Scattered thoughts on Weiner


Erik Kain

Erik writes about video games at Forbes and politics at Mother Jones. He's the contributor of The League though he hasn't written much here lately. He can be found occasionally composing 140 character cultural analysis on Twitter.

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143 Responses

  1. Avatar North says:

    Well the sooner he’s gone, one way or the other, off the radar the happier I’ll be.Report

  2. Avatar Jaybird says:

    I liked your 2) section.

    At the risk of opening a discussion of occipital application of lumber, I like what McMegan had to say about this yesterday.

    Here’s the excerpt:

    Society takes a greater interest in marriages than in other relationships because society, as well as the individual, has an interest in strong marriages. Strong marriages support a strong society. And society supports the marriage by encouraging people to do the very hard work of keeping their promises. One of the ways in which society ensures strong marriages is by tut-tutting (or worse) at people who don’t keep to their vows: who abandon spouses, treat them badly, or yes, violate their trust by engaging in covert sexual activity. I’m a big fan of sexual privacy. But you cannot have a public institution that rests in part on fidelity, and also complete privacy on those matters.

    Call me old-fashioned, but I think that social sanction can be very helpful in assisting us in doing important but difficult things. Marriage is stronger if people who find out that their friends are cheating don’t say, “Awesome, is he hot?” but “How could you do that to Jason?” Marriage is stronger if people who cheat are viewed with slight revulsion, and so are the (knowing) people who they cheat with. Marriage is stronger when people who decide not to care for seriously ill spouses are met with an incredulous “What the hell is wrong with you?”, not “Yeah, I couldn’t handle that either.” Of course it would be nicer if we didn’t need this sort of help. But we are a flawed species.Report

    • Avatar Pat Cahalan says:

      > But you cannot have a public institution that
      > rests in part on fidelity, and also complete
      > privacy on those matters.

      I dunno about this one. One, I’m not certain that marriage is a public institution in the way that Megan may think it is. There’s “public”, and then there’s “public”. Two, it’s none of my fishing business what happens in a marriage outside the tribe.

      > Marriage is stronger if people who find out that
      > their friends are cheating don’t say, “Awesome,
      > is he hot?” but “How could you do that to Jason?”

      This I agree with. However, it’s heavily predicated on my understanding of Jason, Mrs. Jason, and their relationship.

      For my friends, I have some sort of idea who Jason and Mrs. Jason are, and in many cases I have some idea what their relationship is. In some subset of them, I’d have an opinion (if asked) about what they ought or not ought to be doin’ between the sheets (or otherwise), with their spouse (or otherwise). In some smaller subset of them, I’d actually be willing to offer that opinion without making the problem worse.

      That’s a pretty small sub-sub-subset of my tribe. Which is itself a vanishingly small subset of this crazy-ass society.

      For someone I haven’t met, and haven’t invited over to dinner, and don’t hang out with, and indeed cannot differentiate from some other random member of our 300+ million population (except for the fact that he’s a representative member of the power structure for an entirely different constituency), I don’t really have much to say about the state of his relationship with his wife.

      I know people who are in marriages (their definition) that bear no resemblance whatsoever to my marriage (my definition) in this reality or any other countable alternate universes’ reality.

      E.D. sez in the OP:

      > I’m not a puritan because I think a married man
      > should be faithful to his wife. If you don’t want
      > to be faithful to your wife, don’t get married.
      > I’m allowed to think a guy is a scumbag for
      > acting like a scumbag without being tarred
      > as a puritan.

      I think Weiner is likely treating his relationship with his wife badly. That makes him someone that I wouldn’t want dating or marrying someone whom I cared about. But I don’t know that this has anything to do with his ability to participate in governance (historical signs point to “megh”).

      > We should care about this just like we care about
      > any other act of deceit (legal or not) from our
      > elected officials: we entrust them with a great
      > deal of power.

      I think there’s a large class of “acts of deceit”. Lumping this one in that huge general class isn’t terribly helpful IMO.

      I don’t know very many people who are entirely honest with themselves, let alone everybody else. If we treat this deceit the same as, say, accepting bribes and lying about it, we’re left with an inability to have a representative government.

      If that’s where you want to go, okay 🙂Report

      • Avatar Jaybird says:

        Well, marriage is two distinct things and people jump back and forth between these two distinct things in any given conversation on marriage.

        Marriage in the Eyes of God which entails all of the stuff like snuggling and feeling her forehead when she says “do I have a fever?” and pushing the cart and listening about her day and telling her about yours and having cats walk on you first thing in the morning. (It seems obvious to me that gay folks can, in fact, achieve this as well as heterosexual folks can which is why I am a big supporter of opening up same-sex marriage when it comes to…)

        Marriage in the Eyes of the State. This is where all of the boring manila folder crap happens. The party of the first part. Inheritance law. Insurance policies. Taxes.

        MES is how society gives its support to MEG. MEG, as an institution, has lasted about as long as civilization. (Personally, I have no problem pinpointing the start of civilization at the moment of normalization of ostensibly monogamous units in any given group of tool users). MES is one of the few tools we have to approve of MEG and refusal to acknowledge MES is one of the few civilized tools we have to disapprove of certain pairings.

        The MEG is private. Thank goodness for that.
        The MES is public. It can be nothing but.

        I think Weiner is likely treating his relationship with his wife badly. That makes him someone that I wouldn’t want dating or marrying someone whom I cared about. But I don’t know that this has anything to do with his ability to participate in governance (historical signs point to “megh”).

        I don’t think he should have a security clearance. He’s got some judgment issues. Lower level congressional stuff should be fine.Report

        • Avatar Pat Cahalan says:

          > I don’t think he should have a security clearance.
          > He’s got some judgment issues.

          He certainly has control issues. That’s more to the point here. But yeah, I agree.Report

    • Avatar tom van dyke says:

      I agree with the “public institution” angle, and Weiner’s open contempt for it.

      If he cheated on his girlfriend, well, that’s their lookout. What goes on in a “relationship” is indeed none of the public’s business. This can’t be about breaking vows to his wife or even contravening sexual morality, an antiquated notion still held by the benighted.

      There is the angle that he conflated Anthony Weiner the public man and Weiner the private man. As it’s unfolding,

      WASHINGTON (AP) – Two women who chatted online with Anthony Weiner say they were looking for political discussions, not sex talk.

      Gennette Cordova, who received the photo of Weiner’s crotch in gray underwear, says the online conversation was mostly in support of Weiner’s politics. The 21-year-old college student from Washington state told The New York Times that getting the photo was such a startling turn she assumed the message was fake.

      Cordova says she “never sent him any suggestive messages.”

      A Las Vegas woman says her online banter with Weiner began flirtatiously and he escalated to graphic comments. Lisa Weiss tells Inside Edition she wanted to talk politics — but, in her words, “he would turn it creepy.”

