The Battle of the Bulge: Is the Weiner War Worth It?

As most of America knows by now, recently a picture went out from New York Democratic Rep. Anthony Weiner’s Twitter feed to a pretty young coed, containing a picture of some bulging underpants.  The picture was quickly deleted from yfrog and Twitter, and Weiner claimed that his account was hacked.  A lot of folks seemed willing to give Weiner the benefit of the doubt, but then his actions, evasions and non-answer answers have only intensified interest in the story and speculation about what really might have happened.  Weiner denies that he sent the photo out; he does not deny that the picture is indeed his own.  Nor does he deny that he has Twitter conversations with a fairly select group of eligible young ladies, or with porn stars who insist that he Tweets to them are really quite, you know, innocent.

Anthony Weiner, of Weinergate Fame

I don’t want to get into the merits and demerits of the various arguments here, because that’s precisely my point.  What is the utility of this kind of argument?  Is this something on which we ought to be spending our time?  The blogosphere is all abuzz and our televisions are filled with talking heads discussing the ins and outs of the story.  But is this something that we as Christians ought to care about?  Here are a couple points for engaging in this kind of conversation, and some points against it.

POINTS FOR:

1.  The comic value alone is priceless. When else can you use a title like the one for this post?  When Jon Stewart suggested the picture might be Weiner’s, because it shows that he “leans hard to the left,” I could not stifle a laugh.  Nor, for that matter, did I try.  Being a believer does not mean one cannot have a sense of humor.  But this is not a compelling reason why Christians ought to care about, much less argue about, whether Rep Weiner is sending such pictures to adoring female fans.

2.  Character matters. Representative Weiner already does make important decisions on our behalf, as a member of the House of Representatives, and (if tales of his ambitions are true) he aspires to make even more of them in the future.  We need to know whether he is upstanding, honest and trustworthy.  If he is fool enough to send lewd photos via Twitter to a young woman he had only recently met, can we really trust him with the enormous responsibilities that come to one as the mayor of a major city, the governor of a state, or the President of the United States?  If he is duplicitous enough to remove the incriminating evidence, repeatedly lie about the situation, and then berate and even call the cops on any reporter intrepid enough to press for an answer, then can we trust him to tell us the truth about our economy, our health care system, our foreign affairs, when it does not serve his political interests?  If he is faithless enough to betray his recent marriage…well, you get the picture.  Americans would like to trust their politicians, and we trust those who demonstrate character and honesty.  If Weiner is demonstrating neither of those right now, then the American electorate needs to know about it.

3.  Unilateral disarmament in political warfare is tantamount to suicide.  This is also known as the “The Other Party Does It” defense.  Democrats make hay with the faults and infidelities of Republican figures such as John Ensign, Mark Foley, Larry Craig, David Vitter, et al.  If they had not made a big deal of Newt Gingrich’s indiscretions, we might be looking at a current or former President Newt right now.  Who can say where the devious Rep. Weiner might end up, if he is not (it’s hard to avoid puns here) exposed now for who he really is?  If Republicans do not advance the ball when it’s in their possession, they’ll find themselves constantly on defense; if only one side carries out character assassinations on these sorts of things, while the other side gives up its arms, the latter will get slaughtered, will it not?  And perhaps we will find ourselves under the governance of leaders who are profoundly morally corrupt?

POINTS AGAINST:

1.  We have much, much more pressing concerns right now. Economists are mortified by the leading economic indicators.  “Welcome to the recovery” has been replaced by “Did we just drive right past the recovery?”  We face an entitlement crisis, an ocean of red ink, and various strains on the international financial system at the same time as our political system is paralyzed and sclerotic.  We’re engaged in kinetic warfare in several places around the world.  Gas prices have gone through the roof.  Once-stable parts of the world seem unstable, as nascent democratic movements take shape and threaten to be engulfed by new forms of old tyrannies, and even highly advanced civilizations like Japan’s are at the mercy of sudden disasters.  In short, it’s no coincidence that Harold Camping’s doomsday prophecy spread like wildfire; people are feeling like the world is unmoored and they wonder if it will ever feel stable and safe again.

In the midst of all this, we’re discussing…whether a lowly House Representative sent someone a picture of himself in his underwear?  I don’t buy for a minute that Rep. Weiner is being principled when he tries to put this “distraction” behind him.  But perhaps we should be.

