The Embarrassment of Weiner's Friends

by Michael Sean Winters

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Bad enough that now ex-Congressman Anthony Weiner embarrassed himself so publicly. But, last night on the “Ed Show” on MSNBC the indefatigable leftie host and his guests were at pains to defend Weiner. This morning in the New Republic my friend John Judis also casts aspersions on those Democrats who failed to rally around Weiner. I am all for personal loyalty, but this is ridiculous.

It is true that Weiner, so far as we know, broke no laws. And, if the scandal had not involved photos, he might have survived, as Sen. Vitter from Louisiana survived revelations that he had purchased the affections of prostitutes, which is actually against the law.

The image of scandal-plagued politicians is as familiar as late afternoon thunderstorms here in Washington. Shame on all of them for failing to recognize that as recipients of a public trust, it is important to their work itself to hold themselves beyond reproach by conducting themselves in a manner that does not bring disgrace upon themselves or their office. If Anthony Weiner wants to be a jerk, that is between him and his wife. If a congressman wants to be a jerk, that brings shame upon the very fabric of democracy. Additionally, no matter how devoted a congressman Weiner was, no matter how correct he was on any issues, his own behavior completely side-tracked his own ability to advance those issues, and badly damaged the Democrats’ ability to do the same.

But, Weiner lost any chance at mercy when he lied so boldly and publicly and repeatedly about the incident. People will forgive a personal sin. They will question the sinner’s judgment, but we all have skeletons of one sort or another in our closets. What they will not forgive is bold-faced lying. Weiner has no one to blame but himself for the mess he created. I hope that he can get on with his life and certainly wish him no personal ill. But, his decision to resign was the correct one and those who called for his resignation deserve praise not blame.

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