      That’s not right, a betrayal of his office, and an exploitation of his power, and what makes it a public matter.

      He also lied through his teeth to the media and the public, and I’m not ready to give into the meme that character doesn’t matter, only the ability to function as a good technocrat, but that’s just me.

      Mostly this reflects on his party, but after Bill Clinton, we’ve been there done that, so the horserace angle is moot. That pony died a long time ago and there’s no use beating on it further. There are enough Dems out there feigning outrage to give the party cover; The GOP lost points for blowing it on Mark Foley and gained none for bouncing Rep. Chris Lee for a far tamer version of the Weiner affair. That’s the way it is.

      Unless something changes and Weiner actually does resign [I suppose it’s possible; there are more shoes dropping every day], the only good to come of this is that we might hear less from the fiercely unpleasant Weiner. But if Eliot Spitzer is any gauge, even that good will be fleeting.Report

      • Avatar Koz says:

        “Mostly this reflects on his party, but after Bill Clinton, we’ve been there done that, so the horserace angle is moot.”

        I don’t think it is, necessarily. This one, is in some odd ways, a particularly Demo sex scandal. And, it could also have some legs like David Letterman who work Buttafuoco material for years. If it’s moot, it’s because Weiner isn’t important enough for the D’s to go to the mat for.Report

      • Avatar dexter says:

        If diaper boy Vitter, who broke laws, can stay in office so can Weiner. At least Weiner did not run on a family values platform; so while I find it distasteful and stupid, it ain’t quite as hypocrictical as some of the Republican’s actions that come to mind.Report

        • Avatar Koz says:

          Yeah, I think he’ll probably stay. If he’s in office a week from now and there’s no news, it’ll be interesting to see how the story plays then.Report

        • Avatar tom van dyke says:

          That would be a tu quoque, Mr. Dexter. Further, nobody’s talking laws, but propriety, if such a thing still exists. Vitter’s scandal was private, Weiner’s was baldfaced and at least semi-public.

          [For the record, I’m rather soft on l’affair Lewinsky, and as it turned out, those Republicans who most called for their pound of flesh found themselves on the outs with the electorate. Our sympathies remain with Hester Prynne.]

          As for the “hypocrisy” game, it’s not self-evident that falling short of one’s ideals is worse than having no ideals atall. It’s easy to discern how Vitter fell short of his ideals; I have no clue as to what Weiner’s might even be.Report

      • Avatar Pat Cahalan says:

        >> A Las Vegas woman says her online banter with
        >> Weiner began flirtatiously and he escalated to
        >> graphic comments. Lisa Weiss tells Inside
        >> Edition she wanted to talk politics — but, in her
        >> words, “he would turn it creepy.”

        > That’s not right, a betrayal of his office, and an
        > exploitation of his power, and what makes it a
        > public matter.

        It’s a betrayal of his professionalism, yeah. But to cross the line to “exploitation of his power”. Hm. It’s not like he was saying, “Blow me or I will halt your permit application”, or saying, “I’m your boss so I can send you sexually explicit information that makes you uncomfortable and you can’t do anything about it because I’ll fire you.” (Of course, that may all come to light later).

        I mean, in practical terms, he’s granting a huge amount of power to whoever he’s talking to, enough to potentially derail his political career.Report

        • Avatar tom van dyke says:

          Well Pat, I didn’t go as far as calling it an abuse of power, which fits your examples, just an exploitation. But I’ll stipulate. The fact is that ’twas he who made it a public matter by using his entree as Congressman Anthony Weiner.

          As for his party, I simply pointed out that the GOP pays a price for not bouncing a Mark Foley immediately, but the Dems pay no price one way or the other. Just an observation on the horserace angle. It is what it is. Since there’s no legal mechanism in play here, it’s only his party that has the mustard to bounce him, and that appears unlikely at this time.

          And in a weird pretzel of the “hypocrisy game,” for Dems to go after Weiner after defending Clinton would be cognitively dissonant. 😉Report

          • Avatar Pat Cahalan says:

            > I didn’t go as far as calling it an abuse of
            > power, which fits your examples, just an
            > exploitation.


            > The fact is that ’twas he who made it a public
            > matter by using his entree as Congressman
            > Anthony Weiner.

            Yeah, that’s a fair point, Tom. I missed the nuance.

            > And in a weird pretzel of the “hypocrisy game,”
            > for Dems to go after Weiner after defending
            > Clinton would be cognitively dissonant. 😉

            Mebbe. One could also argue that it’s clearing away cognitive dissonance, no?

            Although I’d imagine that if the Dems go after Weiner, it’s more a case of ruthless pragmatism.Report

      • Avatar Pat Cahalan says:


        > Mostly this reflects on his party, but after Bill
        > Clinton, we’ve been there done that, so the
        > horserace angle is moot.

        This reflects on his party about as much as gay Republican sex scandals reflect on their party, iff’n you ask me. Which ain’t much.Report

  3. Avatar ted whalen says:

    The word we’re looking for is not “puritan” or “prude”, but “pharisee”. If we’re going to take marriage seriously as a sacramental commitment, the proper response to a breach of that commitment isn’t pharisitical condemnation, it’s loving concern for the repair (if possible) of the relationship. Maybe I’m odd, but I don’t think treating marriage as a contract with certain (social or legal) penalties for breach does any favors for the institution.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird says:

      You don’t think that cultural downsides for stuff like “cheating” does any favors to the institution?


      • Avatar Rufus F. says:

        But is “social and legal” the same as cultural? Or does it have to be?Report

        • Avatar Jaybird says:

          I probably use social as a synonym for cultural.

          Should I stop?Report

          • Avatar Rufus F. says:

            I think they can be interchangeable, sure, but it depends on the person using them. When I say ‘social’ I’m usually referring to the relationships between people in groups and how they compose society; when I say ‘culture’ I’m referring to the expressions of the people in that society and usually how they articulate a worldview. So, to me, social and cultural punishments look very different. But, that could just be a weird tick of mine.Report

      • Avatar ted whalen says:

        I’m not sure. I’ve been struggling with my own views on the institution of marriage lately, mostly in response to a document produced by Episcopal theologians on same-sex marriage:

        Some of the passages had to do with marriage as an institution for imperfect people, and maybe that’s been on my mind lately [not sure how to blockquote, but this a quote here]:

        The prayers of the church identify marriage as a discipline for sinners: “Give them grace, when they hurt each other, to recognize and acknowledge their fault” (BCP, 429). The discipline of marriage relies on the difficulty of living with another “in prosperity and adversity” not to avoid but precisely to expose our faults—so that they can be healed. Nor does the clause “when they hurt each other” confine itself to minor slights. Since hurt and acknowledgment—sin and confession—are central to Christian growth and sacrament, the next prayer sets their discipline in the theater of the whole fallen world: “Make their life together a sign of Christ’s love to this sinful and broken world, that unity may overcome estrangement, forgiveness heal guilt, and joy conquer despair” (BCP, 429). These vows mark marriage as an arduous form of training in virtue, by which the promises come true, that God will heal human waywardness and teach us to love (Hos. 14:4; Jer. 3:22).Report

