Well, the toaster has popped, and, as always, the toast has hit the floor buttered side down.
Chang W. Lee/The New York Times
Representative Anthony D. Weiner announced his resignation on Thursday in Brooklyn.
Published: June 16, 2011
Representative Anthony D. Weiner, a high-profile New York Democrat who had been considered a leading candidate to be the city’s next mayor, said Thursday that he was resigning from Congress following revelations of lewd online exchanges with several women.
“I’m here to apologize for the personal mistakes I have made and the embarrassment that I have caused,” Mr. Weiner said, adding that he had hoped to be able to continue serving his constituents. “Unfortunately,” he said, “the distraction I created has made that impossible.”
It’s always good to see a liberal Democrat driven from public office! That it was the result of his own stupidity, rather than actually breaking the law — though that might still have occurred — just makes it a bit more pleasing.
But our good friend Perry, noting the recent scandals of Anthony Weiner, Jesse James, and Arnold Schwartznegger, asked:
It is interesting that of the three husbands here, only Anthony Weiner has shown any public contrition! What does this say about the other two, that they really don’t care?
No, it says that Messrs Schwarzeneggar and James aren’t politicians in public office who need the consent of the voters to stay in public office.
To me, public apologies by politicians really mean one thing: “I’m sorry that I got caught doing exactly what I wanted to do, and what I would have continued to do if I hadn’t gotten caught.”
If you read further in the linked New York Times article, you’ll see that the now formerly Distinguished Gentleman from New York was being pushed out by his Democratic colleagues. They didn’t care that the big Weiner was sexting pictures of his little weiner, but that the scandal was hurting their chances politically.
One thing that this episode points out is the power of the internet, and the loss of the gatekeeping functions of the professional media. Thirty years ago, a similar¹ scandal involving a liberal Democrat favored by The New York Times would have been quickly and quietly buried; it would never have come to public attention at all. While we would have heard of the sexual scandals concerning Larry Craig and David Vitter and Henry Hyde and Newt Gingrich, all of them being Republicans, and maybe Eliot Spitzer’s and Jim McGreevey’s problems, given that they involved a police report and a public lawsuit, episodes like Mr Weiner’s would never have been brought to public attention were it not for internet investigators and patriots like Andrew Breitbart. Were it not for conservative internet investigators like John Hinderaker and — before he was seduced by the Dark Side — Charles Johnson, Dan Rather and his story-fabricating minions at CBS News would have gotten away with “Rathergate,” and quite possibly have changed the result of the 2004 elections.
Going further, I’d suggest that it is the power of the internet and the loss of the professional media’s gatekeeping functions which led to the Republican victories in last year’s elections. The TEA Party would have been buried as deeply as the Washington Post and NBC News could bury them, and self-reinforcing stories about people being just plain fed up with profligate government spending would never have seen the light of day.
Our friends on the left, of course, have just as much access to the internet as do conservatives, and that’s a good thing: just because we might not like what they have to say doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t be allowed to say it, or publish it, or argue it. But, as Rush Limbaugh used to note, liberals didn’t need “equal time” with him to present their arguments; he was equal time to compete with what was the liberal near-monopoly of the media in the late eighties and early nineties.
Our friends on the left never did understand Mr Limbaugh and his popularity. Part of it is that he is simply naturally talented in his medium², but another part of it is that he was new, he was novel, he was the first real voice for conservatism breaking through the professional media gatekeepers, and he attracted listeners because he was the first one they got to hear who said things with which they agreed. While there were always a few conservative publications, like National Review and The Weekly Standard, they were just as hoity-toity in their own realm as the editors of the liberal media organizations were in theirs.
The internet changed that, and it changed it to the benefit of conservatives. Freedom of Speech became coupled with an unedited Freedom of the Press, and conservative voices did not have to go through a liberal editor to get published.
Our friends on the left would never admit this, but freedom of speech and freedom of the press are just naturally conservative values, and they favor conservative ideas.
¹ – Or, as similar as it could be, given no internet or social media sites.
² – And I’d note here that he didn’t do very well when he tried to step outside of the medium in which he is so talented, into television.