Why Anthony Weiner Should Not Have Resigned

June 16, 2011

Congressman Anthony Weiner (D-NY) did something very, very stupid and inappropriate for a political leader – sure. But this phony righteous indignation by politicians, Republicans and Democrats alike, drives me batty. Sending lewd photos of yourself to someone other than your wife has nothing to do with the job of a Congressman. At this point, no laws have been broken, no one was victimized, and his actions were not hypocritical. Thus, it is a matter for he and his wife to resolve. Now, Weiner’s actions may call his judgment into question, but whether he should hold Congressional office is a matter for voters to decide. Weiner deserves to be censured, but the political and social pressure to resign was unjustified.

Did lying about his misdelivered tweet make the situation worse? Politically, sure; ethically, maybe. I never condone lying, but I am much more concerned with lies about matters of real consequence than with lies about sex, near-sex, or non-sex, as in this case. Would coming clean from the start really have made a difference? I doubt it. People claim outrage to the lying to disguise the true outrage about the sex, or non-sex, as it were. We are regularly told much bigger lies that have actual devastating ramifications  (“weapons of mass destruction,” “tax breaks for the rich create jobs,” “closing Guantanamo Bay,” etc.). Where is the outrage for those lies?

What Anthony Weiner did in lying is par for the political course. If you are disgusted on principle about lying, then change the course. Dig a sand trap in the middle of the fairway. Demand honesty on critical matters where there is currently none. Demanding honesty when it comes to a politician’s victimless, unhypocritical sex life, while ignoring the lies that have real consequences, is absurd.

Democrat weakness also burns me to the core. They are so afraid of being criticized by Republicans that they become paralyzed to fight, like Republican criticism is the Medusa to their progressive agenda. Anthony Weiner was not one of the weak Democrats. He was a yard dog with a long leash.  He kept Republicans at the edge of the yard, scared to tip-toe across the line from reason and justice, to narrow-minded and underhanded governing. It is too bad the leash broke and Weiner ran into traffic. “Dumb dog!”

This political outrage over sexual indiscretions is a chicken and egg dilemma for me. I don’t know if the desire of politicians to claim the moral high ground, especially when it comes to sexual indiscretions, is driving the public to take it more seriously than it is, or if the public’s obsession with sex drives politicians to act like sexual indiscretions are capital offenses. Either way, if Americans would let go of this idea that sex is the ultimate sin and stop the did-you-hear-about-Jane-and-John high school mentality, politicians would gain little by claiming outrage of the other party’s inconsequential indiscretions.

Finally, I just read an article on Slate.com that proposed a brilliant solution for Anthony Weiner: The author suggested that he should resign and run in the special election to fill his vacated House seat. This allows Weiner to take political responsibility for his foolish behavior and allows the voters to decide his fate. If they think his actions are inexcusable, then they don’t re-elect him. If they can look past it, they do. If elected, the Democratic party will be free to return him to his role as the Party yard dog, this time with a stronger leash, of course.

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