Enough with the Weiner

Adam Daniels

Who’s next? That question, unfortunately, is becoming the only sensible reaction to the seemingly endless procession of political sex scandals.

In the last few years alone, we have Mark “Hiking the Appalachian Trail” Sanford, Larry “Wide Stance” Craig, Eliot “Client Number 9” Spitzer, and Chris “Look at My Upper Body Strength” Lee. Now we can add Anthony “Here is a picture of my” Weiner to the list.

The reaction to ask “Who’s next?” is only natural, but the response should be “Step down.” Certainly there are many who believe that personal matters should be kept separate when evaluating public officials, and chances are the public wouldn’t care as much if the Congressman had admitted to sending the pictures, or hadn’t had exchanges with multiple women, or if he was unmarried.

However, the disconnect between Congressman Weiner’s public and private actions calls into question his character and his sincerity.

“This seems like it was a prank to make fun of my name, the name Weiner. It happens a lot,” he told CNN recently. He also claimed that he was protecting his wife, “who every day is waking up to these insane stories that are getting so far from reality. You know, we’ve been married less than a year.” Sadly, these are only a few of his many untruthful denials.

The nature of legislating is such where large shares of a politician’s actions are hidden from public view. The work is complex, fast-paced, and it requires deal-making that ventures into the many gray areas of political life. But what voters expect is consistency between an official’s public and private actions. In Weiner’s case, contrition alone is not enough to reconcile the gap he has revealed between the two. Voters should not accept this from Weiner, nor any elected official from this point forward.