Yes, after a week of emphatic denials and sensational puns, New York congressman Anthony Weiner has come clean and admitted that he did, in fact, send a picture of his unmentionables to a coed over Twitter. Not only that, but during his teary-eyed press conference he revealed that he had been carrying on equally inappropriate relationships with other women he met online. He was quick to add that he’s never met these women in person, however.
Now, I like this guy, and I hate to see this happen. Even before this schlong-scandal, he’d received a fair amount of media attention, appearing a number of times on newscasts and talk shows. He always came across a bit fiery, a bit cocky, but he seemed to be a guy with his act together, never disingenuous, and simply untainted by the all-too-familiar BS that comes with the job. And then came this little development.
Nevertheless, Rep. Weiner refuses to resign, claiming that he does not believe he broke any laws. That may be true, but regardless of whether or not he’s guilty in the blindfolded-eyes of the law, I firmly believe he should resign, and for one simple reason – any politician who honestly believes he or she can get away with a sex scandal in this day and age does not deserve to hold public office.
Congressman Weiner claims his was a deep lapse in judgement. This could not be more true, yet so many believe they can get away with it. Mark Sanford, former governor of South Carolina, disappears to South America to wine and dine an Argentine. Mark Foley, then serving in the House, sends sexually explicit emails to teenage boys serving as congressional pages. Rep. Chris Lee responds to an add on Craigslist with a shirtless photo of himself, Gov. Elliot Spitzer enjoys the company of a pricey prostitute, and John Edwards fathers a child with a campaigner. And that’s just the tip of the sleazy iceberg, too.
The apparent hubris is staggering. Do these guys truly think they can get away with it? Do they really think the tweets, pictures, emails and extramarital affairs will pass unnoticed by the ever-watchful, ever-ready eye of the salivating twenty-four-hour news cycle? If so, then their judgement is warped, and they don’t deserve the office. After all, we the beer-bellied people put them there to do a service. We pay their salaries so that they can speak for us, fight for us, look out for our best interests and kiss our ugly babies. How can we expect them to be effective leaders if they have the empty-headed gall to actually attempt something so stupid?
I feel bad for Rep. Weiner. I really do. Sadly, our society cares too much about sexual preferences, vulgar photos and weekend dalliances a la Cinemax’s midnight lineup. Such acts in and of themselves do not paint the portrait of an unfit leader. Nevertheless, this is not the general consensus in America, and our politicians know this. For me, it comes down to a matter of sense, not morality.
There’s a great line from The Social Network which says, “The Internet’s not written in pencil…it’s written in ink.” Politicians certainly know this better than us normal folk. After all, they witness members of their ranks reluctantly confront this grim reality seemingly on a weekly basis. This week it’s Anthony Weiner, and you know what? If he wasn’t able to learn from the scores of others who went before him, then I believe it’s time to take the dick puns in stride and find a new job.