2.  Character doesn’t matter with this character. Weiner was never exactly a paragon of virtue in the first place.  He’s a brash, angry, acid-tongued political brawler from New York.  He never sought to build a career on his family portrait and sterling old-fashioned values.  He’s built a career on being a kind of hyper-partisan attack dog, a Tom Delay for the limousine liberal set.

Some Republicans will protest that it’s important to uncover the general depravity of the Democratic party, or at least its leadership.  But this runs afoul of one of my first principles of faithful political engagement: specifically, the un-titillating but very important principle that people are more or less the same.  I do not believe that people in one party are significantly more moral or caring or even intelligent than the people in the other party.  Or, to put it more negatively, neither party has a monopoly on good ideas and good intentions — or, for that matter, on bad ones.  There are different cultural values between the two parties, to be sure, and those values may be more or less in line with biblical values, but I do not believe that the members, much less the leadership of one party are significantly more virtuous than that of the other.  We don’t need Rep. Weiner to illustrate that Democrats are immoral because, well, we’re all immoral, all prone to temptation.  There but for the grace of God goes each and every one of us.

3.  Political priapism is not strategically sound.  This is not a time for theatrics and gamesmanship.  This is a time, perhaps moreso than any time in recent memory, when the American people will reward the party that puts forth the most serious people advancing the most serious ideas.  We are anxious.  We’re afraid for the future of our country, concerned that the old stabilities are foundering.  Under such circumstances, those who dither and talk about underwear bulges come across as childish, unserious and unworthy of our attention.

For Christians on both sides of the aisle, this is an opportunity to set a tone.  I’m skeptical whether “the other side does it” is ever a legitimate excuse for a believer, since Christ taught us to begin with the logs in our own eyes.  If Christians want to show the way toward a better kind of political dialogue, a more honest, charitable and focused dialogue, then this might present the perfect opportunity.

What would be the consequences if Christians took seriously, as a political matter, Paul’s admonition in Philippians 4:8: “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.”  Of course, this needn’t mean that we look the other way when a politician commits a grave sin that demonstrates an absence of character.  But it does mean that Christians should not attach too much importance to such things, should not get so caught up in the political sport of it all that he or she forgets to focus on the most important public policy challenges facing the present moment.

If others want to carry on with the Weiner roast, that’s their prerogative.  I don’t think it’s worthy of the calling of the politician or the writer, and I don’t think it demonstrates the kind of high integrity that a Christian participant in political dialogue ought to seek to model.  We have policy problems, but many stem from our process problems.  We need better forms of political dialogue.  Let’s try to lead by example.

What do you think?  Are there other points I’m missing here?  Is this time wasted, or time well spent?

About Timothy Dalrymple

Timothy Dalrymple was raised in non-denominational evangelical congregations in California. The son and grandson of ministers, as a young boy he spent far too many hours each night staring at the ceiling and pondering the afterlife.
 
In all his work he seeks a better understanding of why people do, and do not, come to faith, and researches and teaches in religion and science, faith and reason, theology and philosophy, the origins of atheism, Christology, and the religious transformations of suffering

  • Chris B. Behrens

    If Rep. Weiner were to simply admit that he did this stupid thing, I would be inclined to leave it up to his voters. But we simply can’t have powerful people lying to us, or worse, as he has done, implying that he is beyond culpability. At this point, it’s all about the cover-up.

    • rick shuey

      I think you nailed it. Rep Weiner’s childish obfuscations highlight the moral corruption of the political class. In that, he performs a valuable social service. A complacent and credulous electorate is what most ails our Republic.

      (Happened to randomly catch Mitt Romney a couple of days ago saying he blamed Obama for the current economic problems of the country. My first thought: no, Congress – and the House in particular – controls the budget; ergo the Legislature and not the Executive is to blame. My second thought: the real problem is credulous and short sighted voters who elected the batch.)

    • Anon 1:50

      Second that!

      It’s the slimy coverup and incredibly poor responses in the media that make this slamworthy.

    • bill granberry

      I agree with you 100%, time for him to go, just a loud mouth anyway.

