Should Rep. Weiner Resign?

Well, at least Weiner got THAT off his chest. Now all he needs to do is resign.

I was giving a seminar on building an organizational culture free from sexual harassment today, and happened to mention Rep. Anthony Weiner’s Twitter misadventures. “Allegedly!” shouted out one of the participants. “Allegedly,” I conceded. “But I’m pretty sure we’re going to find out that he behaved inappropriately; I knew that the minute he said that the crotch in the picture might have been his. Might have been his? What kind of guy his age takes photos of his crotch?” By the time I left the seminar at about 4 PM, Rep. Weiner was already engaged in his excruciating press conference, confessing, apologizing, and taking the full brunt of the media’s onslaught.

A woman had come forward to reveal more photos the Congressman had sent to her over social media…sad, embarrassing photos for any man over the age of 16 that hinted at untreated emotional problems in a man with a new wife, a high-profile job, and so much to lose. Rep. Weiner had to come clean, not that he had been doing a very convincing job of lying over the past week.

Give him credit for a forthright capitulation to the truth, once he changed his story.

It is easy to say that he had no choice, but we have all watched other politicians admit to worse without seeming so genuinely contrite. Weiner  did not make excuses. He did not duck responsibility. He was sincerely sorry and remorseful. He did not avoid the tough questions (though the ones he refused to answer, like whether he engaged in phone sex with and of the (now six) women he referred to as his web buddies, added to the perception that he had engaged in more than just exchanges of revealing photos), and he did not try to deflect the obvious conclusions. Good for him. One can only imagine how humiliating the experience must have been for him.

Rep. Weiner also said that he did not intend to resign, that his disgraceful personal conduct did not change his dedication to the job he was elected to do or diminish his ability to do it.  Does he have an obligation to resign, if he believes that? I don’t think he does, if he believes that. I don’t believe that, however; I think Congressman Weiner is deluded. He has an obligation to resign, and even if he did not, it would still be the most ethical thing to do.

I see no way that an elected official who has engaged in so many lies to so many people, publicly and privately, can remain an effective Congressman. You can replay all the silly, if effective, defenses of Bill Clinton that you want, those about how “everyone lies about sex”; what the episode proves is that Weiner is willing and able to lie when it suits his needs. No constituent should trust him. No colleague should trust him. You can’t practice politics with no credibility, and he has none.

You also can’t be effective without respect. Rep. Weiner is a now a walking joke. He had inappropriate relationships with young girls, sent photos of his chest, crotch, “pussy” and God knows what else over the internet, the type of conduct that was enough to scar the reputation of Bret Favre…and the expectations for football players are juuuuust a bit lower than for members of Congress, or at least were six months ago. Weiner’s judgment is suspect; his self-control is suspect; his metal stability is suspect. The respect we should have for his courageous apology doesn’t begin to compensate for the respect he has lost by behaving like a crude, irresponsible fool.

And a dishonest crude, irresponsible fool at that. He lied in the face of more than one interviewer, notably CNN’s Wolf Blitzer. He lied to his wife, his colleagues, and his constituents, and there is every reason to believe that he would have kept lying, if the proverbial “other shoe” hadn’t dropped with such a thud.

This is enough. The previous foolish Congressman to send a racy (?) photo of himself to a woman was Rep. Chris Lee, a married Republican who was trolling for girls. He resigned immediately. The difference being floated by hopeful Democrats and deluded commentators is that Lee was also a hypocrite, a Tea Party values candidate who was proven a fraud, while Weiner, a hard-left favorite of progressives who reject sexual fidelity as a relevant factor where their leaders are concerned, isn’t similarly wounded by his revelations, or bound by conventional morality.

Nonsense.

Lee’s conduct was practically dignified compared to what Weiner did, and Lee didn’t spend a week lying his head off and throwing around accusations. Both degraded their office and the institution of the House of Representatives approximately to the same degree, though Weiner’s behavior was undeniably worse.

Indeed, Weiner can do some good by finally, firmly, establishing a precedent for future elected fools. Disgraceful private behavior that becomes public, when accompanied by lies to the press and an attempted cover-up, creates an obligation for elected leaders to resign, regardless of position or party. There is no reason not to have such a standard, and every reason to create it and lock it in place. If Weiner leaves office and, better yet, if he articulates the right reasons for doing so, future misbehaving public officials will be relieved of having to wrestle with the question of whether their unethical conduct requires a resignation. They will already have their answer.

We’re waiting for you to do the right thing, Congressman. Don’t disappoint us.

Again.

 

45 thoughts on “Should Rep. Weiner Resign?

