Meditations on a Wiener

Just a few thoughts on Congressman Wiener and his big reveal this past week.

Most defenders of Wiener have provided the baffling defense that what he did was legal, so it really isn’t our business. Who the hell cares about that? It’s icky. And as Megan McArdle points out – marriage norms are worth protecting with stigma. Also, shaming online creeps seems like a worthy exercise too.

Anyway, Hendrick Hertzberg offers this opinion:

The problem is that lying is an inherent part of adultery and, by extension, of any illicit or potentially embarrassing sexual activity or proclivity. By itself, the fact that a person has lied about sex tells you nothing about that person’s general propensity to lie.

Would he say the same thing about lying on your taxes, or expense reports? Perhaps some people really do only ever lie about one thing in their lives- they compartmentalize. But that is precisely the kind of mental exercise that we don’t want politicians to engage in – to make special expemtions for themselves.Of course, this is a routine failing in our politicians.

My colleague and friend Daniel McCarthy had the exact opposite reaction as I did to Wiener’s press conference. I found his confused looking sobbing and general helplessness excited my pity for him. McCarthy writes:

Weiner’s blubbering was worse than the mischief itself. If you’re going to fool around in the first place, at least have the anatomy not to grovel once you get caught. What does the voting public get out of seeing a man snivel and cry on live TV? Better a brazen reprobate than a box of soggy Kleenex — and Weiner was meant to be a tough-guy Noo Yawker. You wouldn’t have seen Warren Harding moist-eyed and quavering if the newspapers had caught him mailing naughty Daguerreotypes to young flappers. But Weiner is an oh-so-sensitive cad

No, no, no. If he was actually charming a series of 20 years olds into his bed, it might work on the stage to give the James Bond grin and move on. But the sniveling and crying perfectly matches the pathetic nature of his indiscretion. This guy started Facebook stalking a girl after she wrote “hott” on a video of him speaking. A man could be perversely proud of boffing a series of hot liberal chicks; he cannot take pride of matching juvenile puns to pictures of his shirtless torso with his cats. There is nothing left but the old fashioned blubbering American altar-call, “Just as I am, Lord.”

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