Given my continuing disappointment with the political timidity of the White House (and the Senate leadership), I've always appreciated Anthony Weiner's willingness to speak up for what Howard Dean called “the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party.” That makes it all the more disappointing to learn that Weiner cannot resist eponymous hijinks. Geez, Tony, keep it in your pants. (And when it's not in your pants, put the friggin' camera away!)
I am not, however, going to cluck my tongue, shake my head, wag my finger, and sanctimoniously call for his resignation. Unless his behavior turns out to involve criminal or unethical actions—and not just chuckle-headed macho display behavior—I leave it to his constituents to decide whether he should continue as their representative.
In addition to being an unwelcome distraction from more significant matters, Weiner's peccadillos have also become an occasion for displays of robust hypocrisy. Right-wing pundits are eager to assure us that Republicans are more inclined than Democrats to acknowledge their transgressions and maintain some shreds of dignity by slipping away into the quiet obscurity of resignation and exile.
Ha! (Remember Larry Craig? David Vitter?)
Tea-party types are, however, ready to listen to them. Some of them can even write, as evidenced by this letter in last Saturday's San Francisco Chronicle:
A cheat is a cheatDid Debra forget anything in her roster of shame? It seems that—at least in her mind—only Democrats have ever been guilty of bad behavior. I guess it's okay if you're a Republican.
Rep. Anthony Weiner is a poster boy for a continuing character deficit in national leadership. He's only sorry he got caught.
He repeatedly denied, on national TV, that he had done anything wrong.
When confronted with irrefutable evidence, he said he would keep his job, thank you, because he's doing such great work for his constituents.
Weiner and his ilk (Clinton, Spitzer, Kennedy, Edwards) are self-centered narcissists who think they are special and can get away with blatantly abnormal behavior, which would be cause for immediate termination in any private business or school, because they think they're some kind of genius.
Both private and public behaviors reflect our character. If you lie, steal, cheat, harass and sext on your own time, you'll do it on public time, too.
Debra Janssen, Morgan Hill
My memory, fortunately, is better than Debra's. Wanting to be helpful, let me round out her list with Newt Gingrich (almost too obvious!), David Vitter, Mark Foley, Mark Sanford, Daniel Crane, and Chris Lee.
I could go on, of course, adding more Republican names. The only thing I will add, however, is the admonition not to take seriously any claim that all goodness and light reside in one political party while all evil and corruption reside in the other.
Of course, at the rate the Republican Party is going crazy-ass nuts with extremist rhetoric and political brinksmanship, it may turn out that the GOP will corner the market on insanity (and the Democrats would have to be insane not to point that out).