  1. Congressman Weiner is a disappointment. I can’t say that I blame him – with power comes the adoration of many, either sex aside, and it has to be temping to have people seducing you and throwing themselves at you on a regular basis. So for a dorky guy like Weiner, with the ego trip of the hot wife and adoration of being labeled a “liberal hero”, he got too big for his britches, no pun intended…!
    I’ve always been a one girl guy, so in every relationship I have been in, I have been faithful. I am as horny as the next guy, probably even more so, but Man! I do not understand the pull of wanting to do that… I would be thinking every girl interested was a Brietbart Plant – and they probably were. I thought he was too smart to fall for that, I guess not.
    As much as it pains me to say it, because I really like the guy – and it’s not because of the sex. Because of the ridiculous way he handled this, he should resign.
    If I got busted for the same shiznit, I would have fessed up IMMEDIATELY and just quashed it… If he would have done that, all the other “pals” who had pics of him as well probably would have stayed hidden in the woodwork, as well asBrietbart. the lying gets you every time.

  2. If he does not, and Nancy Pelosi follows through on her promise of an ethics investigation regardless of the fallout and its proximity to the election, she may qualify as an Ethics Hero(ine?). You probably imagined hearing that about as often as I imagined typing it.

  3. I had been willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. I feel violated.

    Another thing of note is that this is also a case where an ethical, or at least beneficial, result can come out of unethical motivations. The man who dug up and broke the story, Anthony Breitbart, is not a journalist. He’s a political hit man out to “defund the left”. In fact, he even hijacked Weiner’s press conference to spike the football and to use the threat of more explicit pictures to extort an apology out of Weiner. Truly slimy, but he got one right for once.

  4. He is an arrogant, lying jerk and should resign now. My guess is that he won’t, because there are always excuses for liberals who get caught with their pants down. Our only hope of getting rid of this buffoon is if it turns out one of these Twitter girls is underage. This idiot only told the truth when more lying became IMPOSSIBLE!

    • You can’t paint only liberals with this brush unless David Vitter ceases to exist. Why don’t we meet in the middle and say ALL politicians are this slimy and will gladly keep power as long as they can.

      • Vitter is irrelevant to Weiner; I see the liberal finger pointing at him [“Look! Look! What about him!!!”] especially lame. If someone think Vitter should have resigned, fine. It doesn’t affect Weiner’s obligations at all. 1) Vitter did not lie about the fact that his name was on a madam’s list. 2) There are at least three states in which the culture would shrug off frequenting a prostitute. He happens to be in one of them. 3) Focusing on him is the supposed hypocrisy argument. Violating one’s own stated principles is not hypocrisy. It doesn’t come close to the dishonesty that Weiner has exhibited.

        I also think that Weiner’s actions are infinitely more pathological, reckless and immediate than Vitter’s. I wouldn’t vote for Vitter, but in the land of Huey Long, using a prostitute is just not that big a deal for a politician.

        • I never said it excused Weiner, or that Weiner shouldn’t resign. I only used him as an example that neither liberals nor conservatives can be trusted to keep their snake in its cage, and cannot be trusted to do the right thing and resign.

          • I suppose I was confused because nothing in the post suggested otherwise, nor on the blog content either…and because I just listened to that ass Paul Begala cite Vitter as if he was some kind of precedent justifying tolerance for Weiner. I mentioned Chris Lee; I have also been pretty expansive here or elsewhere about Foley, Craig, Sanford, Ensign…I admit to having a hair-trigger reaction to what sounds like—“yeah but what about Republicans?” What about them? They are unethical slimebags too, and when they behave like this, they should be rejected by their party.

  5. Breitbart is slimy. And to hijack the press conference BEFORE Weiner got to say anything with a bald threat was horrific. But that’s Breitbart’s MO.

    Didn’t Weiner realize that if he wanted to take suggestive pix, he should have done it the way Schock did- who’s known as Congressman Six-Pack? He did it for a MAGAZINE, in public, and couples it (pun intended) with a push for more physical fitness in Congress and the rest of the USA. But I’m totally with you, Jack, when you ask WHAT KIND OF PEOPLE TAKE PICTURES OF THEIR CROTCH? I’m still baffled by why you do that, much less why you let someone else have possession of that photo, ESPECIALLY if you are in a political or high-profile (or both) job!
    http://proof-proofpositive.blogspot.com/2011/05/congressman-schocks-six-pack.html

    • What kind? Hormone-addled teenagers. I should know, I was one just a couple years ago. The picture with the “me” sign is more damning IMO, that just demonstrates an astounding lack of judgement.

    • I think you meant to say “I’m still baffled by why ONE DOES that…” Otherwise it reads as if Jack does it. Just a minor point.

  6. I’m glad I didn’t see your piece until I’d finished mine. I’m not quite where you are, but we’re neighbors.

    My conclusion:
    “… the Congressman’s actions have been by turns reckless, immature, and dishonest. As I wrote on the CC Facebook page, ‘No one over the age of 12 who thinks this is cute or funny or (God forbid) alluring behavior deserves other than contempt.’ His ability to represent his constituents has been severely compromised, whether they think so or not. Progressives are better off without him as a spokesperson in the short term, and probably longer. It would be better for his party, for the causes he purports to believe in, and for the country if Weiner stepped aside. He is now the distraction he has railed against. The fact that he might be able to ride the storm out doesn’t mean he should.

