Hey—what do Brett Favre, Kanye West and Anthony Weiner have in common? They’ve all distracted us from critical problems in American politics and culture. Also, they’ve all conducted peer-reviewed experiments proving that becoming rich and/or famous does not make your penis larger. It also doesn’t make you smarter. Yesterday, Representative Anthony Weiner (D–NY) announced that yes, it was a picture of his boxer-briefed semi sent to that woman on Twitter, and yes, he sent it. That previous story about how a hacker got into his Twitter and sent a mysterious picture of someone’s dick to one pretty girl from his followers list? Yeah, saying that was a bad idea. Come to think of it, that was probably the second worst idea Anthony Weiner had all month.
Those of us who really like Weiner* and hope to see more videos of him flustering Fox anchors are immensely disappointed by this turn of events. The decision chain that begins with “become congressman” and passes through “take photograph of own penis” before arriving at “caught? construct elaborate lie” evinces both phenomenally poor judgment and extraordinary self-confidence. There’s a name for that particular cocktail, also observed in Brett Favre and Kanye, and it’s “douchebag.” So it turns out that the funny, combative guy from Brooklyn who managed to become a noted ladies’ man despite being named “Weiner” and looking like a cartoon Pat Buchanan drew on a napkin is kind of a douchebag. Now I don’t believe in anything.
Neither does Nancy Pelosi. Exercising her usual political savvy, the House Minority Leader immediately called for an investigation into whether Weiner may have violated ethics rules by sending pictures with* government equipment. There’s nothing illegal about sending pictures of your junk to willing recipients, so in theory Weiner’s job should not be in jeopardy. But don’t worry—if there’s one thing Pelosi et al know, it’s that the American people love shrill moralism. They’ll find something that turns this personal idiocy into professional wrongdoing, and then the Democratic Party will regain its position in voters’ hearts as the party most similar to Republicans.
So they’re cutting him out—or, as the Times so beautifully began one paragraph, “As Democratic leaders sought to apply a tourniquet to Mr. Weiner…” As they’re doing that, Republicans are getting their hound on. Reince Priebus, desperate to become the man with the funniest name in Washington, called on Weiner to resign, then—presumably after no one gasped—criticized Pelosi and DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz for not demanding same themselves. Once people get lambasted in the press for not sufficiently basting lam, it’s a scandal.
Weiner says he won’t resign, but he also said that he didn’t send a picture of his dick to some girl on Twitter. What we have here is a credibility problem, and in politics—universally acknowledged the province of liars and cads—credibility is everything. It’s like Bill Clinton. The problem wasn’t that he got a blowie in the Oval Office; the problem was that he lied about it. That he was called before Congress to either lie or explain said blowie in front of his wife and the American people is irrelevant, just as it was irrelevant last week when Weiner could either tell the truth and be mocked/voted out of office/divorced or lie and give the nation an even better reason to act as his moral superior.
Because we would never make it illegal to cheat on your wife—that’s not how America works. Granted, we have a dedicated corps of investigative journalists constantly trying to figure out if you’re cheating on your wife, and they will definitely ask you about it. But all they want you to do is come clean, maybe lose your marriage, and suffer the same political outcome you would if you unsuccessfully lied about it. Why do you keep lying to us, politicians? And why—when all we want to do is monitor your Twitter communications for information about your sex life—do you keep Tweeting pictures of your dick?
The real victims in all this are the American people. We just want to make this country a good, safe place for families and, you know, God and enterprise, and look what happens. I think Andrew Breitbart put it best:
Somebody has to save Anthony Weiner’s family.