Carlos Danger was the youngest candidate in history to be elected to the New York City Council, then won seven campaigns for a congressional seat until a sexting scandal forced him into an early and unwanted retirement. Now he wants your vote for mayor of New York City because he is the candidate of contrition and advocate of middle-class values.
Oh wait, that isn’t Carlos Danger at all. That is the biography of his avatar in the real world, Anthony Weiner. And as the movie “The Matrix” long ago showed, the line between the real world and what is perceived to be the real world may be nothing more than a blur or a wish.
Politics, of course, lives on such divides. While Weiner may be fighting for his political life -- again, Carlos Danger, his nom de electronic plume is doing just fine. Less than a day after Weiner admitted he hadn’t completely dropped his sexting habit despite his frequent protestations that he was off the juice since being forced to resign from Congress, Carlos was near the top of the blogosphere and Twitter jokes were rampant.
At one point, it seemed like more people were tracking Carlos Danger than Weiner. Thankfully for some, the naming of the new royal baby drove both down in the ranks of the searchers.
There were also the other usual signs of electronic popularity. Someone had purchased the domain name. CarlosDanger.com and its sibling, CarlosDanger.org. False name generators were readily available for those seeking to hide their personal habits behind the easily penetrated electronic veil of false names. Prince George Alexander Louis, the future king of England and perhaps the second-most-famous name of the day, was easily transformed into Felipe Violence. Neither of those names seemed to fall into the historical tradition of the House of Windsor.
There was even the first mayoral ad featuring Weiner’s face and Carlos’ voice.
It was only fitting. Unlike other political scandals, this one was broken by two websites, The Dirty and BuzzFeed, acting as canaries for the mainstream media miners who quickly jumped on the story as they had before. Editorials in New York newspapers, which had boosted Weiner’s return to politics by giving him space and legitimacy, on Wednesday called on Weiner to do the right thing and fall on his sword.
But Weiner was standing tough and again played the pity-and-promise card, well known to anyone who has dealt with a recovering addict.
"While some things that have been posted today are true and some are not, there is no question that what I did was wrong," Weiner said at a crowded news conference late Tuesday afternoon. In what seemed to be a summer rerun, Weiner again insisted, “This behavior is behind me."
His wife, Huma Abedin, stood by his side, the latest in a line of women who have found a spot by their wayward men as sexual scandals of all types forced early retirements or pleas for understanding. Indeed, Abedin was following in the footsteps of her mentor, Hillary Rodham Clinton, who twice saved her husband, once on the campaign trail and once when a dalliance with an intern threatened his presidency.
“It took a lot of work, and a whole lot of therapy, to get to a place where I could forgive Anthony,” Abedin said on Tuesday.
“We discussed all of this before Anthony decided he would run for mayor,” she said, “so really what I want to say is, I love him, I have forgiven him, I believe in him.”
She never mentioned Carlos Danger at all.