Thursday, June 9, 2011

In Defense of Anthony Weiner

    Well, I guess it falls to me to assume the role of Mr. Weiner's defense attorney as clearly no one else is gonna do it-most people apparently want to be the D.A. in The People Against Anthony Weiner. Based on what Rush Limbaugh's liberal media is saying no one is interested in doing anything for the poor guy. Nancy Pelosi has talked about subjecting him to an ethics investigation. Harry Reid said if Weiner were to call him for help he'd tell him to look somewhere else. The Republicans are gleefully calling for his resignation The consensus is that if he holds onto his job now he certainly is finished as a mayoral candidate-just two weeks ago he was a top contender. The Republicans now think they have a shot at taking his seat. Certainly if true a tremendous turnaround for them after losing the 26th district a few weeks ago.
    And why this seismic change in political fortunes? Because Weiner engaged in a few risque exchanges on Twitter and some phone sex. Predictably, Rush Limbaugh was foaming at the mouth the other day-as he only he can-about liberals who make excuses for "reprobates like Weiner, and Clinton and so forth." Limbaugh put Weiner and Clinton in the same boat, no surprise there. Yet in a way, this attempt to "Clintonize" Weiner actually underscores how much the comparison doesn't work. Clinton was a chronic adulterer-he was also a great president and presided over one of the greatest peacetime expansions in US history to be fair-Weiner, as far as we know, hasn't engaged in any actual cheating- his "sins" are all virtual. While everyone is acting like Weiner has done something heinous, what he's accused of is really pretty tame.. If anyone has any right to be upset it's his wife, but no one else-even here, we're in virgin territory: is virtual cheating the same as actual cheating.? Really, I don't see how this is the business of anyone else.
      What makes all of this particularly galling is this is all the shoddy work of that sorry Republican hit man,  Andrew Breitbart. The Democrats in Congress are all lambasting Weiner for being this terrible distraction and hurting the party, hurting it's credibility. According to the narrative we're getting in the NYT, et al,(See NYT Thursday, June 9, 2011, pg. A25)  the Democrats were doing great, they had the Republicans on the ropes over Ryan's privatize Medicare scheme, their miserable game of national debt ceiling chicken, and their overall tremendous overreach as the GOP misread their election gains last November as giving them the sort of political mandate FDR had in 1936 after trouncing Alf Landon,523-8(as Maine goes so goes Vermont) and over 3-1 super majorities in both houses of Congress..  Then  along comes Weiner's scandals and now the Democrats are the one in the political hot seat as the Republicans chide them for not pushing harder for Weiner's resignation.
      Yet this whole feeble narrative is flawed. The Democrats claim that Weiner distracts from their substantive agenda betrays the fact that they apparently think that Weiner engaging in some virtual sexual games is more egregious than, for example, what Paul Ryan's Republican party wants to do to Medicare. Clearly they do feel that Weiner's is the greater evil for if they didn't how could this totally contrived scandal-contrived by Breibert, Dan Wolfe, Mike Stack and the rest of the sleazy right-wing brigade of Republican hit men-derail them from their substantive work? No matter how much anyone tries to get himself into a tizzy over Weiner's allegedly awesome sins, the fact is that he has done nothing illegal. If the creepy cyberstalking campaign that Breitbart and company have conducted isn't illegal, it should be. There's somethng truly missing in our laws. Because stalking is a crime.
      There are many things that can be said about Breitbart-none of them good. He first gained public notice by his scurilous attack on Acorn, Based solely on his an d James O'keefe's doctored tapes and false claims, Congress cut it's funding in 2008 at this point, Breitbart had already won. Eventually, in 2010, a Brooklyn court would rule the charges against Acorn false, but the damage was already done. With it's funding gone and it's good name slandered and libeled beyond all recognition it was toast. It wasn't only Acorn's loss, we the citizens of New York were robbed. millions of low-income people counted on Acorn for assitance in low-income housing. Breitbart's next performance was the doctored tape he used to impugn Sharon Sherrod. The politically cowed White House fired her immediately upon hearing Breibart's misleading tape on-you guessed it, Fox News-without any attempt to even question or verify it.
      This is Breitbert's history coming in to Weiner, and yet no one at the Times, CNN, ABC and the rest of the allegedly liberal media had any trouble working with him, standing behind his credibility. Yet Weiner is somehow such damaged goods he has gone from a leading Mayoral candidate in NYC, to someone who is such poison he can't even be allowed to finish his term?
      Maybe the Democrats sincerely believe he damages them so badly that destroying him is more important than protecting Medicare, raising the debt ceiling, not to mention the economy. But then they're wrong. And their beliefs and priorities are not those of the peope of NY who, we keep hearing, havve been aggregiously betrayed by Mr. Weiner. The majority of New Yorkers want him to stay in office. While early polls point to many now ruling him out for mayor, still over a third still say they would support him there too.
       In light of Weiner's admission of sending the offending picture on Monday, Andrew Breitbart has been very pleased with himself. He escalated his cyberbullying and cyberstalking on Monday, actually crashing Weiner's painful press conference grabbing the mike and taking it over. As if it isn't enough to have destroyed what is still-after his very unfortunate blooper in sending that picture to the public twitter account, rather than to Gennette Cordova's private mail-a fundamentally good and decent man, and quality congressman-hence, the public still supports him-Breitbart in the most bush league fashion had to rub salt in his wounds. While schools are trying to teach teenagers that cyber bullying is a crime, Mr. Breibart has not been punished he has been rewarded.  In fact nothing about Weiner's admission, "vindicates" Breibart in anyway. He has been stalking the congressman for months, trying to entrap or incriminate him in anyway he could, be hook or by crook-and he is a crook. He stole millions from the people of New York in his libelous claims that destroyed Acorn.
      Part of what is happening to Weiner now. everyday more Democrats, and members of the media demanding his resignation is a game which is little remarked on but has a long history in politics: the joys a the political pile one. Since so many others have kicked Weiner when he's down, now more people join the fun. It's this kind of "political courage" American politics is full of.
       But the people aren't fooled which is why the support Congressman Anthony Weiner, who they duly elected continues to enjoy their majority support. The Republicans were somewhat buoyed no doubt as well by the disappointing economic numbers last week, capped by only 54,000 new jobs being added in May. They figure if the economy does remain weak they can make Obama the one-term President, Mitch McConnell dreams he will be.
      This and Weiner's political shaming may make them feel rather giddy. Certainly Breitbart has been-his sense of self-righteousness seems now to know no bounds as he spends his whole day everyday compiling lists of more people who he says "owe him an apology." Yet no matter how much they pile on Weiner, none have them can claim in anyway to do what the public wants done: create jobs. I don't know why Nancy Pelosi is so hot for Weiner's resignation: his quitting won't create one single job. Again I question their priorities.