  • Karen Spears Zacharias

    I’m going to go with wasted time from a newsworthy standpoint. I watched one of Wolf’s interviews with Weiner (a Wolf-Weiner face-off, so to speak) and was troubled with the intensity that Wolf brought to the subject matter. I think anyone who takes photos of their naked or half-dressed self and puts it out there for consumption in any form is reprehensible, but still, I am weary of how this garners more attention than the fact we lost more soldiers and veterans to suicide last year than to combat and yet, the American public is not even aware of this.
    Sigh.

  • sherlock

    Rep. Weiner is trapped like a rat. Which is very appropriate, from everything I have read and seen about this individual.

  • http://thirdworldcounty.us David

    Those who think themselves morally and intellectually superior enough to others to exercise power over them ought always be mocked for their lapses. Not just exposed: mocked. No one who exercises power, feeling that they are above “the common folk”, should ever be immune from mocking for their stupidity and moral weakness in feeling themselves to be better than others. And when they themselves give evidence of their arrogance, stupidity and immorality (and Weiner’s own answers to questions about the event are enough to indict him on all points: arrogance, stupidity and immorality), then they are due mocking such as to hopefully, eventually, shame them.

  • Ben

    I love incidents like this. Every bit helps in convincing the average American that the “elites” are elite only in the power they hold, not in their intelligence, morals, or ability to make decisions for the rest of us.

  • apetra

    *Please* run this joker for higher office.

    He’s what the Democrats stand for, the best and the brightest, etc.

  • Tex Taylor

    It’s important for one reason besides the belly laughs which we could all use now. Do we need somebody this reckless in a position of real power affecting every American and business? Is this level of judgment and dishonesty what we need to pull us from the abyss?

    To me, this Weiner wiener debate is very analogous to the Clinton-Lewinsky fiasco.

    I had no idea if a tryst in the Oval Office with the President and young woman about a third his age (not much older than his own daughter), then lying on national television while using his own wife as a front, was an impeachable offense. But I do know for a fact its action so reckless, the lies so twisted, the cheated wife used as fodder, certainly rose to the level of needing to resign as leader of the free world. Weiner should do the same, if guilty.

    And when the majority of America sided with Clinton, I knew Timothy that our time as world power was drawing to a close. Nothing has changed my opinion since.

  • rbj

    It’s less him having sent a lewd photo. It’s more the evasiveness. I’m sick of the lying. The “we have to pass the bill so you can see what’s in it.” The utter contempt the ruling class has for us. They don’t have to answer to us. That’s what I object to. The Weiner scandal perfectly encapsulates this.

  • forrest

    Having spent some time as a Unit Security Manager during my military career, which mostly comprised of managing security clearances for the Soldiers in my unit. I can tell you that Weiners antics would cause his clearance to be suspended/revoked. The reason for this action is that someone who practices infidelity is a ripe target for blackmail and subversion, the same goes for someone who is deeply in debt. In other words, the number one way for criminal or enemy agents to subvert someone to their use is through the use of sex. So do we really want corruptible politicians running around who are beholden to a “special interest”, criminal activity or foreign government rather than their constituents? I certainly don’t.

    • Timothy Dalrymple

      Yeah, the blackmail angle is compelling. Breitbart has been mentioning that as well. And it’s true. -Tim

  • looking closely

    Of course there are more pressing matters out there. If you don’t want to spend time on Weiner, then don’t. I think its that simple.

    But its plain why this story has legs.

    It involves a prominent, polarizing, and notoriously attention-seeking politician caught literally with his pants down in a particularly novel/postmodern way on the internet, with him doing his best to lie, spin, and cover-up his way out of this.

    Its “hubris” right out of Greek tragedy.
    http://tinyurl.com/ujpoz

    And like all these stories, the blame falls squarely on the protagonist.

    In this case, Weiner created this problem for himself and is maintaining it. He can end it at ANY time he likes by coming clean. . .he just refuses to do so.

  • teapartydoc

    I think we should stick to hard news… So this almost qualifies.

