Sexscapades within the political arena are prevalent and incessant. To believe that what is uncovered by the media is the sum of all scandals in Washington is to subscribe to the belief that your best interests are under the care of your state and local representatives. It’s troubling that Americans are titillated by reports of sexually charged scandals than to other forms of controversy; which is why you find representatives of opposing parties so aggressively and passionately lambasting the accused. Sex scandals are high profile cases that allow sinister politicians to advance their careers by appealing to the moral character of unsuspecting voters.
Today, the scandal du-jour focuses its attention on New York State Representative Anthony Weiner. Mr. Weiner is guilty of engaging in virtual affairs, otherwise known as sexting, with several women from various parts of the country. Adding to the fodder is news of the Representative’s wife, Huma Mahmood Abedin, pregnant with their first child. Given Mrs. Weiner Abedin’s high profile position as Deputy Chief of Staff and Aide to Hillary Rodham Clinton, the press has been offered a salacious political controversy that may not temper for several weeks as all involved parties are interviewed and investigated.
As I’ve noted in a prior editorial, an affair is a premeditated breach of trust that damages the reputation of all involved. But the American people had nothing invested in the marriage of Representative Weiner and Huma Abedin; neither did House members. And yet, there are factions demanding he resign for fear that his transgressions become a distraction. The distraction they speak of is of losing voters, lobbyists and general public support; in other words, fear of losing House and Senate seats and losing monetary contributions.
The fall from grace is swift and sadistic when sex scandals make headlines;which are why members of Congress publicly call for the resignation of the guilty party. But crimes much more egregious are occurring in plain sight. Wisconsin State Senate majority leader Scott Fitzgerald is on record for supporting a scheme by the Republican Party to recruit and run spoiler candidates in the Democratic primaries for their recall elections. Little has been made of this scandal, and yet, the integrity of Anthony Weiner is questioned more so than that of Luther Olsen and Randy Hopper; who both denied having prior knowledge of this deceptive strategy, but were later contradicted by Scott Fitzgerald no less.
While there are none questioning the lack of ethics and moral value exhibited by Representative Weiner, the lack of public interest and virtual pardon by the moral majority for the GOP’s gimmick to sabotage elections in Wisconsin is frustrating and infuriating. Even more frustrating is the response from Democratic leaders suggesting they will run their own “placeholder” candidates to prevent the GOP from manipulating elections. This is, entirely, the wrong course of action on the part of Democrats. To have a leader on record acknowledging political subterfuge should spark outrage and the outright resignation of Scott Fitzgerald.
I wish Anthony Weiner and Huma Abedin godspeed. Whether they remain married or divorce is an issue, in every respect, their own. To ask Representative Weiner to resign while there are GOP leaders attempting to sabotage democratic primaries and other Senators that have solicited prostitutes, or have had extramarital affairs, remaining in office is a disregard for ethical lines and a deplorable abuse of power by the House and Senate. But double standards are the norm in Washington and the American people willfully accept and comply. It would appear that, in the opinion of lawmakers, sexual deviants compromise the integrity of Congress more so than saboteurs.