    “I’m not holding my breath.”

  7. I am afraid that we are approaching the watershed number of sex-based humiliations, on both sides of US politics, that voters will finally throw up their hands and cry “Uncle!”. Republicans and Democrats. New politicans, life-serving leaders. Deep influence-wielding and new to the job. It doesn’t matter, all are targets and so many think they are impervious to the danger. How much longer before Americans give up and overlook it all? Before we just assume every candidate for every post has a disgusting past (or quiet present), and decide that is no commentary on ability to lead?

    It’s so bad that last night, watching an ad for “19 kids and counting,” I thought, Oh, it’s going to happen … Jim Bob Duggar ….

  8. I disagree with the notion that “Vitter is irrelevant.” He is relevant because if we are to be consistent in calls for resignations, then ALL pols, irrespective of party affiliation, should either resign or, lacking any conscience, be called upon to resign and quickly. But this is not what happens. Calls for resignation happen because an obvious political vulnerability has opened up the possibility to gain a seat for the “other” party, not for immorality or bad judgment or ethics violations. I share the queasy disgust most people have of the Weiner political self-immolation, especially since I held him in high regard for his passionate voice for many issues important to me. However, his role now, limp as the case may be for the remainder of his term, is to keep his seat from the GOP, just like it is for Vitter to make sure a Democrat doesn’t take his. Yeah, it’s pretty cynical. I didn’t invent it. If all these schmucks resigned and were never heard from again (Spitzer, Edwards, Gingrich, et al) I would be very relieved.

    • 1) “Everybody resign” is an impossible standard. In legal ethics, misconduct is cause for disbarment when it calls one’s trustworthiness and fitness into question. There camn’t be a “no tolerance” rule where elected officials are involved. There are levels of misconduct, and need to be levels of sanctions. Rangel should have been kicked out. Weiner, for reasons I listed, should resign…I don’t feel that the House could remove him. Ensign was the worst…he should have resigned from the start.

      2) I don’t think a Louisiana Senator frequenting a prostitute is something requiring removal, absent a lot more, like a cover-up. Had he resigned because he was untrue to the core principles of his own candidacy, being a social conservative, I would have had more respect for him. But his failure to resign isn’t his party, it’s him. Vitter’s a non-entity in the Senate because of this.

      3) The election after the scandal takes Vitter off the table. Sure, I think it would have been better if the GOP had dumped him, and if his constituents had rejected him. But they didn’t. That doesn’t mean that the Democrats should give Weiner’s district the chance to endorse his conduct.

      4) Weiner can’t keep his seat from the GOP without simultaneously causing a cultural endorsement of lying to the public for personal gain. And I guess that’s aces with you. I have to question your ethical priorities. The country will be better off with trustworthy, honest leaders, whatever their policy positions, than passionate, cynical liars like Weiner. You’d rather be represented by a liar, a cheater and a sicko than an honest Republican? Then that’s why we have this problem.

      • Okay. Let’s do this categorically, then.
        1). I would assume you and I and most people posting here would agree that if a congressman or woman acts unethically – whether engaging in sexual peccadilloes or padding their bank accounts with kickbacks – they should be routed out or asked to resign. Whether or not it is an “impossible standard” does not take away the expectation we have that our elected representatives will comport themselves in a professional and effective manner that honors their office and their constituents. Your comments address that there are “degrees” of unethical behavior, but most times, we see the most egregious get a cursory reprimand and the least get an explosion of media coverage. I agree that there are and should be levels of sanctions appropriate to the level of misconduct, but we have seen how partisan bloviates magnify the misbehavior of one of the other party and minimize the misbehavior of one of their own. This is also an area where there are differing opinions as to what behaviors are worse.
        2. In my view, frequenting prostitutes – aside from whether or not this violates core Party principles – violates the trust between a husband and wife which should be extrapolated to how this individual would treat constituents (s)he knows even less than a spouse. This is far more egregious, and illegal, than sending naked pictures to another consenting adult regardless if one is from Louisiana. I believe Nevada is the only place where prostitution is legal, but I am reasonably sure that a congressman’s wife from Las Vegas would not be too keen to give her husband a pass
        3. You say that Weiner’s constituents should not “endorse his behavior” but this is precisely what Vitter’s constituents have done. Frankly, I suspect they had the view I averred earlier about keeping him in office to prevent a Democrat from taking over.
        4. What is “aces to me” (a rather snarky comment, by the way) is maintaining an edge for the Democrats to finish the agenda set out by President Obama. If this is a corrupt way to strategize, then so was supporting scientists who worked for the Nazis so that we could have a space program. So far, I have not seen an “honest Republican,” at least, not one that has been elected. I would be thrilled to read about a Teddy Roosevelt-style or Eisenhower-style Republican, but these people don’t exist in today’s incarnation of the GOP. I would rather be represented by someone who is my advocate rather than a tool for transnational corporations loyal to no sovereignty other than their own investors and boards. So far, it appears the Democrats, even those with warts, are the only ones doing this.

