A recent Newsweek/Daily Beast survey found that the majority of Americans are growing increasingly angry with the circus act taking place in Washington. And how could they not be? The latest reports tell us anger grows as unemployment and inflation expand, the Gross National Product sputters, manufacturing slows and the housing market weakens.
As if the country's economic woes were not enough to keep American lawmakers busy, Rep. Anthony Weiner, D-NY, reminds us this week that sometimes politicians have the unique ability to find time for "other" activities. Weiner's lurid behavior is not unique, however, to his party. Republicans have had their fair share of moral pitfalls, but there tends to be a difference in how the two parties normally respond when their members stray from the straight and narrow.
A few months ago, Rep. Chris Lee, R-NY, had the decency to resign from the U.S. House of Representatives after information surfaced that Lee had emailed a bare-chested photograph of himself to a woman he'd met online, which is much less than what Rep. Weiner has already admitted to.
Lee's indiscretion was dwarfed on June 6, 2011 by the indiscretions of the Democrats' most outspoken point man, who fessed up after he was caught with his pants down (literally).
After lying about his online "sexcapades" because he was "embarrassed," and describing his crotch picture as a "joke," Weiner claimed he did not violate any law or his oath of office, and passed off the three or so years of inappropriate behavior as "just me doing a very dumb thing." Further highlighting a lack of integrity, Weiner claimed to take "full responsibility" for his behavior, but refused to resign. Maybe he could pursue a career using his newfound skills in photography.
While all humans are prone to wander and have the propensity to do "dumb things," is it asking too much to expect a bit of dignity and statesmanship from those elected to lead? Do we want to trust national security secrets with those who expose, not only their privates, but also themselves to potential extortion - when they choose to barrage pictures of their "junk" across the cyber world?
Most ironically, in 2007, Rep. Weiner cosponsored a bill that made it through the House of Representatives called the KIDS Act of 2007 (Keeping the Internet Devoid of Sexual Predators) - a bill intended to protect children from online sexual predators. Speaking about the bill, Weiner said, "Sadly, the internet is the predator's venue of choice today. We need to update our strategies and our laws to stop these offenders who are a mere click away from our children."
The next logical question is: Was Weiner party to the said predatory behavior aforementioned in his own bill? Where's the sound judgment one would expect from a grown adult, less the cosponsor of an online sexual predator bill?
If Nancy Pelosi, who once promised to "drain the swamp" of morally-challenged lawmakers, decides to slap Wiener's hands in order to retain a seat, the electorate will once again lose and be forced to wonder who will protect us from the lawmakers as those very same lawmakers ignore our interests and seemingly live above the law.
Susan Stamper Brown is a nationally syndicated columnist and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org