Op-Eds Speaking Truth to the Powers-That-Be

Weinergate: Bad Press? Costly. Scandal? Politically Fatal. Aiding Andrew Breitbart? Inexcusable.

Sex scandals in Congress are the rainbow sprinkles that top the political ice cream for journalists. Every year or so we get one.  This month’s flavor is New York’s representative Anthony Weiner.  You’ve seen the bulge. The tabloid press in New York, largely backed by the same Rupert Murdoch engine that powers up the Fox News TV machine that uses Weiner as a GOP foil, has shown more photos.  The big problem though: Andrew Breitbart was right, not just Right.

Weiner has handed this radical Righty some much needed vindication. His credentials as a journalist or blogger with anything other than venomous, rabid, anti-Obama fixation were starting to wane into that Glenn Beck haze of irrelevance. Breitbart, for those who don’t recall, went from being a real journalist to the Don Quixote of conservatism. He has trumpeted several stories, most notably the ACORN “sting” fiasco, along with pimp-clad protege James O’Keefe, that proved to be not only inaccurate, but sleazy manipulations and propaganda at best.

Breitbart was the lead dog in the Shirley Sherrod witch hunt, which boomeranged back on him and his supposed stingers, even after he was able to get her ousted from her job at the Department of Agriculture.  Breitbart alleged, showing excerpts of a Sherrod speech, that the African-American Ms. Sherrod was boasting of discriminating against a white farmer. Reporters who found the complete footage showed that it was, in fact, the complete opposite: Ms. Sherrod had been making a pitch for racial unity.  She was offered another position in government in some limited apology for the knee-jerk firing she received after Breitbart’s handwork surfaced.

So it was with a big grain of salt that most in the media took Breitbart and O’Okeefe’s Big Government “newsflash” that Rep. Weiner was apparently showing his LBJ to women on the web.

Weiner has been a visible face of the Democratic Party on the one channel where there is no balance: Fox News. He is used and abused in countless episodes of hand-t0-hand combat with the pundits and assorted nuts at the Ailes Haus.  On the sex scandal score sheet, Republicans have been beating Democrats for years.  That one should pop up on the Left side of the house is not surprising. That it is one of the most visible members of the House to conservative and conservative-leaning voters is really inexcusable.

Rep. Weiner probably broke no laws.  He did, however, do a number on his wife of less than a year.  He has a problem, to be sure.  He needs help. What he also needs to do, though, is resign. There is no excuse for what he did. He took the risks for whatever reward he thought he was going to get.  Even though the conscious mind does not consider the totality of one’s actions all of the time, you know that, when you get caught doing something that crosses the line, some consequence attaches.

For Representative Weiner, that would be showing the American public that Democrats and Republicans aren’t the same. Don’t try to hold on to the seat, Mr. Weiner. You’ve been roasted by the tabloids, and you will be the pud of jokes for years to come.

What you did in service of the country deserves our thanks and respect.  You have rendered yourself into a sideshow freak now though.  You are of no use to Democrats or to the causes that you championed.  What you did to enable the credibility of Mr. Breitbart and his friends is not excusable. It means that now, every sleazy idea that they dream up to smear the Obama Administration and Democrats is going to have to be vetted.  You have done more damage in a few photos than you did in all of your years of service.

Get help. Get with your wife.  Get your life back. Please, though, get out of office.

My shiny two.

About Brian Ross

Brian Ross is a writer, screenwriter, political satirist, documentarian and short filmmaker who blogs for Truth2Power, the Huffington Post, and the Daily KOS, among others.

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