It is (sadly) funny how many on the Right are touting the current Rep. Anthony Weiner scandal ‘” aka “Weinergate” ‘” as though its outcome is a tell-all on our national dialogue.
For the record, Weiner messed up. Plain and simple. For a Congressman from New York who has of late been so highlighted in the public eye for his political agenda to act so carelessly is just plain sad.
The majority of private citizens partaking in the fun, interest and pitfalls of modern-day social networking would largely think twice about sending around similar photos of themselves to anyone, especially strangers. Especially married ones. But for a Congressman ‘” one of the loudest progressive voices in the nation and expected mayoral candidate for New York City ‘” to enter this realm so short-sightedly is mind boggling.
Personally, I do not care what politicians do on their private time; specifically in a sexual nature that does not constitute the harm to another’s well-being or is in some way illegal and a direct offense against our American society. You want to send around suggestive photos to strangers? Fine. Stepping out on your significant other? Whatever, I don’t care, it’s between the parties involved. Get counseling. Get divorced. Get laid. It doesn’t matter, we have more important things to talk about.
Obviously, the Congressman has committed no crime, nor has he hypocritically offended his own life-long lobbying in Congress ‘” the latter point is that which many on the Right don’t understand.
Newsbusters.org (again that stubborn blog that blindly supports anything Right-wing) author Tim Graham is outlandishly appalled that media is spending less time on “Weinergate” than they did on the Mark Foley scandal of 2005.
” — the networks piled on 152 stories about Rep. Mark Foley in the story’s first 12 days in the fall of 2006, but they weren’t the only ones with a vast left-wing disparity,” he writes, adding further on that “Obviously, there were no Anthony Weiner cover stories this week.”
Nowhere, however, does Graham highlight the context of which Foley was “piled” upon.
A Republican Representative from Florida (1995-2006), Mark Foley was one of Capitol Hill’s strongest opponents of child pornography; having served as chairman of the House Caucus on Missing and Exploited Children where he himself introduced a bill ‘” the “Child Modeling Exploitation Prevention Act of 2002’³ ‘” to outlaw websites using so-called sexually suggestive images of preteen children. According to Foley, “these websites are nothing more than a fix for pedophiles.”
His legislation helped structure federal sex offender laws ‘” touted nationally by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and quite publicly by John Walsh, host of America’s Most Wanted. Thanks in part to the endorsement, then President Bush signed said legislation into law as part of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006.
Foley’s anti-child exploitation crusade went on and, in most cases, was admirable.
But here’s the thing, which again Graham does not mention in his post: Mark Foley was made to resign from office due to allegations that he had sent lewd, suggestive emails and sexually explicit instant messages to teenage boys who had or were currently serving on his staff (no pun intended).
Foley had been a prominent conservative politician ‘” famous not only for his work against sexual child exploitation but also a tremendous record of anti-gay legislation ‘” who was found to be involved in a gay sex scandal with minors.
Although the FBI’s investigation ultimately filed no criminal charges (citing a lack of evidence and the expiration of the statute of limitations), the Congressman was made to resign from his post by Republican leadership ‘” an act that left a broad stain on the then-acting Congress and Bush’s legacy, so to speak.
See the difference?
Foley’s case was a story because his alleged illegal actions ‘” which were apparently true enough to force him to resign from his post ‘” directly contradicted almost every bit of legislation the Representative was known for.
Had Rep. Weiner been famous for, say, lobbying against the use of social networks to share suggestive photos between consenting adults or the make-believe league of Anti-Defamation for Congressmen Wives, there would be more of a story. Hell, if Weiner had done anything ‘” anything at all ‘” that was actually illegal and grossly demeaning as, say, a beyond-middle-aged man “sexting” with a teenage boy, there would be more of a story.
But ultimately, there is no story (as we know it). Instead, the Right continues to harp on this “scandal” as if it actually means anything other than the already obvious fact that even good politicians can be private a–holes.
Joe Ascanio, “Right wing tries to turn “Weinergate” into something it is not”, OneWhiteDuck.com