Thursday, June 16, 2011

The true shame of Weiner

Mixed emotions about Anthony Weiner's resignation.

On the one hand, his arrogance and indecency certainly merited extreme negative consequences.

On the other, if one thinks about the many sex-related things elected officials have done while still being allowed to serve out their terms -- from Bill Clinton's unique use of cigars in the Oval Office to Mark Sanford hiking the Appalachian Trail to Larry Craig's bathroom toe-tapping escapades, etc. -- Weiner's sexting seems fairly minor.

Would the constant distractions have prevented Weiner from serving his constituents? If so, then he had to go. But just as time let the jokes die down and let Clinton finish his term with a flourish, so too might Weiner have been able to salvage his career -- and be an effective leader -- had he stayed the course.

(Then again, with a name like Weiner and with his particular transgressions, it's a very real possibility that no matter what he does from here on out, he'll never be taken seriously again.)

Over the years, whenever I saw Weiner chatting with Jon Stewart or making arguments from the congressional podium, I thought: "You know, this guy is not afraid to say what he thinks and act upon what he says. We need more like him." It's the same feeling I had about John McCain back when he really was a maverick (as opposed to the shell-of-a-mav he turned out to be in 2008).

So even though Weiner's wound was self-inflicted, it was a shame to see his political career die that way.


Oh, and apologists can save their breath with their "Why was he driven out of office just because he did some sexting? Don't we have more corrupt officials to go after?"

It was the same "defense" that Clinton's apologists used, and it was just as wrong then.

Clinton lied while under oath. That was the crime. Weiner lied repeatedly to his constituents and peers about his behavior. That was his true failing, at least in my book.

As I used to tell my kids: Nobody expects you to be perfect; when you do something wrong, the lying to try to cover it up is what we really can't stand.

1 comment:

  1. I was a huge Anthony Weiner fan and was so disappointed when all this came out. In fact, in the beginning I didn't believe it and kept saying it was a non-story. I was wrong. My prediction? Weiner will go to rehab and come back to be elected mayor of NYC. After all, America loves a comeback!