Since my column last Sunday Congressman Anthony Weiner has confessed that he’s the one how sent the infamous “junk shot,” and an even more...”infamous” one has come to light since. There’s no point in going into the mia culpa, the pregnancy or any of the details that have been so ably covered by others, however there is one part of the scandal Id’ like to point out - the clean up.
But first, I have to give props to my friend Andrew Breitbart for hijacking Weiner’s “wiener conference” Monday. That was a beautiful thing, er, yeah, I guess I can use that word. Proof, as if anyone needed it, that Andrew has...the lower part of the second photo I referenced above. (Apologies to readers, I write like I talk, in tone, if not word choice.)
Back to WeinerGate.
How could this happen? The easy answer is that some men simply have no morals and will take any port in a storm, even if it’s digital, blurry and the size of a blackberry. The actor who plays Jack Donaghy on NBC’s “30 Rock,” Alec Baldwin, has a theory (Weiner’s busy and stressed & is just a modern man), as does the actress who plays Rachel Maddow on MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show,” Rachel Maddow (It was just bad manners). But my theory is slightly different. It’s a combination of “power” and fame.
I put “power” in quotation marks because, and I hate to burst anyone’s bubble, most Members of Congress are insignificant and have none, at least on the House side. There are 435 Members of the House of Representatives (more if you count the non-voting members from US territories. I don’t.) and only a handful really have any real power. Members of Leadership and Committee Chairs pretty much run the show. What they all do have is a vote, but most times those don’t really matter either since so few bills pass or fail by one vote. What some of them also have is celebrity.
Fame for the sake of itself has become easier and easier to get these days. There is no Earthly reason the world should know who Paris Hilton is, and we wouldn’t were it not for her, and society’s, embracing of something that just a few year prior would’ve shamed her into a monastery. OK, maybe not HER, but a normal person.
In many ways Anthony Weiner is the Paris Hilton of Congress. As Politico put it, “He has no major legislation to his name, and no obvious fondness for filling local potholes.” What he does do is go on TV...a lot. He’s famous, not powerful and not accomplished. But the illusion of those intangible things engulf every Member of Congress, and many of them marinate gleefully in it. Weiner gleefully marinated in it and embraced the trappings that accompany it.
He’s not alone, he’s not unique, he just got caught. Hopefully this whole WeinerGate thing will serve as a dead fish of reality slapped across the face of every Members of Congress who has marinated in the pool of the trappings of the illusion of their office. Moral behavior out of fear of exposure, while not ideal, is much better than the alternative.
It’s Not the Economy. Stupid.
They’re getting the band back together, the band from Chicago. No, not Smashing Pumkins or...whatever other famous band is from Chicago (Maybe Chicago? I don’t know, before my time, but it would make sense), this band is the Obama Campaign crew. Led by David Axelrod, Robert Gibbs and Antia Dunn are meeting to discuss strategy for Obama 2012.
While this brain trust works feverishly to polish the turd that is the Obama Presidency, Axelrod decided that the 2012 election will "not be a referendum" on the first 4 years of it. Yes, you read that right - they are not planning on running on Obama’s record as President. You can decide for yourself why someone would choose to do that, but my guess would be the corruption, the back room deals like the “Cornhusker Kickback,” high unemployment and gas prices, falling housing values, etc., etc.
But by trying to distance themselves from Obama’s record at President they’re basically going to run...as...a community organizer? I don’t know. He had no record in the US Senate for the 20 minutes he was in there, not much of one in the Illinois Legislature, and really nothing else in his life outside of getting into and graduation from fancy colleges.
Honestly, what else do we know about Obama’s past? The media sure didn’t ask any questions about his background. We knew more about Joe the Plumber’s life 3 days after he asked a simple question of Obama than we still know about the President’s life.
Axelrod doesn’t care, and doesn’t think you’ll care either. On the topic of outrageously high unemployment numbers, he said, "For the average person this is a meaningless discussion, what is meaningful is what they experience in their own lives." Well, Mr. Axelrod, the average person is, or knows someone who is, unemployed. I think it does matter. I guess we’ll find out who is correct in November of next year.
Also-Ran Going All Gladiator on the Mohel. Noted actor and...circumcision opponent (?) Russell Crowe took to Twitter this week to rail against the evils of foreskin removal. Yeah, I don’t know why either. Showing his tolerance towards Jews in particular, he wrote “many jewish friends, I love my Jewish friends, I love the apples and the honey and the funny little hats but stop cutting yr (sic) babies.” He followed that gem with “I will always stand for the perfection of babies, i will always believe in God, not man's interpretation of what God requires.” Aside from wanting to impose his own interpretation of God’s will on other with no seeming sense of irony, the actor Adam Baldwin was quick to point out that Mr. Crowe is pro-choice. So it appears that there are at least 2 disconnects mentioned in this story...so to speak.
Wanna See Which Toilet Your Tax Dollars are Being Flushed Down? This week saw the launch of a great website that does what our elected officials haven’t done, namely read the legislation they pass. At Dirty Spending Secrets you find out all about the important work your tax dollars are doing, like the $2.6 million we’ve spent training Chinese prostitutes to drink more responsibly on the job. You can’t make this stuff up...mostly because no one would believe you.
Irony of the Week (Tie-ish)
And finally, something I didn’t have space for last week but thought funny, and may well have been used by a late-night comedian (I don’t know, I don’t watch those shows), but if it wasn’t it should’ve been...”Dr. Death” Jack Kevorkian recently died...of natural causes. The irony of that could only be beaten by the story this week that Congressman Weiner called former President Bill Clinton to apologize to him for WeinerGate. Yes, you read that right. Not sure if Weiner told Clinton about the perils of a verified Twitter account or if Bill told Weiner about the joys of an anonymous one. Or maybe they just exchanged stories of...never mind, too easy. The mere fact that that actually happened is joke enough. Go about your week.