Anthony Weiner, Now Polling Seven Percent, Yells at a Voter [Updated]

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I will concede I've never personally run for office, but it strikes me that yelling at voters may not be the most effective strategy, at least if your goal is to get them to vote for you.

It continually astounds me (I mean, not all the time, but for the full duration of each of the rare times I think about it) that Anthony Weiner actually chose to run for mayor, let alone that he was at one point leading in that race. He isn't leading now—on Tuesday one poll put him at 7 percent—and this video of him yelling at a guy who criticized him isn't going to help:


Unless "It takes one to know one, jackass," is his campaign slogan, and he was just yelling his campaign slogan.

No, turns out he wasn't. Weiner was on his way out of a Brooklyn bakery when the man yelled, "You're a real scumbag." Weiner's initial response was angry but not loud, but the man then followed up with "Married to an Arab."

He, like Weiner, is Jewish, and later said he felt that it was a "betrayal" for a Jew to marry an Arab. To be fair to Weiner, that comment was not only uncalled for but (I think) also factually wrong; Weiner's wife, Huma Abedin, was born in Michigan and her parents are from India and Pakistan (though of course there are Arabs in those countries just like there are here). She grew up in Saudi Arabia, speaks Arabic, and is a practicing Muslim—none of which are the same as being an "Arab." [See update II below.] More importantly, of course, none of that means that she wants to "kill every Jew," which this guy said he believes Arabs "generally" want to do. (She may very well have wanted to kill the one she's married to, but that's different.)

That nonsense may be what set Weiner off, but it is pretty clear from the video that the rest of the exchange was about Weiner himself and his unpleasant sexting behavior. (Weirdly, the heckler also criticized Weiner for betraying his wife, who supposedly wants to kill them both?) So Weiner is probably not going to be able to portray this as only a defense of his wife, which would have been fine. For most of the exchange, he is yelling about how the other guy "doesn't have the right to judge" him. Um, what? "That's why we have elections," Weiner said repeatedly.

Right. In which thousands if not millions of people judge the person running for office.

On the other hand, Eliot Spitzer is leading the race for whatever he's running for, so maybe that's not what elections are about.

Update I: Or maybe it is, because Spitzer lost.

Update II: A reader correctly points out that, depending on how the term is being used, someone might be considered an "Arab" if they speak Arabic, since "Arab" can be a cultural as well as a racial or ethnic term. The real issue with the heckler's statement, of course, is that whether she's an "Arab" by whatever definition is irrelevant, but I thought this was worth clarifying.

Update IIb: Weiner also lost.