I'm across the Pacific and on a shaky connection. So I'll make this quick:
I've always liked Rep. Anthony Weiner's "Hey, shuddup, liberals can be tough too" schtick -- as I have James Carville's. There are not enough people in the Democratic party who can slug it out directly the way Weiner did, below, with Megyn Kelly of Fox News.
I felt for Rep. Weiner during his press conference and, to get to the point, in most cases I would think that his online activity is nobody's business but his -- and once he was married, his wife's; and the other women's of course too.
But this isn't most cases. He has run for office, asked for people's trust, and made himself a prominent champion of one side of an important political fight -- a side that he has now embarrassed and let down.
By analogy: Most people are allowed to duck or run away in terror if they hear a shot fired. But police officers or combat leaders aren't allowed to, if they want to retain that role. Most couples are allowed to bicker and yell at each other, if tempers rise. But in their role as parents, they try not to do that in front of the kids. Most people are allowed to say, "I don't like your looks" or "I think you're lying." But a judge presiding over a trial cannot say those things without putting everyone else's efforts at the trial in jeopardy.
That's the equivalent of what Weiner has done. If he weren't a prominent Congressman, it wouldn't matter to anyone outside his immediate circle what he is doing online. But he is a prominent Congressman, and had worked for years to put himself in that role. He worked himself into a position where, now, his lack of judgment hurts not just him but many other people who relied on him and were his allies. He has let them down, and he will hurt their cause every time he speaks in its favor now. He is like a surgeon who swoons at the sight of blood, a football quarterback who dreads being hit, a pilot who shows up drunk. Those behaviors are not "wrong" in some deep transcendent sense (apart from the lying); but they betray others who rely on performance in a certain role. This is why I agree, sadly, with Joshua Green: Weiner should go.
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