To my generation, one whose Sunday morning cartoons were interrupted by our president telling us he did not “have sexual relations with that woman”, a politician involved in a sex scandal feels more like par for the course than breaking news worthy of dominating our airwaves for a week straight. Although the media is flooding the American public with “Weinergate” news and treating the story as a career ending scandal, it may be too early to start writing Anthony Weiner’s political obituary. Talking heads on all the major networks can debate whether Rep. Weiner should resign or not, but the discussion on the ground — where it matters — here in New York seems to revolve around the question “Would you vote for him for again?”
Many people I have spoken to, especially younger people, seem to brush it off. In their view it’s a personal issue that does not affect an otherwise successful congressman’s performance. Have we been desensitized to the ridiculous in a Post-Clinton, Post- Schwarzenegger / Foley / Craig / Vitter / Spitzer world?
Of course, others say they would not vote for him. But what might surprise some is the rationale used to support that decision. Almost every person who says they would not cast a vote for Weiner cites the lying, not the “lewd photos.” I guess it’s not surprising that a country that watches “The Bachelor”/”Bachelorette” is failing to pull “the sanctity of marriage” card. But I’m skeptical that the lying will even really matter in the long run. After all, famous NYC cheater, Spitzer’s got his own show, and possible sights on running again; and I’m pretty sure all Bill Clinton would have to do to get elected mayor of New York would be to show up at a Met – Yankee game, drink a beer and buy a hot dog. Those guys both lied too. Then again Weiner has never been as cool as Clinton.
Much to Andrew Breitbart’s dismay, Weiner doesn’t seem like he’ll let a little controversy keep him down. Don’t let the press conference tears fool you, this guy is a political junkyard dog. I’d put money on him appearing on The View, he’ll shed a few more tears, write a book, and poke fun at himself on SNL. That’s the recipe for any political comeback. Whether he runs for re-election or mayor of NYC, a narcissist of this caliber will not leave the political arena. Though hopefully, he’ll wise up and change the way in which he carries out his personal fantasies. (I hear Chatroulette is a safe medium.)
With a society dominated by 140 character Tweets, Facebook posts, texts, “sexts” and emails it’s becoming increasingly difficult for politicians to “control the message.” When “the message” starts as a picture of your crotch you’re probably off to a bad start. So the ball’s in our court; should we weed out the wieners, ostracizing every politician that doesn’t live up to our puritan derived code of ethics? Or do we need to learn to simply manage expectations? It seems to me that the younger generation is already largely accepting the notion that our leaders will not always be saints.
As disappointing as this realization might be, there is a silver lining: A government focused on substantial issues and policy as opposed to conducting press conferences that resemble episodes of “Maury” is a step in the right direction.
While we have been splitting our time equally between discussions on Anthony Weiner’s weiner and his bare chest, the Earth kept revolving. Outside of Anthony Weiner’s underwear this week the United States has upped “secret” attacks on Yemen, Arizona endured a 607 square mile wildfire, an Indiana University student has been missing since Thursday, NATO bombed Gaddafi’s compound and Alabama passed a controversial immigration bill. But I guess all the news that’s fit to print this week resides in Weinerville.