        • I don’t think, as a general rule, elected officials should be thrown out by the party or the body unless they are affirmatively corrupting the governing process, as with Duke Cunningham. Ensign would qualify, since he was responding to extortion. Law breaking of a serious nature should also disqualify an individual. Engineering a cover-up using government employees and staff (Clinton; Ensign) is clearly grounds for kicking someone out of office….we’re talking formally, now. Marital infidelity certainly isn’t, without more.

          Massively embarrassing the House or the Senate, to the extent that it calls the entire body into disrepute, is tougher. If the body shrugs the conduct off, THAT is what creates the disrepute. States have different cultures. A Utah Senator would have to resign after being caught with a prostitute. It’s simply not the same kind of offense in Nevada, or California, or Louisiana. I have no question saying that a middle-aged Congressman with a pregnant wife sexting to multiple women and lying about it is ethicallly worse, more embarrassing to the government, and shows less trustworthiness that what Vitter did, and I think 99% of people who could get their biases out of the way agree. The big deal with Vitter was “hypocrisy,” which, as I wrote at the time, is nonsense. It isn’t hypocrisy. It is not being able to meet what you advocate as virtuous conduct, but sincerely believe IS virtuous conduct. That’s not what hypocrisy is. Take away the bogus hypocrisy and make Vitter a Democrat, and the Democrats would have all said, “Big deal.”

          Alcee Hastings, impeached as a judge for taking bribes, was elected to Congress. That’s absurd, but his corruption was already established, and his constituents, like you, would rather have a venal, corrupt Democrat than a (hopefully) honest alternative. OK. The election is an intervening, informed consent to his slime…the party, having allowed him to run, can’t and shouldn’t address his sliminess now. The same with Vitter.

          Your contention about both Republicans and Democrats is so completely biased and beyond any reasonable factual interpretation of the truth that it is, I suspect, incurable by logic or argument, and speaks to a deeply imbedded bias. This is an ethics blog, and I try not to get sucked into partisan political debates, but I am a specialist in leadership and a student of American Government, but I will say this: maintaining that 1) there is no such thing as an honest Republican or 2) preferring to have non-functioning invalids (Giffords), bribe-taking judges (Hastings), prostitute clients (Vitter), child page-stalkers (Foley), public bathroom cruisers (Craig), racists (Waters), fools (Inhofe, Grayson, Bachmann, etc., etc, etc,) and sicko liars (Weiner) to someone from either party who is sincere, honest and has integrity is a formula for catastrophe, which seems to be exactly what we’re in the process of getting.

          • It is not true that “constituents, like [me], would rather have a venal, corrupt Democrat than a (hopefully) honest alternative.” I’ve stated many times in previous comments my admiration for TR and Ike as exceptional examples of the GOP. As a consumer of news and politics, I read most rags as every one else; listen to radio (NPR primarily, but also several local stations), and glean other news bits from the internet. I have studied from my lay-person place many of the Republican leadership from McConnell to Boehner to Ryan to Graham. In all cases there are innumerous interviews and public statements where they echo each other almost word for word. If I have a bias, there is a ready food supply to support it. I am open to learning of a decent Republican, but this batch speaks with one mouth which can only mean that they are being dictated to. Who are the truly independent GOP voices out there? Name some and I will gladly open up my heart and mind. Can one ask if the current GOP is acting ethically – in the pure interests of their voting constituencies – if their stated primary objective since Obama took office is to ensure him a one-term presidency?

            • It is not true that “constituents, like [me], would rather have a venal, corrupt Democrat than a (hopefully) honest alternative.” I’ve stated many times in previous comments my admiration for TR and Ike as exceptional examples of the GOP.

              News Flash: TR and Ike are dead, but neither was less prone to periodic whoppers than any other politicians…especially Teddy, whom I revere and regard as generally exemplary ethically.

              As a consumer of news and politics, I read most rags as every one else; listen to radio (NPR primarily, but also several local stations), and glean other news bits from the internet. I have studied from my lay-person place many of the Republican leadership from McConnell to Boehner to Ryan to Graham. In all cases there are innumerous interviews and public statements where they echo each other almost word for word. If I have a bias, there is a ready food supply to support it.

              You do, and as someone who monitors all the media (it’s part of my job), this characteristic is 100% bi-partisan. It is a per se symptom of bias to assert otherwise.

              I am open to learning of a decent Republican, but this batch speaks with one mouth which can only mean that they are being dictated to.

