Pants on the Ground

At this point, the only good thing that can be said about Representative Anthony Weiner’s Twitter adventures is that at least he wasn’t sending pictures of himself to male hookers or under-aged Congressional pages.  That and the incalculable good he’s done for stand-up comics and late-night hosts everywhere.  As someone with the last name of “Dickson” can understand, being named “Weiner,” he should have known better.

Weiner reminds me a lot of Alan Grayson, only without the self-destructive hyperbole — however justified — that eventually cost Grayson his seat.  Neither was afraid to take the gloves off and hit back with just as good as was being dished out by the other side.  The left needs those kinds of voices, ones that won’t simply blink and sputter when lie after lie is heaped upon them.

But then Weiner goes and literally gets caught with his pants down.  And even though it was something as relatively innocuous in the Internet world as sending pictures over Twitter, anything he says from this point forward is going to be amended by opponents with, “Yeah, but you Tweeted your junk.”  As if somehow his penis undermines every possible argument he could ever make.  “The sky is blue!”  “Penis!”

I take the same view of this I took with President Clinton’s affair with Monica Lewinsky:  there are three people in this world whose business this is, and anyone sitting behind a network news desk isn’t among them.  Weiner made a poor personal decision, but it was just that:  personal.  This in no way affects his ability to do his job or represent his constituents, and if they feel otherwise, well hey, there’s this great system called the electoral process through which they can voice their displeasure.

And the fact is, if Weiner hadn’t tried to hide this when it first broke, if he’d just come out and said, “Yeah, busted, sorry,” this probably would have blown over a lot sooner.  But now he has to deal with not only the pictures, but the lying.  Now of course, some level of lying is expected from our politicians, but when you’re this brazen about it, there’s bound to be consequences.

What also hurts is that this sort of removes the pervert bullet from the left’s arsenal.  Now the next time a Republican gets caught with a hooker or trying to cruise in an airport bathroom, the right will just shout, “What about Weiner!”  Which may not actually be the best way to word that, but you get the point; we’ve ceded a little bit of the high ground here.

But the thing of it is, Weiner made a private decision that ultimately doesn’t really affect anything, except maybe the mood at his dinner table.  It doesn’t de-fund Planned Parenthood or make cuts to Medicare or take away collective bargaining rights.  It doesn’t say who can and can’t spend their lives with the person they love, or that a religious belief has to be taught as unchallengeable science.  And it sure isn’t threatening to default on the country’s debts if it doesn’t get its way.  Maybe all the outrage being thrown at a guy who regrets a bad choice made in the flickering glow of his computer monitor should be directed at the people who are foisting their bad choices on us in the broad light of day, without an ounce of regret at all.

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