First, here’s his asinine characterization of the scandal:
Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-New York), of course, is accused of… Well, it’s not clear what, exactly, Weiner’s being accused of. His Twitter account apparently was hacked, or used by a trusted friend or employee for illicit purposes. And so, a close-up shot of a man’s crotch in underwear was sent from his account to a woman in Seattle.
By contemporary standards, the shot is pretty lame and tame. And, as soon as the Congressman realized the pic had been sent from his account, he disavowed and deleted it. The woman from Seattle, likewise, immediately repudiated the notion that she was some sort of love interest of Weiner’s […]
It’s clear, I think, that Weiner himself never sent this lewd pic to the 21-year-old college student in Seattle. However, others with access to his account or the pic perhaps did. We just don’t know — and we really shouldn’t care.
Case closed, right? I mean, things happen; accounts get hacked (or sometimes misused by trusted friends and employees); we all realize that; and so we move on.Well, no, because to impassioned partisan bloggers, both Left and Right, any such incident is a chance to score political points. It’s a chance to beat up the other side, bloody them politically, and pile on the points for your team. And so this non-story quickly — nay, immediately – became the latest “SCANDAL!”
- Weiner sent the photo and had some sort of relationship with the girl. In this case, he’s a married man and a public servant having an affair with someone young enough to be his daughter.
- Weiner sent the photo unsolicited. In this case, he’s a married man and a public servant exploiting one of his supporters’ fondness for him and sexually harassing harassing her.
- Someone else sent the photo. In this case, somebody committed sexual harassment against this girl, framing a United States Congressman in the process, but for some reason that congressman doesn’t want the perpetrator brought to justice.
UPDATE: Now that Weiner’s fessed up to the whole thing, Guardiano has another post. Does he admit that his asinine claim that it was “clear” Weiner didn’t send the photos was totally wrong? Of course not. Instead, he rips on conservatives who are openly enjoying Weiner’s disgrace and insisting that the scandal is all about Weiner’s private life, which should be off-limits:
Anthony Weiner was caught doing a wrong and stupid thing: By his own admission, he “exchanged messages and photos of an explicit nature with about six women over the last three years.” Some of this communication took place after Weiner was married, and he lied about at least one explicit tweet.
That’s sad, shameful and embarrassing. But it also is of no real public import. It’s between him, his wife, his rabbi and his God.
In fact, it remains true even now that nobody has shown Weiner’s actions had any legal or public implications whatsoever.
The should-we-care-about-politicians’-infidelities debate is an old one, and it’s no surprise an unprincipled hack like John Guardiano takes the side of indifference. In my opinion, of course a politician’s affairs are politically relevant – they reveal whether he likely to keep promises, whether he takes trust seriously, whether he has self-control or is a narcissist, etc. And in Weiner’s case, it definitely sounds like not all of Weiner’s pen pals were interested in show & tell. Again, does the phrase “sexual harassment” mean anything to John? How pathetic is the state of American politics that we can’t even agree that swapping causal sex talk and photos with complete strangers is conduct unbecoming a congressman, and that it reveals that someone lacks the judgment we should expect out of the people making decisions that affect our lives and liberties?
Guardiano goes on to make himself look like even more of a moron:
Some have argued that, by sending explicit photos to a women he barely knew, or had just met online, Weiner made himself susceptible to blackmail. I suppose that’s technically true, but it’s also rather farfetched and unrealistic.
Weiner’s politics are well known; his congressional votes are well publicized; and so it’s hard to see how, in our open and democratic society, he could be blackmailed into changing his political stripes.
Saying Weiner made himself susceptible to blackmail is no more convincing than saying that corporate campaign contributions “buy” a congressman’s vote. In truth, campaign contributions follow a congressman’s vote; they do not direct it.
By the same token, Weiner was pursuing these women for his own personal purposes; they were not political types pursuing him for partisan or financial gain.
This is so ridiculously obtuse I barely know where to begin. First, I doubt Weiner would change his political stripes, either, but it’s incredibly ignorant and simplistic to suggest that’s the only conceivable kind of blackmail. Not all votes are a question of ideology, and there are plenty of other ways a congressman can be useful, such as pulling strings with various federal, state, and local agencies. Second, it’s even more absurd to limit the pool of blackmailers to Weiner’s known partners/victims – the point is, Weiner was so indiscriminate that he didn’t care what kind of people were getting this material, and that there’s no telling whose hands it could ultimately fall into (again with the judgment thing). Third, it doesn’t matter how unlikely blackmail is in any particular case of impropriety. Public servants are supposed to avoid even the appearance of being compromised, to maintain the public’s faith in the process.
As a political junkie, I often find myself asking one question: is Person X simply dishonest, or is he really this stupid? With John Guardiano, I honestly don’t know. Does the American Spectator, an otherwise-serious conservative publication, know how badly their association with this guy reflects on them?