Women Against Weiner

We can officially add Anthony Weiner to the list of people who have made way more headlines than they deserve. Weiner’s decision to run for the mayor of New York City despite his disgraceful exit from Congress in 2011 has baffled many, but it has certainly put him in the spotlight once more. Unfortunately, all of the attention on Weiner is unearthing even more details about his lewd sexting behavior.

Adding to the scandal of it all, Mr. Weiner’s wife is standing by her man. Her support for Weiner’s mayoral campaign has led many in the press to shift from portraying her as a victim to a woman who is shelving her pride in favor of political ambition. Comparisons to Elizabeth Edwards, who stood by her husband despite his affair and love child, and of course Hillary Clinton, who pardoned Bill’s scandal, are running rampant.

Now, in an unsurprising alliance, women’s groups EMILY’s List and NOW are providing even more support for Weiner’s opponent, Christine Quinn. Quinn could make history by being New York’s first female mayor. The president of NOW, Sonia Ossario, has gone as far as to diss any woman who chooses to vote for Anthony Weiner. Likening the current political climate to the days of Susan B. Anthony, she said “she fought for our vote and to think that a woman would squander their vote on someone like Anthony Weiner who doesn’t take public office seriously, who is unfit and who has made a mockery of elected office, and who has done it by disrespecting woman . . . I feel embarrassed for our culture.”

Feminism aside, the entire issue calls into question the idea of morality in politics. How much value does the American public place on integrity and respect in a political candidate’s personal life? And how does that value differ knowing that Weiner is a liberal? We may not know the answer for sure until the election, but polls indicate that Weiner’s repeated scandals are taking a significant toll on his campaign.

Naturally, the media has neglected the other candidates for mayor almost entirely in the wake of Weiner’s scandal. Quinn is currently leading polls, but Bill Thompson and Bill De Blasio are also strong candidates, not that you’ve heard their names recently. New Yorkers may very well turn the question of who to vote for into a more sensationalist one: should they elect the woman or the womanizer? Somehow, it seems that actual policy will play even less of a role in this election than most.