Anthony Weiner and Larry Summers Make My Head Ache

25 Jul 2013

You really have to ask yourself what it takes to get some of these guys off the stage.  Anthony Weiner disgraced himself, losing his Congressional seat by sexting lewd pictures of his…er, ‘member’ over the Twitter-verse, having phone sex with multiple women and now, rather than hanging his head and keeping quiet, he is not only running for Mayor of New York City, he is winning against his opponents.  Well, he was until it was revealed that his mea culpa to us and to his then-pregnant wife, Huma Abedin, wasn’t worth the time it took to record it.  It looks as though his phone sex and internet antics continued for well over a year after his reluctant confession.  You should pardon the expression, but how many acts does this guy get?

Mark Sanford, another one to humiliate his wife with an affair, has moved from the Governor’s mansion to Congress.  Former New York Governor Elliot (client #9) Spitzer likewise is looking for his second act in what can be called a more humble position as New York’s comptroller.  As pointed out elsewhere, at least this is not so egotistical a leap.  But the disgraced Governor has already had his own TV show and now, à la Mr. Weiner…he’s ba-ack!

The latest debacle is that Larry Summers, former Director of the White House U.S. National Economic Council for President Obama, who has not shown any whiz bang bona fides on the economy, looks to be eclipsing Janet Yellen, Ben Bernanke’s second in command, for the Fed chair position.  Per the Huffington Post:

“Leading Democrats are struggling with the idea that President Barack Obama may actually nominate economist Larry Summers to head the Federal Reserve. If he does, he’d pass over Fed Vice Chair Janet Yellen, who saw the warning signs of the 2008 financial collapse, for Summers, whose deregulatory advocacy as treasury secretary contributed to it.”

Summers pushed for the repeal of Glass-Steagall while on the other hand, Fed Vice Chair Janet Yellen should be the winning ticket:

“She is steady, she’s been right and she hasn’t ignored the real economy and the role of employment,” former Rep. Tom Perriello (D-Va.), now president of the Center for American Progress Action Fund, said Wednesday. “The reputation she has is as someone who has certainly been more interested in the full employment side of the mission than just the anti-inflationary side.” Yellen pushed for transparency at the Fed before it was popular and ate with fellow workers in the cafeteria.

Yellen has long shown her focus on the devastating effects of long-term unemployment.  She also doesn’t seem to live in a rarified air.  Isn’t that someone we want?

Further, Sheila Bair, who was brilliant as head of FDIC and touted by both the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times as giving that organization teeth, has just endorsed Yellen for Fed Chair in Fortune Magazine:

“Unlike Larry Summers, Tim Geithner, and other Bob Rubin-minions frequently mentioned in the financial press as potential Bernanke successors she was not part of the deregulatory cabal that got us into the 2008 financial crisis,” Bair wrote. “In fact, she had a solid record as a bank regulator at the San Francisco Fed and was one of the few in the Fed system to sound the alarm on the risks of subprime mortgages in 2007.”

Sheila Bair knows what it is like to be the best person for the job, yet to lose out.  She was passed over for Treasury Secretary not once, but twice.  First by Timmy “Turbo Tax” Geithner, and then by Washington insider, Jack Lew.  Bair’s endorsement of Yellen is revealing, offering clues as to why she did not get the Treasury position — she was an opponent of “too big to fail.”  Therefore, she couldn’t possibly tell the “cabal” what to do.  At a certain point, one has to wonder why only certain players keep getting cycled and recycled through at the highest levels of power.

What, aside from being part of the Beltway insiders’ club, qualified these men for the job over Bair or Yellen?  This is not about a woman winning out, per se, but if a woman happens to be better for the gig, shouldn’t we be more concerned with who is going to best serve the American people?  Isn’t that what should concern the President?

What qualifies Larry Summers for the job of Fed Chair?  David Dayen of Salon just called Summers not only a known sexist, but an “ignoramus” who could possibly bring down the economy (again) – someone who has “the worst track record in America on regulating banks.”  Mr. Summers has been running his own one man crusade for the job, starting a whisper campaign against Yellen, hinting that she is not “strong enough.”  For what?  Will she have to lift weights?

What he means is she is not part of the Wall Street boys’ club.  Here’s hoping the President does not opt, once again, for testosterone over competence.

Now back to the wiener.  I mean, Mr. Weiner.  That he has not been laughed off the stage with his flippant, off-putting quasi-apologies is disturbing.  While it is not my place to sit in judgment of him (I will); this is about more than someone having an affair.  His behavior, and his internet alias, ‘Carlos Danger,’ bespeaks narcissism, recklessness and emotional immaturity on a level that calls into question his ability to lead, to use sound judgment or to prioritize responsibilities of so important and stressful a job as Mayor of New York City.  This is a city that is a constant target, after all.

Even as a six-term Congressman, a far less taxing gig, there was nothing exemplary about his performance, yet his stress-relief was tweeting pictures of his erect wiener?  What kind of judgment is that?  Our elected leaders need to exhibit some decorum, otherwise don’t we feel ridiculed as well?  You or I could never do our jobs in such a fashion and keep them – much less be hired back in some capacity.

That people are still willing to vote for this man is shocking.  At a certain point, I have to wonder why we allow our minds to be daily polluted with human train wrecks.  The frustration at always choosing the lesser of two evils or being too taxed by the struggles of our own lives to have time to worry about it leads to a kind of frozen apathy.

Perhaps we might also ask ourselves why we still allow double standards and set such a low bar for men and their sexual peccadilloes or governing failures when it is likely a woman would get no such leeway, forgiveness or second chance.  And yeah, that does make my head ache.

The bigger headache is that the American people are likewise being laughed at, flouted and “shined on” by those who clearly do not take our problems seriously, either thinking they know better than the “little people” or that the next circus will distract us from holding them accountable for their actions.

We are not a game show.  We can do better.

*originally published on Epic Times*


Anita Finlay is the author of Dirty Words on Clean Skin, a “shocking, empowering exposé revealing the nasty truth of contemporary misogyny. This book tells it like it is for women aspiring to power.”  — Marcia Pappas, NOW-NYS Pres.

Available in print and Kindle editions on Amazon.  #1 on Women in Politics books for 16 weeks.

Like Anita Finlay, Author on Facebook.

Follow @AnitaFinlay on Twitter.



  1. Isn’t this the same administration that claims its’ opponents are waging a war on women, and actually pays women staffers less than men with comparable jobs ?
    Rock on, Barack.

  2. No argument here. I am happy to see, however, that many Dems are revolting — and insisting that Obama choose Yellen over Summers. They are also telling Weiner to bow out of the race. But that was the whole point of all of us voicing our disapproval, I hope.

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