There's a famous saying that all publicity is good publicity. Ex-Representative Anthony Weiner's recent foray into the New York City mayoral race is testing this theory to destruction.
Our readers may recall Weiner's disgraceful resignation from office when it became known that he'd emailed photos of his genitals to young women he'd never even met. This doesn't even qualify as normal, sane sexual unfaithfulness; we can condemn President Kennedy for his bedroom athletics but at least we can understand the attractions of Marilyn Monroe. What sort of man would even come up with the idea of doing as Weiner has done?
It takes all sorts to make a world, but you'd think that upon being caught, Weiner would at least have the dignity to shamefacedly withdraw from public life and seek therapy. Not so: not only is he running for mayor of the world's most important city, but each day brings new revelations of how his bizarre behavior kept right on going - through his resignation, through his "time with his family," through the birth of his first child, women all across the fruited plain were liable to have an emailed Weiner stuck in their inbox.
The headlines write themselves; it's more difficult to avoid a double entendre than to come up with one. About the only thing you won't hear of Weiner is that he's an upstanding citizen. Yet he steadfastly pushes forward, banging away at his campaign despite everything.
What sort of a country allows this? Yes, as an American citizen he has an absolute right to run for any office he wants to, no problem there. But why on earth is he taken seriously? We've all seen various loons and fruitcakes who run for president every election; they don't get any press attention nor should they. Why then does Weiner?
Because he's a member of the ruling liberal aristocracy, that's why. He's married to Hillary Clinton's closest aide. His (wealthy, of course) family has been involved financially in Democrat politics for a long time. He went to the right schools and knows the right people, so it doesn't matter that he's never held a real job, never accomplished anything in his life, and can't be let out in public.
|Gov. Lord Cornbury in full regalia.|
Does this remind you of anything in history? It should, as New York has been in this situation before.
One night during the early 1700s, a constable working for the British colony of New York arrested what he presumed was a prostitute walking along Broadway. When the suspect was brought back to the stockade, however, it was discovered that he had actually taken into custody the colonial governor, who enjoyed taking evening strolls in his wife's clothes.
This was Edward Hyde, 3rd Earl of Clarendon, also known as Lord Cornbury. He was as well connected as his title would imply - Oxford graduate, nephew of a future Queen, Member of Parliament, courtier to various kings, and apparently an all-round fruitcake. His personal bad behavior and poor repuation didn't prevent him from being appointed governor of the colonies of New York and New Jersey, because it didn't matter - he knew the right people and had been to the right schools, that's all the job description called for and that's all he had.
The good citizens of America felt that they deserved better and raised such an almighty stink that the Queen ultimately recalled him to London, whereupon he was thrown in prison by his creditors for nonpayment of debts. Even afterwards, he still was appointed Envoy Extraordinary to Hanover; presumably the Hanoverians had lower expectations of Envoys than those troublesome colonials had of governors.
It's not fair to blame Lord Cornbury's bizarre behavior for the American Revolution, but it certainly didn't help. England's aristocracy earned such contempt that our Founders explicitly forbade any titles of nobility in their new country.
We may not have a formal aristocracy today, but we certainly have a political one. Just as Eton and Oxford once ushered the sons of empire into high rank regardless of their personal abilities, Harvard and Yale now serve as greased skids for our elites to slide into office, so long as their political orientation remains properly leftist.
Who is to blame for these recurrent outrages? Obviously, Anthony Weiner is fully responsible for both his disgusting behavior and his failure to obtain appropriate treatment at a suitable institution. Polls seem to indicate that at least the voters of New York have the good sense to tell Weiner where he can stick it.
But it is the media, first and foremost, that give Weiner whatever credibility he may have had. When the drunken bum on the street holds up a placard and says he's running for president, he doesn't get a respectful article in the paper. No more should have Weiner, yet even today, there are journalists who take him seriously.
By doing so, they're simply showing the same deference that England's papers once showed to the aristocratic elite, and which allowed the highborn incompetent to run things into the ground. America isn't supposed to be like that, and most Americans don't want it to be.
We're supposed to be a meritocracy, where people rise based on their own abilities. We can disagree with the politics of Barack Obama, but he is clearly a very skilled campaigner and to all appearances a loyal family man. Anthony Weiner has no such redeeming virtues, no merits or skills of his own, and is deserving of no respect. It's time he was treated accordingly.
Otherwise, New York owes an apology to Lord Cornbury. Perhaps his portrait depicted above can be carried at the head of the next Gay Pride march?