Editorial: Surely, this Weiner is cooked
Lecher, liar and oh, by the way, legislator. What a wiener.
Actually, the spelling is Weiner - pronunciation the same - as in Congressman Anthony, Democrat from New York. If you've been following his story, you know that the seven-term congressman took a picture of his thinly clad private parts and then tweeted it to a 21-year-old female college student in Washington state. Then he spent most of the next week lying about it, issuing non-denial denials, claiming he'd been hacked. On Monday he made a startling confession, saying it had not been just one but six young women with whom he'd had "explicit" online conversations and photo swaps.
A congressional ethics inquiry is in the works, but Weiner has said he's not resigning, hoping instead to win voters' confidence back. You don't have to be a prude to count the reasons why he's given them every excuse to choose someone else.
First is the "ick" factor. He's 46 and married, and he's still hitting on co-eds. Were any of the objects of his flirtations under age? Umm, not to his knowledge. Was there phone sex? Refused to answer. How many parents would endorse that behavior with a vote?
Second, Weiner is discovering that he has precious few friends, even on his side of the aisle. Even before this, he'd made a few enemies with his sometimes attack-dog style. Pragmatically, how is this island in the House going to get anything accomplished for his district?
Third, he's clueless. He's a congressman from a big state who wants to be the next mayor of New York City - it would seem the chances of that just got slimmer - and he thinks no one is watching him?
Fourth, Weiner may vote in all the right ways so far as his constituents are concerned, and he may be a top-notch intellect - when he's thinking with his brain - but he obviously lacks the most important quality of all: good judgment. Even public figures are entitled to private lives, but you don't get to decide that you want to be left alone after you've tweeted your indiscretion to the world. Beware, a few clicks can change your life forever.
Fifth, he's now a national punch line. Who wants their congressman being made fun of every night by Jay Leno (if not by Jon Stewart, who's reportedly a pal)? The joke's on him, the joke's on those who voted for him. Let's face it, when there's a "gate" next to your name - as in "Weinergate" - you're in trouble.
That's not to suggest Weiner won't survive this in some capacity, though it's unlikely it will ever be erased from his Wikipedia page. He's hardly the first politician to have made a fool of himself. If sex scandals in D.C. were a dime a dozen - though Weiner claims he never had physical contact with any of these women - we wouldn't have to borrow so much money from the Chinese. Americans have witnessed more reckless behavior - Bill Clinton with Monica Lewinsky (interestingly, Weiner and his wife, a longtime aide to Hillary Clinton, were married 11 months ago by the former president), John Edwards with Rielle Hunter, Eliot Spitzer with the flavor of the month at the Emperors Club, David Vitter with his "madams," Larry Craig in an airport restroom, etc. He's never been one of those public scolds or moralists, so he doesn't have the hypocrisy thing haunting him.
A lapse here and there is part of the human condition, and the wise should always be wary of casting stones, but if this is what Weiner is telling us and his poor wife, one does wonder what he's not. There is no shortage of opportunity, and far fewer prying eyes, in the private sector.
Peoria Journal Star