Earlier this evening New York Representative Anthony Weiner admitted that indeed the infamous underwear bulge was his. Weiner held a press conference in which he acknowledged that he had sent an underwear-clad picture of himself with an erection to a female Twitter follower. He also admitted to other inappropriate internet flirting and sexually explicit cyber-talk with up to six women — before and after his marriage to Huma Abedin. See Time Magazine‘s blog coverage of the press conference here.
Representative Weiner has said that he does not intend to resign from Congress. I suppose he thinks that poor personal judgment does not disqualify him from office. After all, there are rich examples on both the left and the right of politicians who have made stellar contributions to the public good, in spite of making some terrible choices in their personal lives.
I am inclined to agree with Representative Weiner’s (implied) position that a lapse in personal judgment such as this one does not necessarily mean that he is unfit to do his job. After all, what one of us has not made a poor personal choice? Ok, maybe not that particular one…maybe not that particular type…but stone-throwing always is a lose-lose proposition. I suspect that if attorneys were disbarred routinely for making bad personal decisions — especially about sexual matters, internet communications, or the overlap of the two — there would be far fewer attorneys in every state.
Troublesome to me is that Representative Weiner lied when asked initially whether the picture was of him. (The Congressman claimed that he couldn’t say with “certitude” that the photo was or was not of him; Weiner asserted that his Twitter account had been hacked.) Did politicians learn nothing from the Bill Clinton-Monica Lewinsky debacle? President Clinton was impeached for lying under oath, not for sexual infidelity. To be sure, Representative Weiner was not under oath when talking to the press, but the damage would have been more contained if he had owned his mistake from the get-go.
image source: here