In the Grand Scheme of Things it’s hard to get all worked up over naked pictures of a middle aged man who happens to be a Congressman – unless Representative Democracy is an important concept to your or naked pictures of middle age men are your thing. Being a middle aged man myself who is slowly discovering that certain parts of his own body are subject to gravity whereas in the recent past they weren’t I’m left to wonder what delusions men my age must be under. A 45 year old man cannot be as physically attractive as a 25 year old. Pick up a fashion magazine and I doubt that the only place you will find middle age men are in the masthead (or more likely, the corporate office that owns the publication). Yes middle-aged men can be attractive – consider geriatrics like Harrison Ford and Sean Connery – but such attraction is based on wit, ability, guile (according to PJ O’Rourke) and especially success in one’s occupation. Even Henry Kissinger recognized that power – not a shirtless torso – was the ultimate aphrodisiac. I doubt that Nikolas Sarkozy’s wife Carla Bruni was seduced by the French President’s Gallic chest. No, Sarkozy got a smoking hot wife by being a cut-throat, power-hungry and brilliant (by French standards at least) politician.
But the Grand Scheme of Things blinds us to the possibilities of roads – and pictures – not taken. Imagine pictures of a shirtless Nixon, or the “tented underpants” of a Ronald Reagan being released to the media in 1968 and 1980 respectively. It’s difficult for me to imagine that because such an indiscretion is truly unimaginable for either man – and I’m no fan of Nixon. Both were intensely private and devoted to their wives, and also had the sense to avoid making such stupid decisions – sense that Congressman Anthony Weiner evidently lacks.
Andrew Breitbart and his team at BigGovernment.com has done the type of investigative journalism that the mainstream media only enjoys devoting to shirtless or foot-tapping Republicans. They have released more pictures of Congressman Weiner in various states of undress taken with his cellphone camera. As a result Weiner has taken the podium and made all of his previous statements inoperative, to paraphrase one of the greatest events of one of the most important political scandals of all time.
Weiner has admitted he lied but he will not resign.
New York is becoming America’s cesspool for ethically-challenged politicians with Weiner joining Charlie Rangel. Just a few days ago the congressman gave interviews to several news outlets in which he claimed his email, Facebook, Twitter and yFrog accounts had been hacked – a federal crime (or two). Now Weiner has stood up and admitted that he lied to a media that had pretty much supported him (I wonder how Jon Stewart feels being played as a fool by his frat-buddy? He’ll probably joke that Weiner had surgery to add a few inches after he graduated from college.) Weiner said he would leave it to his constituents to decide whether he stays or goes next election. Given how liberal his district is, he’ll probably be elected in a landslide. Huey Long and the Tammany Hall crowd would understand.
In my last post on the subject I wrote that I expected Congressman Weiner to resign within days; and that was without knowing that the above photo existed. Breitbart also has another one which he is holding on to, an X-rated one, that he has said is too extreme for print.
When Chris Lee found himself in this predicament he resigned in 48 hours. I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised that an arrogant Democrat like Weiner would still be kicking. He lied numerous times to people’s faces and expects to get away with it. Chances are he just might. But the disdain he has shown his office diminishes the institution of Congress and weakens representative democracy. Congressman Weiner showed the judgement of a frat boy half his age, proving there is good reason why we have laws barring young people that young from being elected to public office. Weiner obviously is stuck in time, and his actions have shown that he lacks the maturity to represent anyone in Congress, even the liberals who will try to whitewash this incident as just a boyish prank.
Here are the judgement failures as I see them:
1. Thinking he is physically attractive. Judge for yourself in the photo above. The vanity belies an arrogance that is difficult for men like him to understand yet which is blatantly obvious to everyone else.
2. Taking pictures of himself. Not smart – ever – even between husbands and wives. Photos, especially the electronic variety, have the uncanny ability of turning up where they shouldn’t.
3. Having friendships with women that aren’t his wife. It’s very difficult for men to pull this off; I’ve argued in the past that it is impossible for men to be emotionally involved without going overboard and falling in love or lust. This is why I believe that men should only be friends with other men or their wives/girlfriends.
4. Conducting relationships electronically. I’ve been online since the late 1980’s in one form or another and learned that you shouldn’t say anything that you don’t want your worst enemy to know. A handwritten note can be burned or thrown away. Electronic communications last forever.
5. Sending explicit photos electronically. One has to be dumb as a bag of hammers or completely arrogant to think that this is a good idea. Congressmen should be neither.
6. Opening himself up to being blackmailed. He is a public official, a walking target by anyone who wants to exercise political influence beyond using the ballot box. Engaging in illicit activities just makes it so much easier for blackmailers to get what they want.
7. When caught, claiming he had been hacked. Arrogance strikes again. Does he think that there aren’t people who know more about electronic files and communications than he does?
8. After claiming he was hacked, not pressing charges. This gave the game away to most people including many in the press because they knew that if he lied to police he would be seriously in trouble after they discovered the ruse.
9. Maintaining the lies for days while your staff, colleagues and friends defended you. You should have named Jon Stewart as second only to your wife in your apologies because Jon took a credibility hit from his soft-pedaling of the story.
I think power has made this man soft in the head to believe that he could get away with first the lies, now the admitting of guilt. It’s an insult to New York voters to think he’s probably right. We’ll see, but while they may reelect him, the man is a true lame duck. Every initiative he champions, every law that he proposes will be met with blank stares from those who know that he has lost the honor to serve in Congress regardless of how his constituents vote.