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October 31, 2016 10:45 am

Anthony Weiner: The Gift That Keeps on Giving

avatar by Shmuley Boteach

The front page of the New York Post, which reported on the latest sexting by the disgraced Jewish former congressman Anthony Weiner. Photo: Twitter screenshot.

The front page of the New York Post, during the most recent sexting scandal by former congressman Anthony Weiner. Photo: Twitter screenshot.

This is the sex election. From Trump’s comments about women, to the ghosts of Clinton’s past, the major issues of immigration, terrorism, the economy and the Supreme Court have receded to the background as lust has come to the fore.

But who would have believed that Anthony Weiner’s addiction to porn 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 ago about how the Weiner story should make us all think about how serious a problem porn 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 — almost always in a negative light.

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I don’t know Huma Abedin. I’m not a Hillary Clinton supporter. But I watched the documentary “Weiner” on Showtime and it made me sad for his wife. 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 Huma, 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 charged at Megyn Kelly on her Fox News show last week. “You know what, Mr. Speaker? I am not fascinated by sex.”

And so went one of the truly bizarre cable TV exchanges occasioned by the most foul presidential election in modern American politics.

What, pray tell, is wrong with being fascinated by sex? Aren’t we all? But the reason that Kelly became so defensive at the accusation hurled by Gingrich was that due to Trump and Clinton, sex has become not something beautiful but dirty. Not something loving but tawdry. Not something that draws husbands and wives closer together, but something that drives men and women apart.

We all thought that at least some substantive issues might have mattered in 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 the Access Hollywood cameras, were positively revolting. They were disgusting in a way that was cringe-worthy. 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 Putin were both out shirtless riding Bengal tigers, then maybe. But Billy Bush in an RV?

Come on. 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, and his comments are much more relevant. But Trump bragged about what Clinton is alleged to have done. And Clinton had an illicit affair in the most sensitive political space on planet earth — the very locus of American prestige and power — opening up himself and the United States to the possibility of serious blackmail. Bill Clinton is not running for office. But Hillary Clinton is, and there are serious allegations about her smearing her husband’s accusers. Aside from cynically betraying his marriage, Bill Clinton 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 men who are trained to see women as the means to their own ends, as women 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 selfishness.

No wonder, then, that as a result of this campaign, people are running from the idea that they are fascinated by sex.

Normally that would be a compliment.

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 happily 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.

Although Trump deserves the presumption of innocence against the army of accusers who have now come forward and accused him of groping them, he cannot escape that his own words 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 contestants of Miss Universe.

What gives?

At what point, Mr. Trump, do you accept that you’re a huuuugely successful man and you don’t have to live to impress other guys about your winning ways with women.

And before this election is over, it’s not too late for him to speak sincerely from the heart and say he regrets those nasty words — and to mean it.

I’m assuming that Newt Gingrich, whom I respect as a phenomenal friend of Israel’s, 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. And I wrote Kosher Sex in 1998 to celebrate sexuality as something holy and hot.

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 of his sordid and inexcusable past sexual sins.

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 garbage, 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.

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, “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.

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