I can just imagine how the French are viewing “L’Affaire Saucisson” involving Rep. Anthony (wait for the drumroll) Weiner.
After seeing the reaction to Dominique Strauss Kahn’s arrest for rape in Weiner’s native New York last month, they must be hoisting their noses in the air as if they’d caught whiff of some rancid Camembert and railing against the puritanical Americans.
According to our allies, the ones whose derrieres we saved in World War II, the only reason the criminal justice system would ensnare a high-ranking politician for, ah, over-extending himself is because we have a fornication phobia.
Representative Saucisson would probably be viewed the same way, more as a victim of partisan prudes than as someone who got caught with his Speedos down (well, judging from the pictures, not exactly down.)
I don’t know whether Weiner actually sent the tweet that got his bird in trouble (he now says he didn't), but I find it interesting that he hasn’t yet contacted the FBI to investigate what he first called ‘hacking’ and then downgraded to a ‘prank.’ Of course, hacking gets investigated by the feds, which is exactly what Sarah Palin requested when her own account was infiltrated in 2008. Pranks, on the other hand, can be swept under the rug or laughed off as the underhanded work of conservative bloggers.
Still, I’m reserving judgment on the veracity of the tweet until all the facts are in.
What interests me more, actually, is the way this thing has divided along typical ideological lines, with the extra hypocrisy brownie points going to the liberals.
Conservatives are understandably thrilled that the man who has defamed them in the mainstream media over the past several years is getting his, um, comeuppance (sorry, these things tend to write themselves.) They remember the rhetoric he spewed about the GOP, calling it a ‘wholly owned subsidiary of the insurance industry,’ blaming Sarah Palin for using incendiary language on twitter, accusing them of ‘overtly lying’ and conducting his own personal crusade against Justice Clarence Thomas. So far, he hasn’t compared them to Nazi propaganda chief Goebbels like his Democratic colleague Steve Cohen (Dem, Tenn) but give him time.
So yes, you can understand why there is an awful lot of joy in Mudslinging-Ville about Weiner’s apparent problems. And yet, you don’t need to be a conservative to wonder aloud at the double standard involved in this whole debacle.
Of course there’s the very similar case of former NY Congressman Chris Lee (what is it with that state?) who sent a photo of himself bare-chested to a woman he’d been communicating with online. He was married, with children, and the proud recipient of his photo was definitely not the mother of those children. Add to this the fact that he looked plain nerdy and you can understand why Speaker Boehner threatened to make him bunk with Nancy Pelosi during the next Congressional camping trip unless he resigned.
I’ve been waiting for someone in charge to call Weiner and demand his resignation, but it looks like I’ll have a longer wait than Miss Haversham in her wedding dress. Because, apparently, Democrats can get away with a whole lot more in terms of French-style misbehavior than their GOP counterparts. There’s Lee. There’s Mark Foley who sent salacious emails to congressional interns and deserved what happened to him. There’s Newt Gingrich, who started dating one wife after a not-yet-former wife was fighting cancer. That’s pretty scummy, but comparable to what Bill Clinton did in-and out of-office.
And Weiner's in good company too. There’s the Kennedys, who were legendary lady-killers, especially Teddy, who really was. There's Barney Frank, who gives new meaning to the term 'bargain basement.' And of course, there's Bill.
But most liberals have circled the wagons and tried to turn this into another “Kill the Conservative” moment by attacking the credibility of Andrew Breitbart, the fellow who posted the information on his blog Big Government. Breitbart is remembered primarily on the Left as the man who slimed Shirley Sherrod, the former Department of Agriculture employee who is now suing him for defamation. You would think that Weiner would consider doing the same thing, if the story about his namesake is true.
In fact, the representative has retained counsel in this matter, which again begs the question: why hasn’t he asked for a federal investigation into these shenanigans? If there’s no basis to the story, he should darn well be interested in prosecuting identity theft.
Another troubling aspect of this story is the fact that Weiner ‘follows’ less than two hundred people on twitter, and one of those people is the 21 year old co-ed from Seattle who received the crotch shot. Doesn’t a recently-married congressman who is deeply involved in the budget battle have better things to do than ‘follow’ a coed?
As the French might say, ‘sacre bleu’ balls.