    • Avatar E.D. Kain says:

      Ted, that sounds to me like you’re saying that A) everyone cheats and therefore B) nobody should ever criticize cheating. If your first premise is false then your conclusion fails. I’m not at all sure that everyone cheats.Report

      • Avatar Rufus F. says:

        Dude, where did you see A) in his comment?Report

        • Avatar E.D. Kain says:

          Pharisees are hypocrites. Implying that we are hypocrites is to imply that everyone is guilty of something similar. Unless I am reading that wrong entirely and pharisee refers to something else.Report

          • Avatar Rufus F. says:

            Ah, okay. Gotcha. Well, he can explain, but I took pharisee as meaning we’re all (society) involved with the sacrament and the pharisees would be ones who are quicker to condemn others’ failings instead of working to support the actual sacramental relationships. That sounds even more confusing, but I didn’t take it as saying we’re all guilty of something similar.Report

          • Avatar RTod says:

            That makes more sense. I had been thinking about Pharisees being really old and Jewish, and was wondering why Ted though all Weiner’s critics lived in Florida.Report

          • Avatar ted whalen says:

            Whoa, I apologize if that was the sense in which you took my comment. I was aiming more for something like rigid application of rules and condemnation of deviancy, perhaps at the expense of more important aspects.Report

          • Avatar BlaiseP says:

            The Pharisees have gotten a bum rap. Unlike the Saducees, the Pharisees were generalists, mostly concerned with keeping Jewish identity alive in the face of assimilation. Nor were they the hypocrites we think of today: they were good scholars and took a flexible approach to the enforcement of Talmudic law. They did take adultery very seriously, though. The Romans allowed the cuckold to kill the adulterer and would exile the adulteress to some barren island. The Romans actually had a crime, lenocinium — if you were cuckolded and knew about it and didn’t do anything about it, you were guilty, too. You were treated like a pimp, as if your own wife were a prostitute.

            One of the questions they asked Jesus concerned a woman married multiple times. In heaven, who would be her husband? Jesus replied that heaven was different enough to make marriage irrelevant.

            Jesus writes in the dust as the woman caught in adultery is brought before him: “Let he who has committed no sin cast the first stone.” I love Rembrandt’s painting of the scene. Off to the right, peering through the doorway is the adulterer.Report

  4. Avatar Jaybird says:

    This may or may not be of interest in l’affaire Weiner but, apparently, Mrs. Weiner is knocked up.Report

  5. Avatar greginak says:

    Well once we get past the Weiner-gate i’m sure the media will give massive attention to the Clarence Thomas Friday document dump about his conflict riddled finances. Yeah right sure thats gonna happen.Report

    • Avatar E.D. Kain says:

      What Clarence Thomas really needs is a sex scandal!Report

    • Avatar Koz says:

      Did you check out the latest news on Obamacare. A Cato blog following the appellate circuit says PPACA is going down. He was extrapolating from oral arguments so that’s kinda iffy but it’s good news nonetheless.

      And if it goes down there, I think it’s down for the count. The Republicans won’t fund it and it’ll die even if SCOTUS tries to revive it.Report

      • Avatar North says:

        Stuff and nonsense Koz ol’ shoe. You tried this very same line the last time PPACA booked a loss in court but the injunction on the hostile ruling was eventually granted, the appeal proceeded and PPACA continued putting along as legislated. If PPACA is going to be killed in the courts it’ll be at the SCOTUS level or not at all.Report

        • Avatar Koz says:

          Huh. I don’t remember that one. Pics or shens North.Report

          • Avatar North says:

            To quote you:
            “What law? Obamacare, aka ACA is an ex-law since it has been declared unconstitutional in its entirety by federal District Court Judge Roger Vinson.”

            That’s be comment #8 under this post.

            • Avatar Koz says:

              I dunno, looks pretty clear to me. It was an ex-law (or should have been) for a week or so.

              If the 11th circuit strikes down the mandate or all of PPACA, SCOTUS can rule that it’s constitutional at some later time, but it can’t make the Congress fund it. And if we go back to shutdown, the judge won’t fund it either.

              Btw, did you see that blogpost in the NYT about the “Gang of Five” deal?Report

          • Avatar Koz says:

            It’s in the pipeline for this year. It doesn’t have to be in the pipeline for next year. If the Appeals Court partially or completely voids PPACA. it’s approval is in the 30s, and the GOP (and Demo’s) are scrounging the under the sofa cushions for loose change, what do you think is gonna happen.

            The GOP would be committing malpractice if they funded it.Report

            • Avatar BlaiseP says:

              Tell you how this is going down. Big Healthco has already made its deals with the Congress: they’ve already made their plans on that basis. The Blue Crosses have, anyway, I can say that much without violating confidentiality agreements. They will quietly and firmly tell the GOP to STFU and let them do business, this is the bill they wanted.Report

              • Avatar Koz says:

                Yeah. Like the 11th Circuit really takes orders from Blue Cross. For that matter, the GOP doesn’t take orders from them either.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP says:

                These things have a way of working themselves out, usually when corporate America squeezes the living doo-doo out of intemperate politicians like so much toothpaste. They did it to Obama and they will do it to the GOP and I will tell you exactly who will do it, a woman named Karen Ignagni.Report

  6. Avatar TycheSD says:

    My amateur political consultant advice to Anthony Weiner on how to weather this crisis:

    1) Stay in your job and attempt to redeem yourself
    2) Get counseling – you have what appears to be an addiction problem
    3) Keep a low profile and your nose to the grindstone – avoid further controversy
    4) In a week or so, take your wife out to dinner in your districtReport

  7. Avatar RTod says:

    I’d like to see some amount of attention focused on the issue I find most revealing about Weiner post-scandal.

    For me it isn’t the infidelity – I agree with what E.D. says, but I suspect that the kind of narcissistic alpha dog that seeks as much media spotlight as Weiner has IS the kind of guy that cheats on his spouse. I know every pol on that stage wants us to believe that their family life is just like mine, but that’s bullshit. If you had the same relationship with your wife and kids that I do with mine, you wouldn’t have chosen a lifestyle where you see them so rarely and expose them to damaging and unnecessary scrutiny. And frankly, to look at it from the other direction my wife would never in a million years have married a guy like that or been ok with me pursuing a career that essentially made us a family in name only. It’s not that I’m unsympathetic to his wife, but to paraphrase old wisdom: if you choose the excitement of marrying Donald Trump, don’t be overly shocked when he dumps your ass for a younger bimbo in ten years.

