We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars

Suppose you needed to have emergency brain surgery, some kind of tricky procedure that you might or might not survive. The hospital told “We’ve got two surgeons, Dr. Bayh and Dr. Weiner. Bayh is a pillar of the community, the kind of guy you’d like to have a beer with. Weiner got caught doing some consensual crotch tweeting last year. Nothing wrong with Bayh, he’s a real good surgeon. But Weiner is a fucking madman, if anyone can save you, it’s him.” I don’t have to ask which surgeon you would choose, do I? And that’s even before they tell you that Bayh is about to quit and go earn seven figures as a lobbyist for Pfizer.

Likewise, if Steve Jobs got caught crotch tweeting, and the company tried to force him out, you’d have some angry shareholders on your hand. When someone’s professional skill obviously really matters, no one cares much about their personal life anymore. When the media obsesses over politicians’ sex lives, it show that it doesn’t think politics is a very important profession. If I were Chris Matthews, I would feel sad that I devoted my life to something so obviously unimportant.

In the post John linked to, Greenwald makes maybe even a better point about the crotch sniffing of McArdle et al.:

Megan McArdle insists that “society has [an] interest in whether people keep their vows” in marriage and thus it’s a good thing “to use a few of our precious news hours to say, ‘Hey, not okay’!” Except McArdle has absolutely no idea what vows Weiner and his wife have made to each other, and she shouldn’t know, because it’s none of her business, despite her eagerness to learn about it and publicly condemn it. Even if she had any idea of what she was talking about — and she plainly doesn’t — nothing is less relevant than Megan McArdle’s views of the arrangement Anthony Weiner and his wife have for their marriage and whether each partner is adhering to that arrangement. That a journalist at The Atlantic wants to talk about this, and dig into the details, and issue judgments about it, says all one needs to know about our press corps.

That’s the thing, we just don’t know anything about Weiner’s marriage and, frankly, it isn’t our business. I have plenty of friends I know very well whose relationships make no sense to me. What would make anyone think that they knew Weiner and his wife so well that they knew exactly what the parameters of their marriage were? Many of Weiner’s professional activities are a matter of public record; his votes, his love for AIPAC, etc. are all out there for us to see. Wouldn’t it make more sense to judge him as Congressman based on this public record? Even if you don’t think being a Congressman is an important job, at least we have enough evidence to judge his record there one way or the other.

The same goes for all the stuff about V.S. Naipaul, Roald Dahl, and the other newly minted monsters Freddie discusses. You like their books or you don’t. You’ll never figure out what they were really like, no matter how thorough the biography, and there’s no reason to care in the first place. None of these people are going to move in next door to you or marry your sister. So who cares if they’re assholes?

Nobody’s perfect and I suspect most people have done something “as bad”, if you look at it the right way, as tweet their crotch around at some point in their life. The real monsters are the cynical Beltway elites who throw the American people under the bus in exchange for wingnut welfare or just to help out their ideological movement. David Brooks and Evan Bayh could be great family men for all I know. Good father? Fuck you! Go home and play with your kids. You wanna work here — stop lying to the public.

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164 replies
  1. 1
    ppcli says:

    Well, I did observe that Weiner didn’t drag his wife up on the stage to stand beside him, silent and mortified, during the obligatory confession and self-abasement press conference. That puts him miles ahead of every other politician in that situation.

  2. 2
    stuckinred says:

    Doug, I want to thank you for writing McArdle instead of the shopworn bullshit that so many insist on calling her!

  3. 3
    Corner Stone says:

    I agree, and I’m very sad. I recently read a dozen or so interviews with the departed Western author Louis L’Amour.
    Dude was an old school misogynist prick. Just a jackass.
    Hate that guy now.

  4. 4
    Mudge says:

    You (and Greenwald) are silly. Of course McArdle makes that comment because she wants HER version of vows to be everyone’s version (Libertarian my ass). Same with abortion, contraception and sexuality. We must all dig out her numerous articles on Ensign and Vitter, however. As they say, IOKIYAR.

  5. 5
    Major Mel Funkshun says:

    The only thing I can take away from this whole debacle is the fact that I get to hear the word “Weiner” a thousand times a day. Weiner Weiner Weiner Weiner Weiner Weiner Weiner Weiner Weiner Weiner Weiner Weiner Weiner Weiner Weiner Weiner Weiner Weiner Weiner Weiner Weiner Weiner Weiner Weiner Weiner Weiner Weiner Weiner Weiner Weiner Weiner Weiner Weiner Weiner Weiner Weiner Weiner Weiner

  6. 6
    Corner Stone says:

    Who are you now, Ricky Rachtman?

  7. 7
    lankyloo says:

    Heh. I actually had something like the doctor hypothetical happen to me. I broke my back, and at the first hospital I was at, the guy who was going to perform my back surgery had his licensed revoked in another state for fondling female patients under anesthesia. I ended up going to another hospital, and am not so sure that was a bad decision.

    Has nothing to do with the analogy DougJ was trying to make, but I’m a jerk that way.

  8. 8
    Violet says:

    Politics is all about relationships and relationship skills. That’s why “relationships” get dissected. A politician’s “professional skill” is the ability to get things done. When his or her behavior jeopardizes that ability, it damages his skill.

    You wouldn’t hire the neurosurgeon if he’s damaged his hand while crushing beer bottles against his forehead. That’s a stupid thing to do, and even stupider if you’re a neurosurgeon who depends on that hand to work.

    Anthony Weiner has potentially damaged his professional skill, that of being able to get things done through relationships.

  9. 9
    Mike Kay (Team America) says:

    Jane Hamsher went on MSNBC yesterday and called on Weinie to resign.

    “He’s grabbing the headlines and keeping people from talking about Paul Ryan’s disastrous Medicare plan, which had the Republicans on the run.”

    There you have it. Even the liburel Queen of the Firebaggers says he should go.

    What I find telling and sad is how bloggers love Weiner even though he has an atrocious voting record. Even his royal highness Glenn Greenwald agrees with me, saying, “[Weiner] is one of the most extremist AIPAC loyalists in the Congress, which is not an easy distinction to achieve.”

    It’s sad to see that as long as you give a blogger some lip service and a pat on the head, you can get away with any vote (ie Edwards/Weiner).

  10. 10
    JGabriel says:

    Ed Rollins (GOP Strategist and Michelle Bachmann’s campaign manager) @ Politico:

    “People are going to say, ‘I gotta make a choice and go with the intelligent woman who’s every bit as attractive.’”

    Ooh, just what women need. Two female candidates for the GOP presidential nomination, arguing over who’s prettier.

    Jackass.

    .

  11. 11
    Chris says:

    @JGabriel:

    At least he was honest enough to admit that hotness is a crucial part of what both Palin and Bachmann are going for.

  12. 12
    dollared says:

    Wow, Doug. Living in some fantasyland where merit matters and good government is an ideal worth fighting for.

    I share your religion, but we were thrown out of Jerusalem the day the hostages were taken in Teheran, and it will be generations before we return.

  13. 13
    darms says:

    If you live in a fishbowl (as all Dems do, especially ‘liberal’ ones), you damn sure better live your life as if everything you do is on display. Otherwise you will be scandalized and your ‘scandal’ will suck the air out of all the media. I don’t think it’s right but so what, the world don’t work that way anymore and you either accept that or face the consequences. IOKIYAR & INOKIYAD is the law of the land these days.

  14. 14
    Mike Kay (Team America) says:

    @JGabriel:

    “People are going to say, ‘I gotta make a choice and go with the intelligent woman who’s every bit as attractive.’”

    According to Tweety, the tie breaker won’t be intelligence, but rather who’s better in bed.

  15. 15
    patrick II says:

    I am with you — about ninety per cent. However, I have to say that personal behavior does give clues to how one acts generally, and especially in the extreme, should not be ignored.
    The extreme womanizing of Dominique Strauss-Kahn was ignored by the European press, but in the end I consider it an indicator not only of his attitude about women but about the powerless, and his judgement in general. Of course he eventually stepped way over the line — but more moderate forms of the bad behavior has been there for awhile but classified as “personal”.
    I might add that I have my own experience with a brilliant doctor, but one who the personal fault of greed and amition. He made a lot of money from marketing a particular medical device. I am now crippled in the left leg. His business greed mixed too much with his practice, he recommended an inappropriate operation, and I now walk with a limp.
    I am willing to discount a lot of personal behavior as irrelevant or trivial, but not always and not totally.
    Where to draw the line? For me, somewhere to the left of McMegan and the right of Greenwald.

