Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Sexual ethics, bad judgment, and politics

I am struck by the inability of otherwise admirable progressive politicians to keep their trousers zipped. Bill Clinton, John Edwards, and now, the unfortunately named Anthony Weiner have all been embroiled in completely avoidable sexual scandals due to a mixture of hubris and bad judgment.

I wish we did not care so much about the private lives of our politicians. Personally, I don't really care if they sleep around as long as they vote the right way. I don't respect them for it, as I have a strong belief in marital fidelity, but I don't think it's my business to dictate personal ethics to other people about sexual expression between consenting adults.

But what I think doesn't matter: as a society, we DO care, and the media and political opponents are always looking for a "Gotcha!" moment. Andrew Breitbart and his fellows have a row of scalps. These men knew that. Yet they still let themselves be driven to express sleazy extramarital sexuality. Bill Clinton's presidency was undermined by his affair. John Edwards has been indicted for financial malfeasance to cover up his illegitimate child. And now, Anthony Weiner's career is over.

It doesn't matter that Weiner's sexting was consensual, or that thousands of men do the same thing daily. What matters is that he showed an appalling and arrogant lapse of judgment, and then lied about it. (Indeed, one might argue that for Clinton, Edwards and Weiner, the situation might have been redeemable if they simply had told the truth.) He's a public figure and he knows the rules. He broke them in an act of massive stupidity, with completely predictable results. And now, his unwillingness to resign is hurting the Democrats and giving the Republicans something to point out with scornful glee.

Thanks for nothing, Rep. Weiner. You knowingly betrayed your constituents and your supporters, let alone your wife, for a smattering of sexual titillation. You knew the dangers. You knew your responsibilities. Was sending a TwitPic of your crotch really worth your career?

10 comments:

dr.primrose said...

These things do have important repercussions that go way beyond the specific misconduct. While it's dangerous to play "what if," I'm pretty confident that, if the whole Monicagate thing hadn't happened, Al Gore would have won in 2000 rather than George Bush.

This almost certainly means that there would have never been an Iraq war. This almost certainly means that we would not have Roberts and Alito on the Supreme Court. And the list goes on.

Without doubt, the most expensive blow-job in history.

Counterlight said...

I said the same thing over on my Facebook page, and got eaten alive for it. My problem is not with the sex business (that's between him and his wife), but with his recklessness.

IT said...

Counterlight, absolutely. I don't personally approve of this kind of behavior, but it should be irrelevant. However, to act as if it IS irrelevant is arrogant and stupid.

Primrose, if I think too much about that, I could cry.

JCF said...

I know it shouldn't matter...

...but his wife is a stone fox. Wassamatta these schmucks, they have Baaaaaabe! at home, and they go cruising for cheap xxx-tra thrills online?

I don't get it. }-p

[And now comes news she's ku'd, too. Hang in there, {{{Huma}}}]

Fred Schwartz said...

Well, we will all be better when these folks start thinking with their brain and not other parts of their anatomy.

IT said...

JCF, ku'd?

Fred, indeed.

JCF said...

ku'd = "knocked up" = pregnant

JCF said...

Off-topic: read this (w/ the lights on, it's terrifying):

Profile of Scott Lively

He's already gotten a queer killed in MY hometown: maybe yours next? Or a whole nation's? (Uganda, maybe Macedonia, etc, etc) EVIL.

Counterlight said...

Things were getting so ugly and contentious over on my Facebook page (one post had 45 angry comments, not just angry at me but with each other), that I took down all of my posts on the Weiner issue.

Kevin K said...

I try not to follow these scandals because they receive too much undo attention. But I do recall that many of the allegations directed at President Clinton involved sexual acts which were not with consenting women. I don't know if the women receiving Weiner's sexual communications either solicited or welcomed them but they are certainly evidence of extremely poor judgment.

As for Edwards he "marketed" himself politically as a loving and devoted spouse. He also used his wife as a political tool. While his political career might have been "saved" had he simply told the truth what destroyed him is using campaign funds to cover this up. What is amazing is that he is a very, very wealthy man who could easily have paid for this from his personal funds.

Whenever people get too excited about the power of reason, we should remember these events.

Kevin K