No holds barred: Anthony Weiner: The gift that keeps on giving

The American people are far from perfect, but they value the sanctity of marriage.

New York mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner and Huma Abedin, a top aide to Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton (photo credit: REUTERS)
New York mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner and Huma Abedin, a top aide to Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton
(photo credit: REUTERS)
This is the sex election. From Donald Trump’s comments about women to the ghosts of Hillary Clinton’s past, the major issues of immigration, terrorism, the economy and the Supreme Court have receded as lust has come to the fore.
But who would have believed that former congressman Anthony Weiner’s addiction to pornography and sexting would take over the election in its last days.
When Pamela Anderson and I wrote our op-ed in The Wall Street Journal two months back about how the Weiner story should make us all think about how serious pornography addiction has become in the US, we never thought it would play a direct role in choosing the leader of the free world. This is simply mind-boggling.
Weiner is the gift that keeps on giving. He has become the Forrest Gump of politics, popping up everywhere, although mostly in a negative light.
I don’t know Huma Abedin, Weiner’s ex-wife. I’m not a Hillary Clinton supporter. But I watched the documentary Weiner on Showtime and it made me sad for Abedin. The humiliation she experiences on the show is beyond mortifying. Now, to think her entire political career is probably sunk because of her husband’s sexting scandals is just too much. Whatever you think about Abedin, there is little justice in this. I’m sorry for her.
Even more so, I’m sorry for their young son.
I’m also sorry for America.
“You’re fascinated with sex,” Newt Gingrich told Megyn Kelly on her Fox News show last week.
“You know what, Mr. Speaker? I am not fascinated by sex,” she replied.
And so went one of the truly bizarre cable TV exchanges occasioned by the foulest presidential election in modern American politics.
What, pray tell, is wrong with being fascinated by sex? Aren’t we all? But the reason Kelly became so defensive was that under Trump and Clinton, sex has become not something beautiful but something dirty. Not something loving but something tawdry. Not something that draws husbands and wives closer together but something that drives men and women apart.
We all thought that some substantive issues might dominate this election. What no one could have imagined was that groping, allegations of sexual assault, illicit sex and past sexual encounters in the Oval Office would become the dominant themes of this election.
That the selection of the most powerful man or woman on earth and leader of the free world has come to this beggars belief and soils the imagination.
Trump’s comments about women, caught on Access Hollywood cameras, were positively revolting. They were downright cringeworthy. Who talks like that? And to impress Billy Bush? Seriously? You’re one of the richest men in America, your name is plastered on buildings from here to Katmandu, but you’re trying to impress some low-level entertainment correspondent? Those are you bragging buddies? If you and Russian President Vladimir Putin were both out shirtless riding Bengal tigers, then maybe. But Billy Bush in an RV? Come one man. Get a grip. You’re a success. Stop trying so hard, especially at the expense of a woman’s dignity and your own self-respect.
Even if Trump’s comments had not been classified as bragging about sexual assault, they could scarcely have been more demeaning to women. They were rancid, putrid, foul and disturbing.
Bill Clinton’s actions in the oval office were arguably worse. Yes, he’s not on the ballot, and therefore Trump, at this point in time, is obviously more accountable, his comments much more relevant. But Trump bragged about what Clinton essentially did, and did in the most sensitive political space on earth, the very locus of American prestige and power, opening up himself and the United States to the possibility of serious blackmail, not to mention demeaning women as well as the most powerful office on earth. Bill Clinton is not running for office. But Hillary Clinton is, and there are serious allegations against her of smearing her husband’s accusers when really someone needed to get Bill help when he out of control while occupying the most powerful office in the world. Aside from cynically betraying his marriage, he abused his position to gain influence over an intern who was his subordinate.
When it comes to treatment and objectification of women, both Trump and Bill Clinton are obviously unacceptable role models to men. They represent the mindset of those guys who are trained to see women as the means to their own ends, as having been primarily created to satisfy men’s libidinous desires. And they represent a view of sex that is not about intimacy but dominance. Not about equality but subordination. Not about oneness but about selfishness.
No wonder that as a result of this campaign people are running from any accusation of being fascinated by sex.
I am a child of divorce. My parents separated when I was eight and I have spent my life trying to figure out the secret of what makes a man and woman live happy under the same roof for the duration of their lives. I’ve written more than a dozen books on relationships alone.
Don’t discount how important a healthy sex life is in achieving a happy marriage. Sex is the glue that keeps a man and a woman leaning in toward each other, desiring one another, being erotically satisfied and emotionally electrified with each other. If things don’t work well in the bedroom, they won’t work well in the living room.
That’s why this presidential campaign is positively tragic not just for how men treat women, but for the institution of marriage and the sanctity of sex. It’s become positively shameful.
While Trump deserves the presumption of innocence against the army of accusers who have now forward and accused him of groping them, he cannot escape that it is own words that have given credibility to the accusers. Is this the campaign he thought he’d have to run? Trump should have never given those embarrassing interviews to Howard Stern about leering at naked Miss Universe contestants. Seriously? Now you were trying to impress Howard Stern? What gives? At what point, Mr. Trump, do you accept that you’re a hugely successful man and don’t have to live to impress other guys regarding your winning ways with women.
And before this election is out, it’s not too late for you to speak sincerely from the heart and say you regret those nasty words – and mean it.
But with Trump openly bragging about such behavior, it has led credibility to the accusations that forced him to spend the last few weeks of his campaign fending off these attacks.
I’m assuming that Newt Gingrich, whom I respect as a phenomenal friend of Israel and whom our organization honored last year as a champion of the Jewish state, is just as fascinated by sex as Megyn Kelly. I sure hope so.
Those who aren’t fascinated by sex are usually repressed in some way.
But so long as we continue to degrade sex in a culture that openly exploits women as a merely a means to satisfy men’s prurient needs, we will continue to demean sex as something that brings out the beast rather than expresses our humanity.
I kind of feel bad for Bill Clinton. Just when he thought it was safe to go back into the water, now come all these allegations regarding his sordid and inexcusable past.
But perhaps that’s the lesson. You can be the most powerful man on earth. You can have a strong economy on your watch. But if you treat women like crap, it’s going to come back to bite you.
The American people are far from perfect, but they value the sanctity of marriage. They value women. And they’re getting increasingly turned off by men who don’t share their values.
The author, “America’s rabbi,” whom The Washington Post calls “the most famous rabbi in America” is the international best-selling author of 31 books including his most recent, The Israel Warrior’s Handbook. Follow him on Twitter @RabbiShmuley.