    And it isn’t the lie to attempt to not get caught. Call me cynical, but if at this point you still believe the other side’s guys lie all the time, but *my* guy would never, ever do that you are a rube. Ain’t saying that that’s OK, just saying it’s the way the real world works. Throw him out for not being 100% honest, but he’ll just be replaced by someone that also lies for political reasons.

    No, what is the central issue for me about why he should be forced to resign (or be fired at the next election) by his constituents is the sheer magnitude of his stupidity. It’s 2011 and your congressman isn’t bright enough (or can’t have sufficient impulse control) to think twice about tweeting his package to multiple women he doesn’t even know? I know we’re in this “brave new world” of media where the “rules are being rewritten,” but come on. Even if you still think of the web as a series of tubes, you should be bright enough to know how self-destructively and monumentally stupid Weiner’s choices were.

    If I were a constituent, I wouldn’t want anyone that moronic in charge of making and passing the laws that governed me.Report

    • Avatar ted whalen says:

      I don’t think we get a choice as to whether we’ll be represented by a moron, we only get to choose what kind of moron will be our representative.Report

      • Avatar Koz says:

        Actually, no. And this is important.

        Elias wrote a post on his blog about the budget negotiations that (surprising to me at least) has gotten no comments except one from me. If the NYT blog is right, there’s been a substantial development that will shift the line of scrimmage of our politics for the better. The deal apparently consists of $4.7T in spending cuts over the next decade spending cuts and no tax increases.

        Like Will Shakespeare wrote, there’s many a slip twist the cup and the lip but if this goes through, this will be the first real win for limited government in forever. We expect our politicians to act like the Weiners and the Gincriches. But it doesn’t have to be that way at all, and sometimes it isn’t.Report

  8. Avatar Rufus F. says:

    Okay, well, to respond to the post by the numbers:
    1) This is a really good point. It makes me feel a tad guilty for responding instead of posting on something else, but I get what you’re saying here.

    2) Who called you a Puritan? If I did, I sure didn’t mean to and I don’t think you’re a Puritan. I’d agree that being a Puritan is definitely more than thinking, “a married man should be faithful to his wife.” Hell, everyone thinks that. It seems like what makes someone a Puritan isn’t just thinking that; it’s usually about what sort of punishment they think society should mete out for men (and, let’s be honest, more often women) who aren’t faithful to their spouse. Heck, Puritans usually have punishments in mind for a wide array of offenses- moral, cultural, dietary, aesthetic etc. On that note, I see that Nancy Pelosi will be forming an ethics committee here!

    I think it’s the social aspect that rankles me about Puritans. Marriage is the most complex social relationship imaginable- it’s probably the most complex- not difficult, complex- thing two people can undertake together. It’s possible to pass judgment on other people’s marriages- hell, married people do this all the time!- but at some point people need to remember that they’re not better qualified to judge this man as a husband than his wife is. Sure you think he’s a scumbag. Me too. But, his wife knows a lot more about that than we do and in every marriage there’s more going on than meets the eye. Let me say that, if his wife was comfortable with him doing this, there’s absolutely no way he’d say that in public when caught. More likely though he’s a scumbag.

    3) Yeah, I guess I accept this argument.

    4) “The only thing worse than a sensationalized media is a media unconcerned with the lies and deceits of our political class.” Sure, but it’s not like there are only the two choices left. There are plenty of worthwhile news sources left that focus on other more important bullshit more than they do on things like this- it’s just that none of them are American.

    Also, I think what bothers me about this argument that at least they’re focused on some sort of lying is that it suggests those of us who want them to focus on other outrages really just have the goal of chipping away at public confidence in elected officials in any way we can, instead of just wanting those outrages to come to an end. I’d be perfectly okay in a culture that trusted its elected officials, if they were worth investing trust in. And, honestly, some are; others aren’t.Report

  9. Avatar Jaybird says:

    It may also be relevant that if Weiner has a security clearance for whatever reason (membership to a committee that has access to those types of files, maybe), this act of his is something that could (and probably should) result in his clearance being yanked.Report

  10. I think the most despicable aspect of the whole affair is the New York Times revealing that Weiner’s wife is pregnant.Report

  11. Avatar Robert Cheeks says:

    Do any of my Lib friends think that Ant-ny is a pervert? I mean taking pics of your junk doesn’t sound, (shall I say it?) ‘normal.’
    Now, we all know that there seems to be a lotta perverts in Congress, and since we’ve actually caught one, shouldn’t we throw the bum out?

    Maybe not; Rush says he wants him to stay in for a long, long time.Report

    • Avatar BlaiseP says:

      As Woody Allen observed: “Is sex dirty? Only if it’s being done right.” Rush is such a fetid turd; his rants are for entertainment purposes only.

      I am a connoisseur of preaching and Rush reminds me of an old Wesleyan Methodist pastor I once new, an captious and square-headed bumpkin from southern Ohio, a carver of gun stocks and a thoroughgoing maniac in the style of Savonarola. The church finally got rid of him after a heated discussion with the deacons about dragging his politics into the pulpit. If there were any justice in the world, he would have met Savonarola’s fate and have been burned at the stake.

      Weiner is no weirder than most folks. He just got caught.Report

      • Avatar Robert Cheeks says:

        Bp, I don’t wanna shock you but most people don’t take pics of their junk and put it on the internet. That’s a pretty rough crowd you run with.
        I think I know that preacher you were talking about. My pal bought a damn good walnut stock from him.Report

        • Avatar BlaiseP says:

          Bobbo, mon semblable,—mon frère, allow me to give you a little block of instruction and history on these here Intertubes. Pr0n has driven this technology since its inception. The flesh industry was for many years the most profitable industry out here, and unless I am mistaken it remains so.

          Pictures of The Last Turkeys in the Shop have been out here since Netscape wrote the IMG tag handler. I run with a rum crowd, all right, the security people. You’d be shocked, shocked I tell you, if I told you what I’ve found over time.Report

          • Avatar Robert Cheeks says:

            Stop it Bp, I live here in the wilde’s of Ohio for a reason and I really ain’t interested in what the pervert commie-dems are up to.Report

            • Avatar BlaiseP says:

              Wildes? As in Oscar Wildes?

              A line from a story I wrote. The Devil took up residence in small town America, oh, he makes periodic journeys to the Big City, but his permanent residence is at the end of a long gravel driveway, with a big propane tank out behind the ranch house, and a tire swing hangs from the pin oak. Report

          • Avatar Andy Smith says:

            “Bobbo, mon semblable,—mon frère, allow me to give you a little block of instruction and history on these here Intertubes. Porn has driven this technology since its inception. The flesh industry was for many years the most profitable industry out here, and unless I am mistaken it remains so.”

