July 11 – Volume 12, #7
“You Gotta Let Your Nuts Hang”
“After all my logic and my theory,
I add a motherfucker so you ignant niggas hear me” –
Many people were angry with George W. Bush by the time he left office. And he certainly earned every bit of that and much, much more. He departed Pennsylvania Avenue in January, 2009 with a 22 percent approval rating.
And it’s true, W did a lot of irreparable damage to the nation. But it’s also true that Republicans and their trickle-down policies have been running America into the ground for the better part of three decades. Along the way they’ve been willing to say and do just about anything to screw the common people. They routinely bring tridents, knives and guns to what the democrats think are fistfights. Such a contest has generally gone as it always has historically, with the fair-minded fist-fighters bloodied, bruised and many times far worse off than that. Except in this case, timid Democrats take the punches and the American people are the ones who wake up with the blemishes.
Barack Obama was successful during his presidential campaign because he is a master communicator. He framed the differences between Democrats and Republicans better than any politician in my lifetime. But when it comes to his governing style, the president doesn’t always capture this fighting mentality in the way that many on the left would like. After sitting through 30 years of ruthless Bush and Reagan Administrations, many progressives have been yearning for a good fist fight. Much to my disappointment at times, Barack Obama does not seem to be the man for this type of back-alley brawl.
President Obama is a political moderate. He’s not a liberal. Nor is he the socialist that pea-brains like Glenn Beck want him to be. And he’s certainly not the radical that I’d have him be if I were advising him. As an ardent student of politics, I understand the president’s moderation. In many ways President Obama is a typical Chicago politician. And I don’t say that as a dis. Chicago, they say, is the city that works. It’s a city whose politics is defined by making deals and getting things done, not by a lot of media posturing and pontificating like we see in Washington. And after the Bush era, I’d much rather have a national leader who has more interest in getting real things done quietly as opposed to the bravado of Bush that was woefully short on substance. And though the news media would have you think otherwise, the Obama Administration has gotten a lot done. But we need more liberals in elected positions who are willing to slug it out and bloody the Republicans’ mouths every once in a while.
While I understand the value of negotiation and building consensus in politics, as a lifelong Chicagoan, I also appreciate that sometimes you gotta knock a motherfucker out. The Republicans don’t always behave like the gentleman that the president is. So sometimes it’s necessary to get into some gangsta shit.
But the president can’t do that, because well, he’s the president. And he’s expected to carry himself with a certain level of decorum and sophistication, particularly after the monkey-clown who just left office. Add on to that the fact that my president is black, so everyone is just waiting for him to turn all angry black man and shit. The president is much too smart and calculating to fall into such a trap, although he’s had to catch himself from calling John Boehner a motherfucka or a bitch nigga on more than one occasion.
Like the old-school gangstas in all the mafia movies, it’s also necessary to have some Sammy-the-Bull-type henchman who can get down in the trenches and do the dirty work that needs to be done. Particularly with as many salvos that Obama receives from the GOP. He needs as many people on his side as possible who will swing back in kind.
One such person was Anthony Weiner but he was left to hang because he -quite literally- let his nuts hang. For all to see.
First of all, let’s establish one thing right off the bat. The former congressman is an idiot for doing such a thing for a variety of reasons.
Because he has fought so aggressively for liberal causes, Weiner has long been persona non grata among Republicans who would look for any reason to take him down. He’s politically savvy enough to understand that, and yet he handed them this easily preventable scandal on a silver platter. Hot sex on a platter if you will.
Secondly, there are not many things about which I am certain about in these uncertain days and times. But one thing of which I am absolutely sure is that we live in a world where there are no more secrets. Trust me on that one, g. Anything that you do, any habit you may have, fixation, compulsion, vice. If someone wants to know about them badly enough, they’ll find out, do trust. The only way to ensure that something in the dark isn’t brought to light is not to do it. Each of us needs to adjust ourselves to the fact that we presently live in a world where we truly are not alone. Big brother is always watching. And big brother is us.
This is because nowadays it’s in vogue to advertise every God damn thing that we do. We tweet about brushing our teeth. We post pictures of the concert that we went to while we’re actually at the concert, completely ignoring the artist we paid $50 to go see. Or $50 to facebook about. One or the other. We put our kid’s dance recitals on youtube. Just think, people even give themselves inflated self-importance by creating blogs where they think that you’d take time out of your busy schedule to read their random, jumbled-together thoughts. Of all the nerve.
Everybody wants to be a star. And for those who actually are stars, who have gotten their fame for some actual talent or accomplishment, they need to be particularly above board in regards to their private behavior. Anthony Weiner was a rising political star who had a very real chance to be the next mayor of New York City. Why he would jeopardize such a bright future in such a manner shows him to be a man who uses questionable judgment. Why he would jeopardize that future and not even get no ass out of the deal is nearly impeachable.
But in all seriousness, Anthony Weiner is a wild boy. Like most of us, he has some demons that he’ll need to face down. Not only is he a potential adulterer, but by all appearances he’s just downright weird. For his transgressions; which I’d be willing to make a strong wager have gone beyond viral contact, a strong case can be made that he should lose his family. But as his actions did not involve anything illegal, I just don’t see enough to suggest that he should have to lose his job anymore than my bus driver should give up his because he wears women’s clothing at home – which I think he might, but that’s neither here nor there. The point is that what the bus driver does in his private life shouldn’t affect how effective he is in his public one, unless he has some drug habit or other health issue. Anthony Weiner deserves the countless hours of ridicule that he has received on late-night talk. But it is highly debatable whether or not his actions merited him losing his job.