  • http://rainbowmixradio.com Frank DiSalle

    If people learned that these representatives were not, in fact, superior to all of us, but were actually inferior to most of us, and, therefore, should not be ordering and administering our lives, then these stories would have some value. But when the “sub text” is “I can weasel my way out of anything, and not only do I not feel compelled to resign, but you dimwits will actually re-elect me,” then I must fear for the Republic…

  • Don

    We are no longer a serious country when we have idiots like Weiner,Barney Franks et al running the country, we focus on “Snookie”…and Housewoves of Orange and Bergen County.
    We are having our lunch eaten by the Chinese and Indians, who we outsourced our manufacturing to….
    we have 3 wars in progress….,
    The Suicides of American servicemen and women noted by Karenzach….
    Entitlement progtams where recipients are close to outnumbering taxpayers…
    When we have 12-20mm Illegal immigrants living and working here…The key word “illegal” ….while at the same time we have 9% unemployment of natural born Americans.
    Let’s all at least face it:
    We are unserious People and we are seriously unfocused.
    We have lost track of who we are as a people, and who we are as a Nation.
    Until that changes, and we get back to Judeo-Christian values, and work,earn,grow,save and invest in our OWN country,we shall continue to slide into the abyss our fathers in Europe are rapidly sliding into.
    God HELP America. We have forfeited His Blessings. Now we need His mercy

  • http://none.com mr. burns

    Using his office (power) to seduce young women shows Weiner to be happy to use public office for his own advantage. It seems fair to assume this behavior carries over into other facets of his public life . If this is what he is then he dosnt belong in office. That he is newly marries just makes him a bad example of how to live a happy life. He is eveidenetly a quick intelligen abrasive young man with no wisdom whatsoever.

  • jocon307

    I think there IS a big difference between the two parties, and the difference has grown over time, and quite honestly I hope it will continue to grow as the Republicans improve. I’d like to hope the Democrats can’t get any worse.

    The issue of abortion will serve to illustrate the differences. The Democrats have sold their party’s soul on the issue of abortion. The Republicans remain the party of life.

    Yes, there are few pro-choice Republicans and a very few pro-life Dems, but in the later case Bart Stupak is the poster child.

    And no, no, a thousand times no, the conservative side cannot lay down our arms on these issues.

    If Bill Clinton was a republican, he would have been run out of town on a rail, and everybody knows this. It CANNOT be denied. Should he have been? Probably because what he did was reprehensible, but that is not my point. The media saved him because he is a liberal Democrat.

    The media ruined Dan Quayle’s reputation over the “potatoe” nonsense, but gives every Democrat a pass on such silly things. (And these things are silly, the sexual scandals are not.)

    It’s nice to be high-minded and all, but as many have said, you can’t bring a knife to a gun fight and expect to win.

    There is a serious battle going on for the future of our country and we better use every weapon we have.

    Ridicule is a powerful one, let’s not overlook it out of some misplaced sense of “honor”.

    • Timothy Dalrymple

      There are serious differences between the parties, in the ideas and the values they advance. But I do not believe that either Democrats or Republicans are substantially more moral as individuals. I’ve spent too long in environments where liberals believe that they’re more moral than conservatives, and then where conservatives believe they’re more moral than liberals, to believe that that is really what separates them. People are people. Some people may hold to the right ideas and the right values, and over time those do have an effect, but by and large the moral quality is the same. The sooner that people can accept this, the sooner we can stop slandering each other’s character and motivations when it’s really the ideas and the values over which we differ.

      -Tim

  • http://sweasel.com S. Weasel

    He’s been married ten months. That cranks the handle on the Creep-O-Meter.

  • Marc Malone

    NY-26 went to the Dems, because the Repub Rep. sent a shirtless photo of himself and resigned when exposed. The least we can do is demand the same of Wiener, when he sends a truly skeezy pic.

    We will never have better government until we have better PEOPLE in government. We will never have better people in government, until we ourselves are better people and have higher standards.

    People get the kind of government they deserve. What kind of government do YOU deserve? Weiner-gate is the whole problem in narrow focus. This kind of person IS the problem.

  • http://docrampage.blogspot.com Doc Rampage

    I have to disagree with your assessment that the leaders of both parties are equally good/bad. The Democrat party actively selects for corrupt leaders while the Republican party selects against them. For how many years did the Democrats keep electing a former member of the KKK and a man who had committed manslaughter to the Senate? When a Democrat judge who had been forced out of office ran for Congress he won. When a Democrat Representative was caught with $100,000 dollars cash stashed in a freezer, he was re-elected. Meanwhile over the same period a number of prominent Republicans have found that they could not get re-elected after they were caught in marital infidelity or accusations of corruption.

