Deep thinking New Yorkers are pondering the deep question: do they want to have an aspiring porn star as their next mayor? And do they want as their next first lady a daughter of the Muslim Sisterhood?
Left thinking intellectuals and liberal media outlets want Anthony Weiner to exit the mayoralty race … yesterday. Some right thinking people are making the same recommendation, but they are not thinking very clearly.
As I suggested on Wednesday, this is not about Anthony Weiner and Huma Abedin. It’s about Bill and Hillary Clinton.
At a time when Hillary Clinton was on a glide path to the White House, when it looked as though nothing could stop her, along comes Bill Clinton’s protégé, Anthony Weiner, and his wife, Hillary Clinton aide and confidant, Huma Abedin to remind everyone of what they did not like about the Clintons.
This time the Clintons cannot pin it on Ken Starr.
Huma Abedin has been doing her best Hillary Clinton impersonation, standing by her man and all that, but the more she does it the more people start thinking that her marriage is an arrangement. Then they start questioning its role model, the Clinton marriage.
Yesterday, reliably left thinking columnist Michael Tomasky explained that the Weiner situation has nothing whatever in common with the Clinton situation.
This means that Hillary’s supporters are worried that the stench from Weiner-Abedin has been impacting her own ambitions negatively.
To which Peter Beinart, no right winger he, responded this morning by extending an observation that I made in my last post. If Weiner’s scandals are not the same as Bill Clinton’s that is because they are not nearly as bad.
Beinart compares the press reaction to the Clinton scandals with the press reaction to the Weiner scandals:
consider the Times’s treatment of candidate Bill Clinton. In late January 1992, in a press conference in New York, Gennifer Flowers claimed that she had been Clinton’s lover for 12 years. She released audiotapes in which Clinton apparently encouraged her to lie about the affair and urged her to file an affidavit alleging that Republicans were behind the story. She also said Clinton had helped her get a job in state government. Appearing with Hillary on 60 Minutes, Clinton responded by saying that Flowers was motivated by “money” and that her “allegation is false,” while acknowledging that he “had caused pain in my marriage.” That summer, The Washington Post’s Michael Isikoff reported that the Clinton campaign had paid a private investigator to head off what one staffer called “bimbo eruptions” but failed to disclose the payment in its filing to the Federal Elections Commission.
The Times’s response? Not only did the paper not demand that Clinton leave the race, but barely two months after Flowers’ press conference, it endorsed him for the Democratic nomination. After briefly reviewing the Clinton scandals, The Times declared that “some of these episodes have been unfair or exaggerated. Together they leave enduring doubts. But what’s been obscured in all the commotion is a record of accomplishment that gives credibility to the cogent [policy] program [Clinton] proposes.”
By any reasonable standard, Weiner’s behavior is less damning than Clinton’s. Yes, Weiner committed adultery (of a kind). Yes, he repeatedly lied about it. Yes, he humiliated his wife in an effort to save his candidacy. Clinton did all that, too. What Weiner, in contrast to Clinton, has not done—as far as we know—is use his office to reward his paramours. He has not publicly besmirched their character. He has not asked them to violate the law. And he has not violated campaign disclosure laws in his effort to keep them silent. According to legal experts, he has also not committed sexual harassment.
Why the double standard?
Beinart suggests, reasonably, that the Weiner scandal offers us visual evidence that is available to the world. This makes deniability that much more difficult. We are no longer in the world of he said/she said.
But it is also true that in both cases the leftist press is doing its job: promoting a Clinton candidacy.
The longer Weiner stays in the race, the more people start asking questions. As a commenter on this site asked, what is the nature of the Weiner marriage? It seems clearly to be an arrangement.
The more we hear from Weiner paramour Sydney Leathers the more we start thinking that Anthony and Huma had, at best, a very unconventional marriage.
Public perception aside, the real crux of this issue, as I suggested on Wednesday, is the relationship between Hillary Clinton and Huma Abedin.
