I never thought that I would have to spell check one of my blog posts five times to make sure that I had consistently left the letter “l” in the word public. I also never thought that, nearly thirteen years after the Clinton-Lewinsky fiasco, we would once again have to tutor liberals on the difference between the terms public and private.
I remember my Clinton impeachment party like it was yesterday: cheering with my family and friends as the votes were counted. For months, Democratic pundits and their media shills had laughed off the idea that this was a serious matter. So what if Bill Clinton spent a fair amount of his Oval Office time looking down at the top of his chubby intern’s head? This was a private, consensual affair and that's all there was to it.
Not so much. When President Clinton, the chief law enforcement officer in this country, lied to a Federal grand jury in a sexual harassment case in which he was the defendant, lied to the American public in a finger-wagging televised statement that he’d never had sex with Lewinsky, solicited members of his cabinet to make televised statements in support of his innocence, and enlisted his taxpayer-paid secretary to hide his intern’s semen-stained dress, that makes it PUBLIC.
In light of this clarification, let’s examine New York Congressman Anthony Weiner’s situation. If the congressman wants to have cybersex to unwind from a hard day of wealth redistribution and supporting partial birth abortion, that’s really his business. Even if he’d accidentally tweeted explicit photos to thousands of followers, a hasty apology would have saved Congressman Weiner substantial public scrutiny. Something like: “I tweet photos of my crotch to random people, but I accidentally tweeted this one to the universe. I also wear dingy gray generic underwear and shave my scrawny chest. And my wife is way too hot to have let a dweeb like me impregnate her. For all of these things, I apologize.” Fine. He can keep his job. I mean, heck, he’s from New York, a state not exactly known for the high moral standards it sets for its politicians.
However, when an elected member of Congress makes a false allegation to the press that his Twitter account has been hacked, we’re certainly in the public realm. And when credible accusations arise that this Congressman may have used government resources to conduct his illicit “hobby,” we’re waist-deep in public, baby. And when he repeatedly solicits members of the press to perpetuate his implausible excuses, while downplaying the need for a federal investigation into whether additional sensitive information may have been compromised, he might as well be Charlie Sheen.
One final thought: I’m a little sick of hearing commentators opining about how Bill Clinton came back politically from the Lewinsky scandal because Republicans attacked his personal life. He survived primarily for four other reasons:
1) we were in a booming, bubble-influenced economy for which Clinton was, and still is, given way too much credit;
2) Clinton had a rabidly supportive liberal press corps that was significantly more influential than it is today;
3) Democrats are generally more forgiving of scandals than Republicans, and sometimes reward them; and
4) Bill Clinton has absolutely no shame.
If Congressman Weiner has any, he’ll resign.