Mr Wiener and Immaturity in High Offices

Those on the left, in the dozen or so instances which I came across, almost universally qualify their discussions of Mr Wiener’s recent passing out (exchanges of) PG-13 (and worse) photo’s of himself with a number of women. The qualification includes some sort of admission that “well, there’s nothing wrong with *that*). This is sort of a generic meme on the left. Whatever might be your fetish, it’s OK so long as its between consenting adults. How you know that the person with which you correspond over the Internet is anyone’s guess. However the premise itself is suspect.

Mr Wiener has been engaging in a electronic version of the guy in rubber galoshes in a raincoat whose fetish consists of exposing himself to women. If the public exposer used a defense that “he got consent” and “they women to whom he exposed himself told him they were of age” that doesn’t change the fact that this is nebishy behavior. And that is going to be the electoral poison that kills his career. Not there is a sexually tainted skeleton in his closet, but that his particular skeleton paints his character as one worthy of contempt.

Mr Clinton was a serial sexual offender, but his offense didn’t (apparently) paint him in the same corner as the raincoat wearing creep but as a powerful man with an out of control libido, both qualities that have tacit approval in some quarters. Commenter Boonton suggests that sexual hijinks in the future coming to light will have less and less impact. That may be, but those foibles and fetishes which come to light which paint you as immature at best or as weak or weird will not become more and more accepted.

It is not American puritan influence public sexual ethics that most obviously end Mr Wiener’s public career. It is the particulars and what picture they they, rightfully or not, paint of his character.

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  1. I agree that it’s “nebishy behavior” at the least and even immoral depending on whether these pictures were welcomed by the recipients and by whatever agreements he might have had with his wife about this sort of thing. I think for now we can’t assume that the women didn’t consent since he describes these things as online relationships and there is no evidence to the contrary. So the question is how relevant is this to his job.

    Personally, I’d prefer a non-nebish, non-creep, but my preference isn’t the question. The question is if he should resign. I don’t really think so (unless it turns out the women didn’t consent.) I just don’t see how it’s really my business how nebish or creepy he is in his personal life, as long as he’s not harassing anybody or worse.

    Let me test how double your standard is. Do you think Newt’s career in politics must end as well?

  2. You know, somehow I forgot about all the lying in my previous comment. That’s a lot more relevant and he probably should resign.

  3. If I may comment a third time in a row…

    We also have to take into account the magnitude of things. For example, Clinton got a blowjob in the oval office (skeevy) and then lied about it, but how does the wrong in that compare with the wrong in spending millions and millions of dollars and basically shutting down the executive branch for two years trying to get him for it?

    With Weiner, how does the wrong in what he did compare to the wrong that the Republicans are trying to do politically that he’s one of the few strong Democratic voices against?

    I’m not saying the ends necessarily justify the means, but we can’t just ignore these things. Their jobs, after all, are primarily about representing their constituents. This stuff is just so unimportant as compared to that. If Weiner resigns and as a result, for example, the Republicans manage to negotiate cutting off an extra 10,000 needy people from services they would have gotten otherwise, is that a good thing?

  4. Boonton says:

    I wouldn’t quite describe him as a flasher in a raincoat. The flasher’s excitement comes from shocking innocent women. He is probably more like the man on a business trip who chats up a woman at the hotel bar and maybe flirts, maybe makes out but stops short of full blown sex because he’s married and doens’t want to push things there.

    The difference though is that these days there’s a transcript of nearly everything that we do so expect this stuff to get more and more exposed.

    That may be, but those foibles and fetishes which come to light which paint you as immature at best or as weak or weird will not become more and more accepted.

    Tsk tsk, kind of judgemental aren’t we. Suppose we learned everything about Mark. For example, you once said you indulged in pornography. Imagine no matter how many years ago that was the server logs can be pulled and we can analyze your viewing habits picture by picture. If you were an important person, this would be the subject of great amusement. But in the longer run there’s a glass house effect here. It’s not that these foibles aren’t immature, weak or weird….it’s that very few of us can honestly say we aren’t partially immature, weak or weird…at least at certain points in our life.