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Thursday, June 16, 2011


larry kurtz

Thank you, Ms. Flint, these are two type A personalities who likely had sex and it went badly: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1os57-n9vU0

Is this really about Justice Thomas and his fat wife?

larry kurtz

btw: this is all going to blow (pardon the pun) over. Bill Clinton and Eliot Spitzer have become elder statesmen after seeking and scoring heterosexual, albeit extramarital, rumpus. Larry Craig (my middle name, no relation) and Mark Foley sought variant, outlaw sex with reckless abandon. You redstaters know how to party for reals, innit?


Mr. Kurtz: You should have your own tabloid! While you're right that this will soon be old news, I think national political life is over for Weiner.

larry kurtz

uuuhh...i do have my own tabloid. President Eisenhower warned about the military-industrial complex and it happened anyway. Ted Kaczynski warned about technological determinism and it happened anyway. ip can warn against red state failure and it is happening anyway....


It's a tricky issue. Privacy allows people to do sleazy stuff. Yet we recognize that people need some physical, intellectual, and emotional space of their own, where prying eyes and the government cannot intrude.

I'm not interested in defending Weiner's behavior. It constitutes verbal adultery. ... and I'd argue he does not have a right to keep that private from his wife. But I'm curious: in all the salacious, slobbering new coverage, has any sober adult stepped to the mic to explain how this constitutes a public concern? (It may: I'm just curious what that argument is, and who's taken time to lay it out.)


(sp: news coverage!)

Bill Fleming

He should not have been forced to resign. That was a mistake.


Using the trappings of a Representative of the US House to troll for sex on the Internet isn't a public concern? I would assert that it rises to the level of "disorderly conduct" as a reason for expelling or sanctioning a member of the House, See Art. 1, Sec. 5 of the Constitution.

Carrie Phillips dictated the terms of her silence from the Republican Party when they nominated Warren Harding and they were informed of the affair with Phillips. Political blackmail can and does happen.

Bill Fleming

Clarence Thomas did much worse.

larry kurtz

I'm glad to see him go, Bill; he was hurting the party's other missions. He'll be a more effective voice on the media circuit. Good analysis here: http://thedianerehmshow.org/shows/2011-06-17/friday-news-roundup-hour-1


Really, Bill? What did Clarence Thomas "do"? In fact, I see no grounds for removing Rep. Weiner from office by any legally compelling means. In other words, I don't think the House could have removed him. He left under pressure from his fellow Democrats, for whom he had become an embarrassment. This may have been a mistake, but it was a purely political decision.


Heck, Bill Clinton did worse. He took advantage of a subordinate in his office. Don, the blackmail argument does move closer to a public concern, but anybody could be blackmailed... is that sufficient reason to pre-emptively remove someone from office?

Disorderly Behavior: Nice try... but did Weiner create significant disorder by being a horndog? This wasn't a fistfight on the floor of the House. He didn't boff anyone in the House cloakroom. It wasn't abuse of a fellow member or Congressional staff. As far as we can tell (and I'll admit, I have not read the details... and am not terribly eager to), there's not even any non-consensual activity between adults.

As for using the trappings of office, that could be thin ice too. Trolling for campaign contributions could be considered at least as offensive as trolling for sex, and arguably more of a public concern. Don, can you draw a line there for me?

Again, I'm not defending Weiner's behavior. I'm asking these questions in the privacy context laid out by Ms. Flint. Has anyone established a firm case of unethical use of the office to justify removal therefrom? (An academic question, given Weiner's resignation, but we love academic questions!)


"has any sober adult stepped to the mic to explain how this constitutes a public concern?"

He is a public employee who subjected himself to blackmail. The public was not even the one decided his fate, the media did after he attempted to use them for his own benefit at their expense.


"He should not have been forced to resign. That was a mistake."

He was not forced to resign.....that was his decision!


"but anybody could be blackmailed."

How is that? If one has not done anything wrong, they have protection from such acts.


Cory, I have to agree with you that he did not break any laws. Neither did Chris Lee. And for that matter, Mark Foley was never charged with anything, yet was hounded from Congress. In fact, Mark Foley was the poster boy for the Congressional races in 2006, an election that brought Democrats into power. However when a public person behaves in the manner that has been shown in these incidents, sometimes it is a good thing to resign in order to try to not bring any more grief upon their respective parties.
Ultimately, the decision to resign was his and his alone. Yes, he was under pressure, but he had to make the final decision. I believe his decision was the correct one under these circumstances.


Bill: I reject the notion that actions become right or wrong as society decides. One could argue that in Nazi Germany, turning Jews into lampshades was acceptable to society. It was still wrong. Slavery and segregation too, could become "right" if morality only depended on societal whims.

Cory: I agree with your points about Weiner, privacy and "verbal adultrey". But as Thomas was never convicted of anything and Hill lacked proof to substantiate her charges, I don't think it's fair to state that Thomas "did worse" as if it were fact.

Ken Blanchard

Bill's reference to Clarence Thomas brings me to the thing that bothers me about Weinergate. Anita Hill did not accuse Thomas of groping her or of making an indecent proposal, or of offering some illicit quid pro quo. He didn't send her vulgar images of himself. She accused him of making her feel uncomfortable by asking her for a date. Whether true or not, this hardly constituted a scandal until a hostile press made it into one.

What Anthony Weiner did was surely embarrassing, but what exactly was scandalous about it? Do we really want the standard to be made up by the press on each occasion?

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