    This is the culture of the two parties. When a Democrat gets into trouble, Democrats rally around and defend him. When a Republican gets into trouble, Republicans call for him to resign. After decades of these two competing cultures, it would be astonishing if the leadership of the Democrat party were not much more corrupt than than the leadership of the Republican party.

    • Timothy Dalrymple

      There may be some truth to what you’re saying, but there are an awful lot of Republican Senators and other leaders who have gone through their scandals and kept their power. -Tim

    • Kubrick’s Rube

      “When a Democrat gets into trouble, Democrats rally around and defend him. When a Republican gets into trouble, Republicans call for him to resign.”

      Now I know why David Vitter is out of office but Eliot Spitzer continues on as governor. Why Mark Sanford didn’t finish his term but Jim McGreevy did. Why Ensign didn’t wait 2 years before resigning. Why McCain has had no presidential prospects but Gary Hart is a perrenial contender.

      Both parties have had people survive scandals, and both parties have had careers ended by scandals. What matters most is whether there are legal as well as moral implications, and the political make-up of the politicians constituency.

  • Micha Elyi

    Character matters. The fact that Weiner (D-NY) hasn’t resigned his seat in the national legislature demonstrates (once again!) that the public holds Democrats to a lower moral standard of behavior than normal people.

    • Molten

      Micha,

      Maybe this wouldn’t be so if the Republicans hadn’t deliberately positioned themselves as the party of higher moral values. When one party publicly touts itself as being the party of “family values,” or “Christian values,” then you can see why that party is held to a higher moral standard by the public than the opposing party. Remeber also that Sanford, Ensign, and Vitter did not resign after their sex scandals, and Gingrich is currently a candidate for president despite having a whopper of a scandal of his own.

  • willis

    There is indeed another element you have missed and it is a most serious one. The use of social media such as Facebook, by our elected officials, has become commonplace. As we have just witnessed, what is seen as a harmless prank, can be much more serious. Such communication is not secure and the repecussions of releasing serious, but false, information to the public via hacked communication can produce dangerous results. There truly must be a thorough investigation into who did this, how they did it, and how to prevent it.

    • Timothy Dalrymple

      Good point. Of course, moot now. But a good point at the time. -tim

  • Ken Besig, Israel

    Congressman Weiner seems unable to put this matter to rest, indeed, every time he speaks about it, he makes himself look and sound more like a parody of himself.
    He is a polished and urbane politician, and yet he is handling this matter like a kid in high school caught cheating on a pop quiz.
    I am both amused and repelled by Mr. Weiner’s failure to properly deal with this silly business.
    Is this the best he can do?

  • Snake Plissken

    Is it worth it? The entertainment value serves up something we can laugh at in an otherwise dismal news week of falling home values, the stock market dip, and the pathetic jobs numbers. What has driven this story is Weiner’s constant denials, his feigning to want to get back to the business he was elected to do, but his nonstop yammering about how he was hacked/punked/pranked. He’s as much at fault for stirring the pot as anyone.

  • http://EasyOpinions.blogspot.com/ Andrew_M_Garland

    11 Reasons to have a picture of your bulging wiener

    (1) Digital pictures don’t cost much.
    (2) It is proof of your sincere desire.
    (3) It is really a picture of clean underwear.
    (4) If you got it, flaunt it.
    (5) There is a nasty rumor that congressmen are less endowed than senators.
    (6) If you are bad at poetry, what else can you send?
    (7) It will be a souvenir as you get older.
    (8) The picture of the red Camaro didn’t work.
    (9) You are unwilling to send your credit card number.
    (10) She may show you hers, if you show her yours.
    (11) It really is a remarkable and beautiful example of bio-engineering.

  • Chuck Long

    Take my comments with a grain of salt, as they are those of a religious agnostic.

    “1. We have much, much more pressing concerns right now.”

    This falsely assumes that Republicans are incapable of multi-tasking. There is no reason why Republicans can’t hammer away at Rep Weiner and spend time working on more important things at the same time. There are currently 240 R’s in the House. I think they can spare two or three of those to go after one of the D’s brightest young stars.

    “2. Character doesn’t matter with this character.”

