THE HUMBLE LIBERTARIAN

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Monday, June 13, 2011

The Weiner Show

It has been a comedian’s dream come true.

The only way Anthony Weiner’s scandal could have been a greater blessing for the humor industry is if the congressman had been a Republican. He had the right name and the right body part and he accomplished it without any help in less than 140 characters.

As funny and as awkward as this ordeal has been, this scandal says a lot about the state of the republic.

At only 46, Congressman Weiner is a hero to liberals as one of their own fighting for their causes in the House of Representatives. Representing parts of Brooklyn and Queens, Weiner is in one of the safest seats in Congress. It was not inconceivable that he could have succeeded Charlie Rangel as the embodiment of New York liberalism and eternal doler of entitlement goodies.

When Weiner inexplicably tweeted a lewd picture of himself, he potentially ruined what might have been a long and highly-lauded political career.

But it would say a lot about us as a country if this congressman resigned only because he blundered his way into a sex scandal.

Politically speaking, Republicans have nothing to gain by Weiner’s resignation, if it comes. No Republican and no conservative of any stripe is about to represent Brooklyn. Weiner’s departure would be marked by another liberal sprouting up in his place.

So why the fixation on an arrogant congressman’s arrogant personal behavior? Does it say something about us as a people that we expect or even demand an elected official resign if he proves to be a little morally, uh ... questionable, but not when he does damage to the economic fiber of the nation?

If ours was a culture that was educated, not merely schooled in factories of the lowest common denominator, and we had serious discussions about the finances of the country or about the affairs of the world, we might not even pay attention to Anthony Weiner’s Twitter account. His public life would have been abhorrent enough.

If the U.S. economy bottoms out and the entire budget is consumed by entitlements alone, what will we say about Anthony Weiner’s admittedly small role in perpetuating and building the welfare state? Will it be more or less than what is said about his clumsy impersonation of Brett Favre?

And what of Twitter? Should we expect to hear calls for some sort of regulation of these social media services in the name of protecting people from committing these acts of stupidity? Ironically, Anthony Weiner has exactly the sort of voting record of someone who would endorse such a policy.

Let us also remember that it has taken less than a week for Weiner’s story to change from “my account was hacked” to “I lied.” How much longer will it take for an attention-deficit public to forget the indiscretions of Weiner especially after future sex scandals involving politicians on Facebook and Twitter surface?

To think of examples of philandering politicians who humiliated themselves without the aid of social media, who remembers what Mark Sanford did? Even Newt Gingrich, the liberal media’s #1 bogeyman of the 1990s, is considered a serious candidate for the highest office and Weiner’s transgressions are certainly not worse than what the former speaker of the House did. At 46, there is little reason to believe this is Anthony Weiner’s swan song.

If only Americans were as concerned with the finances and long-term future of their country as they are with Weiner’s Twitter account, we might have an opportunity to avoid European-style debt crises.

Rather than relieving the American taxpayers of scum like Weiner, Twitter probably only makes it easier for us to forget them and allow them to ultimately re-enter the city gates.

Diamonds may be forever but scandals from the likes of Anthony Weiner are temporary at best.


Carl Wicklander,
Regular Columnist, THL
Articles Author's Page Website