High-tech lynching — remember that?
By Jolene Pohl-Crowell
Irony is a “news” network that claims to be fair and balanced yet holds press conferences for its own announcers to relish in “vindication.” The same network has been rallying the conservative masses to call for the resignation of a very effective congressman who cheats on his wife, which is a bit contradictory since the same conservatives support a married Supreme Court Justice who forced his sex fantasies on a female co-worker.
Congressman Anthony Weiner has been a strong ally of the people of New York and Democrats in general. He has even tried to hold (the alleged sexual deviant) Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas accountable in his decisions about health care. Thomas all but admitted the conflict of interest that exists because his wife is a health industry lobbyist.
There is a lot of conservative hurrah about pictures and dirty talk between married Congressman Weiner and women online, but strangely enough those same conservatives didn’t seem as reactionary against their own party’s rule breakers of the “sanctity” of marriage. It took years for Nevada Senator John Ensign to decide to give up the reins despite the amount of evidence against him and his extramarital activities, lies, pay-offs and dirty notes. Ensign’s buddy, Sen. David Vitter is still proudly serving the American people despite his illegal solicitation of a prostitute. The conservative party has definitely established the standard for bad behavior in Washington, whether they like it or not. The difference between the Dems and the GOP is that Congressman Weiner hasn’t gloated about a moral high ground while relishing in the “unmoral” muck.
It’s a waste of breath to demand the resignation of Congressman Weiner who has not be charged with any violations of ethics thus far. Nancy Pelosi and fellow democratic members of Congress are correct in calling for further investigation of the activities by Weiner. It is not surprising that a handful of Democrats are beginning to throw Congressman Weiner under the bus for the sake of their 2012 candidacies. The call for his resignation by some House members may be enough to pressure Weiner to leave, which would show the Democratic Party as easily frayed and insecure about 2012.
If he remains, Weiner acknowledged the betrayal of his constituents’ trust in his press conference and they will ultimately decide his re-election fate. Although disappointing as his admission of guilt and a week of lies is, there is courage behind his ability to not point fingers at the women involved or the media sensationalists who held his feet to the fire.
Weiner has taken a higher ground than the Washington men involved in tangled sex scandals before him. With the likes of Clarence Thomas, John Ensign and even Bill Clinton, the appropriate response bar is set low. By not calling this social networking scandal a “high-tech lynching” or referring to any ladies involved as “that woman,” Weiner is showing some integrity. Not that he should be given a pat on the back by any means, but a call for resignation because of scandal is extreme. Weiner has done too much for his constituents to back down right now. He definitely needs professional help on how to handle power and stress. Could it be the price to pay for sticking your neck out for the people?
While the GOP talks a good game about caring about 9/11 first-responders, Congressman Weiner fought to take care of those whose health continues to fail after working at the fallen World Trade Center site. Weiner has been the voice of New Yorkers when no one wanted to listen. His constituents continue to defend him because they know how much his voice is needed for their community. Unfortunately, his bravado in public continued into his personal life.
The entertainment elements of this scandal are endless and the conservative news network will not let it rest, as indicated by the nude photo leak (oopsie!). Not surprising since the ratings of such networks aren’t based on effective journalism. The Republican Party and conservative supporters are obviously at an all-time low when it comes to plans for their primary candidates (Trump, Gingrich, Palin), so the distraction of a newlywed adulterer must be a welcome change. Also, the leader of the Weiner cause, Andrew Breitbart, who happily carries around private photo messages of a stranger’s erect penis, seems to think vindication can be found for conservatives in this scandal. More power to them! At this point, anything is better than having to defend the story of Paul Revere or where the president was born. Funny enough, Weinergate cancels out the conservative “outrage” over the 2004 Super Bowl nipple story. Apparently, there’s no problem with nightly coverage of an erection photo for more than a week when there is a vindictive point to be made.
It is disappointing that the leaders of the Democratic Party are asking for a resignation just because they are concerned about what the conservatives think and what it will mean in 2012. Who cares about another philandering politician? If the constituents are defending him then there is no problem.
If Congressman Weiner does decide to resign, or if it turns out he did harm to someone involved, besides in his private life, then it will be the public’s business. Despite the “Don’t Tread on Me” mantra conservatives like to chant, it hasn’t stopped them from enjoying this invasion of privacy. This is political drama at its finest, the fallen man, the broken family, the public humiliation, but there is no point except maybe that the most vocal Congressional leaders are unabashedly scrutinized despite their effective record. There is plenty of disappointment about the congressman’s bad behavior to go around, but the saddest outcome is the loss (resignation or not) of a strong voice for the people of New York on the Hill.
Jolene Pohl-Crowell is a dedicated Dayton democratic volunteer/activist and a WSU grad student. Her favorite past-times include: banter, debate and laughing out loud. She can be reached at JolenePohlCrowell@DaytonCityPaper.com.