New York mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner is surrounded by opposing candidate signs. (AP Photo/Richard Dew)
Maybe Anthony Weiner really has quit his online sexual dalliances, however he defines or counts them, but he clearly hasn’t quit his more maddening tendency toward truthiness: he slides out of questions, twists meanings, plays the victim and otherwise pretends we’re all still hung up over his personal behavior, when it’s actually his public dishonesty that’s grossing people out.
Only weeks ago, Weiner had been polling in first- or second-place in the New York City mayoral race—proof that voters had gotten over the penis-pics scandal and even his cascade of lies about it. We believed, as he misled us to, that his sext life was “behind” him, that it had ended when he resigned from Congress, on June 16, 2011.
Oh, some old tweets might surface, he said, but the implication was that they were pre-resignation leftovers. But then, of course, “Carlos Danger” walked on stage, and we learned that Weiner had continued sexting for more a year after he left Congress, with Sydney Leathers, 23, and at least two other women. He’s sunk to fourth place and to asking for a third chance.
But despite the occasional out-of-control heckler, Weiner has been putting on some magnificent performances lately—throwing smoke bombs over the telltale timeline, wearing down interrogators and starting to look, almost, believable.
In an interview with WNBC’s Andrew Siff on Friday, Weiner seemed to be in such authentic pain that even I, wary of the victim shtick, started to feel sorry for him. But he lost me as he refused, yet again, to admit the obvious:
Siff: You don’t think that when you say, “I’ve been as honest with you as I possibly could be” that you weren’t as honest as you could have been when didn’t disclose the timeline—
Weiner: You may have wanted, you may have wanted me to say on this specific date I wrote this specific embarrassing thing—
Siff: Not a specific date, just that it continued beyond your resignation—
Weiner: You may have wanted me to say that, OK? What I did say was this has been going on for some time, that it’s behind me, and I’m moving forward.