“No Man’s life liberty or property is safe while the legislature is in session”.

- attributed to NY State Judge Gideon Tucker

Thursday, June 9, 2011

The Weiner Scandal- Part 2

I left some issues unaddressed in my initial post concerning the Anthony Weiner scandal.

In the days since that post, I've seen various cable programs covering the scandal. One had 'man on the street' interviews with New Yorkers concerning Weiner's indiscretions, subsequent lies, and refusal to resign his Congressional seat.

I was appalled at the number of people who felt what he did was a private matter, and that he should not resign.

How Clintonian, eh?

Glenn Beck devoted much of his Tuesday evening program to the Weiner affair, with a studio audience. There, four themes stood out.

First was one echoed elsewhere- that by lying about his extensive lewd Twittering and emails, Weiner exposed himself to blackmail. His detailed coaching of the Las Vegas woman, complete with offers to have his PR people assist her, is rather chilling. How easily Weiner could have been entrapped and turned, exploited by someone eager to gain access to or influence Congressional matters, while threatening to out Weiner if he failed to comply with the blackmail.

Second was the notion that, having shown himself capable of lying so easily, even to his wife, in order to cover up his indiscretions, Weiner had rendered himself completely lacking in credibility about any governmental business. Who would now believe his apparently-earnest assertions about policy options on health care, spending, or taxes, now that he's shown himself to be capable of lying on a whim?

Third was Weiner's weird juxtaposition of 'taking responsibility' while refusing to resign his House seat. Beck noted that this new tack of assuming responsibility is sort of a modern political lightning rod. It means nothing in the absence of actions like resignation. In Weiner's case, he supplied the appropriate amount of tears and choking at the appropriate moments. Very contrite-looking. But if you watched how his feet moved, so to speak, you'll note that he is attempting to ride out the storm without resigning. Republicans, as several pundits have counseled, would be wise to shut up and let him twist and remain. It's the Democrats who have the problem, made larger and more vexing the longer Weiner remains.

Fourth was Beck's own theme that this circus has distracted the networks, newspapers and magazines from covering some rather disturbing larger national issues of merit. Such as Chinese purchase of European food companies, failure to rollover short-term US Treasuries holdings, the renewed decline in US housing prices and further rise in unemployment.

Charles Krauthammer did a nice job on O'Reilly's program this week contrasting Clinton's survival of the Lewinsky affair, versus Weiner's troubles. Krauthammer predicts that, due to his lower status and more pugnacious image, Weiner will fall where Clinton managed to recover politically.

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