  16. 16
    Bulworth says:

    Megan McArdle insists that “society has [an] interest in whether people keep their vows” in marriage and thus it’s a good thing “to use a few of our precious news hours to say, ‘Hey, not okay’!”

    Really? Society has an interest? I thought McMegan was a libertarian. Society has an interest? But I suppose society doesn’t have an interest in economic inequality…

  17. 17
    a1 says:

    Good father? Fuck you! Go home and play with your kids. You wanna work here—stop lying to the public.

    Nice. You brought the Glengarry and the Glen Ross to this post!

  18. 18
    ppcli says:

    @JGabriel: To be fair, he’s saying that they are equally attractive, but Bachmann is more intelligent. And I for one feel that the country needs to see the question settled by a televised debate on American politics and history between these two titans as soon as possible.

  19. 19
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    OK, pedantic point here.

    “Weiner” is pronounced WINE-er

    “Wiener” is pronounced WEEN-er.

    This is how it works in the original German and/or Yiddish.

    “ei” is the long I sound.

    “ie” is the long E sound.

    This is one of those absolutely locked in concrete rules of German.

    That aside, Doug J, you will burn in Heck for making sense. Particularly in this fucked up obsessed with WIENERS country of ours.

  20. 20
    JGabriel says:

    Mudge:

    Of course McArdle makes that comment because she wants HER version of vows to be everyone’s version (Libertarian my ass).

    Lots of the Libertarians I’ve met are in open relationships — or believe themselves to be, whether or not their SO knows it.

    By McArdle’s standards, I suppose one should really look into her relationship with her husband, to ensure that they’re not doing anything kinky or polyamorous.

    After all, we wouldn’t want pundits who lie to us. It’s important that we can trust their opinions.

    .

  21. 21
    flounder says:

    What I want some big media stars to clarify is why GOP Senator Tom Coburn can engage in conspiracy to commit fraud (or bribery, or whatever category of felony that Ensign’s payoff to his mistresses husband represents), yet he is still in good standing with both the big media and all the hand-washing politicians.
    Both groups have been begging the criminal to come back to their crappy “Gang of Six” circle-jerk.
    For that matter, Coburn has explained that he should not be expected to discuss his role in the conspiracy because he was covered under some patient-doctor privacy clause, even though Coburn is a gynecologist, and John Ensign in all likelyhood has no lady parts.
    I want Rience Priebus, Howard Kurtz, et al. to have to defend Coburn.
    Thinking out loud, do you suppose Coburn is licensed in Oklahoma? I wonder what sort of ethical by-laws he broke, and I wonder if getting him to face a review by the Oklahoma licensing board would be worthwhile?

  22. 22
    Jewish Steel says:

    Can I repost what I said (with edits) in John’s thread?

    Like a Frenchman, I expect powerful men (and women too, if they want, doesn’t seem as common with them though) to use their power to leverage sex. People are animals, and I mean that in the most animal positive way. I do my best to withhold moral judgement and try to keep in mind my own lapses and fallibility.

    That is why I am far more interested in the moral scolding in the media (along with Glenn) than in the story itself which turned out drearily predictable.

    I do like what Hertzberg said in the linked article.

    The modern media embarrassment machine is bigger than it ever was, but so is the fatal dose.

    You’re in good company in your “newly minted monsters” paragraph Woody Allen’s film Sweet And Lowdown, Iris Murdoch’s Under the Net, that woman who wrote about Miles Davis’ wife beating ways and how that made her hear his music differently, most Beatles vs Stones arguments…all of these touch on that same topic.

    Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction describes how “authenticity” has migrated from the art object to the artist his/herself…THIS IS ONE OF MY FAVORITE TOPICS! but I have to go.

    Lord, what a rambly post!

  23. 23
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Bulworth:

    I might also point out that another heroine of the McArdle mindset, Baroness Thatcher, once said there is no such thing as “society”.

  24. 24
    grandpajohn says:

    Yes, all this judgmental shit from these self proclaimed guardians of the public morality, most of them claiming to be God fearing Christians yet have obviously not studied their bibles much to see what it has to say about judging others. The most overlooked of course is the story Jesus and the adulterous woman who was to be stoned. When Jesus proclaimed”, Let the one among you who is without sin, cast the first stone” They all turned and left, leaving Jesus and the woman whom he told ,”Go and sin no more.”
    Today among the self anointed judges of the republican fundamentalist right, I strongly suspect that the first stone would be thrown at Jesus for being a RINO

  25. 25
    Svensker says:

    @JGabriel:

    Wait. So he’s saying Palin isn’t intelligent?

  26. 26

    That a journalist at The Atlantic

    Is he talking about Fallows? Because if there’s a journalist at the Atlantic, McArdle ain’t it. She also ain’t an “editor” either.

  27. 27
    Steve says:

    In very few marriages is it “okay” for the guy to go around crotch-tweeting. The wife may or may not forgive him if she finds out about it, but even if she forgives him that doesn’t mean she is “okay” with him continuing to do it.

    Greenwald may be right that there are some relationships where the wife has no problem at all with crotch-tweeting, but there is no reason at all to think that Weiner’s marriage is one of those relationships, so it’s kind of a non sequitur.

    But setting aside the possibility that Weiner has one of those ultra-rare crotch-tweeting-permitted relationships, I don’t agree that my personal opinion of Weiner has to depend on whether his wife lets him off the hook or not. If one of my friends cheated on his wife, I’d think he was an ass whether or not his wife decided to leave him over it.

    If John McCain calls his wife the c-word and says she plasters on her makeup like a trollup, guess what, my reaction is to think he’s an ass. I don’t think “gee, whether or not his wife lets him call her the c-word is between the two of them, and it’s not my place to judge.” In fact, I think that reaction would be downright weird.

  28. 28
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @grandpajohn:

    Today among the self anointed judges of the republican fundamentalist right, I strongly suspect that the first stone would be thrown at Jesus for being a RINO

    Heck, they’d be in the front row of the mob screaming “crucify him!”

  29. 29

    @lankyloo:

    the guy who was going to perform my back surgery had his licensed revoked in another state for fondling female patients under anesthesia

    LOL. That is funny. And yes, very much a no-no.

    I wonder who turned him in.

  30. 30
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Bulworth: I guess a libertarian prude isn’t exactly a contradiction in terms…

  31. 31
    tomvox1 says:

    High school. It’s all just high school.

    OR (restricting it to just DC):

    Forget it, Doug. It’s the Village.

  32. 32
    JGabriel says:

    @Svensker:

    So [Rollins is] saying Palin isn’t intelligent?

    You’d have to ask Rollins, but he appears to be saying, “Palin’s even dumber than Bachmann, but Bachmann is just as purty.”

    .

  33. 33
    jacy says:

    I couldn’t care less what Weiner (or anybody else, for that matter) does with their personal lives. Sex is never going to make sense, and it’s none of people’s business.

    My complaint about Weiner is much the same as Kay’s. I don’t see him standing up for his convictions. He’s a big boy, he knows how the game is played. If you want to have your fun, don’t screw everything up to have it.

    He could either have said, “None of your business,” or, “Yeah, I did that, so what.” But instead he futzed around for more than a week while his defenders tied themselves into pretzels to support him, and then did the pathetic, teary speech of contrition. So, yeah, I don’t think he’s a stand-up guy, not because he was engaged in something that’s none of my business, but because he handled the consequences so fucking poorly. He’s not just making his job harder, he’s making the job of everybody who is supposed to be his ally harder. If I was Nancy Pelosi, I’d take a metaphorical bat to his kneecaps. I wouldn’t throw him under the bus, but I’d slam his damn hand in the door a couple times.

    That said, I’m not his direct constituent, so it’s not my problem. Let the people who he directly represented do what they want with him. I don’t care if he resigns or doesn’t, but I’ll probably roll my eyes every time I see him speak. I have a low tolerance for idiots, regardless if they’re on the same side of the fence as I am. And I have an especially low tolerance for them if they screw up stuff for other people.

