I saw Janeane Garofolo on Bill Maher last night. She was insisting that we all need to support Rep. Weiner, on the grounds that the issue is a "personal" matter and that we should not be the morality police.
I do not support Rep. Weiner, and it has nothing to do with the nature of his offense. OK, it has a little to do with the nature of his offense (see bottom). But here is my primary argument:
1) He lied. Hence, as a public official, he betrayed the public trust. If this lie were the only issue, it could arguably signal a momentary lack of judgment. However:
2) As an elected and respected person, he used his prominence to exploit or induce collusion in some who had less-to-no official power.
3) Those who did not know the truth, taking him at his word, began to defend him, and he let them (= a coverup).
4) Either by word or by deed, he encouraged those who did know the truth to lie (= coercion).
Hence, for the same reasons that I supported the impeachment of Nixon and, in retrospect, Clinton (whom I criticized heavily at the time for clear sexual harassment; see point 2), I support the idea that Weiner has to go. These are also the reasons that I felt Bush Jr. deserved to be impeached, if not removed from office, after the WMD lies were exposed.
OK, here's the morality moment: Today Jimmy Fallon was interviewed on CBS Sunday Morning. He brought up that the issue here is "sexting."
Q: Who is it that we typically think about when sexting is the topic?
Though we might with a 2nd grader, we aren't about to restrict our teenagers' access to the news. So how the heck do we let our teens know that sexting isn't OK, if our national legislature features members who are known to be sexting? Your average teen would have been expelled for this!