Ed Driscoll

Bringing New Meaning to the Phrase 'High School with Money'

Just as I was finishing this post, CNN reported that “House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz, and DCCC chair Steve Israel have told Rep. Anthony Weiner he should resign.”

But even before the latest shoe dropped on the sorry career of Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY),  direct (private) messaging a 17-year-old girl on Twitter, James Lileks wrote on Hugh Hewitt’s subscription-based blog that the nebbishy congressman desperately wanted to be thought of as the BMOC:

You may wonder what motivated him, but that’s easy. Power over the jocks. All the guys who snapped towels at him because he was in the Chess Club. He got some power; he buffed up; he saw Adonis in the mirror instead of a preening little  peacock. He’d always been able to talk his way out of things, and thought that skill would work here too. It usually does, right up until the moment when it doesn’t. He maneuvered himself into the worst possible place: all he has is words. And no one believes a thing he says.

Today, Lileks’ fellow Minnesotan Ed Morrissey adds, “We have a long history of Congressmen behaving badly in terms of sex scandals, but none quite so puerile as Weiner.  Having affairs is bad enough, but at least it doesn’t look like an escape back into high school”:

A few years back, Hollywood produced a spate of comedies involving generation-gap body-switching, such as Like Father Like Son, Freaky Friday (remade twice),Vice Versa, Dream a Little Dream, and 18 Again, a 1988 film with George Burns.  The trend seemed to speak to aging Baby Boomers who wanted a second crack at their youth to take all the risks they once avoided and to turn their petty tragedies (especially in romance) into triumphs.  This sad spectacle gives the impression that Weiner is attempting to do the same thing in real life.

And if that’s true, we’re probably not seeing the last of it, either.  National Journal reports this morning that this has Democrats dreading whatever comes next, and that they’re reaching the end of their rope with Weiner:

Placed in the context of the scandal that has engulfed Weiner, the revelation about internet chatting with a 17-year-old could push the congressman’s career into political oblivion.

“The little support he had is evaporating,” said a top House Democratic source.

Said another House Democrat familiar with the ethics process: “I feel like there’s still more to come. This is painful.”

The seven-term congressman has not been accused of criminal wrong-doing. But the specter of the police investigation could mean Weiner’s conduct has crossed a line – or, at minimum, authorities want to be sure of all dimensions of his conduct before reaching a conclusion.

Nothing may come of the investigation into Weiner’s conscious decision to conduct private communications with a 17-year-old who publicly dreamed of getting Weiner to escort her to her high-school prom.  But the mere fact that Weiner chose to do this, especially while conducting more revolting communications with other women using the same modus operandi, should have everyone convinced that Weiner lacks the judgment or the maturity to handle his responsibilities, and that the best option — for Weiner as well as all others concerned — is for him to withdraw from public life … and start thinking about what he wants to do when he grows up.

Both Hollywood and politics have been called “high school with money,” to reflect their petty, puerile nature. But it’s rare to see a politician — especially one with such powerful connections as Weiner — wish so overtly to infantilize himself. Particularly at what will likely be looked back at as being the peak of his career in politics

And as Scott Ott writes on the PJM homepage, “Once Again, Weiner Proves, Size Matters — Conservatives should thank him for making the case for smaller government”:

Weinergate tells a cautionary tale. Men are weak, wily, wicked. Don’t give them any more power over you than absolutely necessary, and then surround those to whom you delegate authority with high walls, coils of razor wire, large snarling dogs, guard towers, and brilliant spotlights. (Of course, you could simply substitute a plain reading of, and adherence to, the U.S. Constitution.)

President Obama once bemoaned the fact that the Warren Court still saw the Constitution as “a charter of negative liberties,” a document that says “what the federal government can’t do to you.”

Mr. Obama longed for a constitution that would specify what the government “must do on your behalf.” Predictably, he wants to centralize control of our housing, banking, health care, automobile, petroleum, education, charity, and other formerly free enterprises.

As smart as Mr. Obama may be, the dullest wit in the convention of 1787 and the subsequent state-by-state ratifying conventions would put him to shame. They knew that because power is so tempting, and the concentrated consequences of transgression so devastating, we should not put all of our eggs in one basket.

By restraining the federal government to a few, specific functions, and setting it up with checks and balances, and yes, negative liberties, we mitigate the harmful effects of human nature. Smaller government is also easier to monitor, and error and evil harder to hide.

The Utopian dreams of the Left perpetually die on the altar of human frailty.

Let’s hope in that case, that Weiner is a harbinger for Americans returning to their senses in 2012. Of course, there’s always the the possibility that Weiner could still make a run for the mayorship of New York. Though if he won, that would also be quite a statement for what New Yorkers will accept in a mayor, going from Giuliani to Bloomberg to Weiner, speaking of the descent of man.

He’s not without his supporters though, particularly in the other “high school with money.”

Update: The Treatment Center” as Modified Limited Hangout.