  34. 34

    the passive voice is way to common for “the crotch sniffing of mcardle” to pass without a kvetch.

    that said, i don’t think it is so much a statement about how politicians aren’t important. i think this is a culture where almost everyone wants to feel subversive, the contradiction is that no one really is. it feels like you are challenging the will to power, or the man, or whatever, when you condemn things, by leaping on a convenient high pillar of situational morality. the reality, of course is, that power still insulates those who actually have it, for the reason dougj alludes to, power is essential.

    if the democrats felt weiner was essential, they would have defended him. on balance he is expendable. perhaps it is his aipac support. all the people taking weiner down are doing, as subversive as they might feel, is reinforcing power, not challenging it.

  35. 35
    grandpajohn says:

    @JGabriel: That’s the only thing left to argue about they certainly can’t argue which is more intelligent

  36. 36
    Cat says:

    Someone who will lie to cover-up a stupid and embarrassing human frailty and then keeps lying until its obvious he’s been caught lying isn’t trustworthy.

    “Its none of your business.” or “So what?” are much better answers then lying for a week and then fessing up.

  37. 37
    liberal says:

    @patrick II:

    However, I have to say that personal behavior does give clues to how one acts generally, and especially in the extreme, should not be ignored.

    Jesus, that’s just utter bullshit.

    If you plot “personal ethics” vs “general ethics”, there’s some relationship there. In the sense that there is probably a subpopulation of very ethical people, who apply the same principle in both domains.

    Otherwise, I don’t see any meaningful relationship between the two. Absent a population sampling with the right metrics, remember Schindler’s List? That guy treated his wife like sh*t, but OTOH did something amazing and courageous in the “non personal ethics” department.

    What you could say against Weiner is about his judgement.

  38. 38
    Georgia Pig says:

    The thing is, Weiner is no mad skillz surgeon — he’s a fuck-up at what is purportedly his specialty. I don’t give a crap about Weiner’s marriage vows, so McArdle is full of it about that. But Weiner committed political malpractice in the way he handled this by not just coming out an saying “yeah, I shared inappropriate texts and photos with women I’m not married to” instead of claiming he was hacked and setting a bunch of people off dissecting yfrog. Yeah, the media suck, but he should know what he’s dealing with, and when he needed to lay his cards on the table.

  39. 39
    Mike Kay (Team America) says:

    @ppcli:

    To be fair, he’s saying that they are equally attractive,

    Palin has bigger, um, um .. curves.

    http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_hLkg.....tshirt.jpg

  40. 40
    moe99 says:

    It’s the lying that’s the smelly part of this one. All the same, let the voters in his district decide.

  41. 41
    khead says:

    So who cares if they’re assholes?

    Just score the touchdown.

    Or beat Michigan a lot.

  42. 42
    Whiskey Screams from a Guy With No Short-Term Memory says:

    I share your religion, but we were thrown out of Jerusalem the day the hostages were taken in Teheran, and it will be generations before we return.

    @dollared: Seconded, but I don’t think we’re ever going to make it back.

    That we as a society insist that your private life is not to be private, is relevant to your work and public life (drug testing, pre-employment psych testing, submission of credit scores with non-financial job sector employment application…the list goes on and on) and not only can be but is everyone else’s business, is disgusting.

    But it is not un-American, sadly. We were founded by a bunch of refugees from England who were thrown out for insisting that their panty-sniffing, holier-than-thou, 911 hotline to God proto-Taliban lifestyle was the one that should be imposed on everyone else whether they wanted to join in or not. With that kind of bullshit in our national DNA, we were doomed to get a society just like the one we have – hung up on useless titillating trivia, where the Mrs. Grundys of the nation not only have the power to get all up in your private business, but to ruin your life if they feel like it.

    What a pathetic, small-minded, cowardly way to live. Every single person on this thread who is condemning Anthony Weiner ought to look at their own lives, imagine what could be made out of them if every last private detail were made public, and hang their heads in shame over what horrible hypocrites they are.

  43. 43
    grandpajohn says:

    @ppcli: Wow now that’s damning with faint praise if I ever saw it

  44. 44
    Corner Stone says:

    @Steve:

    In very few marriages is it “okay” for the guy to go around crotch-tweeting.

    How do you know this? And what is “very few”? I’ve known couples whose basic mantra was, “Don’t care as long as you come home to me.”
    And more than one discussion with a 2 time PhD attorney who said she didn’t care where her husband stuck his ween, their family was more important to her. So, she had options career wise and income wise. She wasn’t trapped.
    I think our personal morality and jealousies are damaging our judgment here.

  45. 45
    Chris says:

    @Bulworth:

    Really? Society has an interest? I thought McMegan was a libertarian. Society has an interest? But I suppose society doesn’t have an interest in economic inequality…

    Government should get out of the way so that “society” can solve its own affairs. “Society” is a nebulous and purposely vague term in this context – churches, businesses, small town governments, and other such things may all play a part – but what it ultimately means is “us” (conservatives).

    The federal government must get out of the way, so that I and mine can rule society as we see fit. That’s the conservative mindset in a nutshell. It was the mindset behind the Confederacy, it was the mindset behind the trusts of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and the two mindsets have now joined to create the guys on the other side of the current aisle.

  46. 46
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @ppcli:

    I call dibs on the popcorn concession for that epic matchup.

  47. 47
    liberal says:

    @Mike Kay (Team America):

    What I find telling and sad is how bloggers love Weiner even though he has an atrocious voting record.

    Huh?

    While I’m in complete agreement with GG re Weiner/AIPAC, on issues in general Americans for Democratic Action gives him a 100% rating for 2010, for ex.

  48. 48
    Studly Pantload, a full-service troll says:

    @JGabriel:

    Who’s to say he was referrring to Palin and not, say, this candidate?

  49. 49
    Michael Finn says:

    I don’t care about any of that this shit because it doesn’t affect me iota.

    However, It is just creepy that a congressman think he could take a photo like that and think it wouldn’t come back to bite him in the ass though.

  50. 50
    Stefan says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    Actually, to be even more pedantic about it, if we’re usin the original German pronounciation then:

    “Weiner” is pronounced VINE-er

    “Wiener” is pronounced VEEN-er.

    Which is why, for example, it’s pronounced Dirk Novitski with a “v” sound rather than the way it’s spelled, which is Dirk Nowitski.

  51. 51
    Ruckus says:

    DougJ

    Really.
    I am real tired of people sticking their noses where they don’t belong. People hired him to be a good legislator. If they hired him for his religious/morality/perfectness, it is the employers who are wrong. My employer has no need to know what I do in my off hours unless it Directly affects my work. Do I have a drink a bit after work? Do I smoke a bit after work? Do I dress in opposite sex attire, away from work(or even at work!), etc, etc.
    NONE of their business. I am hired to do a specific job, I did not sell my self into 24 hr a day slavery.

  52. 52
    Mike Kay (Team America) says:

    @jacy:

    My complaint about Weiner is much the same as Kay’s. I don’t see him standing up for his convictions.

    Weiner wasn’t even a progressive (per Greenwald). Yet oddly, so called progressive bloggers loved him.

    I always hoped bloggers would turn out better than the MSM, but so far they’re just as superficial and high-schoolish as Chuck Todd and Jake Tapper.

  53. 53
    Violet says:

    @Chris:

    At least he was honest enough to admit that hotness is a crucial part of what both Palin and Bachmann are going for.

    Every caller that has called into Limbaugh’s program to talk about Palin has sounded middle-aged, usually over 50, and definitely male. And they sound so hurt that people are m33n to poor widdle Sarah. And then go on and on about how qualified a candidate she is and how she makes so much sense and how they voted for her last time, even though technically that meant they voted for McCain, but they weren’t they were voting for her!

    It’s kind of pathetic. Bunch of sad, middle-aged, men with excuse after excuse for why they like Sarah Palin when everyone knows the real reason is that she gives them boners.

  54. 54
    soonergrunt says:

    Unless one is Wiener’s constituent, it’s not ones business. Even then it’s a simple matter of “does he do the job I voted for him to do?”

  55. 55
    patrick II says:

    @liberal:
    I like the way you call “bullshit”, and then in the next sentence say there is sometimes a relationship. Nice coherence.

