They got him, shop and they are exulting.
“Best. Press. Conference. EVAH!” tweeted a jubilant Robert Stacy McCain after Rep. Anthony Weiner’s confessional.
“He even apologizes to… the day’s big winner,” Andrew Breitbart, exclaimed the Gay Patriot.
That’s a curious conception of “winning.” I mean, do any of us really “win” when a public official is disgraced and humiliated? It seems to me that all of us are losers in this sad and sordid affair.
Anthony Weiner was caught doing a wrong and stupid thing: By his own admission, he “exchanged messages and photos of an explicit nature with about six women over the last three years.” Some of this communication took place after Weiner was married, and he lied about at least one explicit tweet.
That’s sad, shameful and embarrassing. But it also is of no real public import. It’s between him, his wife, his rabbi and his God.
In fact, it remains true even now that nobody has shown Weiner’s actions had any legal or public implications whatsoever.
Indeed, unlike Sen. David Vitter (R-Louisiana), Weiner broke no law. Unlike former Sen. John Edwards (D-North Carolina), he cannot be accused of having redirected campaign funds to personal purposes. And unlike President Bill Clinton (D-Arkansas), he did not lie under oath.
In fact, it would be hard to imagine a sexual transgression more entirely personal and private than Anthony Weiner’s.
Some have argued that, by sending explicit photos to a women he barely knew, or had just met online, Weiner made himself susceptible to blackmail. I suppose that’s technically true, but it’s also rather farfetched and unrealistic.
Weiner’s politics are well known; his congressional votes are well publicized; and so it’s hard to see how, in our open and democratic society, he could be blackmailed into changing his political stripes.
Saying Weiner made himself susceptible to blackmail is no more convincing than saying that corporate campaign contributions “buy” a congressman’s vote. In truth, campaign contributions follow a congressman’s vote; they do not direct it.
By the same token, Weiner was pursuing these women for his own personal purposes; they were not political types pursuing him for partisan or financial gain.
In any case, politicians and elected representatives have all types of secrets, and sexual improprieties are probably the least dangerous among these.
A more serious and damning allegation is that Weiner asked one woman to “lie” about their relationship (or lack thereof). But it’s unclear that Weiner did any such thing. Instead, it sounds to me like he was urging the woman to be politically savvy and public relations conscious.
Now, there is one woman who has a legitimate personal and political beef with Weiner, and that is his wife, Huma, who works for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. But that’s a matter for the husband and wife to resolve, perhaps with the aid of a marriage counselor; it should not be a matter of concern to the blogosphere.
We have adopted the leftist mantra that “the personal is political” — and we are licensing the next round of the Washington revenge drama in which liberal bloggers will seek retribution.
I don’t for one minute suggest that we all just “get along.” Politics ain’t beanbag, as they say; it’s a contact sport. But we should fight it out on matters of public policy, not personal peccadilloes. Otherwise we will all lose.