    Character ALWAYS matters at a certain point, and all of the things you listed about Rep Weiner are seen as positives by those on the left, because they translate “brash, angry, acid-tongued political brawler from New York” to mean a strong, unwavering, feisty advocate for Progressive initiatives. Toss in “married man, aged 48 who tweets photos of underwear-clad erections to college co-eds” and you show flaws of character that ring universally, even among the majority of the left.

    “3. Political priapism is not strategically sound.”

    I just disagree philosophically with this point. Ceding ammunition to the other side is never a smart tactical move, and Alinsky’s rules work for both sides. Republicans need to get in the game and engage Democrats and Progressives on a level playing field.

    • Timothy Dalrymple

      1. It’s not a strict either/or, but time devoted to one is time that cannot be devoted to another.

      2. My point was that moral depravity is more of a political liability when an individual has promoted himself as a moral exemplar. Some suspect that Weiner will step down. I actually think he’ll stick around and this will all be forgotten in a year or so. If he had made this central to his election campaigns, it would be far more damaging.

      3. I’m just asserting that this is one of those rare political moments when seriousness is actually rewarded.

  • Ed Wallis

    Your “FOR points 2 and 3″ are the most salient in the USA right now. The 2012 election will hinge around (yes, of course the economy, Obamacare and to a lesser degree the ‘war on Islamic terrorism’) character and standing up for the unpopular-but-necessary (AKA “doing the right thing”). Weiner – out of context – is a minor character, but it is IMHO imperative for Republicans to “show” Americans in situations as these that indeed we all have standards to uphold and laws to obey. To be melodramatic, don’t wait for the last paragraph of Niemöller’s well-known piece to act.

  • Col Attilla

    Why is a sitting member of Congress sending photos of his crotch to female members on his Twitter account? This alone is enough to demand his resignation but, HE’S A LIBERAL so it’ perfectly OK! THAT’S WHAT LIBERALS DO. Client #9 pays $80K out of his campaign fund to a prostitute and is rewarded with his own gig on CNN! HE’S A LIBERAL. Former Presidental candidate has a “love child” with his mistress and pays her tons out of the campaign fund to keep her quiet–oh year, HE’S A LIBERAL!! THIS IS WHAT LIBERALS DO. Don’t you just love these people?

  • Fuzzlenutter

    I’m glad it’s gotten the footage it has because I simply hate the smug, mouthy little jackass.

    Plus, I’m a great fan of Schadenfreude…

  • arhooley

    Yes, Timothy, I believe there is one thing you have missed. Weiner’s patently dishonest denials insult my intelligence. He thinks he can get away with it because of his delusions of intellectual and moral superiority. He thinks he’s fit to run my life because he’s better than I am; and yet he can’t do an honorable job of running his own life.

    These elitist hypocrites corrupt my life and my society. They must be removed from positions of prominence and power.

    • Timothy Dalrymple

      Fair enough.

  • Karen S.

    “POINTS AGAINST:
    1.We have much, much more pressing concerns right now. Economists are mortified by the leading economic indicators.”

    That is as a logic fallacy often called an “either/or false dilemma”.
    “a claim that presents an artificially limited range of choices.”
    http://ksuweb.kennesaw.edu/~shagin/logfal-pbc-eitheror.htm
    “An either/or fallacy occurs when a speaker makes a claim (usually a premise in an otherwise valid deductive argument) that presents an artificial range of choices.”

    So, basically, it’s not a walk *or* chew gum choice here, we are not limited to pursuing just one issue.

    • Timothy Dalrymple

      Karen, I agree with your general point, that these sorts of things are too often posed as false dichotomies. But the problem is that these discussions do drain the oxygen from the other conversations we need to be having. I’m not suggesting that no one who cares about politics should talk about these things. I am suggesting that Christians in particular might choose to focus on other things.

  • MisterJohnGalt

    Even if one were to look beyond the act itself and the lying, one could not excuse his attempt to incriminate innocent people. Rep. Weiner should not be permitted to both escape shame for his conduct AND lay the blame at the feet of some anonymous right wing conspiracy. The left spent several weeks blaming Sarah Palin and conservatives for the Tuscon massacre, even though the insane perpetrator was liberal, if anything. It’s not a question of getting revenge for past attacks on straying Republicans; it’s a question of self-defense when Democrats sins are pinned on Republicans.