    I think the first line of my comment was that I agree with Doug bout ninety percent, but that clues about professional behavior derived from personal behavior, especially more extreme personal behavior should not be entirely discounted.
    And since when is “judgement” part of a person’s makeup that cannot be in part observed from his personal behavior?

  56. 56
    Stefan says:

    Greenwald may be right that there are some relationships where the wife has no problem at all with crotch-tweeting, but there is no reason at all to think that Weiner’s marriage is one of those relationships, so it’s kind of a non sequitur.

    Really? Tell us more, please, about all you know about their relationship. It would be fascinating to hear your deep insights into the intimate personal, romantic and sexual relationship of two people you’ve never met.

  57. 57
    Tony J says:

    @jacy:

    This. Very well said.

    I’ll just add that in one week of ‘wondering what to do’ Weiner just rehabilitated the Breitbart brand in the eyes of The Village. For every accurate portrayal of him as a scum-sucking, wingnut smear-artist with a long history of lying and deceptive editing that should make him persona non grata in the MSM, there is now one simple rebuttal they can use, they just say “No he’s not, what about Weiner?”

    Yeah, it’s a BS excuse, but Weiner handed it to them on a silver platter.

  58. 58

    When the media obsesses over politicians’ sex lives, it show that it doesn’t think politics is a very important profession.

    Absolutely correct. Again I stand with Benen on this. That’s the POINT for them. Politics is nothing but a circus. A supreme court justice’s financial corruption is dull. A congressman texting a picture of his penis is dirty and scandalous and exciting. There are no larger issues to be concerned with. Not in this story, not in any story. Politics is a game, and this guy fell on his face.

    That’s how 99% of the national news media views the world.

  59. 59
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Whiskey Screams from a Guy With No Short-Term Memory:

    Every single person on this thread who is condemning Anthony Weiner ought to look at their own lives, imagine what could be made out of them if every last private detail were made public, and hang their heads in shame over what horrible hypocrites they are.

    If only Weiner, who lives in a media hothouse, had followed this advice before sending crotch shots to perfect strangers in his own name.

    The crotch shots are not the problem here. It’s trying to deny it for 10 days and wondering why everyone thinks you’re a liar.

  60. 60
    liberal says:

    @Steve:

    If one of my friends cheated on his wife, I’d think he was an ass whether or not his wife decided to leave him over it.

    So?

    IMHO the most important thing about a politician, particularly a legislator where executive responsibility isn’t at the fore, is his/her policy agenda.

    Of course, it would be nice if the person also wasn’t an asshole, and being an asshole can have feedback effects on whether someone can get something done. But it’s not a primary consideration.

  61. 61
    Stefan says:

    But it is not un-American, sadly. We were founded by a bunch of refugees from England who were thrown out for insisting that their panty-sniffing, holier-than-thou, 911 hotline to God proto-Taliban lifestyle was the one that should be imposed on everyone else whether they wanted to join in or not.

    As an Australian friend of mine says, America got Britain’s religious fanatics while Australia got Britain’s prostitutes. Guess which one got the better deal…?

  62. 62
    Bordo says:

    The only issue to me is what Wienergate means to achieving progressive results. He will be a distraction at a time when the Republicans are getting their asses kicked in the court of public opinion over the Ryan plan. The lapdog media has actually started paying attention to all the horrors Ryan’s bullshit plan would unleash. The last thing we need now is titillating distractions. And that, sadly, is what Weiner has become.

    He selfishly put himself at risk with foolish behavior. He didn’t screw himself. He screwed us. He needs to go. His district is reliably Democratic and there’s question an able representative can be found that will not distract us from the ongoing battle to protect ourselves from the corporate overlords and their GOP enablers.

  63. 63
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Mike Kay (Team America):

    Weiner wasn’t even a progressive (per Greenwald). Yet oddly, so called progressive bloggers loved him.

    Because he was going after that sack of rancid corporate/fascist shit, Clarence Thomas.

    Which was why Breitbart’s minions targeted him.

  64. 64
    Stefan says:

    @Cat:

    Oh, please. “Someone who will lie to cover-up a stupid and embarrassing human frailty and then keeps lying until its obvious he’s been caught lying isn’t trustworthy” — really? Who doesn’t lie about sex? I submit there’s not one person in the world who, when caught in an embarrassing sexual situation, will not at some point lie about it and keep lying.

    Sex is the one thing everyone — everyone — lies about.

  65. 65
    Corner Stone says:

    @Tony J:

    I’ll just add that in one week of ‘wondering what to do’ Weiner just rehabilitated the Breitbart brand in the eyes of The Village.

    People keep saying this. It’s bullshit. ABC danced the dance with AB even after he had repeatedly been shown to lie and falsely edit.
    He’s a liar and they all know it. They don’t care.

  66. 66
    Culture of Truth says:

    I don’t have to ask which surgeon you would choose, do I?

    Chris Matthews.

  67. 67
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Stefan:

    Point taken over the fow and the vay :)

  68. 68
    Corner Stone says:

    @Stefan: mmmm…Aussie prosses…

  69. 69
    Doug Harlan J says:

    @Steve:

    We don’t know anything about their marriage and how much his wife cares. It’s not our business.

  70. 70
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Corner Stone:

    He’s a liar and they all know it. They don’t care.

    He delivers eyeballs. Eyeballs are what they sell to their true customers, the advertisers.

    Life is good.

  71. 71
    liberal says:

    @patrick II:

    I like the way you call “bullshit”, and then in the next sentence say there is sometimes a relationship. Nice coherence.

    I like the way that you think calling out your idiotic claims with a naughty word somehow reflects ill of my ethics.

    I think the first line of my comment was that I agree with Doug bout ninety percent, but that clues about professional behavior derived from personal behavior, especially more extreme personal behavior should not be entirely discounted.

    At the level we’re talking about, relatively powerful people, I think there’s essentially zero evidence for your claims as a trend. Furthermore, I don’t see how personal behavior adds anything to the model. For legislators, it’s pretty apparent what their ethics are that should concern us, from their voting records.

    And since when is “judgement” part of a person’s makeup that cannot be in part observed from his personal behavior?

    I’m only speaking of “ethics” here, so re judgement I’m not disagreeing with you.

  72. 72
    Whiskey Screams from a Guy With No Short-Term Memory says:

    As an Australian friend of mine says, America got Britain’s religious fanatics while Australia got Britain’s prostitutes. Guess which one got the better deal…?

    @Stefan: Time to go find out what Australia’s immigration policies are.

  73. 73
    Yevgraf (fka Michael) says:

    @JGabriel:

    By McArdle’s standards, I suppose one should really look into her relationship with her husband, to ensure that they’re not doing anything kinky or polyamorous.

    As a member of society, it is important to me that I know if Megan likes to express herself in a vulgar fashion while engaged in coitus. I also need to know if she is engaging in inappropriate role play or assumes positions that are less than prayerful or solemn.

    Remember – if Sweet Baby Jesus would cry when watching and listening to you give or receive physical pleasure, society should ban that method.

  74. 74
    Mike Kay (Team America) says:

    You know, atleast Weiner had good taste in women

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/new.....-help.html

  75. 75
    Corner Stone says:

    @Doug Harlan J: DougJ, you of all people aren’t going to even acknowledge my Ricki Rachtman quip?
    Crushed, I am.

  76. 76
    Judas Escargot says:

    @JGabriel:

    By McArdle’s standards, I suppose one should really look into her relationship with her husband, to ensure that they’re not doing anything kinky or polyamorous.

    No way. Polyamory requires basic math skills, such as counting.

  77. 77
  78. 78
    Violet says:

    @JGabriel:

    By McArdle’s standards, I suppose one should really look into her relationship with her husband, to ensure that they’re not doing anything kinky or polyamorous.

    I’ve been wondering if her relationship with her husband is a squeaky clean as she seems to think it is. The shards can be painful when glass houses break.

  79. 79
    Cat says:

    @patrick II:

    his attitude about women but about the powerless, and his judgement in general.

    Isn’t there some quote about how a measure of a person’s character is not how they treat their peers, but on how they treat the powerless?

    One of the best guides IMHO.

  80. 80
    Darkrose says:

    None of these people are going to move in next door to you or marry your sister. So who cares if they’re assholes?

