When Huma Abedin, “the most cosmopolitan human being on earth,” hit rock-bottom in her marriage to Anthony Weiner, at least she did so glamorously. According to this week’s issue of People magazine (on newsstands tomorrow, although the Post seems to have an early copy), things really went to hell in the Hamptons:
The worst moments included a Hamptons vacation 12 months ago when she suffered from painful isolation that put even more stress on their marriage.
“All the parties they had once been invited to, Huma was now invited but Anthony wasn’t,” a family member said. “It was a difficult time.”
If you’re sick of the slow drip of gossip and speculation about Abedin, you’re hardly alone. Chastising bloggers and opinion columnists, The New Republic’s Isaac Chotiner writes that voters rely on a candidate’s marriage, a social unit we’re familiar with, as proxy for his values and integrity, which get obscured by all the rhetorically empty, samey politician speak. He throws Abedin on the pile of Good Wives alongside Silda Wall Spitzer and Hillary Clinton. “The truth is that we know almost nothing about these women or the decisions they’ve made in their marriages,” he writes. “And the fact that we even pretend to understand them exposes an ugly fallacy at the heart of the political process.”
But we don’t really have to pretend to know things about Huma Abedin. She’s been playing ball with the press since day one of her husband’s comeback campaign (not just appearing but speaking in the People baby-photo reveal, The New York Times Magazine profile, the New York magazine profile, and the Carlos Danger press conference), and she continues to.
Unnamed Abedin relatives are quoted in People this week, as is Rory Tahari, ex-wife of designer Elie, who was on the hosting committee for a Women for Anthony (Weiner) cocktail fund-raiser.
“It would have been perfectly logical if she had said, ‘I’m out of here,’” a friend, Rory Tahari, told the magazine. “Any woman could have understood that.”
“Huma has a very strong moral character, and she made a commitment for better or worse,” she said. “She never wanted Jordan to say to her, ‘Why didn’t you do everything you could to help Dad?’”
Tahari’s quotes don’t necessarily mean Abedin planted the story or authorized her relatives and friends to participate, but People does have journalistic standards that prevent them from the kind of wild speculation and source-fudging you can get from, say, "Page Six" or Us. This semi-credible narrative of the Abedin-Weiner marriage is no less sexist or condescending than Chotiner believes our speculation is. In fact, it’s worse. According to the Post, People will report that Abedin considered leaving Weiner many times, but ultimately blames herself for his sexting relapse. By focusing on their newborn son instead of their couples' counseling, she believes she drove him into the virtual arms of Sydney Leathers. (Who is now, by the way, a self-appointed leather model.)
If anything's tiresome here, it’s Weiner’s increasingly farcical campaign. Abedin might be left alone if the campaign were put out of its misery, and it’s safe to say that a major reason it hasn’t been already is that, in addition to being his wife, Abedin served as Weiner’s fund-raising "architect." She also happens to be the transition office chief of the likely future president of the United States. Our interest isn’t so much, as Chotiner writes, in the “values” of marriage, as in its social capital. Getting married to another rising star in your field, as Abedin and Weiner did, is like doubling down on a bet. When it works out, the romantic and professional successes compound. When it doesn’t, your marriage is no longer off the table.