The New York Post reported this morning that important Democrats have been contributing to the Weiner campaign because they want to be on good terms with a woman who can provide access to the next president.
Whether Huma Abedin is considered to be one of Hillary’s closest aides, an “adoptive daughter” or something more, there is something about that relationship that does not work to Hillary’s advantage.
Here, the issue is not just personal. It involves government policy.
Everyone knows that Huma Abedin’s family has long and deep ties to the Muslim Brotherhood. Andrew McCarthy has documented them extensively. It is less well known that when Abedin was working in the State Department with Hillary Clinton, American foreign policy took a radical turn toward the Brotherhood.
McCarthy describes what was happening:
… during that time, the State Department strongly supported abandoning the federal government’s prior policy against official dealings with the Muslim Brotherhood. State, furthermore, embraced a number of Muslim Brotherhood positions that undermine both American constitutional rights and our alliance with Israel. To name just a few manifestations of this policy sea change:
- The State Department had an emissary in Egypt who trained operatives of the Brotherhood and other Islamist organizations in democracy procedures.
- The State Department announced that the Obama administration would be “satisfied” with the election of a Muslim Brotherhood–dominated government in Egypt.
- Secretary Clinton personally intervened to reverse a Bush-administration ruling that barred Tariq Ramadan, grandson of the Brotherhood’s founder and son of one of its most influential early leaders, from entering the United States.
- The State Department collaborated with the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, a bloc of governments heavily influenced by the Brotherhood, in seeking to restrict American free-speech rights in deference to sharia proscriptions against negative criticism of Islam.
- The State Department excluded Israel, the world’s leading target of terrorism, from its “Global Counterterrorism Forum,” a group that brings the United States together with several Islamist governments, prominently including its co-chair, Turkey — which now finances Hamas and avidly supports the flotillas that seek to break Israel’s blockade of Hamas. At the forum’s kickoff, Secretary Clinton decried various terrorist attacks and groups; but she did not mention Hamas or attacks against Israel — in transparent deference to the Islamist governments, which echo the Brotherhood’s position that Hamas is not a terrorist organization and that attacks against Israel are not terrorism.
- The State Department and the Obama administration waived congressional restrictions in order to transfer $1.5 billion dollars in aid to Egypt after the Muslim Brotherhood’s victory in the parliamentary elections.
- The State Department and the Obama administration waived congressional restrictions in order to transfer millions of dollars in aid to the Palestinian territories notwithstanding that Gaza is ruled by the terrorist organization Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood’s Palestinian branch.
- The State Department and the administration hosted a contingent from Egypt’s newly elected parliament that included not only Muslim Brotherhood members but a member of the Islamic Group (Gamaa al-Islamiyya), which is formally designated as a foreign terrorist organization. The State Department refused to provide Americans with information about the process by which it issued a visa to a member of a designated terrorist organization, about how the members of the Egyptian delegation were selected, or about what security procedures were followed before the delegation was allowed to enter our country.
- On a trip to Egypt, Secretary Clinton pressured General Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, head of the military junta then governing the country, to surrender power to the parliament dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood, and the then–newly elected president, Mohamed Morsi, a top Brotherhood official. She also visited with Morsi; immediately after his victory, Morsi had proclaimed that his top priorities included pressuring the United States to release the Blind Sheikh. Quite apart from the Brotherhood’s self-proclaimed “grand jihad” to destroy the United States . . . the group’s supreme guide, Mohammed Badie, publicly called for jihad against the United States in an October 2010 speech. After it became clear the Brotherhood would win the parliamentary election, Badie said the victory was a stepping stone to “the establishment of a just Islamic caliphate.”
The question is not why Huma Abedin stands by her man. She is using a technique developed by Hillary Clinton to use her husband to advance her own political agenda.
The real question is Hillary Clinton's conduct of American foreign policy when she was Secretary of State. The more the nation is transfixed by the Weiner scandal the more it risks bringing up the Hillary-Huma relationship, not for what it may or may not have been in the boudoir, but for how it influenced American foreign policy toward the Muslim Brotherhood.