    I care if an author I’m reading is racist or misogynist or homophobic, because I really don’t want to support people who think I’m a second-class citizen at best. Naipaul has a long track record of misogyny; why in the hell should I pay my money for a book by someone who sees me as inherently less than because I have tits? I liked Ender’s Game and Speaker for the Dead, but I won’t re-read them or buy anything else by him, because however talented he may be, he’s still a jackass, and I deal with enough of those in my life.

  81. 81
    liberal says:

    @Stefan:

    Oh, please. “Someone who will lie to cover-up a stupid and embarrassing human frailty and then keeps lying until its obvious he’s been caught lying isn’t trustworthy”—really? Who doesn’t lie about sex?

    Agreed. I care when they lie about not being influenced by money and so on. Sex, not so much.

  82. 82
    Ruckus says:

    @Stefan:

    I keep saying the Puritans didn’t come to America because of religious prosecution, they came here to practice it.

  83. 83
    delovely says:

    Let’s not ask for the moon when we have the stars.

  84. 84

    I have no idea regarding Weiner’s marriage and no opinion on sexting or whatever that was. I don’t live in Weiner’s district and would rather be represented by him than Walden (OR2-R) but that’s not saying a lot.

    There are a couple things that piss me off:
    The lying discredits everything he’s said and some of it needed saying.
    By jerking around he managed to ‘validate’ that fuckhead Briebart.
    He’s made himself the focus rather than the horrid policy alternatives produced.

    His voters will decide, but public damage has been done where it was already an uphill battle. No, Weiner was never a hero to me, but he did say some things that needed saying forcefully when others ran around with their thumbs up their asses. Now he’s stuck his thumb in his eye.

    One other thing, if you purport to speak truth to power then you damn well better do that.

  85. 85
    liberal says:

    @Darkrose:
    That’s an interesting dilemma. In the past I’ve dealt with it by reading whatever it is w/o buying it.

    IMHO “won’t even read it” goes too far, though OTOH I guess you could counterargue that there’s lots to read, so why bother with the assholes.

  86. 86
    Tsulagi says:

    Except McArdle has absolutely no idea what vows Weiner and his wife have made to each other

    Doesn’t matter, not only do serious citizen journos have an obligation/right to speculate about your countertops, it’s your bed as well.

    “People are going to say, ‘I gotta make a choice and go with the intelligent woman who’s every bit as attractive.’”

    I’ll agree Bachmann is the more intelligent of the two, and I think even more attractive, but Rollins’ statement takes damning with faint praise to a whole new level.

  87. 87
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Ruckus:

    Bingo.

    They objected to being the persecuted, not to persecution in general.

    Well, except for that heretic, Roger Williams.

  88. 88
    kc says:

    So who cares if they’re assholes?

    Well, it comes to literary figures, I actually DO care. It’s interesting. It informs my view of their work. Maybe it shouldn’t, but hell, people write, and read biographies for a reason.

  89. 89

    Meanwhile, on the economic front, Geitner pushed austerity. Focus, people. Focus.

  90. 90
    Chris says:

    @Violet:

    It’s kind of pathetic. Bunch of sad, middle-aged, men with excuse after excuse for why they like Sarah Palin when everyone knows the real reason is that she gives them boners.

    Heck. I have an over-50 Southern conservative relative who behaves this way and is married. Like I said the other day, it’s beyond pathetic the number of men who’re this easy to manipulate. Put the mind-numbing stupidity of Palin in the mouth of someone with Margaret Thatcher’s looks, and watch how many of them stick around.

  91. 91
    jheartney says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    The crotch shots are not the problem here. It’s trying to deny it for 10 days and wondering why everyone thinks you’re a liar.

    Actually, I think it’s both.

    If you sign up to be a politician in the U.S., you also sign up to follow a certain code of propriety. Crotch shots to social media buddies ain’t in it (particularly if you’re married).

    You can argue that it’s stupid to force these people to follow this code, and I’d probably agree with you. But like it or not, that’s how politics works here, and Weiner knew that before he ran for anything. It’s why he was so desperate to cover it up once he screwed up that tweet.

    I dunno if he’ll survive this or not (I’m guessing not, since there are obviously both more photos and more text conversations to come out). But one thing I’m sure of is that battling against sexual-political mores is a fool’s errand.

  92. 92
    bemused says:

    @ppcli:

    Yeah, it sure is getting old seeing the wifey in the pressers standing by her man whether she really standing by her man or not. I just saw again the clip of Vitter’s wife looking like a shell-shocked leopard. Then there was the gay legislator with his stunned wife by his side. Retch.

  93. 93
    Corner Stone says:

    @arguingwithsignposts: And who took his advice and counsel?

  94. 94
    liberal says:

    @Corner Stone:
    Yeah, the fact that they continued to embrace him after he lied about Sherrod means it’s hopeless. (Also means they’re scum.)

  95. 95
    liberal says:

    @Corner Stone:
    Heh.

  96. 96
    Seanly says:

    I just love, love, love that Libertarians, protectors of the right of the rich & corporations to not pay any taxes, are always so willing to be busy bodies about people’s personal lives. They are nothing but stooges for their conservative masters.

  97. 97
    Darkrose says:

    @liberal:

    IMHO “won’t even read it” goes too far, though OTOH I guess you could counterargue that there’s lots to read, so why bother with the assholes.

    Pretty much. I may never get to the end of my “stuff to read” stack, and since I’m not in school and don’t have to read anything, why waste time reading stuff I don’t want to?

  98. 98
    liberal says:

    @jheartney:
    Are you out of your mind?

    Henry Hyde, author of the abominable Hyde Amendment, broke up a family when he was in his “youthful” 40s. And later went on to lecture a witness at a hearing because she’d had an abortion (for reasons of anencephaly). What consequence, pray tell, did that moral monster suffer?

    The “code” is “don’t get caught, especially if you’re liberal or gay.”

  99. 99
    ppcli says:

    @Chuck Butcher: Very true. One thing that should come from this is that anyone who is going to take on conservative sacred cows in a high profile way should regard it as a stone cold certainty that every single action is being scrutinized by a battery of Red-bull fueled cheeto eaters with computer skills sharpened by years of WoW and internet asshattery. Every one. So don’t think you will get away with it. They are there watching for any slip that will discredit your cause.
    (Note, this isn’t the standard “act as *if you* are being watched”, but rather a newly revised, baseline fact: recognize that you ARE being watched.)

    And if you do something that can make you look bad, this Breitbart brigade will make sure that it comes out in a way that’s calculated for maximum effect, bringing all the horrors of 24/7 Fox news publicity in its wake.

  100. 100
    Redshift says:

    @Mike Kay (Team America):

    Weiner wasn’t even a progressive (per Greenwald). Yet oddly, so called progressive bloggers loved him.

    You keep saying that, but you’ve cited nothing except AIPAC. Since most progressives are (thankfully) not single-issue purity trolls, we’re capable of finding his stance on that objectionable without branding him an enemy.

    You got something else, put it out ther; otherwise there’s no particular reason for anyone to trust your dictum of who is and isn’t a progressive.

  101. 101
    Legalize says:

    Considering that Chris Matthews dedicated the first 25 minutes of his stupid show yesterday to Anthony Weiner, I’d say he doesn’t feel bad. He’s a clucking DC insider. This kind of prurient nonsense is right up his alley.

  102. 102
    Culture of Truth says:

    I remember some people got into a big snit because Michael Jordan gambled a lot of money at a casino. I recall thinking, isn’t this a legal, relatively harmless activity, especially for a guy who is fucking rich?

  103. 103
    liberal says:

    @liberal:
    Adding…maybe I misread your post, if by “propriety” you mean “don’t get caught.”

  104. 104
    Tony J says:

    @Corner Stone:

    ABC danced the dance with AB even after he had repeatedly been shown to lie and falsely edit.
    He’s a liar and they all know it. They don’t care.

    Point taken.

    Let me put it this way. Weiner has given the MSM an excuse they can use to justify their continuing pretence that Breitbart isn’t a scum-sucking, wingnut smear-artist with a long history of lying and deceptive editing that should make him persona non grata in the MSM, and they’re happily going to use it from here to infinity in order to clean up his ‘brand’.

    And at the end of the the day, that’s Weiner’s fault.

