Can Huma save Anthony Weiner? Why Huma "stands by her man." What is Huma thinking? These and other pseudo questions top our political news these days.
One appreciates the enormous entertainment value of the repetitiously lewd former Rep. Anthony Weiner, as of this writing still a candidate for New York City mayor. But this obsession also reflects a political culture that turned our politicians' nephews, daughters, sons and wives into mini royals.
The conversation demotes the important consideration of whether these soap opera figures can serve the little people, the voters. Why Huma Abedin stays with her beyond-strange husband should be of no consequence to New Yorkers, except perhaps for the 0.001 percent of them who care about sexual propriety in others.
If the electorate concludes from his antics that Weiner is out of his mind and therefore unfit to run Gotham, that's another matter. How Huma is taking it all is her concern.
The parallel between the hyperventilating coverage of Britain's royal birth — third in line, third in line — and the forced celebration of our elected officials' relatives is disturbing.
Liz Cheney, daughter of Dick and product of the Washington suburbs, recently established primary residency in her father's home state of Wyoming to challenge incumbent Sen. Michael Enzi for the Republican nomination. Liz's entree to politics, chiefly as a talking head on TV, comes from her close kinship to the former vice president. Her agenda, one suspects, is to bag a senatorial seat from which to advance the Cheney financial interests in Washington.
Of all the dusty towns to choose from for demonstrating her loyalty to Wyoming, Liz picked the posh ski resort of Jackson Hole. Proximity to the big money must be a comfort.
Caroline Kennedy, best known as the daughter of John F. Kennedy, is President Obama's nominee as next ambassador to Japan. It's true that academics, business leaders and other non-career diplomats have done the job well. But what makes Caroline Kennedy, a socialite, the best choice to represent the United States before our fourth-biggest trading partner?
We get it. This is Obama payback for the Kennedy family endorsement in his race for the Democratic nomination. That doesn't make it less aggravating.
Back in 2008, there was sickening talk about the Kennedy family "passing the torch" to Obama, rather than Hillary Clinton. Years of stories detailing various Kennedy boys' abuse of women blew that flame out long ago, except in some cliche-frozen corners of the media.
Still, the torches keep getting thrown at us, as in the recent headline crowning an unusually servile New York Times piece: "Caroline Kennedy, Catching the Torch."
Imagine, she deigns to converse with ordinary folk bothering her. "Ms. Kennedy is said to be patient and gracious during these encounters, as she deflects and gently parries, leaving the other person feeling as if he or she has had a significant conversation, even if almost nothing at all was really said."
Hope the reporter got an autograph.
Former Vice President Walter Mondale adds his two cents: "The Japanese will be thrilled with this news. They love the Kennedys over there. ... I think they will be honored."
I think they will be insulted. As for the American people, you wonder what kind of attention Joe Blow needing help in Tokyo is going to get from an Ambassador Caroline. At best, "a feeling" he has had a significant conversation.
This plea may be futile, but Americans need reminding that politicians are here to serve us. We, the little people, have no obligation to revere their relatives. We got rid of our royals over two centuries ago. We don't need mini royals now.
(A member of the Providence Journal editorial board, Froma Harrop writes a nationally syndicated column from that city. She has written for such diverse publications as The New York Times, Harper's Bazaar and Institutional Investor.)