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Anthony Weiner scandal: Leave the poor guy alone

Anthony Weiner Anthony Weiner's scandal should have simmered down after he checked into rehab, but his not-so-trusty confidante Ginger Lee stirred the pot Wednesday by telling the media he'd asked her to lie for him.

It makes you want scold Weiner for being such a jerk. And you can imagine how the skeptics reacted, the ones like the Washington Post's Ruth Marcu who think his stint in rehab is a quick-fix PR stunt to clean up his image. "[Weiner's] episode underscores how rehab has become an all-purpose laundromat for irresponsible behavior, an infuriatingly easy substitute for accepting blame and living with consequences," she wrote.

And it's true: We've seen this face of shame, described (and illustrated) in a New York Times City Room post by Andy Newman and Elissa Gootman, so many times before.

But are the media being too hard on Weiner? It might start to look that way, said the Daily Beast's Eric Alterman: "Weiner may have solved everybody's problem with his 'treatment' gambit. It makes those who continue to milk the story look like heartless vultures for harassing a sick man (with a pregnant wife)." And yet, people continue to brush off a pattern of behavior associated with addiction.

Is it unfair to roll our eyes at a guy with genuine problem? That's the case Susan Cheever made on The Fix, an addiction and recovery website. Here's an excerpt from an excellent article that describes the psychology of addiction:

This seemingly irrational behavior on the part of very rational men and women is at the heart of addiction -- and at the heart of the case of onetime rising star Anthony Weiner, the New York congressman whose bizarre twitter escapades have made world wide news. [...]

[F]or those whose behavior appears both compulsive and inexplicable, where the risks far outweigh the benefits, a diagnosis of sex addiction is a good bet. [...]

Men who are unable to control their sexual urges at any cost need help, just like drug addicts and alcoholics.

Meghan Daum also showed some sensitivity and understanding for the disgraced politician in her Thursday Op-Ed article. In it, she wonders "whether his penchant for erotic self-portraiture reveals not confidence or excessive vanity but an ingrained self-loathing." This guy could be seriously screwed up.

When you consider the context for Weiner's indiscretions -- the slam-book-cum-mosh pit that is Twitter, the way Facebook has turned exhibitionism into "sharing" and voyeurism into a pastime as quotidian as checking the weather forecast -- one thing seems clear: Weiner was using social networking less as a means of communication than as a mirror. Apparently unable to rely on his own judgment when gazing at his reflection, he sought outside appraisers who were guaranteed to issue the approval he couldn't muster for himself.

And, of course, you can't forget the possibility that a "Type T" personality could be at the root of his troubles. It's hard to like someone like Weiner, but given all that could be wrong, it's also hard to see him crucified.

[Update: Bowing to pressure from his own party, Rep. Anthony Weiner plans to resign today, according to Democratic sources. He told Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday.]


Weiner's fate

Poll: Should Anthony Weiner resign?

My Anthony Weiner apology, in his own words

Most commented: Our readers' Weiner obsession

The psychology of Weiner's scandal and what it says about us

-- Alexandra Le Tellier

Photo: Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) pauses during a news conference in New York after acknowledging inappropriate online communications with women. Credit: Jin Lee / Bloomberg


Comments () | Archives (29)

The comments to this entry are closed.

Jeremy Giels

Yep, as soon as he resigns, they'll leave him alone!
Hey, I feel sorry for him and his wife, tragic really.
Probably worked very hard to get where they are and now this foolishness.
Dumb is the best word for it and he used it himself.
I hope they get trough this and put it behind them


Good riddance , now retire from public life as well, your hubris brought you to this place. The fact you had to apologize to bill clinton of all people shows how bad this has been , there are many lessons that you have yet to learn first among them is honesty and simple decency.


Rwhite either can't read or can't comprehend what is being read. So easy to judge someone from your computer. $10 says you are going on to chat roulette next.

Joseph Durocher

Those same reporters who have been chasing after Anthony Weiner for the last few weeks should now be after Nancy Pelosi. There are a couple of questions she needs to answer. For starters, she should be asked why Charles Rangel retains his seat while Weiner has been pushed out of his. Does this mean that - within the Democratic party, today - sexual deviance is a greater sin than corruption?

Also, Ms. Pelosi needs to explain why Barney Frank retains his seat. If Weiner's indiscretions warrant expulsion from Capitol Hill, how does Frank warrant a pass?

The over-reaction of Nancy Pelosi will cost the Democrats a lot of votes in 2012. While many of the supporters of her party - who are (and have a right to be) offended by Weiner's expulsion - probably cannot bring themselves to vote for the Republicans, they certainly can convince themselves (and family and friends) to stay home on election day.

Hand out Harry

AJM. It's so easy to judge Rwhite from your computer. Your writing style would work great for a job that I know that recently became available in New York!!