            You are not mistaken. Last I heard, internet porn was a $14 billion a year business, with estimates that 30-40% of all hits go to these sites. This does not include, of course, non-paying interactions of the kind Weiner was engaging in. If people are shocked that so much of this is going on, they really haven’t been paying attention.Report

    • Avatar North says:

      Bob my friend, while I find Weiner boring and annoying I’d say that compared to soliciting sex in airport bathrooms or chasing around congressional pages he comes off relatively wholesome in comparison. But I know relativism is definitely not your thing so to answer more directly, no I do not think he’s a pervert; just an idiot. But if it were up to me I’d heave him out of his office.Report

      • Avatar BlaiseP says:

        There’s no perv like a Conserva-perv. The hypocrisy and finger-scraping lends a certain piquant spice to their wickedness. Fambly Values.Report

        • Avatar Robert Cheeks says:

          Yeah Bp, at least he didn’t take any of the girls driving in his Olds!
          The Repubs have perverts galore but so far they haven’t killed anyone!Report

          • Avatar BlaiseP says:

            Poor old Rush. That bulbous cretin has been following his teeny weenie around from marriage to marriage to the degree he now needs a newspaper press to print his alimony checks. A serial martyr to matrimony.Report

          • Avatar anonymo says:

            Except that intern found dead in Joe Scarborough’s office…Report

      • Avatar Robert Cheeks says:

        Hello NOrthie!!!!
        Considering that Weener’s from NYC, he may be the best available. I hate to disagree with my old Canadian palsy, and the Mrs. say HI, but I’m with Rushbo on this one, keep him in office at least throught the election.Report

  12. Avatar Steve S. says:

    2. Is somebody actually making this argument? In my experience any accusations of prudery are directed at those selecting this particular lie, as opposed to the myriad other lies that politicians routinely tell, for expressions of outrage. One can both disapprove of Weiner’s actions and consider the media’s reaction to them prudish.

    3. I’d agree if I thought that this general principle would lead to greater honesty from our politicians on weightier matters, but I see no reason to think so. As an example, John Kyl told a vastly more consequential lie recently, from a public policy standpoint, than Weiner’s lie about his dirty tweet, and aside from being made fun of by Stewart and Colbert faced no discernible consequences. If the worst you can expect for brazenly lying about an issue of consequence is having jokes told about you after 11 PM (and Kyl might even wear it as a badge of honor to his conservative base) that more or less invalidates your point, I think, about the lies of Weiner’s personal life.

    4. Yes, this does detract from more important issues because there are only 24 hours in a day. Interestingly, some of these more important issues are ancillary to Weinergate; the vacuousness and insularity of the DC press corps, the rise of Breitbart style journalism, and so on.Report

  13. Avatar Andy Smith says:

    “If you don’t want to be faithful to your wife, don’t get married.”

    Good point, but it begs a question I haven’t heard asked (though someone else I’m sure has): how would we feel about what he did if he were single? Let’s also suppose that when he was caught, he immediately owned up to everything.

    IOW, how bad do people feel the behavior itself really is, apart from betrayal of his wife and lying about it (and if you like, the stupidity of not knowing that he would be found out)? Make no mistake here, millions of men and women do this sort of thing. It’s not my cup of tea, seems to me a very poor substitute for the real thing, but isn’t it basically just flirting in the internet age?Report

    • Avatar Rufus F. says:

      “IOW, how bad do people feel the behavior itself really is, apart from betrayal of his wife and lying about it (and if you like, the stupidity of not knowing that he would be found out)? Make no mistake here, millions of men and women do this sort of thing. It’s not my cup of tea, seems to me a very poor substitute for the real thing, but isn’t it basically just flirting in the internet age?”

      Yes. It is. Of course, since the culture is now apparently calling it “virtual adultery”, I assume we’ll soon be calling flirting “verbal infidelity” and looking at each other’s bodies “visual adultery”.

      In my very humble opinion, calling it “infidelity” is more than a little bit ridiculous. He’s a Jew and his wife’s a Muslim and their books are pretty clear that adultery involves actually screwing another person (more specifically a married woman, but that’s a whole other topic)- not jacking off while IMing someone who you’ll never meet and who poses no remotely concievable threat to your marriage. Yes, I get that Jesus defined adultery more broadly, but you know, we don’t get to make everyone else a Christian.

      Now, like everyone else, I agree- he’s a stupid jerk. Did he keep this secret from his wife? He says so- not like he’d say otherwise in public anyway. So, that’s a lousy thing to do to your spouse. Hurtful even. He did it in a stupid way that exposed her to ridicule. That was even worse. He should be deeply ashamed of himself for that.

      But this thing of inventing new sexual pathologies and convincing young married people that they’ve committed “adultery” when they’ve done no such thing- especially in a culture that obsesses over adultery as the evidence of a marriage’s “failure” and “collapse”? Yeah, I don’t think that’s actually going to strengthen marriages.Report

      • Avatar Rufus F. says:

        Okay, maybe it’s not quite flirting. In the cases of cybersex, it’s more like fantasizing. Collective fantasizing maybe, but really harmless. I know the culture is still in the business of pathologizing sexuality, but really, if you expect that you and your spouse will never fantasize about another person, if you’re to remain “faithful”… well, you’re really setting your marriage up for serious problems.Report

  14. Avatar Herb says:

    “One reason we keep talking about Anthony Weiner is because so many people keep complaining that we’re talking about Anthony Weiner.”

    That’s a reason, alright, but not sure it’s a good one. A good reason would be “because the story merits such attention.” But as far as sex scandals goes, this one is only the most recent, not the most significant, the most consequential, nor the most interesting.

    Absent a love child or an indictment, I’m wondering why Weiner is getting all the attention. Is it because he’s a Democrat?Report

    • Avatar Pat Cahalan says:

      No, it’s because his name is “Weiner”.

      That is, unfortunately, not meant to be a joke.Report

      • Avatar Koz says:

        That’s definitely part of it. For some reason I find it never ceases to be hilarious to say “Weiner” out loud.Report

    • Avatar Koz says:

      Because otherwise everybody would do it.

      Another thing: let’s also say a word for Andrew Breitbart. People make him out to be a conservative, and in a weird way he might be. But what he really is is a whistleblower.

      Those with good enough political connections, mostly but not exclusively associated with some part of the Left, will collude amongst themselves and leverage their access to certain information that has no reason to be private, to their advantage and our detriment.

      Breitbart doesn’t see any reason why we have to accept that as the default state of affairs, and neither do I.Report

      • Avatar Herb says:

        “People make him out to be a conservative, and in a weird way he might be. But what he really is is a whistleblower.’

