Screw the Weiner. Give Me a Real Scandal!

I believe I’ve mentioned that going into the last presidential election cycle I was a big fan of John Edwards. As campaign messages go I thought that his “Two Americas” bit was dead on and very saleable. (And it still is, maybe more than ever.) Plus,I assumed that after his ’04 run with John Kerry he was fully geared for the absurdities of the campaign trail … and, frankly, I thought what the Democrats needed was a slick, smart trial lawyer to counter-attack the usual Karl Rove-style selective outrage crap. Also, I figured he might do okay with the female vote.

Lately I’ve also admired the work of Anthony Weiner. In a world of sawdust dull Harry Reids, Henry Waxmans and, well, John Kerrys, I saw some value in a guy who was both on target legislatively and politically and could deliver a steady stream smart bombs on GOP hypocrisies with a satirist’s wit. (Hence the voracity with which he’s being gutted.)

So, in the realm of understatement, last week was a tough one, what with Edwards indicted for kiting campaign money into the care and keeping of his astral-crystal lover mama and Weiner exposed as — what else do you call it? an utter, compulsive idiot — for cyber sexting female fans. Right now I can’t remember where I read or heard someone who knew Edwards pre-’04 talking about the “astonishing transformation” that came over the guy after he got a killer dose of the idolatry that comes from intense public exposure .,.. in a fevered partisan environment. . The phrase “down to earth” was even used. If Anthony Weiner has undergone something of the same, I don’t know, except of course that Jon Stewart considers him a friend and Stewart doesn’t strike me as a guy who readily embraces wanton douche bags.

But this latest … epic scandal, a mostly obscure congressman from Queens/Brooklyn flirting with women to whom he is not married, but as far as we know not breaking any laws … got me thinking again on the Republicans’ singular failure over the past three years. Namely, the inability to hang anything … anything … on Barack Obama. And by “anything” I mean some kind of sexual scandalpalooza. Something titanic. Like, you know,  Paula Jones via the earth-shaking Whitewater real estate deal. What could possibly give? Even if Obama has managed to keep his pants zipped and his fingers off his Blackberry camera all of his career, the likes of Andrew Breitbart should have made something up by now. The Presidential equivalent of a Shirley Sherrod moment. Get video of Obama with Mrs. Sarkozy, Carla Bruni, feed it back and forth through an Avid editing deck and voila! insinuation of scandal and a news cycle dominating story that knocks the Paul Ryan budget debacle, and the looming establishment GOP v. Tea Party crusaders brawl deep into the background.

The book “Game Change” by Mark Halperin and John Heileman, (soon to be a major movie), was a great read for all the head-slapping bungling, back-stabbing, second-guessing, desperation and craven-ness of everyone on the ’08 campaign trail … except Obama. Point being again, we elected the right guy in terms of someone fully committed to doing the job he was elected to do, and considering the quality of the candidates the Republicans have been swooning over, Donald Trump, Sarah Palin, Mitt Romney, Herman Cain and our own “courageous”, budget-balancing choirboy, Tim Pawlenty, he should get elected again.

But now I am wondering, what with the string of all the anti-gay Republicans caught flagrante delicta with male hookers (and worse), Nev. Sen. John Ensign’s “C” Street Bible Study Group/hot chick clearing house, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Edwards and Weiner how much the public really cares anymore about the sexual compulsions of influential men swamped with constant, easy access to “somethin’ somethin'” on the side? How soon does this kind of … historically routine … behavior hit the tipping point equivalent  of having smoked a few joints in college? The point where you just can’t care that much … about something that matters so little to you?

If I were to advise Weiner on a career path, I’d suggest he follow Eliot Spitzer’s lead and move to better paying job with a bigger megaphone for attacking the real scandals of our age … the stuff that actually does matter, a hell of a lot, to everyone whether they’re being reminded of it hourly by the mainstream press or not.

Do I have to remind you that as of this date not one key person involved Wall Street’s world economic collapse home mortgage derivatives scandal, (a real scandal, albeit one lacking any naked pictures), has yet gone to jail, and the government is being successfully stymied in pressing indictments against Goldman Sachs for what appear to be beyond flagrant acts of fraud? Weiner on cable news could for example get New York Times columnist Andrew Ross Sorkin (author of “Too Big to Fail”) on with Rolling Stone’s Matt Taibbi to discuss their competing views of the veracity/duplicity of Goldman, Sachs’ management team. (Sorkin’s Tuesday column is essentially a public response to Taibbi’s piece of May 10, and here Taibbi responds to Sorkin.)

It ain’t exactly beefcake on Twitter, but I for one am a lot more taken with the gravity of that scandal than this latest Tale of the Weiner.

18 thoughts on “Screw the Weiner. Give Me a Real Scandal!

  1. Momkat of Apple Valley says:

    I hope Weiner can survive all the silliness and faux outrage. He’s a smart cookie and I’d hate to not see him again. What is it with these, wow–men no women–who think they can act on every silly impulse with no consequences? So disappointing.

