The Windsors and the Weiners
Early prime-time viewers still suffering from Downton Withdrawal Syndrome were this week treated to two unfolding dynastic reality specials. First was the long-awaited birth of an heir of the House of Windsor, His Royal Highness Prince George of Cambridge -- third in line for the British throne. The next day came a jolt to the foundations of the House of Weiner-Abedin, cadet branch of the House of Clinton. Both dramas unfolded in the style these dynasties have lately accustomed us to expect -- charming and classy on the one hand and repulsive on the other.
Now, longtime Windsor viewers will be aware that the show has featured its own share of low drama in the past. Grumpy Princess Anne contributed a messy divorce and embarrassing police calls, while the loopy architectural critic cum environmental Cassandra, Charles, Prince of Wales, provided bizarre wanderings of both the marital and half-baked philosophical variety. These were, all eclipsed, of course, by the stunning rise and fall of the so-called People's Princess, a tragic hyper-celebrity who, though demonstrably sinned against, just did not understand that the job she had signed on for involved more than dressing well and providing grist for the world's tabloids.
In recent times, the Windsor storyline has taken a much more positive turn. One princely peccadillo stayed behind in Vegas, decisively upstaged by honorable military service, a glorious royal wedding, and the Queen's Jubilee. Right now Elizabeth II is nearly twice as popular in her own country as Barack Obama is here.
By comparison, the House of Weiner-Abedin is a mess. Without the ups and downs of the Windsor saga, its story has been a uniformly dark one, rife with villainy, lies, and warped, calculating characters in service to sinister forces both within and without. In the ultimate perversity, Weiner relentlessly postures as the Tribune of the Middle Class while, even after his resignation in disgrace, furtively engaging in decidedly non-bourgeois antics with young, insecure women -- treating them to views of his privates, while promising at least one a job in the compliant media and an apartment. By comparison, the behavior of the Windsors is wholesomely Victorian; the brothers all seem valiant, and the sisters virtuous.
Weiner himself is not much of a dramatic character; in fact, he is a pathetic, one-dimensional bore, the quintessential schmuck. He spent his youth in what must have been truly soul-deadening service to the odious Charles Schumer -- service in which he honed his only discernible skill: as one of the most annoying, self-promoting nudges on the New York and national political scenes. His wife, Huma, however, offers some real dramatic ambiguities. Is she, as the tame liberal media insists, a stalwart wife, standing by a manipulative jerk whom she loves to distraction, though he abuses her trust?
Wicked wit and gifts, that have the power
"So to seduce!--won to his shameful lust
"The will of [that] most seeming-virtuous queen[.]
On the other hand, Huma can also be cast as the dominant partner, taking canny advantage of a flawed politician's weaknesses. This would make her a worthy student of her mentor, Hillary Clinton, herself adept at exploiting every "Bimbo Eruption." In this Huma may actually surpass the former secretary of state, who called Huma a virtual second daughter, by turning her purported victimhood not merely to personal political advantage, but to installing herself as an apologist for radical Islam at the pinnacle of national power. If Huma's support helps Weiner become mayor of New York, is it unrealistic to expect to see some negative impact upon New York City law enforcement's primacy in embracing energetic vigilance as the best way to confront terrorism? Who laughs last if Weiner actually makes it to Gracie Mansion?
The House of Windsor has emerged from some very bad times with its dignity restored and its connection to the British people strengthened. The queen has managed against great odds to hold firm to those essential standards that she, her father, and her grandfather understood needed to be preserved if the monarchy was to survive in a form useful to the nation, while at the same time embracing healthy adaptions by younger royals who apparently can be trusted to get the balance right. Meanwhile, the House of Weiner-Abedin personifies everything that is wrong here in its mendacity, presumption, and shamelessness.
Of the two houses, it is the House of Weiner-Abedin that emerges as the parasite, promising nothing but division and a relentless compulsion to control, taking everything that can be taken, including the capacity to produce any more.
Anybody who has ever spent time with the older denizens of Arthur Avenue will recognize that the most honesty Anthony Weiner could offer New Yorkers is that iconic picture of his crotch, with his real two-word platform: "Vote this!"