Today there is an NRO piece by Kay Hymowitz about the regard many have for Huma Abedin. A few bits:
Huma has won the hearts of many in the commentariat, not least Tina Brown, who tweeted Wednesday: “I say Huma for mayor. She has all the qualities he doesn’t.” ….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. …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. …They spoke of her “dignity” (Slate).
But given that we now know that Huma knew of Weiner’s lack of reformation, her continuing to aggressively push his candidacy (see the WP story I link to below) means that actually, as Hymowitz says, …Huma shares many of her husband’s qualities. But here’s the thing: She looks awesome at a press conference.
And make no mistake, those looks matter. They have for her from the beginning:
Wikipedia says Huma became an intern for Hillary in 1996, when 20 years old, and that she attended George Washington University. Some have tried to tie her parents to the Muslim Brotherhood, given time with Saudi educational institutions, but I’m more interested in the fact that both her parents (an Indian Muslim and a Pakistani one) eventually rec’d doctorates from the University of Pennsylvania, and that her notice by Hillary, surely had more than a bit to do with her background, one not only “minority,” but minority in an unusual-in-America way, and in a way that might aide future foreign policy needs. To my mind, the advantages within higher-ed and Democrat Party circles that such parents and such “diversity-embodiment” gave her, to say nothing of our undeniable need for public servants who know Arabic, is the only Islam-related thing to focus on.
(Sure, if someone finds solid evidence of a MB conspiracy, that will become the big story—but until then, I say it seems highly unlikely, and smacks of broad-brush anti-Muslim assumptions.)
I’m not sure what she majored in, but it seems that no teacher ever forced her to confront the lessons that real political philosophy teaches about the potential curse of beauty and talent and good birth, such as you get in Plato’s Republic, book VI. Here’s Socrates, discussing with Adeimantus the temptations faced by the young men suited for philosophic education:
“Now consider how many great sources of ruin there are for these few. What is most surprising to hear is that each one of the elements that we praised in that nature has a part in destroying the soul that has them and tearing it away from philosophy. I mean courage, moderation, and everything we went through.”
“Yes, he [Adeimantus] said, “that is strange to hear.”
“And what’s more,” I said, “besides these, all the things said to be goods corrupt it and tear it away—beauty, wealth, strength of body, relatives who are powerful in a city, and everything akin to these…”
“…won’t such a one be first among all in everything, straight from the beginning, especially if his body naturally matches his soul?”
“Of course he will,” he said.
“Then I suppose kinsmen and fellow citizens will surely want to make use of him, when he is older, for their own affairs. They will, therefore, lie at his feet begging and honoring him, taking possession of and flattering beforehand the power that is going to be his.”
“At least,” he said, “that’s what usually happens.”
“What do you suppose,” I said, “such a young man will do in such circumstances, especially if he chances to be from a big city, and is, further, good looking and tall? Won’t he be overflowing with unbounded hope, believing he will be competent to mind the business of both Greeks and barbarians, and won’t he, as a result, exalt himself to the heights, mindlessly full of pretensions and empty conceit?”
The Republic, from 491b-494d
What Plato is describing goes far beyond unsuitability for philosophy, at least as we understand the word. What he is describing is a good soul’s CORRUPTION, and it’s link to the corruption of the city, especially the democratic city. Words to ponder as we read this Washington Post story (HT, Powerline):
One friend said Abedin has known since last fall that her husband had not given up his habit of lewd behavior with women on the Web. Nevertheless, Abedin, a top aide to Hillary Rodham Clinton, has continued to aggressively work Clinton’s circle — to the annoyance of some — seeking support and financial contributions for Weiner’s mayoral bid.
“People like Huma, but they saw her trading on the Hillary card and resented it. But that didn’t mean they didn’t show up” for Weiner, said a Clinton intimate, one of several who spoke on the condition of anonymity. “The chatter was, if you wanted to stay in Hillary’s good graces, you answer the call from Huma.”
Isn’t that… …well, it sure is anything but beautiful. Abedin was prepared to facilitate the disgrace of her husband becoming mayor of New York City, which involved discouraging the spine of Democrats who questioned his fitness for office, even while knowing of his continued sex-texting sickness. For the sake, we can only assume, of her further ambitions.
An old, old story, but still, thoughtful Democrats must consider whether the public humiliation and inner ruination of this once-promising woman says anything about their party, and about the role and example that the Clintons, and their own refusal to discipline the Clintons, played in it. I do not think Abedin deserves Weiner for a husband, nor that Clinton deserves this sordid repetition in her protege’s life of her own story, however tempting the symmetry of such moral judgments. However, I will say that Silent Democrats deserve all three of them for leaders.
As for Huma Abedin’s future, she may still have stylistic grace, powerful people who “like” her, and the rest of it, but if there remains any part of her prepared to fight against the moral sickness her so-called friends and mentors have led her into, my best guess is that she should a) try to convince Weiner to withdraw, b) apologize to the Democratic Party and the people of New York, c) initiate separation proceedings against Weiner, d) cut off all contact with Clinton and her surrogates, and e) get away from the DC-NYC Corridor back to relatives in India, Pakistan, or Michigan, to think, perhaps to pray, and to begin again. I won’t presume to offer religious advice (including on divorce questions), since I’m Christian and she’s Muslim, but I will recommend what I would to any promising beautiful young person attracted to politics–that she read Plato.
UPDATE: My bad, I forgot some of the stuff I had read over the years about Abedin’s parents’ close connections to various MB-linked figures and organizations, and her own involvement with the MSA (Muslim Student Association). Andrew McCarthy has the information at NRO. Much depends on how we should judge the JEMA organization. I likewise don’t think various evidences of our State Dept’s pro-MB tilt under Hillary shows you that it’s due to Huma’s influence, and of course there’s no evidence of any direct MB effort, but all in all, much seems fishy, most of all Abedin’s marriage to a liberal Jew. So maybe its less Plato that will help us understand her than it is Qutb.