The last couple of weeks have certainly been big in the news business. The Boston Marathon bombing on Patriot's Day shocked us all and broke our hearts. The manhunt that followed along with the live coverage of the capture of the second suspect had us all glued to our televisions, radios and computers. Intertwined with the breaking news from Boston was the story of Paul Kevin Curtis, an Elvis Impersonator accused of mailing President Barack Obama and two other public officials letters laced with Ricin.
We've all heard the expression "truth is stranger than fiction." Well, in an even stranger turn of events, the jailed Elvis Impersonator was released by authorities for lack of evidence. It looks as if his claims of having been framed are in fact true. Just when I thought things couldn't get any stranger, I read that disgraced Congressman Anthony Weiner launched a new Twitter account. Apparently, all the humiliation Weiner brought on himself and his wife Huma, not to mention the puns on his last name, were not enough to permanently scare him off from life in the political spotlight.
I am far from naïve. I realize that Americans are very forgiving of the sexual indiscretions of male politicians. Somehow these prodigal sons always seem to work their way back into the trust of the American public.
These days this "trust" seems to be measured in "likes" on Facebook, photos uploaded to Instagram and of course numbers of followers on Twitter. Gone it seems are the days when politicians had strength of conviction. Leaders like Teddy Roosevelt, Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan used the force of their character and aggressive executive action to steward their constituents and create credibility.
Weiner takes it one step beyond even the politicians known for changing their positions based on polling. In a recent New York Times Magazine interview, Weiner places blame for his personal transgressions on the political pressure to be liked and the very social media platform that allowed him to post photos of himself any time day or night. It was an eye-rolling moment and I couldn't help but think of Governor Chris Christie who doesn't seem to worry at all what anyone thinks of him.
While contemplating a run for Mayor of New York City, Weiner has reportedly spent about one hundred thousand dollars of his remaining congressional funding on polls to test the waters for his mayoral run. By all accounts, it will be a competitive field and a tight race. Weiner isn't sharing the results of his research -- whether the voting public feels he is ready to act as a steward of the people. But for now, he is re-emerging as a trending topic and perhaps that alone will be enough for his hungry ego.