Larry Craig, seeker of men in airport rest rooms, served out his term.
Just wanted to point that out.
There's a saying that I had once heard was attributable to Oscar Wilde, but it turns out it wasn't. Then I had read that it is a line from José Ferrer's 1952 film Moulin Rouge but I've never since been able to find the source. It's "Never meet an artist whose work you admire, for the art is always greater than the man." If you've ever met a famous person who turned out to be an asshole in person, you should remember that saying.
And so it turns out to be true, that Anthony Weiner, a guy who's gone through life with the most unfortunate last name this side of "Lipschitz", has the sexual proclivities of an adolescent. Yes, this guy on the cusp of middle age behaves like a teenager when it comes to social networking. It seems ironic that at a time when we're able to accept the dichotomy of the creators of South Park being able to put together a musical that for all its poop and clitoris jokes and four-letter words also has one of the most moving songs about spirituality ever to hit any kind of stage, but we're unable to wrap our heads around the idea that a politician is an asshole.
Gee. A town like Washington, that's steeped in sex, attracts guys who have trouble making good judgments about appropriate behavior. I'm shocked....SHOCKED, I tell ya.
I still wonder....why is this news? Has Anthony Weiner been a tireless crusader for sexual restraint? Hardly. Weiner's province has been trying to salvage what few breaks there are left in our society for the people who aren't "the haves and the have-mores." Yes, Weiner is an asshole. And yes, he cheats on his wife (and it doesn't have to be the old in-out, in-out to be cheating). One wonders why he even got married in the first place after decades as a freewheeling bachelor. But can we please have some perspective? We still have record-high unemployment and a corporate environment in which CEOs are demanding more and more and more and more tax cuts with NO promise that it will make them hire. We have a Republican Party that is hell-bent on making sure that the next generation of elderly ends up as Soylent Green. And let's not forget this little catastrophe that the Villagers seem to have forgotten about in their need to stand in the corner and snicker.
There's more. Do I really need to go on, posting link after link after link to actually important things that are going on in our country and our world while the Village takes such delight in covering what they do best -- flogging the trivial?
So let's get down to How Is This Different, shall we? First let's briefly discuss the Twin Peaks of Sexual Sleaze, the Johns (sorry) Ensign and Edwards. Both cases seem to involve campaign finance abuses. John Ensign was fucking his best friend's wife, then set up a situation where the couple was completely financially dependent on him so they couldn't spill the beans, then at the age of 51, asked his parents for hugh money to give them -- while all the while painting himself as a "sanctity of marriage" zealot. John Edwards at seems to have used his much-talked-about charm to wrangle money out of a centenarian heiress to keep his own affair (and child) quiet. Edwards qualifies as a hypocrite because of using the very same cancer-stricken wife he was always either bringing with him, sending out on her own, or invoking the name of, to try to demonstrate his own "swell guy" bona fides and try to counteract his image as a slick huckster.
Then there are the "Do As I Say Not As I Do" twins. Larry Craig, a man who cruised for sex in an airport men's room, crusaded against gay rights. Craig decided not to run for re-election, but served out his term. David Vitter, a "family values" Republican has a 100% rating by the Christian Coalition. Vitter said back in 2006 that there was "no issue more important" than banning gay marriage. He was supporting cutting funding for family planning in 2009 -- before it became cool. Vitter is still in the Senate, which is the only thing for which I admire the man -- his ability to tough out the media frenzy and get back to work. I even have to have a grudging respect for Newt Gingrich, a hypocrite so massive that he completely redefines the word, who wants us to believe that he was Fucking for Patriotism -- because he's out there saying, "It's behind me. Let's move on." I may not agree that you can just "move on" from a pattern like Gingrich's, but he's never just slunk away.
So why the frenzy over Anthony Weiner, aside from the obvious jokes, which are only proving to show that the media working itself into a lather over this are every bit as adolescent in their sexuality as Weiner himself is? Does anyone actually believe that Weiner is going to be able to survive this? Hardly. Let's not forget that the Republicans rallied around David Vitter after his obligatory confession with the pained wife standing next to him. But like the sniveling, frightened little weasels that they are, who sacrifice burnt offerings to Andrew Breitbart every time he goes digging for dirt one one of theirs (for all that this Krusader for Korruption never seems to go after anyone on the right), the Democrats in Washington are already wrapping Weiner in a shroud (NYT link) in preparation for throwing him overboard, just as they did with Eliot Spitzer, who it now appears was targeted because he was getting too close to finding out just what was happening on Wall Street.
So Weiner is an asshole, and a bit skeevy. So? Did he do anything illegal? Was he targeting underage girls? If so, then by all means kick him out of Congress. So I am not defending him. But I'm not so much angry with him for having the kind of sexual proclivities that most men in this country would have if they thought they could get away with it. I'm angry for the same reason I was, and remain, angry with John Edwards -- for being so fucking stupid as to not recognize that we live in a country in which any misbehavior, no matter how heinous, is perfectly OK if you are a Republican, but Democrats are REQUIRED to live on the straight and narrow all the time. As a woman, I do not understand what Thinking With the Little Head is like, so perhaps it's easy for me to wonder how any man in Washington could still behave at this level of Teh Stoopid. But this is the environment in which we live. And I would have expected that a scrapper like Weiner would have stood up and said "Yes, I did it. It was really stupid, I was thinking with my dick, yes, you got me. I'm a bad boy and I won't do it again. Now can we please go back to doing the people's work?" But the reason I'm done with Weiner isn't even that he's a creep. I expect that from anyone who goes to Washington. I'm done because instead of showing the balls of even a hypocritical asshole like David Vitter, he decided to go the tearful "sorry I got hurt my family" route after denying it for a week. I'm done because like John Edwards before him, Anthony Weiner has lived up to his name after all.