Anthony Weiner is terrible for so many reasons that I accidentally left two big ones out of my Weiner-must-go piece this morning.
One is a story the New York Daily News had over the weekend: In 2011, before his abject apology to his wife and the public for sexting and then lying about sexting, Weiner spent $45,000 from his campaign fund to hire a private investigator to find out who had “hacked” his Twitter account and sent a photo of a crotch. (Of course, Weiner sent the photo himself).
The other goes back to Weiner’s first political campaign, his successful 1991 run for city council. In the week before the Democratic primary, Weiner’s campaign sent out an anonymous mailer accusing an opponent, Adele Cohen, of supporting the “Dinkins/Jackson agenda.”
The mailer went out shortly after the Crown Heights riots, which arose from tensions between blacks and Hasidic Jews in Brooklyn. The reference to the Rev. Jesse Jackson and then-Mayor David Dinkins was an obvious race-based appeal to Jewish voters.
Weiner ended up winning the election by 130 votes, and he was widely criticised for race-baiting. But what’s really damning is Weiner’s sorry/not-sorry approach to talking about the mailer after he sent it.
Weiner told the New York Post that he only sent the mailer anonymously because he “didn’t want to confuse the messenger with the message.” He also said “I have no problem with being associated with it.”
At nearly the same time, he was abjectly apologizing. The day after the primary election, about a week after he sent the flyer, he wrote a letter to Cohen saying “I am sorry for my actions in the final days of the campaign. The mailer I did was wrongheaded and the manner was just plain dumb… I hope that in time, I will have the opportunity to redeem myself to you and to the many others who are rightly angry with me.”
He made a similarly profuse apology to editorial writers at the New York Times, dissuading them from withdrawing their endorsement in the Council race.
Of course, it’s easy to apologise for a political dirty trick after it’s already helped you win the election.
And that’s the thing about Anthony Weiner telling you he’s so, so sorry: He’s not sorry.
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