New York Representative Anthony Weiner literally got caught with his pants down. The Democrats lost a liberal stalwart who unlike most of the rest of the pusillanimous bunch actually has a pulse (hence his passion for racy photos of himself in cyberspace). And the Republicans won a twofer:
1). The credibility of a loud liberal voice in the House of Representatives, who recently showed the temerity to take on Justice Clarence Thomas for his conflict of interest in Citizens United, is now toast;
Chalk up two big wins in the GOP column!
Good work Anthony!
Channel surfing tonight from CNN, MSNBC, Fox, and C-SPAN found wall-to-wall coverage of the Anthony Weiner cyber-sex scandal. Meanwhile, the Arab world is convulsing through changes as momentous as when the Berlin Wall came down.
Members of Congress are federal officials who must be held to a higher standard of conduct than, say, the boys over at Massey Energy or McWayne Foundry. Representatives from both major parties have an obligation to conduct themselves in a way that comports well with their roles as public servants. Weiner is a liar. Why should we believe anything else that comes out of his mouth?
The 24-hour news cycle frames far too many issues as either being "Democrat" or "Republican," "liberal" or "conservative." Unfortunately for the republic and its people, the most pressing issues are neither "Republican" nor "Democrat," "liberal" nor "conservative." Weiner's personal conduct is perfect for the dominant media frame and will be masticated into slurry over the next several news cycles (unless President Obama kills Bin Laden again.)
Today, at Weiner's pathetic news conference, when some joker shouted out the question about whether or not Weiner was going to be supporting Arnold Schwarzenegger's lovechild, it summed up the farcical media environment in which are politics are defined.
Today, there is some serious stuff going on. The United States is bogged down in two debilitating foreign wars, there's chronically high unemployment that's destroying a generation of American workers, and there's a capital strike going on. Corporate America, despite having President Obama kiss its ring over and over again, still doesn't want to see him reelected. I guess Karl Rove and the corporate oligarchy's reasoning goes something like this: Why settle for a president who gives you 95 percent of what you want when you can hold out and get a president who gives you 100 percent? So corporations and banks are sitting on somewhere in the neighborhood of $2 trillion and not using any of it to invest in "job creation."
We live in a curious era. Even after corporate America and the investment banks on Wall Street destroyed a huge swathe of the middle class in recent years we are bombarded in the media with the exaltation of anything remotely associated with the "private sector." It's as if we all should be god damned grateful to the likes of Enron and WorldCom and Adelphia and Tyco and Lehman Brothers and AIG and JP Morgan Chase and Bank of America and Massey Energy and McWayne Foundry and ExxonMobil and GE and Goldman Sachs and . . .
Yeah, let's all bend down and worship the CEOs, hedge-fund managers, and all the other plutocrats who ran the country into the ground in service to their bottom lines. Let's pretend they're all salt-of-the-earth characters out of a Norman Rockwell painting.
Personally, I couldn't care less what Representative Anthony Weiner does with his weiner in his spare time, just as I didn't care about what Bill Clinton did or Larry Craig or John Edwards or Arnold Schwarzenegger. The problem resides in their roles as public servants and the intersection of their personal and public lives. Therein lies the rub (so to speak).
The Congress has long had its fair share of political hacks, alcoholics, and closeted gay men. For every sex scandal that cuts the Democrats' way, there's one that cuts the Republicans' way, (hence, the Weiner saga). So the politicians fiddle with their fiddlesticks while Rome burns. The wars drag on, the economy teeters, climate change unfolds just as the scientists predicted, and the yawning gap between the rich and the rest of us continues to grow. And what are we left with? The spectacle of a guy named Weiner doing naughty things.
Weiner loses, Breitbart wins.
What does the country get in the bargain?
Follow Joseph A. Palermo on Twitter: www.twitter.com/JosephPalermo1