  • Charles Walters

    Thought provoking article. One thing that strikes me about the temptation to take the “high road” is that it is also the easy route, and I never take the easy route if it isn’t the right path.

    On one hand, there is some logic to allowing the voters of Congressman Weiner’s district to decide whether he should continue to represent them. That would certainly be the easiest route. On the other hand, our tax dollars pay the salaries of all Members of the House of Representatives. They represent all of us, in some respects. If we allow the voters in his district to decide, we may wind up with another criminal like Charlie Rangel, blithely breaking the laws of the land, continuing to gorge himself at the public trough, ignoring the rules as though they do not apply to someone of power. Those are just the sort of people who should not have any power, and it demeans all of us and diminishes our country when they do. So, while it may be a distraction from other important issues, it is still in the country’s interest for people in positions of power to be held accountable, in much the same way that it is in the country’s interest for ordinary citizens to be held accountable; but arguably to an even higher standard.

  • Guzzimon

    Why has this gone as far as it has and no one mentions the Senator/congressman that had t resign because he sent out his picture without his shirt on???????????
    Next question I have is what are they trying to slide by while we are distracted by this shiny ball……… Just sayin’

  • ahem

    Yes, it’s definitely worth it to fight this battle, and it’s been a long time coming. Democrats can do with impunity things that cause Republicans to lose their careers. The media is not the arbiter of political virtue, the citizens are.

    It’s time to push back to end this discrimination. All politicians should be responsible for their actions and should suffer equally in the court of public opinion.

  • http://maybetoday.org John W Gillis

    ” We don’t need Rep. Weiner to illustrate that Democrats are immoral because, well, we’re all immoral, all prone to temptation. There but for the grace of God goes each and every one of us.”

    Ahhh, the old ‘everybody does it’ argument, no? I have news for you: a.) No, not everybody does it – not even close, and, b.) Not everybody sits in the “city gates” that is the U.S. Congress.

    If we, as an allegedly self-governing people, cannot or will not demand a basic level of decency and virtue from those elected to the seats of political power, then we deserve to be oppressed by the blasphemous tyranny quietly descending upon us. Perhaps something a little more ‘prophetic’ than “Ho-hum” might be called for here?

  • george

    The idea that we should just look the other way in the face of a defiant liar is not biblical or Christian. God hates a lie and to the extent we condone trading in lies as legitimate public discourse we are complicit in the lie.

    • Timothy Dalrymple

      I did not say we should look the other way…

  • Sam

    I hate the way this scandal keeps growing and growing. It is just being thrust in our faces constantly. I can’t breathe.

  • DSchoen

    Timothy Dalrymple

    Some how you missed the only point that matters, hacking.
    Weiner has stated, fanatically, that he was hacked.

    Hacking ANYone is a Federal crime.

    Weiner has said he was hacked by right wingers, specifically Dan Wolf.
    Weiner has claimed Dan Wolf committed a Federal crime.

    The accused, Dan Wolf (and everyone else) has a “right” to defend himself from this “alleged crime”.

    In order for an investigation to take place, Weiner has to official file a complaint with the FBI.
    Weiner so far has refused to file a complaint with the FBI, leaving the accused (smeared), Dan Wolf live with this cloud of suspicion.

    If Weiner and the dem’s want this to go away, they must let the FBI do its job and investigate this charge.

    If Dan Wolf or anyone else are found to be behind this hack, charge him and send him to prison.

    If Weiner admits the hacking charge was/is bogus, he needs to resign.
    If the FBI finds that the hacking charge was/is bogus, Weiner should be charge tried and put in prison!

    The picture is irrelevant.
    The person who the picture, is irrelevant.

    The only thing that legally matters is the so-called Hacking!

  • John Farthgum

    The truly sickening part are the morons (yes, morons) that will re-elect him again and again. It makes no difference at all what he did or does or will do…we love people like him.

  • http://www.patheos.com Dave Heller

    Ah….. I think that character does matter.

    I WANT those elected officials who have power over the public to be moral, intelligent, learned, and sober.

    If those qualities are not important in our leaders, then any immoral, stupid, ignorant, drunk might just as well tell us what to do and take our money.

