Friday, June 17, 2011
Weiner and the Democrats, the media and Obama: politics or penis envy?
It wasn't that long ago that James Carville pointed out that Obama was missing the part of the anatomy that seems to have gotten Anthony Weiner in all that trouble and led to his resignation from congress. Some might call it poetic injustice. Freud would probably have called the reactions of Democrats and the media mass penis envy.
It was amusing but predictable to watch Democrats head for the hills, then force Weiner to do what he didn't want to do but what Democrats have made a habit of doing politically for a long time -- capitulate and give up. There is little doubt their argument to him was "be a good Democrat and fold."
Which leads to the question as to whether all this hand wringing over Weiner in spite of the fact that he actually did nothing wrong legally or morally was politics or penis envy.
Wasn't it Weiner who not long ago made all the cable news channels with his tirade against Republicans during a debate on the floor of the House refusing to be steam rolled when Republicans didn't want to extend medical care to 911 attack responders? When was the last time you saw a Democrat stand up against Republicans the way Weiner did and actually yell at them and refuse to be bullied? Certainly never in the White House since Obama has been president. And not while Pelosi and Reid has led the Democrats in congress. And it was Weiner who continued to press and fight for a government run public option on health care even after Obama, Pelosi and Reid had their collective spines collapse and sold out what Pelosi had once called " the centerpiece of healthcare reform".
So it was also amusing to see president Obama help push Weiner over the cliff ( as he did the rest of the Democrats in the last election) by chiming in that if he were Weiner he would resign. Obama said:
"I think he's embarrassed himself. He's acknowledged that. He's embarrassed his wife and his family. Ultimately, there's going to be a decision for him and his constituents. I can tell you that, if it was me, I would resign,".
Quite amusing from a man who has been an embarrassment to himself and his party and his supporters daily for the last two years, a man so without principle or conviction and backbone along with the other part of the anatomy pointed out by Carville, that even the African American Princeton historian Cornell West said of Obama, " when you stand for nothing, you'll fall for anything". So Obama saying he would quit is what you call an empty gesture given that he quits over everything anyway.
This is the man who sold out the Democratic agenda because he couldn't stand criticism from Republicans even though he had the biggest congressional majority of any president in 60 years. For Obama, it wasn't enough and he still capitulated on every turn. And Pelosi and Reid went along.
Given the pressure on Weiner to resign over something that was only embarrassing when made public, but very human and neither morally nor legally wrong, it's a good time to point out that no one with even a shred of common sense could argue that the country and the Democratic party wouldn't be better off with Weiner but without Pelosi, Reid and Obama in leadership positions. They are the people who took the Democrats from the biggest congressional majority in 60 years to the biggest political defeat in 80 years in only two years, not Weiner.
Which is why Freud would probably have had a field day with the whole Weiner episode since those yelling the loudest and obsessing the most about Weiner, the Democrats, Republicans and the news media, are the ones who have shown the greatest impotency and inability to perform.
It was the inadequacy of Obama to stand up to Republicans, the inadequacy of Pelosi and Reid to stand up to Obama, the inadequacy of Democrats to stand up to Pelosi and Reid, and the inadequacy of the news media to attract an audience rating that doesn't start with the number 0 that is what really drove this obsession with Weiner. The Democrats ran for the hills and whined that no one was paying attention to them because the focus was on Weiner's genitals and claimed they couldn't get their message across.
Its not getting the message across that has been their problem though they leave a lot to be desired in that department. Its following through and delivering on what they promise, taking it to completion if you will, and the fact that the Democrats and Obama have been politically flaccid in the face of Republican opposition and couldn't perform is not Weiner's fault.
Unless you are a staunch follower of Thomas Aquinas and the medieval church there is nothing wrong with sex between consenting adults or anything Weiner did especially before his marriage. Having his sex life made public is embarrassing but no reason to resign from congress.
It wasn't Weiner's fault that the news media who hid under a rock when it came to Bush and Cheney lying the country into war and the 911 Commission revelations that 911 could have been prevented proving that Bush and Rice were guilty of the worst case of gross negligence in American history, got brave and obsessive over Weiner and sex which is the only time they ever get brave. Its not Weiner's fault that Wolf Blitzer got tough with Weiner and his lying about his underwear photo but cowered and hid for 8 years over issues of war and the worst terrorist attack in history both of which the Bush Administration lied about.
Anthony Weiner was the closest thing to political Viagra the Democrats had. And most of them need it. And his resignation is not going to help them one bit. And neither is the Democrats cutting and running because of a photo published by a bottom feeding conservative blogger, the one who posted a doctored video of Shirley Brown falsely accusing her of racism and throwing Weiner over the side because of his consensual, and believed to be private online sexual liaisons.
The argument from Obama, Wolf Blitzer, the Republicans, Tim Kaine, many Democrats and a former porn star ( how is that for an alliance) is that Weiner needed to resign not because of what he did but because he lied about it. Which of course is crazy because Weiner had every right to lie to people who are irrelevant to his life and work about something that was none of their business in the first place.
Pelosi issued this statement on Weiner's resignation: “Congressman Weiner exercised poor judgment in his actions and poor judgment in his reaction to the revelations. “Today, he made the right judgment in resigning.” This from someone who in 2008 said Obama had the judgement to be president from day one.
It's going to take the Democrats a lot more than showing the country they can get tough with Weiner's underpants to bring back the liberals and rank and file Democrats and independents who didn't show up to vote last November out of disgust for Obama's two years in office and the Democrats constant capitulation. They're going to have to show they are as capable of getting tough with Republicans and Obama's serial capitulation as Weiner was. But then that would take, well, you know.