Ed Driscoll

Question Asked and Answered

“What Happened to the Monica Lewinsky Standard?”, asks Mona Charen at NRO:

Following revelations that “Carlos Danger” was continuing his sexting frolics long after resigning in disgrace (sorry for the antique word, it’s in the dictionary) in 2011, the New York Times editorial board was disgusted.

The timing here matters, as it would for any politician who violates the public’s trust and then asks to have it back. Things are different now, he insists. ‘This behavior is behind me,’ he said again on Tuesday. He suggested that people should have known that his sexting was an unresolved problem well into 2012.

That’s ridiculous and speaks to a familiar but repellent pattern of misleading and evasion.

“Repellent?” “Misleading?” “Evasion?”

MSNBC host Rachel Maddow was equally censorious, noting that Weiner had lied to the public and to her personally when he claimed to be rehabilitated following his resignation. “That’s the problem,” Maddow explained, the lying.

Oh, so “evasion” and “lying” are now repellent? Are they always, or only after a politician has “violated the public’s trust” and then “asks for it back again”? Are the Times, Maddow, and others having a sudden attack of prudishness? Didn’t we all learn in 1998 that lying about sex is no big deal — that in fact everyone does it? What was Anthony Weiner lying about again? Why is everyone making such a fuss?

If it weren’t for double-standards, the left would have none at all; at Breitbart.com, John Sexton explains the particular one at work here:

[Left-leaning Peter Beinart of the Daily Beast] is probably correct that Weiner is being treated differently because the “tawdry details” are available for public consideration in a way that they were not  when Clinton was the subject of similar stories. Of course the technology to record phone sex has been available for a long time, it just required a little more effort. Texts are easier to save, as Weiner seems unable to learn.

However, there is another point Beinart makes which I think comes closer to the truth of his central question: Why did the NY Times ask Weiner to quit the race but not Clinton?

A second explanation for the Clinton-Weiner discrepancy is that, from the beginning, liberals suspected, with some justification, that conservatives were using the Clinton scandals to try to drive a talented liberal from public life. In the New York mayoral race, by contrast, conservatives are irrelevant. The Times need not worry that by ending Weiner’s candidacy it will harm the liberal causes it cares about because Weiner’s chief mayoral opponents all believe basically the same things he does.

The Times chose to protect the strongest contender in the ’92 race, whereas with Weiner it makes little difference who wins since all the candidates are liberals.

Meanwhile, Ace explores how the leftwing MSM enables the DNC. As he writes, “it’s not true that the media-Democratic complex never goes after a Democrat,” adding, “It works like this:”

For as long as possible, the Media-Democratic Complex attempts to save a Democrat by either not reporting the story at all, and refusing comment on it, or, if forced to comment, by offering vague condemnations (to pretend they’re betrayed) with shows of support for the beleagured leftist (to maintain solidarity within The Collective).

However, at some point, sometimes, this NO ENEMIES TO THE LEFT strategy becomes untenable. At this point, The Collective turns viciously on the one they had been protecting, for two reasons:

1, out of genuine emotional anger at having been forced to protect him so long, and

2, in order to make a Conspicuous Show of their fidelity to the principles they pretend to believe.

They sort of ignore the part where they’re actually the last ones to the party and in fact had be pressured/shamed into coming at all.

But to make up for their tardiness, they slather on vehemence.

They will protect you inside the soft, warm, wet Collective, but at some point, if you become a threat to The Collective, they will vomit you out and spit poison at you.

This is the pantomime of the Distancing/Purifying phase.

Read the whole thing.

Of course, it doesn’t help Weiner that while Bill Clinton cut a handsome good-ol’-boy as wannabe JFK figure in 1992, Weiner “looks like a scared turtle that’s been pulled from its shell,” as James Lileks memorably put it in yesterday’s Ricochet podcast. Still, much as they did in 2008 in assembling the legend of Barack Obama as the second coming of JFK, FDR and Lincoln, the MSM was more than willing to pretend that he was quite the rehabilitated family man, until the sexts hit the fan once again this week.


Update: Exit question courtesy of Larry Elder: