Rep. Anthony Weiner’s Deception and Slander Scandal
June 14, 2011 4 Comments
I wish Anthony Weiner would resign. Refusing to resign would probably be better for Republicans because it would keep the Weiner sordidness in the spotlight longer. But I wish he would resign because that should be the proper consequence of his conduct. And our children should see that his conduct has consequences.
And I’m not talking about his Twitter dalliances with young women or his pornographic recklessness. I’m talking about lying about it — and not merely lying about it, but accusing someone else (Andrew Breitbart) of making up his alleged pornographic recklessness, and only when his lying case became hopeless, finally admitting his sordidness.
What kids are doing with each other virtually these days disturbs me, for them and their futures — but not nearly as much as the deep character defect of brazen lying and denying your own misconduct by accusing a truth-telling person of lying about you. I’m less concerned with our children learning a lesson about pornography and much more concerned with our children learning a lesson about lying and slandering to cover up a lie.
I’d be fine with Weiner declining to resign and submitting his political fortunes to his constituency had he simply fessed up and said, okay, I made this mistake and will you still permit me to represent you? But he didn’t. Instead, he lied and slandered someone else in his contemptible effort to hide his misdeeds. And so I’m not fine with entrusting what our children must understand about character to Weiner’s constituency.
And that is partly because the Weiner scandal has been mis-described as a “sex scandal.” And so partisan people focus on the tepidness of the sex aspect. Gee, just not that troubling, and he’s such a good liberal attack dog. We need him, notwithstanding.
But it is not a “sex scandal.” There was no sex. There was the sort of adolescent sexual posturing we most earnestly wish our children to eschew. But there was no sex. There was lying and there was slandering someone else to cover up the misdeed. It is a deception and slander scandal. And this is the conduct for which there really must be consequences — or we are sending our children a terrible signal.
It appears the Democratic party leadership understands this distinction, as does President Obama. The former has called upon Weiner to resign, and the latter said Monday, “if it was me, I would resign.”
Weiner proposes instead to take a “leave of absence” from his duties so that he can “seek treatment,” and for what? For an urge to send sexual pictures of himself to girls? Here’s the 1-step program: (slap) don’t be an idiot. The “treatment” Rep. Weiner needs instead is elementary ethical training, a somewhat expanded respect for truth and a child’s capacity for resisting the impulse to accuse someone else of lying about misconduct you know you did. Will he get that treatment?
I’m thinking not. The “sex” is a useful distraction. And it might even sufficiently distract his constituency, jaded as they are by Bill Clinton, Barney Frank, Larry Craig, Mark Foley, Al Gore, Johnny Edwards, and David Vitter, to name a few. They might decide to forgive him for the “sex,” forgetting that his truly grievous misdeed, the character defect that must disqualify him from public office, has nothing whatever to do with sex. And if they do re-elect him, then our children will have their own more deeply jaded appreciation for the qualities we seek in our elected representatives.
UPDATE (June 16, 2011): Weiner announces resignation.