Rachael, like you , I agree that Rep. Anthony Weiner’s I-lied-to-protect-my-wife defense was lame, but I don’t think it’s fair to compare his behavior to John Edwards'. Weiner, at least as far as we know, has not had an actual affair and does not have an out-of-wedlock child with a mistress he had to pay to keep quiet. He also doesn’t have a dying wife, nor did he break any campaign finance laws. Weiner behaved incredibly stupidly. He was reckless and showed poor judgment. If he were my husband, I’d probably want to kill him right about now. But there’s a difference between caddish, loutish behavior and behavior that’s beyond the pale. John Edwards’ behavior is in the latter category. Let’s keep in mind that Edwards not only repeatedly denied the affair and the love child over a very long period of time, he got his assistant to falsely claim paternity and then solicited funds for hush money rather than use any of his own millions. He was a selfish, lying pig on every level, and his every act was to protect himself first and foremost.
That’s not to say that Wiener was also not trying to protect himself and his reputation. Also for a man of Weiner’s age and position the level of cyber-flirting he apparently engaged in is troubling, if for no other reason than that he did it on company (taxpayers’) time and on the company computer.
During his cringe-worthy press conference (by the way, Amanda, I was also embarrassed by the unnecessarily prurient questions tossed out by reporters), Weiner said over and over that he did not have affairs with his online lady friends and he seemed believable. The saddest part was when he said his wife "told me she loves me" and choked up a bit and added, "She deserves much better than this. We’re going to get through this."
Photograph of Anthony Weiner courtesy of Andrew Burton/Getty Images.