In defense of the dick-tweeting Congressman.
More lewd pictures of Rep. Anthony Weiner have hit the internet. (Everyone now knows he waxes his chest.) That, plus the badly timed news that his wife is pregnant, and the whole world is calling for his resignation. They have valid points: he lied to his constituency, embarrassed his party, and is easy fodder for Republican opponents. And yet, I'd like to see him stay. Here are five reasons why Rep. Weiner shouldn't step down.
1. He's a good Congressman.
You may disagree based on your own political beliefs, but as a dyed-in-the-wool liberal, I’m consistently happy that Anthony Weiner is a voice in our government. (Often a very loud one, in both a figurative and literal sense.) One thing that is so frustrating about politicians of any stripe is the sense that often hide their actual beliefs in exchange for political capital — does anyone really think Obama doesn't support same-sex marriage, even if he's claiming otherwise? But Weiner is well known for sticking to his views and defending them with great fervor, which is refreshing. Plus, I'm just not ready to say goodbye to a guy who so vehemently supports same-sex marriage and abortion rights.
2. He will continue to be a good Congressman.
This scandal doesn't affect his ability to do his job. And it’s really none of our business. No one is arguing that Weiner is a stand-up guy anywhere outside of the House of Representatives. But I would be much more concerned if we found out Weiner was committing tax fraud or was a secret member of the KKK, because those things would make me question his ability to be a competent and fair representative for all his constituents. But sexting is a personal problem. Was it a gross violation of standards of decency? Yes, and he lied. But he didn't lie about anything relevant to his performance as a politician. In our current political climate, people are forced out of office for lying about sexual escapades, but not for lying about policy. Newt Gingrich gets a harder time for his divorces than he does for having blatantly changed his stance on climate change. If this hurts Weiner's reputation so much he can't get re-elected, that's one thing, and if the House Ethics Committee finds that he violated their rules, that's another. But if not? At least let him serve out his full term.
3. It's not actually the government's concern. And the government has plenty to be concerned with.
Tea Partiers, Republicans, and some moderate Democrats love to talk about creating a small, un-intrusive government, until something like this breaks. And then, all of our maxims ("Keep the government out of my bedroom!") fly out the window. We're living in the most powerful country in the world (or at least one of them), and we're talking about a grown man Tweeting a picture of his penis. The U.S. is dealing with some massive, messy shit right now. I think we should keep our heads in the game. Unemployment's still close to ten percent, we're fighting two wars, and extreme weather patterns are laying waste to half of the country. No one in office should be exerting one iota of energy on Anthony Weiner's dick.
4. He read a picture book to Congress.
Not only that, it was House Mouse, Senate Mouse, and hilarity aside, we were on the verge of a government shutdown — some people needed a refresher course. Plus, I see no problem with some levity in the government — and there are not many government officials quite as entertaining as Weiner. His speeches are consistently captivating, and you need that kind of dynamic, engrossing presence in government to remind people they need to pay attention. C-SPAN most definitely is not going to do it.
5. Puns this good come once in a lifetime.
If Rep. Weiner resigns and fades from public view, can you imagine all the hilarious headlines we'll never get to see? All we'll have left is Boehner, and his name is only funny written down. I don't want to live in that world.