Anthony Weiner is brazen, arrogant, and over sexed. Yet he might stay in the House. That’s a sad commentary on the rest of us.
Anthony Weiner and his sins
Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY-9) has been a partisan political hack since he came to Congress. We now learn that he “talks dirty” and sends off-color pictures of himself to women young enough to be his daughter. Because he is married, that is a form of “adultery in the heart” (Matthew 5:28)
Lately, he added “lying” to his other sins. Last week, it seems, he typed “@” instead of “D” before a young Twitter user’s name while trying to send an off-color photo of himself as a Direct Message.
When I realized that I had posted it to Twitter, I panicked, took it down, and said I’d been hacked.
The story never added up. Then the FBI entered the case—because the “hacking” of any Internet accounts, personal or official, that a government official uses, is an FBI matter. Period. But Anthony Weiner refused to coöperate.
Yesterday he finally admitted what everyone knew. Yes, the picture was of him. Yes, he sent it. (That’s an easy mistake to make, so be careful to tell a Tweet from a Direct Message before you send!) And yes, he not only lied about it, but slandered one of the few media outlets to call him on it.
So what happens now?
House Democratic Floor Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA-8) has asked the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct to investigate. Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) is Not Speaking to him. Several commentators have called on him to resign. Recall that Representative Chris Lee (R-NY) did after sending a picture that was less offensive to a female admirer.
But Anthony Weiner will not resign. Furthermore, many 9th District residents will not hear of him resigning. Their attitude: “He may be a schmuck, but he’s our schmuck!”
That is the sad commentary. Alexis de Tocqueville had it right: “We get the government we deserve.” Any executive of any private business (or non-profit) would have been out the door by day’s end, box of desk contents in hand, if he had done what Anthony Weiner admits doing. (If Weiner really did call some of these women on his office telephone, the House could kick him out just for that. That kind of personal use of public resources is still against House rules, last time anyone checked.) Yet this man’s nominal bosses still tolerate him. Why? Merely because he’s still good for getting someone into West Point? (Why any college would accept his recommendation of any prospective student, your editor can’t imagine.) Or because he keeps the goodies coming? That must be it—and it goes far beyond prying Grandma’s Social Security check from the tight fist of some government bureaucrat.. His constituents want him there because he stands up to those awful Tea Party people who want to shove Grandma off a cliff. (And never mind that that’s another lie.)
Is that really so important? Is Anthony Weiner really so indispensable as that? When voters take that attitude, that makes politicians grow bolder and more power-hungry.
In fact, Anthony Weiner has mentors to imitate. They are:
- Bill Clinton, an iconic Democratic Party figure with a reputation for womanizing that includes perjury and violence.
- Charles Rangel (D-NY-15), who stays in the House though he committed tax evasion.
Is Anthony Weiner safe?
Ironically, Weiner is not safe, but not because he has embarrassed his constituents. (And he might not have.) He has embarrassed his Party caucus. Pelosi said last week that the Democrats could recapture the House. That is even less likely if Weiner stays on. Voters in “flyover country” still have high standards. And no one is going to tell them that Anthony Weiner is nobody’s business but that of people who live in New York! It’s their business, too. And the Democrats know it.
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Under the Constitution, they can knock him out in one of two ways:
- Throw him out of the House. If less than half his caucus sides with all the Republicans, he’s gone. (It takes two-thirds of the membership of the House to throw a member out.) The grounds: either misuse of public resources for personal use, or simply conduct unbecoming a Representative and bringing shame and disgrace on the House.
- Take his district away from him. New York State must lose two House districts in 2012, according to the census. The legislature could force Weiner to run in a primary against a fellow incumbent. And the affected county Democratic organizations could get orders to refuse him “The Line,” the favored spot on the ballot.
But the ones who ought to make that decision, are his present voters. If they would still vote for that man, then shame on them. We, the People need to decide what’s important, and keep high standards for ourselves, and those we vote for. Only then will those standards return to government.
Featured image: Representative Anthony Weiner (D-NY-9), official portrait. Photo: United States House of Representatives.
Terry A. Hurlbut has been a student of politics, philosophy, and science for more than 35 years. He is a graduate of Yale College and has served as a physician-level laboratory administrator in a 250-bed community hospital. He also is a serious student of the Bible, is conversant in its two primary original languages, and has followed the creation-science movement closely since 1993.
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