              See previous statement of fact.

              Who are the truly independent GOP voices out there? Name some and I will gladly open up my heart and mind.

              Being member of a party by definition means that one is not fully independent. Still two examples meeting your criteria: Sen. Lindsay Graham (R) and Sen. James Webb (D).

              Can one ask if the current GOP is acting ethically – in the pure interests of their voting constituencies – if their stated primary objective since Obama took office is to ensure him a one-term presidency?

              This is rhetorical game-playing. The objective of all opposition parties since Thomas Jefferson is to get in power, which means having as a primary objective defeating an adversary party president, and always has. When it results in a party acting to the detriment of the nation—as, say, the Democrats refusing to offer bi-partisan cooperation with President Bush when he raised the question of Social security reform, preferring to demagogue the issue to save seniors, and allow the system to head further toward insolvency–that’s unethical. “in the pure interests of their voting constituencies” must always include the best interest of the nation itself..you are obviously making value-laden assumptions about “voting constituencies”. On the Democrat side, I’d say refusing to enforce immigration laws in order to pander to the large Hispanic-American voting constituency, and refusing to reform Medicare in order to pander to te senior blocs, when both require bold and sweeping action to avert serious consequences, is on par with any Republican misconduct of the same stripe, and there are plenty. One doesn’t excuse the other, but ignoring one while condemning the other is the product of bias, not reason.

              • -TR and Ike are dead-, (more snark than useful or informative) . I use these guys repeatedly as stark examples against the current crop of the elected GOP who repeatedly hew to a singular dictate. Graham is perhaps the least egregiously goose-stepping, but he knows what side his bread is buttered. Webb is a Democrat and while I do hold him in high regard, I am puzzled as to why you would include him. I asked for independent-thinking Republicans. There is not a single Republican to come forth and reveal his or her fealty to the platform of Lincoln, TR and Eisenhower in ACTION. Ok, I am biased. We can only debate to what degree then, but your “statement of fact” sheds no more light on my statement of fact that the Republicans DO speak with one mouth; that they DO adhere to a disciplined message that varies little from the singular task of being -literally – deadweight to every Democrat program and unseating Obama.
                As for “rhetorical game playing,” it would appear this is an exercise in whose opinion is more convincing. You give the example of “a party acting to the detriment of the nation” as the “Democrats refusing to offer bi-partisan cooperation with President Bush when he raised the question of Social security reform,” but I do not see this as a fair example. Bush’s efforts were designed to kill Social Security outright, which is why the Dems refused to participate. If there would be a legitimate discussion of reform, say, increasing the cap and age to receiving benefits, then I’m all for it.
                So we’ve established my bias, but as with all Americans equipped with such, from what is it borne? Reactionary greed, or social conscience?

          • I’m not sure if I’m part of the 1% or if I’m incapable of getting my biases out of the way, but I’d say Vitter’s actions are worse than (what we know of) Weiner’s. My politics align with Weiner’s more than with Vitter’s, but that’s not the issue. I liked Eliot Spitzer more than either of them, and his actions were the worst of the lot. Bill Clinton is in the same category as Spitzer. I don’t know a lot about Chris Lee, but I suspect I’d have voted against him had I the opportunity. And he’s creepy. But in this company, he scores pretty low on the pervometer.

            And I do think hypocrisy plays a role, and Vitter fits the definition better than Weiner does. Not as much as Spitzer or Gingrich, perhaps, but that’s pretty steep competition. If you or I get picked up for a DWI, it’s embarrassing. If the president of MADD does, it’s news. If a sanctimonious congressman gets caught in a sex scandal, it’s different than if someone less judgmental is. Same thing if a virulent anti-gun advocate sets off the metal detector at the airport with a loaded firearm.

            I don’t think of myself as a Democrat, but that’s how I’m currently registered. But no, if Vitter were a Dem, I wouldn’t say “Big Deal.” I think Weiner should resign. I think Vitter should have. I think Clinton should have. But ultimately, if I have to choose, give me politicians who lie to me about who (and how) they’re schtupping rather than about the real consequences of adopting this or that policy.

            • Well sure—except that a liar is a liar, in most cases. As Ethics Bob noted when he belatedly checked out Weiner’s veracity on political matters…he’s been slippery consistently—as has Bill. As has Eliot. I may have to write about hypocrisy again. Neither Vitter nor Craig qualify, at least automatically. Spitzer, Clinton…Lee…, yes.

              • I think its pointing out the difference between Liars and Hypocrites… if I have to pick which is worse, I’d pick Hypocracy as the worse catagory each and every time… the Democrats you mention were never legislating morality, while all the Rethugs you name were, among others, doing what they did while saying the exact opposite. Their 1984 Orwelian actions are far worse in the long run of existence, while the others only harmed their personal relationships and inner circles.