  105. 105
    El Tiburon says:

    I would say the reason this type of behavior (which I ain’t got no problem with) for a politician of Weiner’s stature is such a problem is the the blackmail angle.

    If you are going to put yourself in this high of a position of trust while being so fucking close to the levers of power, you just have to bring your A-game. EEESpecially if you are Democrat.

    I mean, John Fucking Edwards was very, very close to fucking it all up like real good. (Not that I’m equating Edwards to Weiner, ok?)

    It must be like a drug – you just can’t not send out that damn dick pic.

    (edited for clairty)

  106. 106
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @jheartney:

    Weiner knew that before he ran for anything. It’s why he was so desperate to cover it up once he screwed up that tweet.

    This is the thing that baffles me.

    Was his compulsion to do this so great that it overrode any political circuit breakers he has running in his head?

    I mean, doing it from your IRL name twitter account is just asking for trouble, he had to know that when he was going after big game like Thomas, that an army of online brownshirted twits would be looking for exactly this sort of thing.

    To me, it’s the lying…I don’t give a fuck about the crotch shot, it’s not like he was personally on a campaign against crotch shots sent through the ‘tubes…but alas, you’re right in that as far as the political climate that exists, the crotch shots lead to the lying and the amalgam is anything but helpful. Downright toxic, in fact.

    He was beyond careless in doing this…particularly the followups to his correspondents that compound his guilt over the entire affair.

    Terrible damage control all around. The ship has sunk. Way to go, Anthony.

  107. 107
    Ruckus says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:
    And it wasn’t just not objecting to persecution, they actually practiced it. And the basis of a lot of our laws stem from their religious crap as well as British common law. They were the beginning of most if not all of the religious fundamentalists that the rest of us have to deal with.

  108. 108
    J.A.F. Rusty Shackleford says:

    If Weiner wasn’t smart enough to learn from the Brett Favre dick-pic fiasco then he deserves all the bad shit that’s happening to him now.

  109. 109
    slag says:

    @Corner Stone @arguingwithsignposts: I read that article and, if true, it is indeed pretty damning. It demonstrates a surprising lack of judgment on Obama’s part. If you’re turning to austerity for the simple reason you have nowhere else to turn, that’s one thing. But if you’re doing so willfully because you think it’s the right thing to do, that’s another. That’s incompetence.

  110. 110
    Tonal Crow says:

    @JGabriel:

    By McArdle’s standards, I suppose one should really look into her relationship with her husband, to ensure that they’re not doing anything kinky or polyamorous. After all, we wouldn’t want pundits who lie to us. It’s important that we can trust their opinions.

    Right. Society has an interest in ensuring that our media aren’t lying to us.

  111. 111
  112. 112
    Redshift says:

    @ppcli: I don’t disagree, but we’ve got to figure out a better way to fight this stuff. The problem is not that there are howler monkeys looking for any slip, the problem is that the media pay attention to conservative howler monkeys, while deciding that people like Ensign are not newsworthy no matter now many liberals are howling, or how correct they are.

    There’s no way to win if we just accept that everyone on our side has to be a saint. I don’t know how to fight it, though.

  113. 113
    Valdivia says:

    I know we hate Sulli but this post he did on the whole thing seems to me very sane.

  114. 114
    jheartney says:

    @liberal:

    No, I think the code is “don’t email people pictures of your junk or engage in IM sex with strangers.” Hyde’s shenanigans didn’t leave behind easily swallowed incriminating evidence (aside from that one picture that ran in Salon).

    Also there was a bit of IOIYAR, which is unfortunately part of the environment due to the existence of the Right Wing Noise Machine (which Weiner was aware of well before he started sex-tweeting ).

  115. 115
    J.A.F. Rusty Shackleford says:

    @J.A.F. Rusty Shackleford:

    Further, when I was young I was always reminded “don’t do anything you wouldn’t want reported on the front page of the paper”. Weiner should have known not to do anything that he didn’t want made fun of on The Daily Show.

  116. 116
    BO_Bill says:

    Jewish Weiner’s wife is allegedly Hillary’s Muslim lesbian lover. Now this is dysfunctional.

    But is with complete Logic that Bill Clinton officiated the marriage. Bill is the guy with brains in all of this.

  117. 117
    Valdivia says:

    hmm moderated.
    only linked to Sullivan’s post on this issue which seemed on point…

  118. 118
    Redshift says:

    OT: We had a power failure at the office last week, and ever since, Firefox crashes whenever I open a WaPo link (and occasional other times.) I’m trying to decide whether this is a good or bad thing…

  119. 119
    Corner Stone says:

    @slag: President Obama is in real trouble, the gleeful refrains of Republican candidate nuttiness notwithstanding.
    Romney will be the GOP nominee and all his dogs already died in previous campaigning.

  120. 120
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @BO_Bill:

    That’s nice, dear.

    Why don’t you get offline, and go play in the sunshine. Over on that freeway over there.

  121. 121
    Chris says:

    @Stefan:

    But it is not un-American, sadly. We were founded by a bunch of refugees from England who were thrown out for insisting that their panty-sniffing, holier-than-thou, 911 hotline to God proto-Taliban lifestyle was the one that should be imposed on everyone else whether they wanted to join in or not.

    As an Australian friend of mine says, America got Britain’s religious fanatics while Australia got Britain’s prostitutes. Guess which one got the better deal…?

    Oh, I’ll take prostitutes over religious fanatics any day. And no, I’m not even talking about the sex.

    But in seriousness – that’s not the U.S, that’s Massachusetts (and Connecticut too, I believe? Maybe others?) Regardless, nah, that doesn’t get to be rated “American” just because some of the British colonies were founded by prudish dimwits. The United States is a nation founded on ideas, as the Exceptionalists keep preaching at us. Those ideas were set down in 1776 and again in 1788, and Christian Wahabbism was not one of them.

    (In fact, a lot of evangelicals simply ignored the government and politics after 1788 on the grounds that to involve oneself in them was to bathe oneself in secular heresy).

  122. 122
    boss bitch says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    Because he was going after that sack of rancid corporate/fascist shit, Clarence Thomas.

    No. Weiner was one of their heros long before the Thomas issue.

  123. 123
    jheartney says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    I’m guessing that the same fearlessness that led Weiner to go on the floor with fiery denunciations also led him to be reckless with social media. Part of the same package.

    Clinton had a similar thing, though his style wasn’t so confrontational. But the same drive that made him go from a poor background to one of the nation’s youngest governors, to the White House, also made him feel he could have lots of women on the side.

  124. 124
    ppcli says:

    @Culture of Truth: I think the worry in Jordan’s case was that at the time millions of dollars changed hands in legal and illegal betting every time he played a game. Ever since the fixed “Black Sox” world series, high level organized sports has been rightly concerned about the possibility of a high-profile athlete being significantly indebted to professional gamblers.

  125. 125
    Corner Stone says:

    @Chris:

    And no, I’m not even talking about the sex.

    Hell, I am. Have you ever had sex with an Aussie? They will throw down pretty much anywhere you stop the car, and sometimes even if you’re not stopping.
    Why, this one time on the hills above Lake Travis…

  126. 126
    slag says:

    @Corner Stone: I don’t know. Would people prefer a president who sporadically demonstrates incompetence or one who turns incompetence into an ideology? If America were formed in my image, I’d obviously be able to answer that question. But alas.

    That said, Obama’s reelection chances are less interesting to me than are the chances of us actually solving this problem in a sustainable fashion. And using Bob Herbert as my magic 8 ball, I’m going with: Outlook not good. Nonetheless, Herbert’s predictive skills are apparently no match for Kthug’s. Good thing Kthug is more optimistic. Or not.

  127. 127
    JGabriel says:

    @Judas Escargot:

    Polyamory requires basic math skills, such as counting.

    Not really. One can become polyamorous quite accidentally. All it requires is an order of magnitude error, which wouldn’t be anything new for McArdle.

    .

  128. 128
    Stefan says:

    Was his compulsion to do this so great that it overrode any political circuit breakers he has running in his head?

    People’s sexual compulsions are among the most powerful they have. We’ll do crazy things for sex, things we don’t even understand ourselves and can’t control.

