As much fun as I've had making jokes at the expense of (now former) Representative Anthony Weiner, the whole ordeal saddens me quite a bit. For those of you that don't know, Congressman Weiner represented New York's 9th district, and was known as one of the few liberals in the House with a backbone. He was one of my favorite people in politics for this very reason. He was outspoken, and didn't tolerate standard-fare Republican bullshit. The video below, where he was arguing against the GOP stance of denying healthcare for 9/11 first responders, embodies exactly why I was such a fan of him:
Recently, it emerged that Rep. Weiner was involved in a sexting scandal, and has resigned in response to this. I have a few thoughts on this issue.
There was no actual physical contact between the congressman and any of these women. What he did was immoral, but not illegal. If we were still in the days of dial-up internet, he would still be in office. It's also worth pointing out that it seems in politics, if you approve torture of innocent people and lie to justify an unnecessary war you get a second term in office, but snap a picture of your dick and you need to resign in disgrace.
That being said, I'm glad he resigned. While what he did was not illegal, we SHOULD hold our elected officials to a higher standard than our average high school senior. When a politician does something like this, it further erodes the public's trust in our politicians, and thus, our government. If we can't trust our politicians to not try to fuck teenage girls, how can we trust them not to fuck us over for personal gain as well?
I'm going to miss him so much. I just hope that it means any other politician that gets caught doing something wrong resigns/gets removed from office too. If one is held to higher standards, then they all should be.
There definetly should be a distinction between personal irresponsibility and public irresponsibility. Between him, Edwards & Arnold- the news focuses more attention on politicial infidelities than actual political matters. I don't see how this scenario was grounds for resignation. But politicians also, by the nature of the job, are more prone to public scrutiny. Sad but true.
After the whole Clinton debacle, I kind of just want people to leave these politicians alone for what they're doing wrong morally (as long as it doesn't damage society in any way.)
Is he not a capable politician? Is he not talented? Does he not have great fervor for his post? Can he do his job.
What people do in their jobs should be seen as a standalone from their private life. Let's look at these people objectively for what they can contribute to the table, instead of seeing them as idols or people to look up to. They're not our moral guidance - that's what religion and other things are for.
When we take out all that bullshit, then we can have capable politicians doing what they're supposed to be doing - governing the country.
Points well taken. But, whats also worth mentioning is how manipulative this guy was and is. In that one on one interview with that ABC reporter. Lying came naturally to him and quite convincingly. All politicians lie, but this guy won the trophy.
What sunk his ship was all the tangible proof of his screw up online and immortalized for everyone to see. It's doubtful any politician could have survived the continuous onslaught of pictures being presented in the media on a daily basis. He scared most Dems away because we're going into an election year and his pic would undoubtedly be used in negative ads against anyone choosing to support/defend him.
It makes you wonder why otherwise very intelligent people do very dumb risky things that can crush ones career.
Pfft. Weiner shouldn't have left congress. He's human. Humans do stupid things. Its proven that Republicans have done far worse in regards to their private sex lives, there is just no pictures of it. Many are under investigation for illegal things too, but they still don't quit. This scandal is nothing. It will be old news in a few weeks, if it isn't already. Electorates famously have short memories, as do politicians. For the most it is this short memory that allows for politicians to get away with so much, especially career politicians, but a sex scandal is nothing. He's not a hypocrite, he doesn't promote "good ol' christian family values" like all the Republicans do, and later get found out for their infidelities. Its evident that the Republicans were digging for dirt on Weiner. If the Democrats did the same to the Republicans and found photos (not just of their infidelities, but their illegal conduct), and raised hell about it in the media, there'd be no Republicans left in the chamber . They're all corrupt. Name one that isn't. I'd be happy to do the research.
I wrote about this somewhere else. Here are my thoughts:
I feel like there are consequences for personal decisions like this - like having to discuss it with his wife, as well as consequences that normal cheating asshats don't have to face, like talking about it on TV. I just think that there are plenty of people who have proven themselves politically while still being less than perfect personally. Bill Clinton, Martin Luther King, Gandhi, just to name a few. I think that nobody can be expected to be perfect, politicians included. If their worst offense is cheating on their wife, their wife should be offended. If they're using campaign funds to take a vacation and cheat on their wife, everyone should be offended. If they're politically backwards and don't believe in equality, everyone should be offended. I find it really disturbing that more people are offended by a politician's hard-on through his underwear than offended by politicians like Rick Santorum claiming that homosexuality is equivalent to bestiality. :/Gandhi slept with his uncle's wife as well as having lots of mistresses and abusing his wife on at least one occasion. And yeah Bill Clinton shouldn't have lied to the public - but the public also shouldn't have been asking him who he was having sex with. Personally I don't think the president's consensual sex life is the public's business.I feel like the only reason sex scandals are such a big deal in the media is because people use it as leverage against candidates they already dislike. Sex scandals rarely if ever actually make people who liked that candidate change their mind about them. I think the only time it really matters is if the candidate was running on a platform of so-called "family values" and morality issues and then pulling this crap. Like Newt Gingrich. Gag.
I stand by that. The most disappointing thing Weiner has done so far has been step down, not send stupid pictures over the internet.
