Like I said in the immediately prior post the last few months have really stunk, but how low have I really sunk to find myself feeling a need to defend Anthony “The Whiner” Weiner?
I want to compare and contrast him with some other pols because to a certain extent I think he is being unfairly singled out for condemnation.
Please do not take this as any kind of endorsement of him, and certainly not of his candidacy to be Mayor of New York.
However, there are two other low down dirty dog pols whose sins, to my mind, are far greater than Wiener’s. One has been rewarded with election and the other is still considered a serious contender for office.
And this really irks me, a lot. Really, really a lot.
First of all, let’s discuss the other scandal plagued candidate for NYC office, former Governor and Attorney General Eliot “Client 9” Spitzer. Another sex maniac, evidently (although interestingly enough neither Spitzer nor Weiner has played the “sex addict” card yet) who resigned from the governorship in disgraceful circumstances that can be reviewed here.
Now I, like others on the right (and perhaps not exclusively on one side) had a lot of problems with Eliot Spitzer long before he was revealed to be a whoremonger. Before he had the nickname “Client 9” he gave himself the nickname “The Steamroller” because that was how he preferred to treat his adversaries. In his role as Attorney General and in the name of the “little guy” he sought to run right over them. There are those who saw him as an unethical bully. And I’m sure there are others who saw him as an heroic fighter, perhaps even while acknowledging dirty or at least extremely aggressive tactics.
OK, great minds may disagree on this. Quite frankly I think the whole law enforcement function of all our governments may be getting a little (a lot) out of control, but that’s an issue for another day, if ever, on this blog.
However, here is my point: the man broke the law. He broke rather a lot of laws. Laws against prostitution, laws against transporting women across state lines for purposes of prostitution, laws against wire transfers for illegal purposes. Some of these laws might be a little obscure to the average rich whoremonger but one would think that Attorney General Steamroller would be well aware of them.
But, was he prosecuted? No. If an “ordinary person” committed these crimes, do you think Attorney General Steamroller would be satisfied with mere public and private humiliation and expressions of sincere regret? Do you think it would be considered sufficient punishment if that ordinary person resigned his position? Eh, I don’t think so and neither did this woman.
But, Spitzer was permitted this “get out of prosecution for a whole bunch of embarrassment” card; now he seek to play that card as his ace in the hole to win the office of New York City Comptroller. This is not OK, he should go find some other line of work, holding the purse strings of NYC is not something I think he should be considered suitable for given his history of law breaking and improper behavior.
Now, on to the next case: former South Carolina governor and now congressman Mark Sanford. I could praise myself here for being bi-partisan and finding a sinner on each side of the aisle, but that’s not even what I’m doing. I’m just disgusted with both these guys and I cannot believe that one has been re-elected and the other one might be.
Gov. Sanford, as some will recall, snuck away from his office, the capital, his state, the country, the continent and in fact the entire hemisphere to have a secret dalliance with an Argentinian women with whom he had fallen in love.
Do you know the old quip? All the world loves a lover – except the two people they were married to before.
Why did he do this? I think it’s pretty clear he did it so he wouldn’t have to tell his wife that he’d fallen for another, although in the stories I’ve found it is said she already knew about his affair. Perhaps it was because he wasn’t 100% sure he would want to leave his wife for this other woman, so he was striving to keep his options open. Or maybe he’s just a big baby who wants what he wants NOW.
What I do know is this: in addition to whatever duty Sanford had to his own family, he had voluntarily taken on very important responsibilities to the 4.7 million people who live in South Carolina. I mean, here’s the deal, nobody forced him to be governor and it’s not as if he got the office through another person’s death or anything. He chose to do it and I’m sure he worked very hard to get elected.
I have no idea if anybody on his staff really knew where he was, or if they all believed the lie that he was “hiking the Appalachian trail”. I don’t know if I’d rather believe someone knew or no one knew; I’ve been thinking about this on and off since it happened and I can’t decide which is worse.
I do know this, extremely bad things can happen at any time, with no warning whatsoever. At those times we often look to our leaders for guidance, instruction, and aid. Mark Sanford is a pretty lucky fellow that his absence was discovered under stupid circumstances rather than really dreadful ones. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno caught some heck (not entirely unfairly imho) when they were both out of the country during a blizzard, so it doesn’t take straining the brain to imagine many scenarios that would have brought even greater disgrace to Sanford.
He was the chief executive of the state of South Carolina and he was derelict in his duty.
Nevertheless, this spring he entered a special election for the same congressional seat he had previously held and in some fit of forgiveness (or stupidity) the voters of the district returned this selfish, self-indulgent, man to public office.
I’m all for redemption and I’m certainly all for people earning a living at what they do best. Yes, I though it was OK that Michael Vick returned to the football field, I don’t think the world would be a better place if he were selling cars or working in a 7-11. However, Michael Vick is a football player, that is not a position of public trust. It must also be emphasized that Michael Vick served time for his crimes.
Mark Sanford, Eliot Spitzer, Anthony Weiner do not deserve to hold elected office, but of the three I think Weiner is the least unqualified if we are judging on the basis of his sexual transgressions. The condemnation reserved for him must be driving him nuts.
The only explanation I can offer is that his sins are very, very tawdry – something any silly adolescent boy might do. (But, don’t do it boys!)
Perhaps he needed to be more glamorous – high paid call girls in high class hotels; Argentinian “Soul Mates”….
In any event, I actually feel bad for the guy. And that is truly a sorry comment on the state of our political class, and yes voters that does include all of us.