The New York Post follows Anthony Weiner's pro-family People photo shoot and interview with a front page today warning of "Operation Comeback!" and a picture of Weiner and his pretty adorable baby, Jordan, with the headline "Pop-Aganda!" (Hooray for old-school Post punnery here.) There's also some expected handwringing—and some a bit less expected—from our favorite lady-with-a-conscience, Andrea Peyser.
Beth DeFalco and Jeane MacIntosh follow up on the headlines in a piece in which they write, "Anthony Weiner’s comeback campaign has officially begun. Weiner and his wife invited People magazine into their Manhattan home for an interview and photo shoot — putting their 6-month-old baby, Jordan, front and center — in an attempt to rehab his reputation after the serial-sexting scandal that derailed his political career."
The Post and Weiner are in something of a fight, you see; it's debatable whether they ever got along in the first place, but after Sextgate, it's been all claws. So, recently the "truth-challenged Weiner" (as DeFalco and MacIntosh put it in today) called BS on a Post report that "Abedin has been pushing her hubby to do such image-polishing interviews in an effort to return to politics one day." We're also reminded of Weiner's "well-endowed" $4.5 million war chest, and a political source is cited claiming the ex-congressman's "staffers are looking to get back in the game."
Elsewhere in the paper, Peyser goes in for the kill, claiming that the Weiner family is "normal" compared to, perhaps, the Manson family, and criticizing not only the Mr. but the Mrs. in this happy threesome:
Proving that she’s the emasculating power behind the Jockey pouch boxer briefs, the wife of ex-Congressman Anthony Weiner, Huma Abedin, orchestrated a friendly and gauzy interview with People magazine.
Peyser also describes baby Jordan as a "pet prop." But, wait, she goes on to say...
Maybe Weiner’s second coming (sorry) is an idea whose time has come (again, apologies).
Can it be true? Do we actually agree with Andrea Peyser? Well, maybe in spirit if not the letter (she thinks she sees in Weiner's "agonized grin" a cry for help, to let him back into the political world and get him out of this hell of family and laundry). Only very special people can see into others' souls through their eyes, and I'm not denying that Peyser may be one of these. But obviously, the desire to put oneself back in the spotlight again, to serve oneself up so easily for editorializing at the hands of Post columnists, after that embarrassing Twitter scandal (all the more embarrassing, actually, because nothing really happened! There was no sex!) indicates something.
Does it indicate a comeback, or a desire for a comeback? Does it indicate the desire to say to people, I'm not ruined or hanging my head in shame and also, isn't my baby pretty damn cute? Does it indicate the desire of Huma Abedin to, as Peyser indicates, "emasculate" or force Weiner to prove her family is just fine and dandy after all that? (And, if so ... is that so wrong, either?)
The thing is, and the scary place where I agree with Peyser, is that comebacks have been made by worse-behaving people, and in the history of politics far worse things have been done than some Twitter sext scandal for which the politician who found himself so involved was quickly punished, made to apologize, and generally humiliated quite widely. So, really, would it be so wrong if Weiner was making a comeback? And if he is, maybe it's time to start talking about his politics rather than a scandal that happened, in the collective Internet memory, ever so long ago at this point. What is the statute of limitations for such things, anyway? Eliot Spitzer got his own TV show: Shouldn't Weiner be allowed to make a comeback if he feels like it? We'd still, after all, have to vote yay or nay.
In the interim: More baby pics, please!