Imagine being "famous" for something like that; he'll never live it down, especially with a name like Weiner. When you are in politics your life isn't your own, basically, you have to be very protective of your private life and very careful of your behavior.Politican or not what a dumb thing to do...yes, we all make mistakes but this is truly one of the weirdest.
The only people who are truly outraged by this that I know personally plan on voting for Newt Gingrich, which is some pretty hilarious double think.
The guy never ran on family values or chastity; he ran on being the best representative for his constituents, which the overwhelming majority believe he was/is. My opinion of him begins and ends with how well he represented my beliefs. That was his job. I am not going hold him to a higher standard than I do, say, the horrible people who are the CEO's of the companies I own stocks in simply because he is a congressman. That is, I don't ask that Steve Jobs resign his position in Apple because he is a sociopath. I mean, if Weiner was fucking kids or something like that, it would illustrate that he is mentally unstable. He wasn't fucking anyone though; his crimes were entirely virtual (send pics of himself to willing women). He never even had sex with these women. The bottom line is that he was good at what he did, and his personal faults didn't affect his job performance, so I don't give a shit.
The fact that Weiner lied about his behavior is depressing, but most people lie when their backs are up against the wall and their livelihood is on the line. This doesn't excuse the lie, but it also doesn't warrant him resigning either, particularly when lying is part of his job description.
I also find it strange that nobody is wondering whether the hacker was punished. Sorry, but what he/she/they did is a crime. Theft doesn't come with the caveat: "...but if you are stealing to reveal the truth about a politician you don't like..." This sort of conservative guerilla warfare, win at any stakes mentality that we see with people like Breitbart and James O'Keefe and the perpetrators of Climategate utilize/ed is just plain dangerous. It's setting the bar for political discourse lower than it has ever been in my life time and forcing liberals to lower themselves to that level to stay alive in the media wars.
That being said, the people who are using these tactics need to be really careful. Obama won 2008 in large part because of an unprecedented number of young people investing themselves into Obama's campaign, whether it was through phone banking or canvassing. Most of these kids were left jaded by the combination of failed promises on Obama's part and being exposed to the conservative base (which is every bit as bad, if not worse, in the rural South/Midwest as it is characterized by liberals). Every kid I know who participated in the campaign went from having a "We have to win because it's in our best interest" approach to politics to having a "We have to crush these fuckheads" mentality. I don't think it's a good thing, but I think that for the first time in a long time the conservatives need to be careful about how they push the envelope to get information and win elections. The bottom line is that, top to bottom, Democrats now have a larger, better funded, more educated infrastructure than the Republicans now. If this is going to turn into a no holds barred scrap, these "hardened" liberal kids are going to win. They're the better bet. And frankly, the Republicans are just more full of shit than the Democrats right now on the hot button political issues, at least on the facets of these issues that can be verified (e.g., climate change, evolution, the economy, etc.) If all else is equal, liberal muckraking will likely turn up more skeletons than conservative muckraking. It may have been different in 1994, but it's the truth now.
And as for Weiner's general on-the-job honesty (honesty regarding proposals and issues he promoted), I would like to see actual empirical evidence that he's not significantly more honest than the average congressman. Even if he was a dishonest person, he aligned himself pretty consistently with the factually correct positions on the issues he was most vocal about, which gave him little reason to lie.
I being a conservative do not like anthony wiener's politics however like you I had respect for him because he was willing, unlike many progressives, to stand on what he believed in. I found him to be a very immature and rude man, but I think many in Washington D.C. are he just choose not to get involved in the act. I however am glad to see him go. It is not because of his politics, it is not because of him being rude, the reason I am glad to see him go is because these actions highlight what is wrong with this countries leadership. He proved himself to be nothing more than a common lier. He called people into his office to tel them that he didn't do it, that he was looking for who did do it. he proved that he was a man of weak moral fiber, and unworthy of the title of Representative.
Let me put it this way. Your wife (or husband) is the person whom you love most in the world, the one person in the world that you want to spend the rest of your life with. This is a relationship that is dependent upon trust and honesty. If Anthony Weiner is willing to go around behind his wifes back, to betray the trust of the person he loves most in this world, why should the people of New York trust him? Our Republic is a system dependent upon representatives. We elect memebers of our community to go to Washington to voice our opinions to the other states representatives. This is a system based upon trust. We trust them to represent us. Anthony Weiner was the man that citizens of New York chose to represent them. Not only did he betray the trust of his wife, he proceeded to lie not only to her but to the world by swearing that he did not do it. The real crime here is not sending pictures of himself to women, no the true crime here is lying about it.
I wish the best to Mr. Weiner and his growing family, and pray he learns the value of honesty.
"If we can't trust our politicians to not try to fuck teenage girls, how can we trust them not to fuck us over for personal gain as well?"
I don't think most Americans trust them to not do either. I know I don't. Personally, I was...I can't even say surprised, because it's exactly what I expect, but had a sense that, "Great, here we fuckin' go again."...about how much attention it got. It's his personal life, I do not care. Yeah, I think what he did was wrong, but it isn't relevant to his position.