July 25 2013
Huma Abedin, Rorschach Test
Democrats and the glitterati—of which there is an overlap—have fallen in love with Huma Abedin.
Whereas Jenny Sanford was laurelled by the press for not standing by her (Republican) husband, Ms. Abedin is being lauded for standing by her (Democratic) husbands. Go figger.
What is the sub-text (as opposed to the sextext) of the outburst of adoration for Ms. Abedin, now being touted in a tweet by fabled editrix Tina Brown as a possible mayor of the Big Apple?
Just FYI: I thought Ms. Abedin’s performance at her husband’s press conference revealed nothing so much as raw ambition. She may or may not have helped her ludicrous spouse, but she served herself well.
Some of the outpouring of sympathy for Abedin is understandable, as Kay Hymowitz notes, because it stems from compassion for a wronged wife. But Huma worship--as National Review headlines Hymowitz's piece--goes way beyond that. Hymowitz writes:
[Huma] brings exotic beauty and a hint of Oxbridge intelligence — and of course cosmopolitan liberalism — to a town full of heartland men in ill-fitting brown suits and southern women in fire-engine-red blazers. Even during this Hell Week, Huma has managed to project such an unusual combination of elegance, composure, and vulnerability à la Jackie that it was tempting to take her laughable plea for privacy at face value.
And so many influential fans found reasons to applaud what they would have scorned in a woman with different politics and hair. “I think she was brave,” MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski tweeted. “Brave and completely committed to him,” her colleague Andrea Mitchell agreed. They spoke of her “dignity” (Slate). They convinced themselves they heard “eloquence” and “truly amazing” “persuasive[ness] (Chris Hayes) in the therapeutic language that has become boilerplate in these circumstances. (“Our marriage has its ups and downs.” “I made the decision it was worth staying with my marriage.” “We are moving forward.”)
Clearly Huma’s Camelot glamour had gotten the better of them. I have no idea what lies deep in the heart of Ms. Abedin. Perhaps she truly loves her husband. Perhaps she really believes he has successfully wrestled his demons. Perhaps — though this seems absurd on the face of it — she is genuinely “proud to be married to him.”
Hymowitz observes that a woman of substance would have behaved differently:
But I do know a woman of substance would have sat her husband down and said: “Look, honey. Give it a rest. Work in an orphanage for a while. Or maybe take a job on an oil rig. Read some philosophy — or the Bible. Look within. You’re not ready for primetime.” Instead, Huma encouraged him. He wanted to be mayor so he should be mayor. Never mind a public already cynical about politics who would find in the not-yet-released sexts even more sustenance for their dark frame of mind. Never mind the likelihood that in the future her beloved, assuming he is genuinely sext-free at the moment, would lapse into his old ways — surely the protégé of Hillary Clinton should wonder about that — and would once again drag the public through the sewage of his private fantasies. What was the civic good compared with Anthony Weiner’s ambitions?
If you believe in propriety and like ambition but want it to be tempered by decency, you probably don’t worship Huma. If, on the other hand, you care intensely about being au courant, you probably love her.
Huma Abedin is a Rorschach test.
This Just In: Andrew McCarthy has a must-read piece on Ms. Abedin's history and connections. Rather chilling.