Imagine the following argument being written in a mainstream magazine:
The no-secrets era of social media makes one consider the built-in risk factor of nominating high-estrogen women to positions of power at all. Everyone is under too much scrutiny now to take a chance on candidates who suddenly blow up into a comic meme, a punchline, a ribald hashtag.
It would probably only appear in the far-right press and be universally regarded as sexist bigotry. And yet my friend Tina Brown unapologetically unleashes it on an entire gender, which is fine, it appears, as long as the gender is male. The argument is not directed at all men at first, just high-testosterone men seeking public office. But then the mask slips … and a man’s sexting his dick to a woman is the equivalent of reckless mass-murder. This paragraph is so broad a brush it barely fits on the page:
And politics is not the only arena to require this test. The banker who killed a bride-to-be and her best man when he slammed his boat into a construction barge last weekend during a moonlight cruise down the Hudson had a history of dopey party-boy machismo. Francesco Schettino, the drunk captain of the shipwrecked Costa Concordia (death toll: 32 drowned passengers) and Francisco Jose Garzon Amo, the speed-freak driver in last week’s Spanish train crash (death toll: 79 passengers), were both crimes of dickmanship that ended in disaster.
So a man who has not committed adultery, and who has not been accused of harassment or abuse, who simply sent a dick pic to a woman he was flirting with online, is now the equivalent of men responsible for the deaths of scores of innocents? Because they all have dicks! And, er, that’s it. Sally Quinn, in high sexist mode as well, says this of Huma Abedin:
The only thing she can believe in for sure is that [Weiner] will continue his infidelity.
I had no idea that Weiner had committed adultery. Maybe Quinn’s sources are better than anyone else’s. Then this:
When the first scandal hit, I just thought Weiner was a grandiose, narcissistic, entitled creep. Now it is clear he must be mentally ill as well. That he has no respect for women, including his own wife, is also clear.
Really? If Weiner is mentally ill, what was Bill Clinton? Are the five million users of OKCupid also mentally ill? Was Tiger Woods mentally ill? Or Hugh Grant? Or Newt Gingrich? Or Mark Sanford? Or John F Kennedy? But Quinn combines this absurd claim that all men with sex drives they exploit for pleasure are mentally ill (rather than guilty of being online while male) with a vicious attack on Huma Abedin:
“I do very strongly believe that that is between us and our marriage,” [Abedin] said then. She says the marriage has taken a lot of hard work and a lot of therapy. I’m certainly not the first person to suggest that her therapist should be fired.
I think Sally Quinn’s moralizing, ignorant judgment as to what happens in another couple’s marital therapy sessions is more offensive than anything Anthony Weiner has put online. And there’s a logical loophole here which points to the Clinton panic:
The only possibly reason I can guess for Abedin’s embrace of her husband is that she wants the power as much as he does … She saw the Clintons get away with infidelity, and she fooled herself into thinking she and Weiner could also ride this one out.
Well, excuse me, but didn’t the Clintons successfully ride it out? Are they not precisely the role models that Abedin and Weiner are following? The difference is that what Bill Clinton did was exponentially more foul than what Weiner has done, and his lies were under oath, and he was the fricking president at the time – not running for a mayor’s race. And Clinton committed adultery while Weiner didn’t. Not that Quinn’s bigotry bothers to make such distinctions. Bigotry tends not to.
Here’s something Weiner could do that would really send the Clintonistas up the wall: hail Bill publicly as his role model. He’s following the Clinton script precisely in his latest interview – contrasting the media sex obsession with his view that he needs to get on with the business of the people. Please, Huma and Anthony, don’t flee the Clintons, embrace them as your fore-runners in this murky business of power-couples, sex, lies and power. Bill and Hillary paved the way. Follow them to the polling booths.
And make them squirm in their own hypocritical juices.