Sex and the Sorriest Pols (Frank Bruni, New York Times)
… before we go too far in lumping [Eliot Spitzer and Anthony Weiner] together or draw too many conclusions about priapism and punishment, let’s get our bearings.
Eliot Spitzer doesn’t have a quarter of the gall that Anthony Weiner does. He doesn’t have an eighth of it. Out of office for more than five years, he isn’t asking for a restoration of his prior glory. He isn’t even asking for a particularly sexy job. Comptroller of New York City? Most voters don’t know what that is or even if it’s spelled correctly. It doesn’t come with a mansion. It’s not a ticket to parades. It’s drudgery and decimal points. Audit till you drop.
Weiner, meantime, hadn’t been gone from Congress for even two years when he announced his candidacy for mayor of the city, a job exponentially more influential than the one that he’d never done especially well in the first place. He’s angling for a gigantic promotion. In the narrative he’s constructed, his mortification has made him a new man, so we’re supposed to give him an extra measure of our trust and hand him the reins of the most important and most complicated city in the country. I know we like our mayors brash, but we needn’t accept delusional in the bargain….
Already there’s chatter about whose infidelities are more forgivable: Spitzer’s, which were arguably a crime, or Weiner’s, which were creepier? This misses a crucial point. Both men fell as spectacularly as they did not because they got caught with their pants down but because none of their colleagues liked them much even with their pants up.
This is a terrific read. One thing we know for sure, The New York Post and New York Daily News hope Spitzer and Weiner win their primaries, just so they can keep those headlines coming until November. And maybe beyond.
These two guys are a tabloid editor’s dream.