I find the whole supportive and forgiving wife by his side routine a bit humiliating to watch. And it certainly doesn’t inspire me as a voter. If I was Abedin, I probably would be at home, watching the press conference on television. To re-conceptualize Drake, I wasn’t with you shootin’ in the gym…, so you are going to have to find a whole other way to publicly cleanse your soul.