Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Why I Don't Hate On Weiner

There's an awful lot of butt-hurtitude going on in Blogtopia Skippy) over the Anthony Weiner revelation.
"Oh, he should resign! Oh, he lied to us! Oh! Oh! Oh!"
Oh, grow UP!
The funniest meme to me has been the "Liberals are showing an awful lot of hypocrisy by standing up and defending this jerk. After all, if he was Republican and conservative, liberals would be all over him for lying and being a perv!"
There's a kernel of truth there, just as there's a kernel of truth that Paul Revere warned the British. And it's about as relevant to the story. Yes, a conservative would have stood up to a lot worse treatment from me, and many other liberals. Let's look at the differences.
Anthony Weiner, for one thing, never lectured me about abortion. He's never lectured me about extra-marital affairs. He's never told any gay man or lesbian that he or she shall not marry. He's never imposed his personal morality upon my private life. I think I owe him that much in return.
If we learned any lesson during the Clinton-Lewinski affair, it's that two consenting adults will do things that we may not necessarily respect, but it's up to them. And even Clinton had a minor-age daughter at the time, so one could at least make the case for inappropriateness from that perspective. The Weiner scandal does not have that feature.
Weiner, like Clinton and Craig and Vitter and Edwards before him, hurt his wife. That's between he and Huma and is none of my business or affair. I really don't care. People in marriages hurt each other time and time again. Part of marriage is learning to put up with what you can, and to ignore what you cannot, and to cope with the rest. This is not a one way street, and at the risk of alienating friends of mine, Huma Abeda likely has some character flaws that gave Weiner a rationale to keep pursuing his outside interests.
I'll leave it to your speculations as to what those might be. Now, let's tackle the big ones:
He lied to us. OK, that's a fair comment: he did lie at first about the entire sordid mess.
To which I reply "Who wouldn't?" Given the vicious nature of the right-wing mainstream media chomping at the bit for any scandal that will sell ad space, I'd be deflecting and defraying as best as I could, and you know goddamned well you would be too. The man did something incredibly clumsy, got busted for it, and panicked, and there is not one of you out there who handles panic well. Not one. So you'd lie like a cheap toupee on a Republican from Missouri and you know it, and to sit in judgement of this is ludicrous.
And now, the hypocrisy charge.
Vitter, Clinton, Craig, Edwards and Weiner share some things in common: they are all men of power, all outer-directed, all have huge egos (lest we think that adulterous behavior is limited to men, may I remind you that Nikky Haley, Sarah Palin, Hillary Clinton, among others, have had evidence lodged against them of extramarital affairs, and at least one Congresswoman, Helen Chenoweth, admitted to a six year affair).
I have never condemned any of the above for having affairs, Republican or Democrat. I have mocked some details of those affairs, just as I've made great fun at the expense of Weiner's rather unfortunate name. Vitter's diapers, Craig's "wide stance", Weiner's "tighty whities", are all on their face very sad expressions of deep hurt and loneliness on the part of the men involved, and that they exaggerated their needs to this mockable degree is pathetic and degrading, but fair comment for comedy.
What I have condemned is the personal hypocrisy of people like Craig who would vote against gay marriage and condemn homosexuality as an abberation while sucking cocks in men's rooms. Or Vitter's "family values" campaign platforms while paying hookers who could be the twin sister of his wife to play momma.
Hm, maybe that last isn't so inconsistent.
Weiner, as I pointed out up top, has made no such blanket condemnation of behavior. He earns a pass on this facet.
The fact that these men couldn't ask their wives to do these things (in Craig's case, that would be harder, I suspect) speaks to me that they themselves knew they were indulging in behaviors that would be embarassing if they got out, and you could make the same case for Weiner, I suppose, but here's the thing:
I. Don't. Care. I didn't care when it was Vitter or Clinton or Craig and I don't care when it's Weiner and since he hasn't lied to me about something relevant to me, then I'm not about to condemn him.
I condemn President Obama because Gitmo is still open and he promised to close it. That's a breach of public trust, something I will factor in when deciding what level of support he will get from me (implicit is, of course, none). I'm not about to condemn Weiner because his marriage vows were not made to me.
By holding Weiner to a higher standard than we'd hold a Republican, we're engaging in the soft bigotry of low expectations for Republicans. That's right: liberals would be engaging in a reverse "affirmative action" that says that Democrats must suffer punishments far greater than the other guys.
I just feel sad for Weiner, and hope he can find some happiness and comfort in his life to help him move on past this, learn what lessons he can, and let it go. He's a fine legislator, a fine Democrat, and a fine liberal. We can't afford to lose his voice, especially to our own idiocies.
One last word, this to Andrew Breitbart: the Karmic wheel has a funny way of coming around. It would not surprise me if some enterprising liberal with a fair amount of money and friends with time on their hands hasn't set him up for a big fall, and soon.