                • All societies legitimately legislate ethics (not, legitimately, morality), and I insist on using hypocrisy properly. Someone who violates their own beliefs regarding what is the best and most ethical conduct for others is simply not a hypocrite, unless he or she does not believe in what he espouses. Hypocrisy is a form on dishonesty; it is not a synonym for “inconsistency.” Using it otherwise simply elevates the inability to meet legitimate aspirations of conduct to a greater ethical violation that it already is. The creep who advocates creepism is ethically worse, not better, that than foe of creepism that acts like a creep, and both are more unethical than the creepism foe who also avoids creepiness, at least while he is in office.

                  Memorize that; there’s a test.

                  • Is there no room for pragmatism in this discussion, or does everything have to exist purely in the realm of theory? How does one discern, honestly, whether a person is being hypocritical or inconsistent if one merely includes the “stated beliefs” of the perpetrator as a counter to the notorious actions? Do actions no longer speak than words? If we are to open up the “can o’worms” and allow for “what people say” vs “what they do” then there is no way to truly measure if it is hypocrisy or inconsistency since a continuum that has lies on one end and truth on the other is a long and varied one. This does not even address context which adds another axis to the whole diagram. To get to the short of it, I suggest there is no way to measure (or parse, as seems the case here) the difference between “inconsistency” and “hypocrisy.”

                    • Sure there is: find another word and concept than “hypocrisy,’ then. Hypocrisy carries the stigma of insincerity and dishonesty, which is what gives it its power to shame. Not being able to live up to one’s own standards is not good, but also inevitable, the higher the standards.

                      Wielding “hypocrisy” loosely just discourages aspiration and high standards, as, when wielded by many liberals, is what it’s intended to do, I fear. If I used drugs in college, realized it was a bad idea, and tell my son that he must not use drugs, I am NOT a hypocrite, though stoners would find it convenient to so label me, as intimidation. I promote, teach and encourage ethics, sincerely and passionately. Do I always, every day, no matter what, attain my highest standards? No. But if I fail, I recognize it as such, am honest with myself, and strive to do better without abandoning my principles. I’m not a hypocrite either. Nor do I believe that I am not subject to the same imperatives I urge for others. Hypocrisy is Bill Clinton signing a sexual harassment bill, violating its terms himself, and then having his minions argue that 1) it’s no big deal. 2) he has a right and 3)having feminists who cheered him for his support of feminism with the bill argue that he did nothing wrong.
                      Maybe Vitter was a hypocrite, but people who disagree with his moral stands want to presume so, because they believe no rational person could sincerely believe as he says he does. Well, WRONG. It is very likely he was and is sincere, so the question is, does frequenting a prostitute disqualify one for public office? Does it make one less credible? Less trustworthy? How does it reasonably affect our ability to trust him? Given a choice of him and a non-whore client, I’d pick the latter every time. But Weiner is clearly more dishonest, more irresponsible, and more untrustworthy.

        • Great summation, I agree with this whole “line of Thinking ” within my own “Structure of Thought™… That’s what kills me about this whole ordeal. Weiner couldn’t keep his Libido compartmentalized enough to NOT act like a 16 yr old, AND lie about it – however, he is one of the few who are standing up to this Monolith of Corporatism that is killing our society and turning all of us but a chosen few into Serfs. Political Labels aside, because there are plenty Demicans and Republocrats who bow to this ruthless, silent conspiracy. His demise is one more nail in the coffin of personal freedoms, IMHO.

            • Whew, that is a HUGE can o’ worms you just opened there, Mr. Marshall! Too busy to respond at length – I’ll leave it to others to point out the vast majorities of diabolical “Ass-ness” : Personal Behavior vs public policy that is Ass-Based.

              BIG difference – I’ll note a popular bumpersticker from the W era that says “Nobody died from Clinton’s Blowjobs” for example. Go to your country clubs and stir your drinks and congratulate yourself on your new Military Industrial Complex contract$$$ to poison, pollute and Kill. I’ll see how you feel about that on your deathbed. Then we’ll chat. PS – I personally forgive all of you… but to quote Network – “You will Atone.”

              I know I did. Been there… check out my art work on my site, especially “Journey to my Ancient Lesson” – it Ain’t pretty.

              http://www.thestructureofthought.com

              • Yes, that’s a stupid bumpersticker, with exactly as much fairness and wisdom as bumperstickers typically offer. It is quite conceivable, that people DID die as a result of Clinton, who was well aware of the threat posed by Al Qaeda, spending his time covering up perjury when he should have been doing his real job. Even taken seriously, which the comment doesn’t warrant, it is nothing but another example of the sick and popular rationalization, “It’s not the worst thing,” (You can look it up on the site.) Something doesn’t become good or even better, because something else is worse. Although Democrats still argued the opposite shamelessly during Monicagate, and Charlie Rangel, expert rationalizer that HE is, has used the same non-logic in Weinergate.

