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The Cure for Anthony Weiner, If He Wants One


Unless you’ve been living on a desert island, you’ve probably heard by now that former US Representative and New York Mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner has once again been caught sending “lewd texts and photos” to women. What’s more, these texts came after Weiner resigned from Congress for a similar “sexting” scandal, and after he asked the public’s forgiveness. Weiner claims he is staying in the mayoral race, and his wife has pledged, once again, to stand by her man.

What Weiner (and apparently his wife) don’t understand is that there isn’t a “good Weiner”, the one who runs for office and tries to serve the public, and a “bad Weiner”, the one who texts inappropriately. What we have is an adrenaline junkie, someone who is addicted to the thrills and risks of living dangerously—and also to the excitement that comes when, inevitably, he is caught. Weiner’s pathology is as nakedly and uncomfortably on display when he’s running for office as it is when his sad, lewd texts are brought to light.

If he wants a cure, and at the moment there is little sign that he does, the way to do it is to leave the public spotlight completely and wrestle with his various demons. People are complex; Weiner probably does have a real urge and even a calling to serve others. But if the healing is really going to begin, he needs to serve in low profile, even invisible, ways. There are street kitchens and homeless shelters that need volunteers; there are prisoners on Rykers’ Island who need tutoring; there are retirement centers that could use the help.

In any of these areas of service (though we recommend no contact with women and girls between 12 and 60), Weiner could find a measure of private peace and, ultimately, public forgiveness.

But the real question for Weiner is the one in the old riddle about the psychiatrists and the light bulb. How many psychiatrists does it take to change a light bulb? Only one, but the light bulb has to really want to change. Weiner has to ask himself whether he’s happy with the way his life is going and, if not, whether he really wants to change.

We suspect that as long as he can maintain the charade of a public political career the answer is, sadly, no.

[Anthony Weiner image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons]

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  • rheddles

    I remember John Profumo and Anthony Weiner is no John Profumo.

    • f1b0nacc1

      I was reading about Profumo recently and was deeply moved by how he chose to live his life following his downfall. He devoted himself to true public service, to his wife (who remained with him till her death), and to remaining out of the public eye. It is rare indeed that I can point to a man as someone to take inspiration from, but Profumo was clearly that man.
      Carlos Danger, on the other hand, is nothing more than a power-hungry narcissist married to a Arab version of Lady MacBeth. Before anyone crys ‘hypocrite’, I have the same low opinion of the loathesome Mark Sanford. There is simply a point where one has disqualified oneself from public office. Forgiveness can be earned of course, but forgiveness is different from amnesia.

    • Andrew Allison

      Good one!

  • wigwag

    If we want pop psychology, all your readers need to do is open the New York Times or the New York Post. You live in New York and as a Democrat have a vote in the upcoming primary. Vote for whomever you want to and leave the pop psychology to the tabloids.

    • Andrew Allison

      And while we’re at it, let’s have the FBI investigate, and publish, the sexual peccadilloes of all those elected to public office — it would likely prove even more efficacious than term limits. LOL

  • Karl Bock

    Left out of your equation is Huma. That’s a very big part of this. It’s uncanny how her behavior in all this parallels that of her patroness, Hillary Clinton.

    • bigfire

      Except Carlos Danger isn’t as good of politician as Slick Willie. Not even close.

  • Alex Weiner

    Good to know you guys are in the arm chair phycologist game now.

  • Corlyss

    It’s not all that pop, WRM’s psychologizing. Anyone who follows brain chemistry reports knows that those who engage in the kinds of behavior Weiner does has trouble with impulse control and therefore serious challenges to the sort of control the pre-fontal cortex normally exercises. The conclusions are pretty obvious to anyone not immobilized by the redemption narrative Weiner is trying to sell. I’ve heard only one commentator raise Weiner’s judgment and what his behavior says about his judgment. Everyone else is busy talking about harsh Judeo-Christian codes that preclude forgiveness and moving on. Of course judgment what is at issue in people with poor impulse control. They know the behavior is wrong, and that’s part of what stimulates them to do it anyway.

  • dankingbooks

    NYC always elects mayors who are bigger than life–real characters, good or bad. Ed Koch, Rudy Guiliani, and Michael Bloomberg, just to name three. Anthony Wiener is a Broadway-class character. And who is Christine Quinn?

    Wiener will win the election. That’s just a prediction, not an endorsement.

    • wigwag

      His name is Weiner not Wiener. But you could be right about everything else.

  • Joseph Blieu

    He can’t be allowed a cure. The Wenie jokes are a national treasure.

    • Fred

      Bingo. That’s why back in ’11, I said, “A guy named Weiner is texting pictures of his johnson to women. That’s not a sex scandal; it’s a corruption scandal. Clearly the man was getting paid off by late-night comedians.”

  • Marty Keller

    All this silliness diverts from the question of how awful a mayor Wiener will be. Wouldn’t that be a more important conversation?

  • Bruce

    Most of the time, WRM is brilliant. Once in a while he drops a clunker like this: “Weiner probably does have a real urge and even a calling to serve others.” Weiner is like many politicians. He is obsessed with power and will pursue it, even at the expense of humiliating his family. The urge to serve? I don’t think so. The urge and compulsion to amass power? That makes more sense.

  • Bob

    It is up to the people of New York if they want Weiner to be their mayor. But, to paraphrase Mencken, if they want Weiner, they deserve to get him good and hard.

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