OK, so I fell for Anthony Weiner's lies about the whole "woe is me, my Twitter account was hacked" thing. But, honestly, were there many of us who thought that in this day and age of political sex scandals -- or scandals involving semi-nude self-portraits -- that any elected official would be stupid enough to Tweet images of himself to women he'd never even met and think he wouldn't get caught? If the first rule of the internet is that e-mail is forever, it's not a leap to realize that all social media is forever, as well. Delete things as much as you want, the fingerprints will always be there.
The level of dumb-assness (yes, that's a very journalistic word!) in the whole Weiner story is amazing to me. In the immortal words of George W. Bush -- fool me once, um, wait, uh, won't get fooled again.
While the few rules I offered Congressman Weiner about how to deal with the media when they think they've got the goods on you aren't quite relevant anymore, I've got one more for him and all the other powerful men out there:
Dudes, keep your body parts and delusions of grandeur to yourselves!
No matter how much a woman says she wants you to DM her a photo of your pecs or your penis, she doesn't really want to see it. She just wants to see if you'll actually send it. And if you're not savvy enough to know in this social media era that you can't take ANYTHING back that you put out there into cyberspace, well, then, you really aren't smart enough to be running this country.
As for those on the political right who think this is a major "gotcha" moment for the Democrats that will bring down a possible future mayor of New York City, let me just say two words -- David Vitter. You've still got him, you even re-elected him, and you apparently think it's perfectly fine for a man who cheats on his wife with a prostitute to be one of 100 U.S. Senators. I'm not making any excuses for the congressman from New York, I'd just ask Republicans to remember the many occasions when the scandal shoe has been on the GOP foot.
Of course, there's an easy way to just avoid all this in the future -- elect more women!
Whenever a new sex scandal makes breaking news, it's almost never a woman. Now, maybe that's just because there are fewer women in elective office so there are fewer chances that a woman in power will get outed for any online dalliances. What I think is more likely, though, is that women are just smarter and, frankly, too damn busy for this sort of nonsense. For most political women, it was hard enough to get elected in the first place; they're not going to jeopardize what they worked so hard for by flashing the internet with some bikini shots. And many of those political women are moms who know better than to embarrass their kids with having to see their mother stand up at some news conference podium to admit that when she was supposed to be in the well of the House of Representatives she was actually in the cloakroom trying to get a WiFi signal to dash off a quick Tweet to some college dude across the country.
As Dee Dee Myers said in her book Why Women Should Rule the World, "I'm confident predicting there would be fewer sex scandals if women were in power... I don't think Hillary Clinton is going to be hitting on the intern." Electing more women to avoid this sort of semi-sex scandal isn't a question of moral superiority, it's just common sense. I realize that by making this argument, there will be those who say I'm being sexist by contending that women would never fall the way so many political men have in recent years. Maybe it is.
But the truth of the matter is that for the vast majority of women, if we've got any spare time and we decide to spend it in the world of social media, we're more about building something positive for our communities. We're less concerned about pumping up our egos by pretending that some hot guy in his 20s is still interested in us Boomer and Gen X ladies. We know better and we just don't have time for that craziness.
As for Anthony's punishment, my friend from the other side of the political aisle E.M. Zanotti suggested that there's no need for the Congressman to resign -- he's a guy named Weiner who's been busted in a scandal involving TwitPics of his privates. Isn't that political punishment enough?
Joanne Bamberger writes the political blog, PunditMom, and is the author of the new book, Mothers of Intention: How Women and Social Media are Revolutionizing Politics in America.