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Roger L. Simon

Anthony Weiner: Don Juan in Hell

May 31st, 2011 - 9:51 pm

Does the Anthony Weiner affair mean anything? Some married congressman may or may not have sent a Twitter crotch shot of himself to a college girl on the other side of the country.

Snore. So what else is new? We all know that our male politicians – left, right, gay, straight, or whatever – suffer from overdoses of testosterone. It’s almost the sole distinguishing characteristic of a profession that otherwise has no specific qualifications. Weiner himself had the reputation of being quite the playboy before he married the half-Indian, half-Pakistani Huma Abedin in 2008. So what if it hasn’t really stopped, even to the degree he counts porn stars among the short list he follows on Twitter? How very French.

But wait. That’s the point, isn’t it? Is this really the kind of behavior we Americans want from our public officials? When they lie in public about sex, how do we know they are not lying about other things?

Yes, I know Weiner has not yet been proven to have done anything, but his evasive behavior in response to questions is reminiscent of a long list of public figures from Bill Clinton to John Edwards to Eliot Spitzer to Mark Sanford to… well, I could go on. Although these men were far from the first to commit adultery, they all have something in common that most do not. They lied about it to the American public while serving us as our elected officials. None of them could be honest until it was absolutely necessary, if they were then.

Weiner has all the earmarks of such a person, refusing to talk about what happened in a recent television interview while insisting on discussing the debt ceiling. Are we then supposed to take his comments on the debt seriously? Were we ever? Leaving aside that he is a ceaseless cheerleader for a political party that has yet to produce a budget — that, after all, is a partisan decision, disingenuous as it may be — Weiner is asking us to ignore one of the oldest of legal dictums, the Roman “falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus.” You lie about one thing and you lie about all.

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