                This stuff is pretty basic.

                • hey I’m not saying Weinergate shouldn’t resign, according to my moral barometer, he should. So make sure you know that.

                  The Hegelian dialectic about this whole deal is that Democrats Should resign, Republicans don’t have to because “the laws of their state don’t reflect the whatever.” Give me a break. I DO hold the Democrats to a higher standard, and I believe a rising tide raises all boats. The Repubs seem to be lowering the bar so low that any behavior by them is so blurred that C-Streeters can have little boys and prostitutes without consequence – and they (C-Streeters) believe that they are Above the Law, and the rules of the “little people” don’t apply to them.

                  Weiner’s LYING about his out-of-control libido is why he should resign, that’s why he is an ass and has lost my respect.

                  Having Endless War for Profit masked by False Flag operations and Coup d’états across the globe in the name of freedom to exploit this globe for their bottomless pocketbooks and not sharing that profit for the advancement of all mankind and duping just about everyone in the process is more of an evil, asinine behavior, if you ask me.

                  Or tweet a picture of your package. YEah, that is the lesser of the two evils I do believe.

                  That, is pretty basic. Good luck when you go to collect your bad Karma. Sweet dreams!

                  • What papers are you reading? Foley? Resigned. Lee? Resigned. Ensign? Resigned. Sanford? Resigned. Rangel? Stayed. Frank? Stayed. Shays? Stayed. Weiner? So far, stayed.

                    Sure, Craig and Vitter refused to go, and Spitzer resigned, but how you can say the thrust of this is that Republicans don’t have to resign while Democrats do is beyond me.

    • Ah Finnegan…beginagain (I couldn’t resist). Alas, there’s a good possibility that the seat would evaporate as the latest census eliminated at least one Congressional seat in NY State and it would’ve, it seems, affected Weiner’s district next time out.

      Methinks that a potentially brilliant political career has been squandered by of all things a voracious unrealized sexual urge. When that happens it not only dashes the hopes of the candidate in question, but of all those who see in him/her a particular light…a glimmer of potential hope for a new beginning with someone we regard as a credible individual. Credibliltiy Lost!

      What happens here and in instances similar to this, is the further deterioration of our false beliefs in all the crap forced into our brains since childhood. All that brainwashing about America on the hill pushed down our throats since we were in grade school. Maybe that’s a good thing…a positive aspect of seeing our reflection in the mirror of American society. We don’t like what we see and we shouldn’t..

      We voice our outrage at finding that a person such as Weiner is no better and certainly no worse than any of us…who are searching for that illusive God image. Clay feet.

      Yes, people…especially people in elected authoritative posititions should know better…but they seem not to. The political system we hold so dear and sacred is being run, often into the ground, by people not worthy and we foolishly believe we have the power to change it all. We don’t. Ya can’t change human nature.

      • All true…

        (You ought to be ashamed of “beginagain,” though. A resignation level-offense..)

        …except that is is clearly not true that there are not competent, dedicated public servants and potential public servants who can understand that when you hold high public office, you are obligated to display exemplary behavior, that using your position to cyber-stalk and sext women is not such behavior, and that when you are caught engaging in behavior that violates your duties to honor your position and institution, you tell the truth about it. We don’t ask that he be better than us forever, just for two years…or six, or four, or eight. When that urge becomes too great, find another job. It’s that simple.

        • Regrettably, those competent, dedicated public servants you speak of, are as rare as hens teeth. I even doubt that they ever existed at all.

          Your thought is exactly what I’m talking about…the brainwashing of Americans to believe that their public officials occupy a sanctified elevated position and should be venerated. BIG NEWS…they put their shoes on, one at a time as we do. (I was going to say…put their pants on…but that would be sexist).

          These ‘honored’ politicians don’t represent the public. They represent Big Business who now run government…both Democrats and Republicans (variations of a single theme). The vote means less than nothing. We just select another deficient from the same gene pool. The people have been completely left out of the equation. They are simply given the allusion that they are selecting a candidate, when one of a few is actually being selected for them.

          I’ve lived long enough to witness government deception repeatedly, and at this point I, as they say, ain’t sufferin’ no fools. The concepts that we’ve embraced about who and what we are are as a nation are completely false, but we go on believing them because they’ve become the fundament of our false beliefs…what the perceiver sees is his/her reality. There’s enough of a lack of honesty to be passed all around.

          The deception of Wiener is just one of so very many, by so many. If we were to put an end to these stupid foibles, we’d likely empty Washington…and that would likely be a good thing…except we’d just replace them all with another group of demagogues.

          Give me a benevolent dictator…namely me, and I’ll cure what ails America.

          • HEAR HEAR! Harumph! Quite! All except the last sentance – I’m never for a dictator, benevolent or not – I think everyone thinks they can pull that off until their walking in those shoes… then it’s just too easy to squash the opposition with a diplomatic mission to Antarctica.

