I thought that Anthony Weiner was a repulsive human being when he only appeared to be an ambitious congressman on the make and a seemingly permanent fixture on MSNBC. Yet the latest revelations of his post-scandal exhibitionism place him in a category beyond repulsive. In addition to his other vices, he is a little lacking in self-perception.
A college professor of mine once speculated that monarchy might be a more democratic form of government than democracy. In a democracy, we get a certain limited range of character types seeking higher office. In a monarchy, at least you have the randomness provided by genetic variation.
The character type thrown up by democracy used to be the man ambitious for greatness and burning to distinguish himself from his fellow citizens. In our present stage of devolution, the type thrown up is Weiner Phase I, a guy who yearns for higher office in order to wield power over the peasants who support him. Think Michael Bloomberg. Think Chuck Schumer. Think Eliot Spitzer Phase I.
As we devolve, we find ourselves confronting a variation on the type. It is the man who yearns to wield power and win the approval of voters while refusing to succumb to disgraces that would drive lesser men back into private life. His passions go well beyond the passion for power, though power is conducive to the satisfaction of all his passions. Think of the type as the Weiner Spitzer.
The new type is adapted for survival in the culture of New York. It is no accident, as they say, that Bill and Hillary landed in New York after Clinton’s two terms.
The new type has emerged in New York, but he won’t remain confined there. He is a predatory animal. He will overcome our resistance, which was none too high to begin with. It is now substantially worn down. We have seen the future and it is Weiner Spitzer.