    Or…….. just let me tell everyone else how to live and how much money to give me to satisfy my needs.

    Politicians will act upon the body politic, and if sound persons are not in play, then unsound and immoral persons will rule.

    • Timothy Dalrymple

      I agree that character matters. And I don’t think, for instance, that an ethics investigation is at all out of place. I just think that Christians can model a better conversation by not focusing on the prurient. Bill Bennett did a nice job of discussing the story today, but in an elevated way, for instance.

  • Frederick

    Weiner is a somewhat clownish character. And, that cute little pocket mouse inside Weiner’s undies is quite the character also. For having such little exposure that little “pocket bulge” has become quite famous! There should be a national contest to name that lumpy, bumpy little character !

    Gee the possibilities are endless:
    “Weiner’s weewee”
    “Weiner’s wang”
    “Weiner’s wacker”
    “Weiner wood”
    “Weiner wurst”
    etc. etc…. limitless I tells ya…!!

  • http://freealabamastan.blogspot.com Paul A’Barge

    Feeding Weiner a big helping of a his own DEMONcRAT’s lunch-hypocrisy?

    Definitely worth it.

    Saul Alinsky, baby. Saul Alinsky. Look him up. Hit them back. Hard. Never stop.

  • acidulous

    Cannot understand why you are addressing your remarks about this creep in the same sentence with Christians. You even reference the Bible. You really think there is not much difference in the parties? Really? Marxism/Communism on one side of the aisle and the yearning for the restoration of the Constitution on the other? You have just made the “everybody does it” argument for the left and have ruined your point, whatever that was. Weiner is a Jew from New York with all the stereotypes that accrue. He is a mini me Chuckie Schumer. In fact, the problem with our politics today is that it has been informed by too much Noo Yawk Jewishness. That’s the reason why your remarks about Christianity are laughable. Your are living in another century.

    • Timothy Dalrymple

      Adiculous, I did not say that there is not much difference between the parties. I said that people are sinful, in roughly equal measure, whether Democrat or Republican.

  • Michael Croy

    How exactly does Rep Weiner compare with Tom Delay? And how does Delay rate your descriptor as an “attack dog”. Maybe I missed something but I only remember Delay as being a plain spoken and effective legislator for the right side of the isle. Something akin to a Jim Demint or an Allen West. Of course that’s more than enough to garner hatred from the netroots crowd but is he worthy of scorn from fair minded independents or the center right?

    • Timothy Dalrymple

      Delay was probably unfairly villainized, but it wasn’t for nothing that he was called “the Hammer.”

    • Kubrick’s Rube

      Tom Delay was the type of “effctive legislator” who was sentenced to 3 years in prison for election-based money laundering. This professional criminality, along with being mixed up in the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal, strikes me as more scornworthy than personal failings (no matter how skeevy Weiner’s actions and lies may be).

  • Gina

    Thanks for the comments. As a moderate Christian Democrat who has been sleeping with a moderate Christian Republican for 18 years (oh year, we waited until we were married, and yes, I am a woman and he is a man), my favorite line is “We’re all immoral, all prone to temptation.” Amen, brother.

  • Kubrick’s Rube

    I’m a liberal Democrat. I also beleive morality is extremely important for elected officials.

    However, personal morality is not the only type of morality. I believe my liberal positions to be deeply moral and do not hold them lightly. As such, I will not sacrifice what I see as the public good for private failings.

    My first choice would be personally moral Democratic candidates, but in the primary I will support who I think has the best chance to win, and if asked to choose between a sleazoid like Weiner and a kind, decent Republican who (being a Republican) I think is deeply misguided about the best interests of the country, I will have no choice but to vote for the sleaze. Elections and their impact on people’s lives are just too important to do otherwise.

    Also, contra to many of the commentors but as Tim has pointed out above, both parties have had many scandals, and both parties have seen some people survive those scandals and some go down in flames.

    The biggest difference between those who stay and those who go is that, in general, those who resign are those for whom the scandal includes legal issues (Spitzer, Craig, Ensign), while those who stay are usually legally if not morally in the clear.

    Lastly, the parties do tend to have differnet priorities. Gross tweets do not impact one’s credibility in fighting for unemployment benefits and health care, but infidelity does undercut one’s position as a so-called “family values” crusader.


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