    The whole reason, deep down, that men pursue money, fame, power, etc. is so that they can be seen as desirable, so that they can get sex and lots of it. So yes, if you became a politician to get sex, and if you’re now getting sex (or at least aggressive flirtation) as a result of that, it’s a bit hard to turn it off, to decide now that I have what I wanted I won’t go after it anymore.

    Of course I’m simplifying a bit, but that’s what primal truths are: simple.

  129. 129
    Steve says:

    @Doug Harlan J: Of course we don’t know if his wife cares. That’s why my judgment of him is not dependent on whether his wife forgives him or not. Nor is my judgment of John McCain for calling his wife the c-word dependent on whether his wife forgives him or not.

    All I’m saying is that since there are very few relationships where the wife is like, “Sure, go around crotch-tweeting as many women as you like, I don’t care,” I think it’s weird to assume that maybe Weiner has one of those relationships when we have no reason to think so. It seems like an odd defense.

  130. 130
    Stefan says:

    Hell, I am. Have you ever had sex with an Aussie? They will throw down pretty much anywhere you stop the car, and sometimes even if you’re not stopping.

    “G’day, Sheila.”
    “G’day, Bruce.”

    I have just documented an example of Australian foreplay.

  131. 131
    slag says:

    @BO_Bill: FWIW, I laughed.

  132. 132
    eemom says:

    I agree with Violet and GeorgiaPig. I don’t understand why people keep equating not giving a shit about a politician’s sex life with not giving a shit if a politician acts irresponsibly in a manner which results in damage to the causes he purports to represent. I think it’s incredibly obtuse to conflate those two things, which is what Greenwald et al are doing.

    I also think it’s ridiculous to equate politicians with artists in this context. An artist is not a public servant.

  133. 133
    Corner Stone says:

    @slag:

    That said, Obama’s reelection chances are less interesting to me than are the chances of us actually solving this problem in a sustainable fashion

    This is kind of a non sequitur at this point, right?
    Because Obama isn’t going to do a fucking thing different in his second term. And any R elected isn’t able to change course either. Since both parties essentially agree the untermenschen don’t deserve shit else.
    We ain’t solving shit, and none of them care to. That’s obvious to everyone but Obama’s most dedicated fluffers here.
    Obama has no interest in it.

  134. 134
    ChrisNYC says:

    OMG — is there going to be continuing lecturing about how it is ridiculous to care about the Weiner thing? It’s clearly not a settled subject.

    Also too, I love how sending a picture of your penis is now called “flirting” in some corners of the internet. That is freaking priceless.

  135. 135
    patrick II says:

    @liberal:

    I like the way that you think calling out your idiotic claims with a naughty word somehow reflects ill of my ethics.

    Use as many dirty words as you want, I was calling you out on your incoherence, not your language.

    I’m only speaking of “ethics” here, so re judgement I’m not disagreeing with you.

    So, judgement and ethics are entirely unrelated?

    At the level we’re talking about, relatively powerful people, I think there’s essentially zero evidence for your claims as a trend.

    I don’t think there is such a defined partition in a person’s nature between when he is in private and when he is in public, other than he knows people are watching and there are consequences to acting in public. There are powerful sociopaths in power all over the world. When they gain too much power and they no longer care what people watching them think, their personal pathology and public pathology blend together. Think Ghadaffi, Hussein, or any other tyrant for that matter.
    Or take up-tight, uber family values guys like Vitter, Engle, Foley and Sanford who work so hard for laws to make the very behavior they participate in illegal. Their rigid family lives combined with their big show of hawking family values shows something that a person more comfortable with his family life doesn’t need to work so hard to prove. Their personal and public lives blend to give a more complete picture.

    What I am saying is that a private person and a public person are not two people, but one person acting in two contexts. The more you know about the entire person the more you know about what drives him, and how he may act for the public good.

  136. 136
    Tom Hilton says:

    That’s the thing, we just don’t know anything about Weiner’s marriage and, frankly, it isn’t our business….Wouldn’t it make more sense to judge him as Congressman based on this public record?

    Of course, and of course.

    But that’s part of Weiner’s problem: his public record is based more on his extraordinary ability as a spokesman than on any legislative achievements. His utility to the Democrats depends on visibility, so now that visibility is a negative for him he just doesn’t have a lot of value to them.

  137. 137
    slag says:

    @Corner Stone:

    We ain’t solving shit, and none of them care to. That’s obvious to everyone but Obama’s most dedicated fluffers here.
    Obama has no interest in it.

    And here’s where you go off the rails. Why even make this assertion? You’ve already got potential incompetence on your side; why feel the need to extend to malfeasance? I can throw out a dozen arguments that would refute this claim of yours, but none of them will change your view. What makes you think anyone else is going to change their view based on nothing but your assertions? You’re biased. I’m biased. Why not admit that and stick only to the facts that we can both observe rather than devolve into evangelism?

    Also too, FYWP.

  138. 138
    Tonal Crow says:

    @BO_Bill: answers.yahoo.com? You realize that any troll can spew any detritus it wants there, right?

  139. 139
    Corner Stone says:

    @slag: I only have to point to his economic team.
    They speak for themselves. If you don’t like who President Obama surrounds himself with, it’s not my problem.

  140. 140
    Corner Stone says:

    @slag: There’s a 50/50 chance Obama loses to Mittens right now. Or some polls show a 6% difference in favor of Obama.
    Think that’s going to improve over the next 15 months when U3 stays around 9%?

  141. 141
    Edoc says:

    “The same goes for all the stuff about V.S. Naipaul, Roald Dahl”

    For this reason, I always avoid pointing out to my libertarian friends “christ what an asshole” Ayn Rand was. It is better to focus on criticism of a person’s work, ideas, publicly stated positions, etc.

  142. 142
    Corner Stone says:

    They not only have given up any effort to try and improve unemployment, they have ceded all rhetorical ground on this issue.
    Why is this my problem?

  143. 143

    @Corner Stone:
    Exercising my right to make guesses; I’d guess that Barack Obama the person is considerably more progressive than President Obama. That in itself is meaningless because the outcomes are corporatism/plutocratic whoring by all three branches of government and the damned electorate aided and abetted by the media.

    The simple measure of how fucked this is gets demonstrated by what a dirty word “Left” is even around here when the left of this nation bears about no resemblence to what is left damn near anywhere other than fascistic states.

    What the hell does anybody with two live brain cells talking to each other think the damned outcomes would be? Shutting up and going along with “we’re not as bad as” simply begs for more of the same arc.

  144. 144
    Mike Kay (Team America) says:

    @Redshift:

    You keep saying that, but you’ve cited nothing except AIPAC.

    This is idiotic. He was a Iraq invasion cheerleader. It was only 9 years ago. How could you forget so quickly.

    Plus, he voted for the China free trade deal that was a 1000 times worst than NAFTA.

    13 years in Congress and Weiner has no legislation accomplishments (other than destroying Iraq) http://rootedcosmopolitan.word.....-about-it/

  145. 145
    Corner Stone says:

    @Chuck Butcher: I guess that’s possible. None of us can really know that, I think we can agree.
    But based on outcomes like policy and staffing hires, it’s pretty clear President Obama is a neo liberal stone cold hawk who tasked his administration months ago to pivot away from the issue of jobs.

  146. 146
    Triassic Sands says:

    When the media obsesses over politicians’ sex lives, it show that it doesn’t think politics is a very important profession.

    Actually, it says much more about the importance of the media than it does about politics as a profession. Your comparisons with medical and business professionals are misguided. The reasonable requirements for a politician are very different from those of being a CEO or surgeon, just as they are different for a CEO and a surgeon.

    Politics doesn’t require the kind of technical skill that surgery does. Anyone with a relatively sharp mind, and a decent set of ethical standards could be a good public official. But being honest is an indispensable quality in a public official, and anyone who lies repeatedly the way Weiner did deserves to have his fitness for office questioned. It’s not about being a prude or disapproving of his Twitter habits, but rather a sense of his general character and whether or not people feel like they can trust him. It’s hard to imagine that anyone who witnessed Weiner’s performance over the past two weeks can honestly say that they find him as trustworthy today as they did before this whole sorry incident came to light.

    Today, anyone stupid enough to think that using electronic media is a secure way to conduct private affairs — especially those one wouldn’t want to be general public knowledge — is probably not the best choice for elective office. Similarly, anyone who hasn’t learned the lesson that the cover-up is often worse than the act also lacks the kind of judgment I’d hope for in my elected officials. Weiner showed horrible judgment and lied repeatedly. If a qualified candidate with acceptable views on the issues ran against Weiner in 2012, I wouldn’t vote for Weiner.

