Many people have been wondering who was that strange person in the cubicle behind Anthony Weiner and Huma Abedin during their press conference. Many others, such as Commentary’s Jonathan S. Tobin, have been wondering about those strange people in the foreground of the press conference:
There are times when we must acknowledge that we are not just watching the news but witnessing history. This evening Huma Abedin, the longtime aide to former secretary of state Hillary Clinton, broke new ground in the “stand by your man” routine that has been imposed on the wives of sinning politicians. Previously, Silda Spitzer was widely thought to have given the most painful performance in this category as she stood by her husband Eliot with a stricken look on her face as he resigned in the wake of news about his patronage of prostitutes. But today, Abedin went far beyond the mark set by Spitzer as she accompanied her husband Anthony Weiner to a press conference at which he answered questions about the latest revelations of his bizarre Internet usage. Abedin not only stood by her man but actually spoke herself, issuing a statement which told of the “ups and downs” of her marriage and her struggle to decide whether or not leave Weiner when she found out about what he had done. Having chosen to “forgive” Weiner, the implication is that somehow that obligates New Yorkers to do the same and elect him mayor. * Whether New Yorkers are prepared to accept this formulation remains to be seen.
Through careful Zapruder-style analysis of the press conference footage we have identified who was standing behind them, and used advanced Photoshop techniques to help enhance the image to make her identity known. But really, even though she helped vaunt Weiner and Huma to the national stage, what difference at this point does it make?
* Which is a variation of Eliot Spitzer’s own formulation for personal “redemption” through narcissism, as Bryan Preston wrote at the PJ Tatler this past Friday:
“In terms of redemption and forgiveness, yes, the public is forgiving,” Spitzer said. “That is a remarkably affirmative quality in the American public. Now whether that forgiveness will extend to me is an open question. And I will not know the answer to that until September 10 which is the date of the primary.”
Spitzer made it clear: If you forgive him for what he sets up as private indiscretions, you must vote him back into power. Otherwise you haven’t truly forgiven him, and that’s really on you, not him. That’s deeply shrewd and cynical, and very likely to work. No one wants to be accused of being unforgiving. Spitzer is playing on the better angels of voters’ natures to fool them one more time.
Will New Yorkers elect both Spitzer and Weiner to office once again? Unfortunately, they may also well be thinking, what difference at this point does it make?