Help for the lascivious

Paul Jacob

6/12/2011 12:00:42 AM - Paul Jacob

The Weiner is starting to make sense.

He — that is, Anthony Weiner, Democratic congressmen from New York — has found the problem. It’s him. He’s a bad guy.

So, he’s seeking professional help, according to his taxpayer-funded communications professional, who informed the waiting nation that this fearless representative of Gotham will “map out a course of treatment” to become “a better husband and healthier person.”

I, for one, wish him well. Both are noble pursuits and, certainly, just what any good doctor would order.

Weiners can learn from their mistakes. I believe in redemption. And let’s admit: he’s not an axe murderer. He shouldn’t be treated like one.

But the question is: Should he be treated like a member of the U.S. House of Representatives?

Let’s hope Mr. Weiner can solve his problems, but let’s face it: There’s no hope he’ll solve our country’s (he is too busy).

And that’s where Anthony Weiner still doesn’t get it. He still refuses to resign.

Yesterday, he announced he was asking for a leave of absence — like he’s a tenured college professor and the United States of America, or at least his district in New York, can just be paused, while he goes on sabbatical to find a much better version of himself.

Where’s Oprah when you need her?

Without her, let’s review this scandal. After stonewalling failed, and lying didn’t pan out, Weiner cracked and blurted out the truth — only to have more truths erupt all over the place. The man seems to have too much time for lewd activities like sending out naked pictures of himself, flirting with women much, much younger than his wife — in at least one case a minor, only 17 — and in general behaving in ways that used to go by the terms “Lothario” and “cad” and worse.

Some people go into politics to change things, or uphold virtues or values or justice or something like that. Others go into it because they are utterly besot by power. Weiner has revealed himself as a member of this latter class.

The third worst thing one can say of him is that he’s given to tasteless sexual displays. The second worst thing that can be said of him is that he plays the game of seduction with young women, some legally underage. Arguendo, call that a technicality. But it does send up a flare, signaling the worst thing we may say against him: He’s in politics for all the wrong reasons.

How does an older man with a taste for younger women get those women to swarm around him? Weiner’s found one of the oldest methods in the book. He’s gotten himself famous, attained a level of power.

The trouble with power is that it can corrupt. I’m not saying Weiner would eventually careen down the road of sexual insatiability where he’d use his wealth and power (or, in his case, just power) to rape chamber maids. But he obviously lacked the pangs of prudence that might discourage him from doing what he has done in such an easily discoverable environment — using Twitter, of all things, to “narrowcast” for-private-consumption-only pics. (A task in which he failed, broadcasting the pic, instead.)

The whole affair is just so seedy, so stupid.

Yet this scandal shouldn’t be about sex — or even the lousy substitute known as sexting. It’s about the arrogance and abusiveness of power. Weiner’s use of his political position for his own advantage in this seamy manner ought to give us pause about the power folks such as Weiner wield. (No doubt Nancy Pelosi's call for his resignation recognizes just that: Weiner's behavior is emblematic of a Congress that remains arrogant even while behaving badly . . . if not self-depantsed on Twitter.)

And now he wants a leave of absence to seek help, help with his “problem.”

Well, I think we know what his problem is. It’s not that he has a sexual appetite. It’s that he aims to satisfy even his wilder impulses without constraint of morality or taste, and by parlaying his standing in Congress as part of his “package.”

Pun, well, sort of intended.

As I stated above, Congress isn’t a professional outfit with tenure rights, in terms of which one may ask for leave. Its mission is very different. It’s not there to give those who like the work a permanent job. It’s to serve the people.

Weiner proved he’s not really much interested in that.

But I’m all for servicing his latest need, to obtain “help.” Professional help.

Send him packing, out of office. No political power. That might cure him.