        Very little of Breitbart’s work has struck me as “conservative,” and I can’t imagine him blowing the whistle on a Republican. Maybe he would, but that’s a bit out of character for a partisan attack dog.Report

        • Avatar Koz says:

          Mostly ‘cuz the sort of things he goes after don’t really apply to Republicans.Report

          • Avatar Herb says:

            Yeah, that’s it….Report

            • Avatar Koz says:

              Ok. ACORN, Sherrod, Journolist? Of all the stuff he’s pushed into the public sphere, this is the first one that could plausibly be about a Republican.Report

              • Avatar Simon K says:

                Yeah, there are no behind-the-scenes communications between conservative journalists and politicians. Nor are there any right-wing organizations (supposedly) protecting criminals and aiming to rig elections. None at all. Snort.Report

              • Avatar Koz says:

                No, there aren’t any from the MSM of conservatives doing the same thing. George Will, William Kristol, and Steve Forbes aren’t emailing each other back and forth to trash Greg Sargent over accusations that they know in advance are false.

                Let’s not go for the “both sides do it” excuse if it doesn’t really fly.;Report

              • Avatar Simon K says:

                No, that’s because the equivalent conservative operation is more centralized. Fitting, I suppose.Report

              • Avatar Baron von Munchausen says:

                Well, no there aren’t.
                This is just hopeless. Simon, you have failed miserably. What the hell–are you so desperate that we have to go to “hanging chads” lunacy?

                You wacko nutjobs simply can’t exist without your devious, sinister phantoms always seen in your rear view mirrors. Like that guy on the airplane in the Twilight Zone. Or the hitchhiker.

                Aiming to rig elections? We’re quickly entering alternative realities….Report

              • Avatar Simon K says:

                Note “(supposedly)”. That’s part of the genesis of the Republican animus toward Acorn, right? The left believes the same of several right-wing orgnizations. I have no opinion on whether either set of charges is correct, but human nature would suggest its true that they try, but the nature of the USA suggest they largely fail.Report

              • Avatar Herb says:

                You forgot the Abbie Boudreau episode.Report

              • Avatar Koz says:

                Not familiar with it.Report

              • Avatar Herb says:

                Before you start calling Breitbart a whistleblower, should look that one up….Report

        • Avatar greginak says:

          Actually Briebert has openly said he is completely partisan. He wants to take down D’s in every way. That is his self described mission.Report

          • Avatar Koz says:

            Really? If that’s the case he’s taking advantage of an underserved market space.Report

            • Avatar tom van dyke says:

              Seymour Hersh has screwed the pooch numerous times, but has journo-awards named after him. One slip-up on the order of Hersh’s and Breitbart would be finished.

              JFK had a secret first marriage? Hoo boy.

              I’m fine with advocate-journalists as long as we double-check their work. I see no reason why Breitbart should let the lefty weeklies with the sex ads in the back have all the subversive fun. We need our subversives.

              But I do think Hersh is getting a pass. Thx for doing My Lai and here’s your Pulitzer, but “lions of journalism” have to stay lions, and are only as honorable as their last story. When lions start screwing the pooch as often as not, well, that a miscegenated metaphor, but you know what I mean.Report

              • Avatar Koz says:

                Exactly. Breitbart’s vocation is to publish facts that various arms of the liberal establishment would like to keep hidden.

                For some reason this is difficult for some people to handle. Just because Breitbart publishes something, doesn’t mean that we all have to agree on the interpretation or importance or meaning of it.

                But without the facts we got nuthin’ (or at least not as much). Especially wrt things like the Jounolist archive. For the most part, everybody knows the MSM are liberal hacks who won’t hesitate to kick the ball onto the fairway for the benefit of the team.

                But there’s a big difference between having a grumbling suspicion and knowing it as a cold fact and having the evidence to back it up. Breitbart gets the evidence. To a substantial extent, that’s why people don’t like him.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP says:

                Breitbart’s made a career of being an Angry Journalist. There’s always one or two in the landscape, a tradition going back to Westbrook Pegler and before. What you and Breitbart say of liberals Pegler said long before, and better.

                All such Angry Journalists all come to a bad end and I predict a very bad end for Breitbart.Report

              • Avatar tom van dyke says:

                Sy Hersh has come to a good end, despite screwing the pooch with shocking regularity.

                I think it all depends on the color of your jersey, BlaiseP. I do agree that Breitbart will screw up, and the hyenas will eat him instead of naming awards after him.


                Such is the jungle.Report

              • Avatar Baron von Munchausen says:

                BP, I must assume the swath of your journalistic machete swings both ways, as in, “what’s the frequency,Kenneth? Nutzo Rather’s horrible LSD flashbacks, to be sure. And a few more sprinklings of demented longings, such as Jeffrey Kluger, Rana Foroohar, Evelyn Leopold, Nancy Gibbs, David Knowles, Ben Wyskida, Seymour Hersh (a true blue certifiable loon), J.H. Hatfield….Merry Little Lefty Pranksters, all! (Kesey, pipe down, just having a little fun.)

                I trust your fanciful affection and attraction for Psychotropic Liberals is much less for fun but just another self-created adornment for a political class that no longer exists–probably never did. But Liberals have never needed truth–they only need symbolism. And oddly enough, what they need most of all, is a belief that life is meaningless, tedious, empty, lacking any purpose, just a hideous kitschean bourgeois assault on all elitist truth and art. Another version of blowing up those Buddhist statues. Like parasites, they feed incessantly on the blood of their hosts. They create nothing.Report

              • Avatar Koz says:

                Could well be. We don’t have to be invested in Breitbart’s career, that’s Breitbart’s responsibility. But the things he’s brought to light are a substantial public service nonetheless.Report

  15. Avatar TycheSD says:

    I think what Rep. Weiner did online is probably more prevalent than many think, especially among people under 30.

    I do agree that it’s supremely stupid for someone in Weiner’s position to engage in this type of behavior though. The reckless arrogance of it makes me think that he is acting like an addict.Report

  16. Avatar dexter says:

    Seventynine comments about Weiner’s weiner later President Obama is still bombing Yemen, Ed’s state is burning down, mysterious oil slicks are appearing in the Gulf near last years blowout, the corps are sitting on two trillion dollars while unemployment is around 9% and Gates says there will be no significant drawdown in Iraq. I think our priorities a more than a little skewed.Report

  17. Avatar Burt Likko says:

    1) Hey, I’ve been known to whore for hits with the scandal du jour myself.

    2) This. I’m no prude, but prudes aren’t the only ones who possess a modicum of good taste. Which doesn’t stop me from smirking at the Congressman’s unfortunate name.

    3) One nice thing about this facet of our system is that Weiner’s constituents will soon get to decide for themselves if this scandal renders his services unacceptably ineffective.

