One week into Round Two of the Anthony Weiner embarrassment, mainstream media figures are reminding us that to them, the single most important fact about former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is that her husband cheated on her. No matter that she’s been the two-term senator from New York and a presidential candidate who won 18 million votes, along with serving a term as Barack Obama’s secretary of state. She will always first and foremost be the wronged wife (who might have been to blame for her husband’s transgressions since she didn’t divorce him).
From Maureen Dowd to Jennifer Rubin to the increasingly unhinged Sally Quinn (and even the normally excellent Maggie Haberman), far too much Weiner coverage is being framed as all about the Clintons. Now, let me be fair: These writers aren’t inventing a connection. Weiner’s wife, Huma Abedin, has worked for Clinton for years and continues to, running her small transition office. So they’re not just casual friends or colleagues. Bill Clinton even presided over the couple’s wedding, which in hindsight was probably not the best omen for a drama-free romantic partnership.
But the extent to which the Weiner scandal is given national political importance because of Abedin’s relationship with Clinton is stunning. “Now, defining deviancy downward, Señor and Señora Danger are using the Clinton playbook,” Dowd wrote, calling Weiner “the ‘Rosemary’s Baby’ of the Clintons.” A Clinton friend reportedly predicted to the New York Times columnist, “The hard stink of this one is going to get on everyone involved.”