  147. 147
    Bender says:

    When the media obsesses over politicians’ sex lives, it show that it doesn’t think politics is a very important profession.

    Nonsense. That doesn’t follow in the least (and I don’t mean the subject-verb agreement). Did SportsCenter’s nonstop coverage of Brett Favre’s Small Penis mean than they don’t like football?

    Of course not. These salacious stories are the product of rather the opposite thing: assigning too much importance to the jobs and lives of successful people (and the 24-hour cycle, of course). Gone are the days when the Babe could have sex with a hooker, roll out drunk and hit 2 dingers, then get a penicillin shot for his V.D. in the locker room while paying off his bookie… and have the headline in the paper be “Bambino Hits Two HRs.”

    In fact, it’s an easy argument that it’s more important to know the true character of your elected political representatives than anyone whom you don’t personally interact.

    Certainly you aren’t advocating hiding a politician’s personal foibles from his constituents? How is withholding information from the voters a good thing?

    Shouldn’t they have all the available, truthful info with which to either decide “This guy is a scumbag hypocrite who’s just in it for some young tail” or “Naaah, he’s a good representative even if he likes some strange”?

  148. 148
    Mike Kay (Team America) says:

    @Bender:

    Did SportsCenter’s nonstop coverage of Brett Favre’s Small Penis mean than they don’t like football?

    ESPN didn’t do non-stop coverage. Too the contrary, they sucked up to him because they didn’t want to lose access. In fact, the very week the story broke, Farve played in a game covered by ESPN’s Monday Night Football. So they covered for him.

    You maybe thinking of Deadspin.com and the NYC tabloids. They’re the one who did non-stop coverage.

    But no, ESPN is as corrupt as any corporate media organ. ESPN even tried to bury the Ben Roethlisberger scandal.

    see this post for reference. http://tinyurl.com/3kztakq

  149. 149

    @Triassic Sands:

    this assumes that covering a mess never works, there may be a tipping point where it won’t, but i would guess, admittedly some what wildly without exact knowledge of how much we don’t know about any given person involved in a scandal who has tried it, that they do it because it usually works.

  150. 150
    Makewi says:

    I don’t know Doug. It seems to me that a married man who sends pictures of his junk to underage girls can be classified in the category of “real monster”.

  151. 151

    @Fucen Pneumatic Fuck Wrench Tarmal:

    Since you’d know exactly nothing about the times it worked…

    I’d be pretty inclined to go along with the proposition that people lie because they HOPE it will work.
    Kind of like hoping you’ll get a Democrat when you elect a (D).

  152. 152
    Bender says:

    @Mike Kay (Team America):

    You maybe thinking of Deadspin.com and the NYC tabloids. They’re the one who did non-stop coverage.

    Well, SportsCenter’s my sole sports news outlet, so I’ll just say that it seemed like heavy Favre coverage to me. I know I got so sick of it that whenever the story came on SC, I’d yell “No More Fucking Favre!”

  153. 153
    Mo's Bike Shop says:

    McArdle needs to tell us her peccadilloes, stat, or we won’t be able to trust her.

    Ew, I’ll be appalled if I have any crossover. These are the sacrifices that I make to sargasm.

  154. 154
    JMS says:

    That assumes that Weiner is the equivalent of Steve Jobs or a super brilliant surgeon as far as his job performance. No such qualifications are necessary to be elected to office. In fact, political office is interesting in that policy or governing skills are not at all necessary. Convincing people to vote for you is really the only necessary skill and it’s only good for getting into office.

    The way things are so polarized these days, the D or the R is more important than individual qualities, no matter how brilliant or stupid the politician in question is. After all, if you are an R there is a very limited range of what you are allowed to do. The range for Ds is broader, but there is still very little overlap with Rs. D’s will vote the “right” way more often than not, and Rs will almost always vote the wrong way–if you’re a Democrat.

    Which is to say that I think this is a stupid and painfully partisan sort of argument. Weiner is not specially “skilled” in the way described. People who have suffered strokes, been shot in the head and been wheeled into the senate in a semi mummified state still are considered senators and congresspeople. That kind of skill is apparently not very necessary. As long as Weiner is replaced by a Democrat (and that is the key question here), whether he personally stays or goes is not all that important in the long run.

  155. 155
    a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q) says:

    Interestingly, I may be facing some minor brain surgery, once I can fund an out of pocket MRI to determine if indeed it’s the suspected pituitary tumor causing all these symptoms for which $1900 worth of out of pocket blood work has ruled out all other remotely plausible causes. Having no health insurances sucks. And if meds and radiation won’t fix it, then it’s surgery.

    My point being if surgery is required I could give not the ass of a rodent how nice a guy the surgeon is; my sole interest in in surgical skill. I’m not going to spend time with him socially, but I sure as hell want top chops in the OR from him. Or her.

  156. 156
    Midnight Marauder says:

    @Ruckus:

    I am real tired of people sticking their noses where they don’t belong. People hired him to be a good legislator. If they hired him for his religious/morality/perfectness, it is the employers who are wrong.

    Good legislators know what “damage control” is and how to best execute it.

    Fact.

  157. 157
    liberal says:

    @Redshift:

    There’s no way to win if we just accept that everyone on our side has to be a saint. I don’t know how to fight it, though.

    Good points.

  158. 158
    liberal says:

    @Triassic Sands:

    Anyone with a relatively sharp mind, and a decent set of ethical standards could be a good public official.

    How many people like that get elected at the federal level.

    But being honest is an indispensable quality in a public official, and anyone who lies repeatedly the way Weiner did deserves to have his fitness for office questioned.

    LOL. Come on. By those standards, most politicians would be out of office. Of course, they just lie about matters of state…which are actually much more grave.

  159. 159
    liberal says:

    @Mike Kay (Team America):

    This is idiotic. He was a Iraq invasion cheerleader. It was only 9 years ago. How could you forget so quickly.

    Well, come on, AIPAC whore obviously implies Iraq invasion cheerleader, a fortiori as people in my old field say.

  160. 160
    liberal says:

    @Bender:

    Gone are the days when the Babe could have sex with a hooker, roll out drunk and hit 2 dingers, then get a penicillin shot for his V.D. in the locker room while paying off his bookie… and have the headline in the paper be “Bambino Hits Two HRs.”

    Except for the wee problem that penicillin wasn’t available while the Babe was playing ball. But thanks for playing.

  161. 161
    Corner Stone says:

    @Midnight Marauder: Like who? You’re confusing the fuck outta me.

  162. 162
    chrismealy says:

    Weiner was all to happy to throw bicyclists under the bus so fuck him and the car he rode in on.

  163. 163
    Umbrella says:

    @liberal: Yes. Exactly. People simply aren’t consistent enough to neatly replicate their vices uniformly.

  164. 164
    DPirate says:

    Greenwald’s apparent “glibertarian”, to borrow that stupid word, outlook on social relations is not so much wrong as short-sighted. Not only is marraige a religious institution, but also a government one, and not a private matter. It is a civil contract, and can be considered broken by infidelity regardless of what either party “promised” to do in front of a preacher or magistrate. There may be other contracts which supercede that basic premise, and those may be private, but marraige itself is pretty much universally recognized as bestowing a claim upon sexual relations to the partner.

    If marraige were a purely private matter, people could marry not only same-sex spouses and multiple spouses, but animals, family members and inanimate objects, and goverment wouldn’t be able to say anything about it. In fact you can, of course, by simply saying so, but you’ll pay for it in many ways, socially, criminally, and in civil court, if word ever leaks out.

    Most important are society’s cultural mores, which are everyone’s business. These change, and here is Greenwald attempting to push the envelope further, which is fine, but some discussion of where we may end up is warranted, I think. Something more than “those confederate racist fanatic fundamentalists can kiss my swinging ass” like we usually see here for cultural matters having any bearing on sexuality.

    Me, I’m happy to see the dissolution of traditional taboos in mainstream culture in America and Europe, as this is the most telling harbinger of our collapse as a society, and the sooner that happens the sooner we will be forced to stop fucking everything up.

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