Some have made the argument that because he lied about the controversy it shows that he is untrustworthy overall. That’s a valid argument. Had Weiner come clean from the giddy-up, most would have easily forgiven him for the photos and the scandal may have lasted just a couple of days. Then the media dogs would have chased the next car that came up the street; their poodle-like attention span allowing them to quickly forget the cherry Firebird that just went up the road. But Weiner made things exponentially worse, and gave the story legs, by not fessing up to his misdeeds. As always it’s the cover-up that’s worse and that’s proven no different here.
But at the end of the day this was a lie that affected his family, and not the families of the constituents who he served. And the polls from his soon-to-be extinct congressional district suggest that the people who elected Congressman Weiner didn’t have their panties all in a bunch because their congressman liked to take pictures of his dick occasionally. So why was Nancy Pelosi all on his nutsack and pushing for one of her best advocates to resign? I feel badly for Anthony Weiner’s wife, but she’s the only one that Weiner actually owed an explanation to. For most of the rest of us, it really wasn’t any of our business. Why would it have been so hard for Pelosi or the president to say that when they were asked about it? Once again, they just chose to lie down in the face of another Republican onslaught regarding their latest fake controversy of the month. When far worse scandals emerged, the Republican Party closed ranks in protecting Senators David Vitter, Larry Craig and John Ensign. Having them resign wasn’t even a consideration and the media eventually forgot to keep pressing them on these matters as they usually do. I don’t want the Democratic Party to become more like the Republicans who I feel are totally soulless vipers at this point who should be brought to political extinction as quickly as possible. But it would be nice to see them brawl every once in a while. I’m not saying the Dems have to play dirty like the Detroit Piston Bad Boys, but after a while if you just keep taking hard fouls you get the reputation as being a bit of a pussy. And if the Democrats don’t fight for each other, how can they be counted on to fight for the American people?
Beyond being part of a continued pattern of Democrats shrinking from a fight, there are many things wrong with Weiner being forced back into private life. The first is that such actions will surely scare other potentially noble public servants from going into politics because it seems that in some circles it’s more important to be a choir boy than someone who’s willing to fight for the values of the people who elected her or him. Personally, I don’t know what the fascination is with dick pictures and the like, but making this a bar to public service instantly disqualified no fewer than 50 percent of all Americans who are 25 and younger. All the kids are sending dick pictures these days. That’s what’s hot. Most are doing far, far worse.
What Anthony Weiner showed us is what we’ve always known about our elected officials. People sometimes do stupid shit in their private lives. If you’re looking for moral leadership, turn to your clergymen or your grandmother or something, not to your congressmen. If we’re looking to our public servants for moral leadership we will often find ourselves as disappointed as we are when we expect this of our entertainers and sports stars. Affairs didn’t make JFK, Eisenhower or FDR less effective leaders. Infidelities certainly didn’t make Martin Luther King, Jr. a less effective political organizer and I am doubtful that they made him a less effective preacher.
The second, and more serious problem with the Weiner precedent, is that while private lies can cost public servants their jobs, the liars that actually work against the public interest are allowed to continue to serve without penalty.
Many politicians have been allowed to tell lies of far greater consequence and have been allowed to keep their jobs without even the slightest bit of resistance. Bush lied about all sorts of things in office, but perhaps none were as egregious as the series of lies that justified the Iraq War. This lie was so fucked up that Americans will continue to pay for it for years to come. Ronald Reagan usurped congressional authority, and later lied that he had done so, in providing resources to the Contras in Nicaragua. Former Democratic congressman William Jefferson, out of Louisiana, actually told anyone who would listen that he didn’t know how the $90,000 that federal investigators found inside his freezer got there. And he said this with a straight face. And yet fellow Democrats didn’t make nearly the same kind of push for Jefferson to resign. It took Jefferson’s constituents voting him out of office in 2008 (after winning the first election after the indictment came down) for him to relinquish his seat, the same prospects that Rep. Weiner should have been allowed to face.
While Weiner is unquestionably a bit weird and stupidly self-destructive, it just seemed odd that he was treated by the media and his fellow pols like they had found 40 dead bodies buried under his office or something. Or 40 g’s in bribes buried in his freezer behind the pot roast. I learned way more than I wanted to in recent weeks about the private Anthony Weiner, but I didn’t learn a damn thing that should disqualify him from serving the people that elected him.
And considering the conditions which I described last month, the American people need to ask themselves what kind of people they want trying to solve these problems. Do you want someone in office who might be a little freaky but is doing the people’s work in Washington? Or a good family man who is actively plotting new ways to steal your social security so the oil companies can get a little more money?
The reality of this great nation is that we live in states that are unified through sin and hedonism. A byproduct of having such an open society is that we are going to find this kind of thing occasionally among our elected officials. Politicians plotting for ass on the side is as American as apple pie. For better or for worse? That’s for you to decide, my dear reader. But if you want to elect saints who are above moral reproach, then maybe you should move to the Vatican. Well on second thought….
Peace and God bless,