- Although they have a lot in common and are both Democrats, they represent rival factions that are competing for influence within progressive politics.
Huma Abedin’s life and career have had two major hit-and-misses over the past six years. First, her highly publicized marriage to New York Congressman— fatefully presided by former President Bill Clinton — unraveled following repeated sexual peccadillos of her tumescent husband Anthony Weiner, upending his promising political future.
Then came the political contest of this century, which if it went her way, Abedin, as the vice chair of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, would have been the first person of color to become the Chief of Staff to the President of the United States. But it didn’t, when her mentor unbelievably lost to a New York real estate tycoon.
Now, as a 46-year-old, Abedin is clawing her way back into public life from which she was exiled for no fault of hers. Last year, she wrote a well-received memoir, “Both/And: A Life in Many Worlds,” and returned — thanks to a show-stopping rumor of dating Hollywood hunk Bradlee Cooper — to Page Six, and other Boldface columns. Just like old times. (During her heydays as Secretary Clinton’s aide, Abedin was a staple in most society magazines, including Vogue, Glamour, etc.)
But there’s more to it. Abedin, it appears, is toying with the idea of stepping out into the political arena, this time for herself instead of working for others. On Sunday, when asked during an interview on ABC about a potential run for elected office, she was coy, saying, “Who knows what the future holds? You never know, but I doubt it. I really seriously doubt it.”
“I’m in that phase of my life where I say, ‘Never say never,’” Abedin added.
Recently, she also joined MSNBC as a political commentator, which will keep her in the public eye and help her test the waters, if not lay the groundwork for a run.
If she does indeed throw her hat in the ring, it would very likely have to be in New York City where she lives and enjoys high-profile and lucrative political connections. And one can only imagine how the Big Apple’s overeager tabloid press will be salivating at a chance to project her as a foil to the most formidable political force in the Empire State — Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
Abedin and AOC have a lot in common — both are women of color, accomplished, attractive and ambitious. That’s where similarities end. Even though both are Democrats, they couldn’t be more unlike each other.
They hail from opposite sides of the tracks — AOC, of Puerto Rican origin, comes from a lower middle-class family and made it through college by the dint of her hard work. Her initiation into politics was a mere accident — straight off the bar where she was working when she answered the “call” — even if she has been an activist driven by progressive ideology and circumstance.
Michigan-born Abedin, on the other hand, is of Indian origin (her mother moved to Pakistan as an adult), with a privileged, upper middle-class background. Her political initiation was born of ambition when she became a White House intern while still in college and was assigned to the then-First Lady Hillary Clinton. Since then, she didn’t look back, mentored as she was by the Clintons who regarded her as an adopted child.
With that kind of background, Abedin couldn’t have but inherited the centrism of her mentors, in marked contrast to the nearly radical left inclinations of AOC.
Having rubbed shoulders with the powers that be in the Democratic party, Abedin is a chip off the so-called Establishment as symbolized by the Clintons and the Obamas, which despises the flame-throwers like AOC who represents the Bernie Sanders wing of the party.
And New York has been a hotbed of competition and conflict between the two factions of the Democratic party. It will be interesting to see if Abedin, if and when she joins the fray, will be able to rally the traditional Democrats against the insurgents.