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Roundtable: Anthony Weiner's Image

Aaron Steinfeld

Anthony WeinerWelcome to yet another edition of the Unboxed Thoughts Roundtable. In an attempt to stay relevant, I've picked yet another topic of current national, and even international, interest, in a man who has an ironic last name. Oh yes, I know you can't get enough of Weinergate, and with that, let's get this party started.

The epic known as Weinergate is upon us. Has Anthony Weiner handled his drama-filled situation appropriately, or is he trapped within an inescapable downward spiral?

As always, generous, clever, witty and quick volunteers offered their time and opinions to breathe life into this topic full of potential puns and potty humor. So hey, pull up a chair, grab yourself an Oscar Mayer with a side of political salad and enjoy.

NOTE: Yes, Anthony Weiner has stepped down from his role of Congressman as of around 2PM Thursday, but that doesn't necessarily mean his career is over. Look at President Clinton, or Elliot Spitzer, both of whom are in the public spotlight. Knowing that, the following takes were written before his ousting took place.

"Weiner (and oh how fitting that is) should be ashamed of himself.  He has not only handled this inappropriately from a PR perspective, but generally from a human perspective.  Letting this tangled web of lies go on for as long as he did has harmed his credibility as a congressman, and while Americans may forgive the random dalliances of our politicians after time, the fact that Weiner’s wife is now pregnant and they have yet to celebrate their first wedding anniversary, is really unnerving for his peers and constituents.  My prediction is that he’ll get forced out of congress and can forget about running for mayor of New York City anytime soon. I’d love to ask him if sexting like an college freshman and showing random women his body parts was all worth the embarrassment to his family and political suicide.   Clearly the public relations massacre surrounding former President Clinton, Governor Spitzer and Governor Schwarzenegger for their transgressions hadn’t taught Anthony Weiner anything making him an even bigger d…ahhh nevermind!" ~Josey (@JoseyRobi)
"Representative Weiner has illustrated a significant lack in judgement at almost every step of this unfortunate process.  There is a blatant narcissism that has driven his thinking throughout, and it continues to manifest publicly as the story unfolds.  His disrespect for his family and his office are just the tip of a very sad iceberg.  His belief (or denial) that these electronic conversations would never be made public shows either an inexcusable naivete or a blatant disregard for consequences, both of which are extremely dangerous in any elected official.  That alone, in my opinion, warrants him stepping down.

After a half-hearted denial, subsequent admission of guilt and entry into a "program," I truly believe that Representative Weiner still expects that the public will look at his record and permit him to maintain his position.  In mind my, this is the most egregious abuse of the public trust yet, and shows that not only is he not aligned with his constituents or his party, but he is completely blind to the non-political ramifications of his actions.

I sincerely hope that Representative Weiner can privately make amends with his family, and that they can live in relative peace, free from the public scorn that they have been subjected to.  However, it is clear that he has no understanding of the trust reposed in him by his constituents.  Every action has an equal and opposite reaction.  By abusing the public trust, lying about it, and then refusing to resign, Representative Weiner has forfeited the privilege of holding elected office.  Until he ends the sideshow he has created, he only magnifies the shame and disgrace he has wrought." ~Tom (@trozycki)
"It is pretty obvious that Anthony Weiner is in some hot water, and understandably so. From a PR perspective, there isn’t much I can point to throughout this drawn-out and increasingly shocking saga that he has done correctly. A couple of his missteps, in my opinion:
  1. Lying: This is the mack daddy of Weiner’s mistakes. I continue to be mystified by the number and frequency of incidents involving politicians in which they blatantly lie and seem to then be surprised when the truth comes out (and it always does).
  2. Backtracking: In the days following his initial flat-out denial, Weiner began backtracking on his story. This is, almost always, a tell-tale sign that something is not right [cue even more intense media firestorm]
  3. Hiding: Another red flag – Weiner began cancelling, missing and skipping scheduled events. That is not the prerogative of an innocent person. Suspicions are raised further.
  4. Crying: This is when the story becomes absurd. Crying, especially AFTER lying, backtracking and hiding, didn’t exactly warrant the empathetic response Weiner was hoping for. It was obvious that he had not been telling the truth, and to cry publicly at a press conference during which he also vowed not to resign, only added insult to the injury that we, the collective public, are feeling.
  5. Persisting: After a plethora of missteps, or more accurately, massive mistakes, Weiner is going against the recommendation of many political and public relations strategists, who say that at this stage, it’s best for him to step down from public office and focus on repairing his private life.
But if he did that, the number of hilarious and inappropriate puns would decrease dramatically. Tough call." ~Kate (@kbmcgann)
"Considering that many of Weiner’s constituents probably engage in sexting  and worship celebrities whose careers are built on objectifying themselves, I don’t think that’s the biggest problem with what he did.

Weiner has been very critical and vocal about the indiscretions of others in the past (see: Elliot Spitzer) and he comes across as very smug, arrogant and holier than thou.  Now he finds himself in the same boat as those he was so quick to vilify and it comes across as very hypocritical.

Our society loves to tear people down, but we also love redemption stories. What we don’t like are arrogant hypocrites. We will forgive stupidity, but when you are caught doing the things you’re supposed to be against, you’re on your own.

Had he just copped to it in the first place maybe things would be different. Maybe he would be able to recover from this. He could try to weather the embarrassment and maybe he would even garner some sympathy from people for making a stupid mistake.

Instead he lied about it over and over again, arrogantly thinking he was bulletproof. Now the media sharks smell the blood in the water and they’re going to keep digging and digging. With each new revelation he looks more and more arrogant and foolish. His credibility is completely shot.

When Charlie Rangel is your most vocal supporter, you’ve got problems.

Weiner has handled the situation terribly and it is only a matter of time before he is forced to resign." ~Rob (@RobBabecki)

What do you think? Does Anthony Weiner's record give him immunity to his personal life, or is this just further proof that Weiner needs to simply go away? CJP

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