In the face of new sexting scandals from New York mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner, AKA Carlos Danger, Weiner’s wife Huma Abedin has chosen a "stand by your man" approach that she and her husband have likened to the Clintons. The Clintons are reportedly angered by the comparison, prompting the newest media debate: Are the comparisons apt or unfair?
While, the basic premise seems uncannily similar, there is a large disparity of narratives when it comes to the role of the political husband. The comparisons are unfair, because of the larger context of what Clinton was doing in the 90s versus what Weiner is doing now. One was a sitting president. The other is a political has-been.
There is a legacy to be had from the Clinton administration when it comes to sexual scandals. Today’s it’s hard to watch political television, fictional and not, without juicy storytelling. Shows today, such ABC’s Scandal and Netflix’s House of Cards easily capitalize on extra-marital affairs and portray them as commonplace in politics. Naturally, real-life scandals are going to be linked to the Clinton presidency and the Monica Lewinsky affair.
Weiner and Abedin aren’t even close to being in the position that the Clintons were in. Bill Clinton was the sitting president at the time, and thus what Hillary did would dictate the confidence of the American people in the capability of that administration. If she was standing by her man then, she was also standing by the Executive Branch of the United States as well. Abedin standing by Weiner is akin to standing by a train wreck (and endorsing it).
Weiner, who doesn’t have a particularly interesting or invigorating congressional career, is now struggling to save his image in an election for a mayoral race. Whether you look at his policy record, or his character, there’s a lack of substance all around. Bill Clinton had, until the affair, a credible presidency with a strong American economy. This isn’t to forget that Bill had an accusation of an affair with Gennifer Flowers during the election. Still, he had a star status in the Democratic Party, and wasn’t plagued with the technological obsession that Weiner keeps repeating.
At this point, Abedin should jump off the Weiner bandwagon like many pundits and voters have and advocated. However, she probably won’t. Worse, it sounds like she’s trying to save the campaign by proliferating the Clinton comparison and assuming that Weiner might still be popular like the former president. Meanwhile, Bob Schieffer has stated that this strategy was, "doing Hillary Clinton no favors whatsoever if Hillary Clinton is planning to run for president."
What Abedin should do instead is actually draw comparison with Hillary and very much be her own woman and political figure. The shortcomings of her husband are only going to drag her down more. They aren’t the Clintons, and that’s bad for Weiner.