Lying to the press through a flack is a common-enough Washington transgression. Perjuring yourself to federal law enforcement officers is a jailable offense. Should Weiner take his public relations flunky-told tale to the feds, and appear as eager to hunt down journalists as he had been prior to the scandal, then the public might give his story a listen. But Weiner has developed a case of cameraitis that he had previously been immune to and he doesn’t seem so keen to personally interact with the police.
The seedy public fixation on the private lives of politicians undergoes a role reversal here. Instead of a peeping populace forcing its way up to the bedroom window, a politician has imposed, albeit unwittingly, his private life upon the public space. It’s different that the exposed is also the exposer. But the revulsion felt by the dignified remains the same either way.
Illicit sex is about the only area of bipartisan harmony on Capitol Hill. Whereas Democrats benefitted from the resignation of Craigslist Congressman Chris Lee through a seat pick-up last week, Republicans will not be so lucky with the Indiscreet Tweeter Anthony Weiner. A person prone to broadcasting his every half-developed thought through Twitter is by definition immodest. The shamelessness that prompts the publication of so personal a picture necessarily precludes the possibility of a humiliation-avoiding resignation. For anecdotal evidence of this phenomenon, see Bill Clinton, Barney Frank, Gavin Newsom, and David Vitter.
Weiner benefits from the “D” next to his name. He benefits more from the lockstep partisanship of his New York City district. Whatever vainglory the seven-term congressman possessed prior to attaining federal office, the lack of accountability built in to representing such a deep-blue district has exaggerated it. Live wrong but vote right, and you’re sinecure will stay yours. Had Buffalo-area Congressman Chris Lee possessed the correct the political affiliation, or enjoyed a similar party monopoly among constituents, he might be sitting alongside fellow New Yorker Anthony Weiner in Congress today.
Lee had neither, so he is gone. Weiner has both so he won’t be going anywhere.
As bad as it is to have an inadequately-endowed groin imposter, it could be worse for Anthony Weiner. The congressman’s last name could be Johnson. There’s no telling the sport his political enemies would make of him then.
Daniel J. Flynn is the author of Why the Left Hates America (Prima Forum, 2002), Intellectual Morons: How Smart People Fall for Stupid Ideas (Crown Forum, 2004), and A Conservative History of the American Left (Crown Forum, 2008). He writes a Monday column for Human Events and blogs atwww.flynnfiles.com.
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