So, New York Rep. Anthony Weiner has backed off his assertion that he would not resign, and is now resigning over the whole “scandal” of tweeting flirtatious pictures of his man parts.
I’m not surprised. Dismayed, but not surprised.
But let’s clear up some things.
The media continuing to harp on the debacle is not, I believe, an example of right-wing, greedy, GOP-friendly corporate businessmen who own the media outlets purposefully sinking Rep. Weiner.
They don’t need to. Look, liberal and moderate members of the media feel the stings every day of being called “left-wing” and being told that there is a clear “liberal bias” in the news media, and so they don’t need any prodding to bend over backwards to prove that they aren’t liberal but are instead balanced, and they often do so by giving conservatives a pass and piling on the liberals. It’s not a conspiracy. It’s human nature and a dash of cowardice.
Much like the Democrats not making stands against Republican crook, liars, cheats and killers and instead shredding one of their own to make a point that “See, we take morality and ethics seriously.” They keep doing so thinking that the Republicans will return the favor, but it ain’t gonna happen. That also isn’t a conspiracy. It’s mere stupidity.
Now, on to another issue: Hypocrisy.
Yes, I totally feel you, my fellow moderate and/or liberal friends, real-life and virtual, who are venting your spleens on Twitter and in person to lament how war criminals (like former President George W. Bush and former V.P. Dick Cheney) can lie through their teeth and bankrupt the nation to go to war, but face no charges, while a Democratic politician is forced out of office for sexting.
Yes, I agree that Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas isn’t just an asshole but also a crook and liar who’s hiding money and has been covering up conflicts of interest that should get him impeached and tossed off the bench. While a legislative sex scandal gets blown out of proportion and no one can work up the interest to investigate or care about the bigger problem on the judicial side.
I agree with all these things.
But it changes nothing about the fact that Weiner is a cowardly little dick and an obvious, transparent liar.
There, I said it.
His lies are smaller than those of Bush, Cheney, Thomas or a host of others. But still, he brought this on himself.
Many thought (and some still do) that Bush and Cheney were being honest when they went to war. Thomas apparently kept his conflicts of interest quiet enough not to draw attention. Because of that, the onus of anyone wanting to take them down is not only to plow through a political jungle but also to prove that those guys broke the law.
Weiner, however, did something stupid and then lied about it. Lied about it even though it was abundantly clear, or certainly SHOULD have been, that he was going to be revealed as having done just what he said he didn’t do. And he should have known it was going to happen very soon.
So, instead of fessing up, he evaded questions, did some fancy wordplay, made up excuses about being hacked, and basically put all the tinder and firewood all around him for his own immolation at the stake.
What’s worst is that it was obvious almost from the start that he was hiding something (and probably lying outright) and possibly even more was happening than we knew. The very day shit was going down, I had serious doubts about his veracity. By the next day or two, it was abundantly clear he was lying, and continuing to lie even though we were all pretty much telling him, through tweets and other means, “Dude, the gig is up.”
So, yes, what Weiner did was really between him and his wife. Yes, what he did had not material effect on how he did his job compared to anything else that any other legislator does, moral or not, on his or her own time. Yes, it is a stupid thing to blow into a “scandal” when we’ve had far sleazier Republicans who got a pass.
But none of that changes that fact that Weiner should have known he couldn’t maintain the lie for more than a handful of days and should have stepped forward from the get-go to admit it was him and offer an apology, explanation or whatever.
Yes, it’s worse to have a life of crime and hide the evidence for years as you ruin lives. But people get viscerally offended when you lie right to their faces while doing things that clearly show you’re lying about something you JUST did.
A man who plots to ruin my life and take my family and home and destroy my career is far worse than a guy who punches me in the face. But the guy who punches me in the face is the one who will get put on his ass right away, without question, as a logical reflex response. The other guy who ruined my life? It may take years for me to find out he did, and to make sure he did it on purpose, and justice against him may take longer…or possibly never happen.
If I embezzle money from a company, it might take a long time to figure out I’m doing it, and then a long time to get me convicted for it, assuming you can. But if I steal some treats from the convenience store and there’s video evidence, I will to to jail right away. The latter crime is less serious, but it will carry immediate penalties because of my carelessness and stupidity.
So, in the end, the media didn’t do Weiner in and neither did the Democrats. He made the wrong moves from the beginning and made sure that he had no stable ground on which to stand in the end.
Lesson: If you’re going to do questionable shit, be a lot fucking more discreet about it.