    1. Mike Thomas says:

      Momkat –
      So you are defending this guy and blaming the woman? Are there no other qualified people in this country to represent us in Congress that we have to lower ourselves to allowing a lying pervert to represent us?

      1. Momkat of Apple Valley says:

        Mike, why would you think I was blaming the woman? I just couldn’t come up with a woman in power caught with her pants or shirt off in a similar manner. Read my post again.

      2. Mike Thomas says:

        Momkat – To quote you “What is it with these, wow–men no women–who think they can act on every silly impulse with no consequences?” If you read the line outline it sounds like you are pivoting in the sentence and actually blaming the women, if you do not, then great we agree.
        However I still stand by my statement, don’t we expect more in a representative than this guy? Do we have a shortage of qualified smart people that do not twitter their bodies to women online?

      3. Momkat of Apple Valley says:

        Mike, I believe it’s a punctuation misunderstanding. ‘What is it with these men (no women–not any women) who….’ If i were pivoting it would be ‘these men, no, women who’. Sorry to confuse you.

        Apparently we *do* have a shortage of qualified smart men in politics who are able to restrain themselves. Clinton, Elliot, Vitter, Ensign, Gingrich, Sanford, Weiner and more to come.

  2. Newt says:

    So we now learn Cocktail Weenie hit on a 17-year-old child. I am sure Pelosi sees nothing wrong with that.

  3. john sherman says:

    It’s a bit difficult to figure out what makes a scandal a SCANDAL. As far as I can tell Wiener has done much less actual wrong than most of the other political creeps, but all the hounds are baying for his resignation. Wiener ought to wait for David Vitter, who apparently did commit the same crime that forced Eliot Spitzer’s resignation, to resign before he considers it. At least he is not a piety-mouthing, family values hypocrite like Vitter.

    Rachel Maddow had a good bit a week ago graphing the scandals on grid with a vertical creepiness axis and an horizontal prosecuteability one. Since she weighted betrayal and abuse of power heavily, John Ensign was even further up in the right hand corner than John Edwards while Wiener didn’t make much of a showing.

    During the “Monica-gate” scandal I found myself wondering why the press would cover oral sex obsessively and not produce one intelligent story about the economy until I realized that they probably knew something about oral sex.

  4. Mike Kennedy says:

    Uh, of course Wiener has done nothing wrong legally, just incredibly dumb and stupid. Any moron with an IQ above 80 wouldn’t put out full pictures of himself when he is a well known politician. Wait. How about a government funded study on the average IQ of those in Congress. This guy couldn’t help himself. I hope he doesn’t resign. Let the voters decide….and in the meantime….let the Wiener jokes continue.

    1. Jim Leinfelder says:

      Of course, any moron with an IQ above 80 is, well, definitively not a moron, but merely low average intelligence. But don’t you reckon this is more to do with BPD narcissism and arrested development than IQ.

      Often as not, it strikes me that the guy who seeks public office tends to be just the sort of self-involved risk taker who would actually have the capacity to think women are eager to see his glabrous pecs and cotton-swathed tumescence via text. But that wouldn’t keep him out of MENSA. Actually, it’s been my impression that its just that sort of MMPI profile that would probably account for MENSA.

      Anyway, of all the suggestions offered Weiner, I actually liked Chris Matthews’ best: Resign and then run in the special election. Boom! I gotchyer constituent services RIGHT HERE.

  5. Mike Kennedy says:

    Yes, I agree….narcissism and arrested development probably have more to do with this than IQ….however, I have been accused of being both a narcissist and suffering from arrested development (like the joke goes I’ve never had a mid life crisis because I’m stuck in adolesence), and I’ve never had any inclination to run for Congress — though it can be argued I have a good name for politics.

    Finally, if you are going to text photos of yourself to young women, perhaps you better be cut up and ripped — Mr. Wiener is soft…………uh around the middle that is. Don’t be showing off a 24 pack, but then that to your point about how self absorbed he is. He actually thinks he looks like a stud.

    1. Jim Leinfelder says:

      I really think that needing to show off your physique texting or Tweeting to women who are complete strangers at the age of 46, no matter what one’s level of buffness may be, is a major mental health red flag.

      1. Jim Leinfelder says:


        If that were the case, why would Rep. Weiner be seeking “help” for this compulsion that you seem to be implying is a harmless shift in norms? At 46, the guy’s in, what, the 11th month of his marriage, expecting a child, and yet he has such an inchoate sense of self that he feels the need to obsessively engage in this puerile exhibitionism in attempt to cobble one together, becoming finally an ungovernable jones which is now ruining every aspect of his tenuous adult life?

        The newness of the technological medium hardly mitigates the sorry state of the man’s inner life.

  6. Mike Kennedy says:

    Second to last sentence should have read……..”but then that goes to your point about how self absorbed he is.” Haven’t posted in some time. So I’m using that as an excuse for being sloppy.

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