Yeah, sure, leave the "poor guy" alone. After all, he's a Dem and he deserves all of the apologist psychobabble-analysis justifications that we can possibly muster for him.
Oh, hey, what's this? Now a Republican is behaving badly? CRUCIFY THE LITTLE &#@#!

Bee Gomez

Neither Meaghan Daum nor Eric Altermann are psychiatrists. Why they're diagnosing him is a quandry,


Questions: Resign and retain retirement benefits or be expelled and loose retirement benefits?

Hand out Harry

BarbarA_NC: "Resign and retain retirement benefits or be expelled and loose retirement benefits?"

Retirement is a Great idea!! Then he can move to the left coast and start his new retirement program by being a Politician in California while sucking $$ out of New York's coffers. Double dipping is the way to go!!

Pasquino Marforio

lol. Why do I have this feeling, that if the guy was a serial killer, the LA Times would find some way to defend him while at the same time, putting him on the path to political rehabilitation?


Ex-Congressman Weiner was one of the nastiest hyper-partisans on the hill. He sowed the wind, and now he's reaping the whirlwind. DLTDHYITAOTWO, Mr. Weiner.


"Leave the POOR guy alone" the person you should feel sorry for is his poor wife for being stuck with this guy. As a woman who has known, and personally been affect by my husband who cheated during pregnancy( which by the way is a common time for men to cheat) there are no words that can describe the type of hurt and stress his wife is going through. Whether he was famous or not I would say he is an irresponsible guy. Stastically it is a time when men do that, probably cause pregnancy is very exhausting on the body and emotionally tiring too so selfish men like Wiener feel like their not getting enough attention.At home, sorry your wife is pregnant cut some slack. So no, no pity for him just his wife and the sufferign he caused his family.

S Wilson

yea if this was a conservative I bet they would not say leave him alone


Leave the guy alone now.
The penis jokes are getting stale.

Skedaddle in Seattle

Seriously? Leave the guy alone? You're kidding, right? He deserves whatever he gets. He thinks so much of his crotch that the guy referred to his "package" in the 3rd person ("My package and I aren't going to beg.") Wish I could hear how the misses reacted to that one. He deserves to squirm.

Travis Parker

What? Anthony Weiner's wiener has his own facebook profile and twitter account?




yes, why keep kicking a man, or anyone when they are down? Do we just love bashing other people when they make a mistake? Like Jesus said, "Let he who is without sin, throw the first stone (at the prostitue)"


All of which makes us wonder, how much responsibility does a politician owe the public when it comes to revealing what s/he does behind closed doors? Or to take it a step further: how much does anyone need to let others know what they are up to in their private time (assuming of course they are not using public forums such as Twitter as Mr Weiner was)?

Cheers to the beginning of a new era: the social media sex scandal.



you must be joking, right ? ?

help me remember, where was the LA Times's does of sensitivity for Sen Craig of Idaho ? ?

feel terrible sorrow for his wife and the child to be - this dirtbag gets nothing, nil, nadda, zero, the empty set, null .... get it ? !

with any fortune at all, will never see this lib train wreck again !


make that 'dose'

gail keller

I feel sorry for the guy.But, look at the bright side,he has more character than David Vitter and he is definitely qualified to be mayor of New York City.


The man is a liar. There is no therapy for pathological liars.

If anyone condones lying as so many seem to, we need to take a good, hard look at voter character. I guess it takes one to know one.

glenn grab

are you kidding, Weiner is and was a punk, a bully, a cheap shot artist, a poser, and mostly, a liar...he has no remorse, the only thing he's sorry for is that he was caught...he's an egotistical narcissist who's only interested in his own welfare...he'll do or say anything to further his career...good riddance, maybe he can share a TV show with Elliot Spitzer, a match made in heaven!!


His antics linked to self-loathing? Pleeeese! He's a egomanical pervert, plain and simple. A sociopath who loves himself and only himself.

Ironman Carmichael

Because he didn't kidnap the Lindbergh baby.
He didn't sack the Watergate.
He didn't sell illegal arms to rogue countries.
In fact, he didn't do anything that thousands of others--who play their own pathetic, adolescent little sex games on the internet in happy anonymity--don't do.


This is a story? You've got to be kidding.

Andy Eppink

Poor congressperson Hot Dog! Well at least he has the slimes and the rest of the libmedia on his side. Maybe the slimes could put him on the payroll as an adjunct to Steve Lopez, their resident intellectual, as a lingerie model. I'd think Hot Dog would jump at the chance for $150k or so.


Weiner is a pervert. Weiner is unfit to serve in Congress. So it follows that the LA Times thinks Weiner should be President.

Carmen Granados

When I read this piece about leaving Weiner alone after this disgusting scandel, all I can think about is the bias in newspaper reporting. The LA Times did not ease up on republicans who suffered from a similar fate. This story should be reported fully and loudly to make sure our representatives understand the consequences of their actions. Our leaders should understand they should be held to a higher standard. Why did Weiner take so long to resign, simply because he placed himself first



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