            I love how Jack will take bits and pieces of an argument and disagree or dismiss them outright and “talking points” an answer, and totally ignore all the relevant, orwellian Patriot act BS going on all around. Let’s see how he handles your reply.

            • 1) “Talking points” isn’t a verb, and I don’t use them. If others say the same thing I do, either they are copying me, or it’s a coincidence, or they are just really, really sharp.
              2.) Since you and I disagree profoundly about what is “going around”—for example, I think it is bats to think that the US government bombed the Twin Towers and the Pentagon—I’m obviously not going to address your peculiar concerns.

            • Well, I don’t think I could pull it off. I know I could.

              You see, at this point in my life I’m not afraid of someone firing down at me from a book depository building. (I’d remain in my bunker). That’s what would likely happen to anyone brazen enough to implement a change that would step on the toes of the industrial/military/financial state we live in today. And that’s why things remain as they are.

              As the song says, ‘freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose’. One day, in a very distant future, Americans will wake up and realize the freedoms they think they have are only those permitted by the State.

              Ah for the last vestiges of freedom we enjoyed in the late1960’s. It all died with Woodstock. Right on!

                    • How nice. If it’s such a waste of time, please don’t waste my time making comments that I answer in good faith under the misconception that I’m dealing with someone who wants to consider complex issues rather than make pronouncements and recycle moldy Sixties sentiments that were already stale and silly when they came out of the mouth of Scott McKenzie. Woodstock. Yeah, THAT was productive.
                      If one is going to use my website for nostalgic and paranoid fantasies, that ‘s swell, but the ethical way to bid farewell is “thanks.” The Who’s lyrics are neither civil nor justified.

          • Just a fundamental misunderstanding of leadership on display here. People at all levels and all organizations DO elevate and emulate leaders, always have, and hopeful always will, or the world literally doesn’t work. Leaders lead, and to lead effectively they have to either be or be perceived as better than those who follow them.
            That’s what makes it a job, and a tough job.. But that IS the job. There are two things at play—sufficient real character to be able to be trusted, and careful image protecting to make sure that the leader’s own conduct doesn’t undermine the conduct and values of society. Both are essential, and what the latter reveals will usually be relevant to the former as well.

            You can be cynical all you want….that’s what works. We need leaders, and they better understand their jobs, or you end up with Nigeria, Peru, or Washington, DC (the local government.) And there have always been trustworthy individuals—not perfect, but trustworthy, who have played the role to perfection.

  9. - Hypocrisy carries the stigma of insincerity and dishonesty, which is what gives it its power to shame<-
    Only to a person of conscience.
    I guess what I’m trying to hone in on here is when does inconsistency begin (we aspire to a goal of which we frequently fall short) and hypocrisy end (a stated but insincere aspiration to the goal we fail at most of the time but never-the-less rant that everybody else should “do as I say; not as I do”)?
    Your example seems to assume that the word is applied equally among humans, in that we are all equally endowed with the necessary conscience to be shamed. If I’m not mistaken, you even rationalized Vitter’s infidelity with prostitutes as part of a culture in Louisiana. Vitter’s actions were wrong on a whole lotta levels, AND they were illegal. I don’t know why or how you can state with certainty that “It is very likely he was and is sincere.” I haven’t even got to whether he is a hypocrite or not, since frankly, I am not that familiar with his comments beforehand or in the aftermath. I have only seen his web page that shows him surrounded by his family in a loving group embrace-kind of photo imbued with the obvious implications: he’s a “family guy.” That said, the GOP has been very vocal about being the “party of family values” so he is at least guilty of hypocrisy (ok, “inconsistency”) by association. Again, I’m stuck on this point: if a person’s actions run contrary to their spoken beliefs, then this is hypocrisy, not inconsistency. Your example [“If I used drugs in college, realized it was a bad idea, and tell my son that he must not use drugs, I am NOT a hypocrite”] is not an example of either inconsistency or hypocrisy. I’d say it is more an example of a retrospective “reading of the road of life” to help your son avoid the potholes (pardon the double entendre) and an appropriate one at that. Kudos to you. If Vitter had visited prostitutes as a young man and then now, as a father and married man advised his sons away from such practice (assuming he, like you, abstain), I would view this the same way (despite my own belief that toking on a joint is far less egregious than visiting a whore). However, this is not the case, and youthful indiscretions cannot and should not be compared to misbehaviors of grown men well past their formative years. I cannot assign the same standard on a young person as I do to one who is middle-aged, as “they (the latter) should know better.” This, then, is the core of my gross disappointment with Weiner: his behavior was bad but not “really bad” – if he were a teenager. As an adult, it is, in my lay-person perspective, evidence of some serious personality disorder. I have to figure out some way to reconcile my high regard for him prior to this scandal with what I know about him now, and it is proving to be most difficult.

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