On top of all the weiner/wiener hilarity and boner euphemisms, Weinergate has generated some interesting commentary. Here, five posts that (ahem) stood out for me today.
If Anthony Weiner never met his online girlfriends in the flesh, wonders Will Saletan, does that mean he didn’t cheat?
“Ten days into Weinergate, this is where we stand. The congressman has admitted to fooling around with women online, but he refuses to acknowledge that this was unfaithful. What’s worth debating now isn’t what he did, but what it means. Increasingly, sexual adventures outside of marriage are taking place online. Is this cheating? Or is it something less, as long as you don’t touch one another?” [Slate]
Garance Franke-Ruta gives four reasons why Weiner could survive (“One key factor: that none of the women work in the sex industry”) and concludes:
“[A]s the cases of Ted Kennedy and Barney Frank and Bill Clinton and David Vitter have shown, voters can be much more forgiving than television pundits or newspaper editorial boards. It can be difficult to assess the actual impact of a scandal on a politician’s career during the first week of the controversy. And given that adultery remains a major cause of divorce in this country, and that half of all marriages end in divorce, and that we routinely elect divorced people (some of whom were doubtless unfaithful), we seem as a nation to have settled the debate over whether marital problems should be a de facto disqualifier for public service.” [The Atlantic]
Hendrik Hertzberg calls Weinergate “the first entirely virtual political sex scandal” but says in other ways it’s “not so new.”
“It confirms a pet theory of mine: the Clinton Rule, which states that when a married politician appears before cameras and microphones and starts babbling absurd lies about some sexual something, the person he is really trying to lie to is his spouse. The lies that get told to the public and the press are side effects. So far this rule has applied only to heterosexual politicians, but gay marriage is still in its infancy. We shall see.” [New Yorker]
Michelle Goldberg says Weiner may be an jerk, but we shouldn’t “throw away our leaders”
“I don’t particularly like Weiner. He deserves to be vilified for his cozy relationship with the hideously revanchist Zionist Organization of America, and for his record of bullying his staff. But this salacious virtual pile-on is grotesque. All of us have parts of our lives we wouldn’t want to own up to on national television. There used to be zones of privacy where people, even public people, could reveal those aspects of themselves. As those zones atrophy, as we live more and more of our lives in public, we’ll have to figure out different ways to deal with people’s strangeness and fallibility without simply throwing them away.” [The Daily Beast]
Andrew Sullivan doesn’t see why Weiner should resign.
“No one, so far as I can tell, was harrassed, no one was abused, no actual sex even took place at all. I’m not sure one can even find any hypocrisy here. Moreover, if online flirting is unforgivable, why isn’t off-line flirting unforgivable? And what really is the difference? Apart from pictures that can be used to humiliate – and even blackmail.” [Daily Dish]
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