Sorry, Anthony Weiner, I'm Not Voting For You

Anthony Weiner press conference

I actually didn’t initially gag at the idea that the sexting ex-Congressman Anthony Weiner would run for mayor of New York.

After all, everyone makes mistakes. And, sometimes, people learn from them. And I’m a big believer in second chances.

I thought the media would have its fun with Weiner jokes, and then everyone would get bored and move on. I thought that, when it came time for me to assess the candidates and determine my own vote, I might end up voting for Weiner. And given the lack of recognisable competition, I even thought Weiner might win.

But, now, I think he’s cooked.

And, regardless, even if he obstinately stays in the race, I’m no longer going to consider voting for him.

Why not?

It’s actually not because of his obsession with sending pictures of his penis to young women. Given that we now know that Weiner continued this behaviour even after it made him a national laughingstock, forced him to resign from Congress, and humiliated his wife, it’s clear that he has some sort of psychological problem. As long as he acknowledges this problem and commits to dealing with it, I don’t see why it would interfere with his ability to be a good mayor. People have acknowledged and dealt with alcohol, drug, and other addictions and gone on to do great things. So if I thought Weiner had really gotten a handle on whatever it is that makes him do this–and was committed to managing it–I’d be OK with it.

My problem with Weiner is that the guy has now lied to me not once but twice. And, in so doing, he has made it clear that he will lie to me whenever he thinks he can get away with it–whenever he is not absolutely compelled to tell the truth.

In the days after he mistakenly sent a picture of his penis to his entire Twitter follower list, you will recall, Weiner brazenly and repeatedly lied about it. He tried to say he’d been hacked. He tried the old “I’m not going to answer such stupid questions” thing. He lied directly, again and again, until the evidence became irrefutable. Then, finally, in a tearful press conference, he came clean.

Two years later, the humbled Weiner launched his political comeback. He had learned his lesson, he said. His wife was standing by him. He was accepting responsibility for his earlier mistakes. He was ready to ask for–and deserve–a second chance.

Weiner did say that, in the campaign ahead, more sexts would come out.  But he strongly implied that those sexts were from the years before Weiner had been taught a searing, humiliating, and devastating lesson about integrity and professional responsibility.

Weiner obviously wanted me to believe that all the sexting and personal dishonesty had happened before he was forced out of Congress. If he hadn’t wanted me to believe that–if he had wanted to be straight with me–he would have told me that the problem had continued even after his resignation. But Weiner didn’t tell me that. Because he wanted to me to believe that he had long since gotten religion.

Stupidly, I believed what Weiner wanted me to believe.

And now I feel like a gullible jackass as a result. 

If Weiner had come clean quickly and straightforwardly after his initial sexting incident, he might not have had to resign. More importantly, he would not have made it clear that, whenever it is convenient, he will lie to try to save his own skin.

Similarly, if Weiner had come clean, completely and straightforwardly, when launching his political comeback, he might have demonstrated that he had actually learned his lesson.

Alas, Weiner did neither of these things.

Instead, he established that he is someone who still cannot–and should not–be trusted.

Weiner’s sexting problem is, as he suggests, between him and his wife. Weiner’s honesty problem, however, is between him and me.

As the saying goes, “Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.”

I’m not going to be fooled by Anthony Weiner again.

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