10.6.11

AFFECTING TO TRADE FOR THE PUBLIC GOOD.  From the Heartland, a perspective on New York's Anthony Weiner (pronounced "wiener".)
Elected to the House of Representatives from the 9th District of New York, the Congressman rose to prominence on the strength of his partisan invective sprayed indiscriminately from the well of the United States House. Over the course of a decade, Weiner developed a reputation among his colleagues as a climber and a bully and, worth noting, a legislator of little consequence. Disturbingly, even as his reputation as a lawmaker flagged, on the force of his outlandish calumny, the toxic attack dog became a YouTube sensation and a staple for the cable news networks.
The commentator addresses a symptom of the problem Representative Weiner, and everyone else with Potomac Fever poses.
The story concludes with the ultimate exposure of a bad apple. But do we have any compelling grounds to believe that the bulk of the barrel is not just as rotten? More importantly, the Weiner affair illustrates a national weakness much broader than merely dissipation or hubris or other inherent flaws widely prevalent in the human race.

As a society, we conditioned Anthony Weiner to believe normal rules of human behavior did not apply to him. Like a star athlete or Hollywood icon whose serial misconduct finally breaks through the exasperatingly capricious threshold of public consciousness, Weiner pathetically struggled to grasp the seriousness of his dire circumstances. Like so many others before him, our prolonged indifference left him unable to understand his suddenly precarious position because he had gotten away with so much for so long.

Congressman Weiner felt secure in abusing the public trust, wielding political power in pursuit of self aggrandizement, squandering federal resources in pursuit of prurient thrills all for one reason: he knew that no one was minding the store. His assumption of impunity, in our current state, was actually the much more logical risk analysis.

We cannot go on like this. If American self-government is to survive another century in a hostile world, we must embrace once again the role of citizen participants in the determination of our own future. Quite frankly, we entrust our fate to the good offices of Anthony Weiner and company at our own peril. The remarkable period in which we could indulge such foolishness without serious consequences is fast coming to a close.
Indulging our sports or entertainment or political stars because they entertain us or purport to have our interests at heart is bad enough.  The fault, however, is in failing to recognize that not much good can be done by those who claim to be acting to protect us.

Unfortunately, the Opposition doesn't get it either.
I want Anthony Weiner to be the face of the Democratic Party. I wonder: has he looked into the possibility of a primary challenge against President Obama?
Push him aside, and some other strident tax-spend-and-regulate New Yorker will take his place. He or she will be just as effective at branding the Opposition as heartless or mean-spirited or whatever invective the Establishment Press has agreed on for the week, as long as calumny or attack dog politics or ad hominem and tu quoque argumentation substitutes for serious analysis.

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