    4) Swipe at Weiner’s mid-east policy position noted; query if his eventual (imminent?) replacement will be significantly different.Report

  18. Avatar Michael Drew says:

    Okay sure, but I mean, he is running the gauntlet. It’s not like he’s not. Why does it bother you so much in this case that some people have a different opinion about that than you? There are opinions of every kind out there on any issue we care to form one of our own on, many of which will be opposed to ours. The fact that those opinions are out there doesn’t seem like much of an explanation for why you are talking about them so much this time around (especially when it’s so far outside of your usual areas of interest). So the question is why are you so concerned with those who disagree with you this time? It seems like if it’s not about the sex, then you shouldn’t be concerned with being called a prude, so it shouldn’t be that. And if it’s about the lying, then, well, he’s running the gauntlet for it! So what’s the issue? That a few people think that if it’s about the lying, then there are a few politicians’ lies that they can think of that they think much of this media energy would be better directed at than this? Do you even disagree with that?Report

    • Avatar Michael Drew says:

      I guess part of the issue is there’s just not enough citation of just who’s irking you with what. Some important commentator? Someone at the League? Some people on Twitter? Don’t we need to know this to even understand what’s going on here?Report

  19. Avatar Rufus F. says:

    Ugh. Now it’s over. Again, I’m saying that Eric, your personal views on appropriate sexual behavior in no way make you a puritan. Puritanism has a lot less to do with one’s thoughts on sex than their thoughts on punishment. It’s the constant drive to see everyone else “get theirs” as much as the oft-cited bit about being terrified that someone, somewhere might be experiencing some sort of pleasure. And the Puritans sure came out of the woodowork to save the Republic from the most trivial and harmless sex scandal in history. Being hounded out of office for a sex scandal in which the guy had no sex with anyone? He absolutely had to leave? Again, it’s the Nancy Pelosis of the world that are the Puritans and it’s their desire to see others punished for being flawed human beings that makes them such. It probably doesn’t hurt that she keeps her top dog status in the Party by pushing out a newcomer.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird says:

      From what I understand, some of the junk pictures were unsolicited.

      This changes the dynamic somewhat. “He didn’t even have sex with anyone” misses the underlying dynamic, if you ask me.Report

      • Avatar TycheSD says:

        At least some may be saying they were unsolicited. Who wants to admit publicly after selling private communications to the media for money that they liked having Congressman Weiner’s raunchy photos?Report

      • Avatar Rufus F. says:

        Jaybird- Okay, so he crossed a line of appropriate sexual behavior. Nobody doubts this. The underlying dymanic seems to be that he’s a schmuck. How did he behave after it was made clear that it was inappropriate (and I don’t think we actually what the woman’s response was here)? Did he threaten to get this woman fired if she didn’t accept more dick pictures? Did he keep sending them until she had to block him? Did he do anything harrassing after this point? Because the woman herself says she wasn’t harrassed, but luckily the rest of the society is willing to tell her she was. You know, women need guidance sometimes. So this is an adultery scandal in which nobody had sex, but it’s also a case of sexual harrassment in which nobody thinks they were harrassed. Glad there are people in Congress to police the sexuality of their fellow politicians.

        Again though, how exactly is this a firing offense?Report

        • Avatar Rufus F. says:

          One other note: It’s inappropriate to send unsolicited pictures of your underwear-clad junk to someone regardless, but there is some difference between sending them to someone who, say, emailed you looking for a job and sending them to someone who’s talking online about her crush on you.Report

          • Avatar Jaybird says:

            I can appreciate that, in some sense, she was asking for it but I don’t know that he could continue to be an effective voice for whatever he was an effective voice for after sending those photos out.

            He wasn’t fired, remember. He quit.

            Do I think he would have gotten re-elected? He probably would have. Even though he didn’t have relations (that we know of).Report

            • Avatar Rufus F. says:

              Please. I didn’t say she was asking for it and I didn’t imply that either. I said Weiner did something stupid and inappropriate and it’s a matter of being clear on what sort of stupid and inappropriate act it was. A man who exposes himself to little girls in the park has a different pathology than a schmuck who pulls it out for a girl who’s flirting with him at the bar because he stupidly thinks that’ll go over well.

              As for him quitting, it wasn’t as if the Donkey Mafia didn’t make it clear that he’d be dead to them if he stayed. I’d go with hounded out rather than fired maybe.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                By some chance of fate, I happened to take my women’s studies courses in the heady days after the Clarence Thomas hearings but before we knew the name “Paula Jones”.

                So I got all of the speeches about hair on Coke ™ cans but none of the ones about one free grope.

                So I don’t know that I have the best perspective on this.Report

              • Avatar Rufus F. says:

                I never took women’s studies so I don’t know about a free grope. You can’t grope online anyway. This probably emboldens more than a few schmucks since you can’t be slapped online either.

                I’m not sure what women’s studies programs make of sending someone unsolicited dick pictures either. Salon ran an article explaining that doing so is an “act of sexual aggression”. Sounds pretty bad. Not sure if that applies to a woman sending unsolicited dirty pictures to a man online. The one time that happened to me, I married her, so I’m not a good judge either. I don’t feel like a victim, but this woman didn’t think she was assaulted either and Salon apparently thinks that her thoughts on the matter are irrelevant. The point is to listen to women when they say they’ve been assaulted; not when they say they haven’t.

                As for doing stupid things of a sexual nature, it seems to me the difference between a schmuck and a predator is the former will stop when you say, “Ew, gross! Cut it out!” and the latter won’t. Unfortunately, lots of people do stupid and inappropriate things while horny, drunk or desperate that they later regret at some point. We could prevent this entirely by banning alcohol and having the FDA more strongly regulate our hormones. Until then, we’ll have to settle for pathologizing as many human behaviors as we can and getting more people into treatment programs.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                You missed out if you’ve never taken a course on Women’s Studies.

                I imagine that that is how Libertarianism feels to people unfamiliar with it. “These are serious people. They are speaking in complete sentences. They are obviously intelligent. I have no reference point that will allow me to understand the points that they are making. I have no idea where they are coming from and kind of feel attacked even though that is obviously not what they are intending.”

                I think I learned more thinking about it for years afterwards than I did in the months I sat in the class.Report

              • Avatar Rufus F. says:

                Ah, libertarians generally sound like the guy who goes into you to Baskin Robbins and can’t stop talking about how good and important Chocolate is, while speculating on the psychology of people who prefer other flavors.

