Low Road to the High Ground

Congressman Anthony Weiner did a gross thing.  He did a stupid thing.  He should be publicly chastised on both counts.  However, in the range of gross, stupid sexual things that members of higher office have done when it comes to their members, his crime is at the low end.  To the best of our knowledge, he never engaged in personal sexual relations outside his marriage.  That’s not to say that he didn’t hurt and embarrass his wife with his actions, but it’s the line between thinking about doing something and actually doing it.  If Weiner actually wanted to cheat on his wife, he could have gone ahead with it.

But there is no reason he should resign.  You can argue that he’ll be less effective now that he has a scandal hanging over his head, but people forget scandals unless you run for higher office.  He’ll probably be stuck as a congressman for the rest of his political career, but people will forget and move on to the next scandal.  And when the next inevitible scandal comes along, if it’s more salacious, Weiner’s sexual improperity will seem small by comparison.  And liberals should not forget that he’s been a loud voice for their causes and that matters in a congress that keeps moving to the right because the extreme right is pulling all of congress to radical conservative values to the point where Obama thinks he’s a centrist when actually his values coincide with 1980s Republicans.

So naturally, Democrats, in their infinite stupidity, are throwing Weiner under the bus.  Debbie Wasserman Schultz, chair of the Democratic National Committee  has joined House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi in the call for Weiner to resign.  Keep in mind, Democrats aren’t the party that tries to legislate morality.  There is no “moral majority” for Democrats, they don’t align with the religious right, and they don’t argue that the founders made intended America as  Christian nation.

Republicans do that, and when they have a sexual scandal, they aren’t in a rush to kick out the adulterers (except for Larry Craig, whose adultery wasn’t a problem but his homosexuality was).  Louisiana senator David Vitter fucked prostitutes, and he not only kept his job, but was re-elected last year.  South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford disappeared to Argentina so he could fuck his mistress, and all he got was censure, the equivalent to a slap on the wrist.

But Democrats, a party without values beyond what the latest focus group thinks, is willing to throw out a liberal voice because he sexted.  They want to throw him out because it tells voters “Hey!  Look!  We’re moral!  We share your values!”  It’s a short-term gain at the expense of an accomplished legislator who fights for worthwhile policy matters.  The same thing happened with Eliot Spitzer.  Yes, his sexual deviance was more extreme, but personal actions should have personal consequences, not professional retribution.  Spitzer was one of the toughest regulators modern Wall Street has ever seen and our country once again showed that it was happier to engage in moral superiority and schadenfreude than to defend someone who was trying to protect their interests.

Democrats aren’t saying “Let’s focus on more important matters.”  They’re saying, “Yes, let’s engage in this distraction.  Let’s acknowledge it as a real thing that’s worthy of the American people’s attention instead of why the price of gas is so damn high.”  But none of it surprises me anymore.  The media goes for the sensational instead of the substantive, Democrats suck at politics, and Republicans laugh all the way to the hotel where they cheat on their spouses.

I don’t feel bad for Anthony Weiner, but I feel bad for the political and cultural system he and I have to inhabit.

Saturday, June 11th, 2011 politics, stupid

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