                I do joke often that I was raised by feminists because my college-aged years were spent not in school but a communal house that was the birthplace of a short-lived feminist movement that got lots of press and then imploded. So I got to learn tons about feminism and media frenzies, both of which probably shaped my response to these sorts of sex scandals. That was back in the really ultra PC years when it was still a bit daring to tell college girls that you thought Andrea Dworkin was a little bonkers. Ironically enough, I was considered the house ‘libertarian’ because I wasn’t particularly anti-porn. I have no idea whatever happened to groups like Women Against Pornography, but they were still popular in those days before the Internet. Maybe now we’ll have Women Against Dick Pictures.Report

              • Avatar greginak says:

                FWIW For better and worse, i’ve always thought many libertarians sound like self proclaimed feminists.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                See? It’s not just me.Report

    • Avatar TycheSD says:

      Mark Murray on MSNBC said Weiner may have been able to survive if there hadn’t been the drip, drip of revelations over time. Perhaps if he had been truthful from the beginning and let everyone know that there were a bunch of photos of him out there, it would have been better. I don’t know. But I think the whole “scandal” was blown out of proportion. I’m not sure why.Report

      • Avatar Rufus F. says:

        Yeah, I get that he’s a liar but the response is so weird and hysterical to me. People say, “if he lied about this, what wouldn’t he lie about?” and I think, “No, this is pretty much the one thing he would be most likely to lie about”. Imagine being grilled about your most embarassing sexual hangup in public. You’re absolutely going to tell the truth in the press conference? Seriously, the guy did something stupid and embarassing and really fishing silly. But why the Congressional Democrats acted like this was the unpardonable sin is beyond me. Well, aside from the usual jockeying for position and political backstabbing that you’d expect from these people.

        But, holy shit man, what a sick, vindictive culture you’ve got down there.Report

    • Avatar tom van dyke says:

      Weiner’s crime was against aesthetics more than against morality. Morality is passé, but we still cling to some aesthetic standards for the time being.

      It was probably the underage girl angle that might have put it over the brink [that was Mark Foley’s real crime]. Or perhaps it was the porn star coming off like a harassed victim if not a moral paragon.Report

      • Avatar Rufus F. says:

        The woman was 21 though. And the rest were older than that.

        I agree that this is more about aesthetics than anything else, if not just the thrill of watching someone else humiliated. I don’t think the underlying motivation of anyone is moral, but it’s a bit much to say that morality is passé since it’s not passé in the discourse anyway. I mean, you have people redefining adultery so more people can be found guilty of it and having fainting spells over a politician telling a lie about something sexually humiliating. I’d agree that their real motivations are baser than that, but I’m not seeing how morality can be both passé and talked about constantly.Report

        • Avatar TycheSD says:

          I’m a woman, and if I found out my husband was doing what Anthony Weiner was doing, I would be pretty upset. Technically, it wasn’t adultery, but it definitely was lusting after other women. I would insist he get some type of counseling, as I consider what Weiner was doing a type of sex addiction. Someone I know was involved with someone who was addicted to porn, and she was pretty upset about it.

          It shouldn’t have been cause for Weiner to resign, and the public outrage over his conduct was self-righteousness in the extreme.Report

          • Avatar Rufus F. says:

            I think most people would be pretty upset. It was pretty shitty what he did to his wife. But, again, it’s not adultery. Call it lustful fantasizing, sure, and that’s a sin too in their traditions. But you’re right- his being a terrible husband is something that he and his wife have to work out.Report

        • Avatar tom van dyke says:

          There was an underage girl, “Ethel.” The media buried it, too busy seeking dirt on Palin. The rightosphere dug it out.

          As for all this talk of morality, Rufus, think of it as a eulogy. At the end of all the talk, the conclusion is that it is dead and buried.Report

          • Avatar TycheSD says:

            Huh? What underage girl? The one in Delaware? The police closed the case on that earlier this week because there was nothing there. The communications were G-rated.Report

            • Avatar tom van dyke says:

              Actually, Ms. Tyche, your previous comment illustrated why “morality” is passé. As for the facts of the Weiner case, I don’t think you’re accurate that it was G-rated, but frankly, I don’t care enough to get into a battle about it. At one point it looked like Weiner would survive and something apparently changed. Mebbe it was the porn star looking like Jiminy Cricket in comparison to the former congressman. Regardless, it appears Democrats are capable of being embarrassed afterall.


          • Avatar Rufus F. says:

            I’ll have to Google it, Tom. The only underage girl I remember was some schoolgirl whose class was coming to see him on a field trip and he sent her two emails so the police investigated (with a news crew in tow), but there the girl, her parents, and the cops all said his emails were completely appropriate.

            As for morality, I see it as something that arises pretty much spontaneously in the human breast. There are differences across traditions and cultures but a lot of similarities too. It’s hard to think of any wisdom literature that doesn’t preach against lying to one’s fellows, for instance. So, I think of morality as fairly basic to the species. Whether this is an “evolutionary advantage” or certain truths being “written on the heart”, I can’t say, but I often sense that I’m more optimistic about the prospects than most conservatives.Report

            • Avatar tom van dyke says:

              Rufus, I have full faith that “reason” can erase whatever truths are written on the human heart.

              As for the Weiner thing, see the Patterico blog. What I found more probative was the NYT and WaPo positively panting at having a go at Palin’s emails, and its manifest disinterest in digging into The Case of Weiner’s Weiner.

              No bias my ass.Report

              • Avatar Rufus F. says:

                Yeah, see that’s it, I just can’t be as pessimistic on the topic as the average conservative, maybe because I just extrapolate the people around me to the general population and none of them have really abandoned morality for reason. I always wonder when people talk about how their society is gradually abandoning all morality if they mean themselves too.Report

              • Avatar tom van dyke says:

                Rufus, it’s the difference between “right” reason and rationalization. The evils of human history are not due to our systems—or the stars—but to the human beings who live under them.

                And this is the progressive-“conservative” split in worldview. [Let us give “liberal” a break—we’re all liberals.]

                What is “conservative” is not the view that man is getting worse or that morality is being obliterated. Our courts are doing that via legalism, yes, under the “progressive” worldview, but that’s a separate albeit related issue.

                The “conservative” worldview is that of the classical philosophers, or even the Judeo-Christian one, that man’s reason is “fallen.”

                If you can’t lie to yourself, who can you lie to?

                You can, and we do. I was never with Hume on reason being slave to the passions, but it’s really quite Calvinist in its way. And although science is often presented as a curative to the backwardness of the ancients, the “traditionalists,” if the “conservatives” are correct, science will simply confirm them.


                The question is not one of reason or reasonableness, but of rationalization. All the crimes of humanity have rationalization in common.Report

  20. Avatar TycheSD says:

    Yes, you’re right. People lie about sex all the time, as Janeane Garofalo said on Bill Maher the other night.

    By the way, what does that vulture, Gloria Allred, get out of this? Is Ginger Lee, the former porn star, paying Allred?Report

  21. Avatar WardSmith says:

    I don’t have a comment on the article per se, but thought I’d share this little tidbit. Apparently Weiner plans on running for president next year and his running mate is Eric Holder. The bumper stickers have already been printed:

    Weiner – Holder 2012Report