Weinergate Leaves Rep's Career Dangling

I'll be on vacation for a few weeks, so my internet presence will be spotty -- I have lots of chores and, hopefully, a bit of R&R along the way. We also need to spend some time planning our publicity and selling ideas for Storm Chaser, since I should be getting my print copies in a couple of weeks. Don't even talk to me about Amazon.com and other bookseller sites; with this temporary tooth crown torn up, I'm already stressed. But the tooth will be fixed tomorrow, the Kindle/Nook version will be up soon (fingers crossed!) and as usual I'm just an e-mail away. Say, I should write a column about dentists ... at least then I'd get something besides a new crown out of this.

SLIGHTLY OFF THE MARK

            I was heating up some hot dogs the other day, and got to thinking about U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner.           
Oh, I tried not to. Just as I tried not to write this column, which can’t possibly contain jokes that weren’t already covered on late-night TV. But I couldn’t help myself, and as a result my new, low-cholesterol diet has successfully divested itself of hot dogs, bratwurst, and, by association, meatballs.
            For those of you hiding in a cave, hoping to emerge in some year that doesn’t include an election, Anthony Weiner – I’m going to call him Tony Weiner, ‘cause that just sounds funnier – sent a tweet to someone other than his wife, which contained photos of, shall we say, somewhat private and less than fully dressed portions of his body. I can say that, because he’s now admitted to sending the poke. (Poke. It’s an internet term, honest.)
            As a result, he now has the single most ironic last name in the history of politics.
            Now, I’ll try to write this column in a way that doesn’t get me censored by my editor – whose job is to edit, after all – but I doubt it.
            I’d determined not to write about Weiner’s wiener because, as I said, it’s been done. I mean, the writing’s been done. Two things took me over the edge:
            One was legislation brought before Congress in 2007, called the Keeping the Internet Devoid of Sexual Predators Act. The title’s self-explanatory, although like everything that goes through a committee of lawyers, the text wasn’t as clear. “Sadly, the Internet is the predator’s venue of choice today. We need to … stop those offenders who are a mere click away from our children,” explained the bill’s sponsor, Anthony Weiner.
            But it’s Washington, after all, and where else does hypocrisy run more rampant? Where else brings me to the second thing. On a TV show called “The View”, which involves several women screaming at each other (as near as I can tell), Barbara Walters went to bat (ahem) for Weiner. She suggested that possibly Weiner intended to send the photo to his wife and, possibly having gotten clumsy because of his state of, er, excitement, punched in the wrong phone number.
            It happens.
            What caught my attention was Walters’ suggestion that Weiner showing off his impressive – photographic ability – was no worse than former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin taking her cross country bus tour.
            Huh?
            No way did Walters say something so patently stupid. Except she did: “If Sarah Palin can still ride around on her bus and be considered as a possible President, this man can override this, stay in Congress, and just hope there is another scandal that will take him –“
            Where that was to take him we’ll never know, because she was interrupted by co-host Joy Behar. Behar is a solid liberal, and Weiner a Democrat, so what she said next was fair-minded and deserving of great respect: “The woman has no sex scandal in her dossier, in her arsenal. This is a completely different thing from Sarah Palin, and I want to defend her here.”
            I don’t have a clue why Palin’s name would even come up in this. If she’d been on the receiving end Palin would have cut Weiner off, and I’m not talking about his Twitter account. However, since “comedian” Chris Titus recently hinted at assassinating Palin if she ever got elected President, my assumption is the white-hot hatred some people have of her could still cook those hot dogs I’m not eating anymore.
            As if the previously mentioned part had been introduced to cold water, Weiner initially shrunk from the accusation. First he claimed to have been the victim of a computer hacker – but hacking a federal official is a pretty darn serious crime, and he didn’t want the authorities to investigate. Instead, he claimed an internet security firm was going to take a – wait for it – “hard look” at the incident.
            Weiner also refused to say that was not his pride and joy in the photo. In the end, Weiner had to make an appearance (as if he hadn’t already) to admit it was indeed him demonstrating how tight his whities were. (Okay, they were actually gray – the whities, I mean – it’s an expression.)
            Wait, it gets better. Okay, worse.
            Another photo surfaced, this one of the Congressman’s bare torso, which was frankly nothing to write home about. (Yeah, I’ve seen the photos. No more hot dogs for me, and I’m thinking of giving up beef altogether.)
            In the background of that photo are several framed photographs, including one that appears to show Weiner with President Bill Clinton, who, for the record, did not appear to be holding a cigar.
            Weiner’s wife is an aide to the current Secretary of State, who happens to be Hillary Clinton, who happens to be married to Bill Clinton, who also can’t seem to keep it in his pants. (They also have a Weiner dog. Okay, I made that up.) The one and only good thing I can see in all this is that at least Mrs. Weiner’s boss will understand what she’s going through.
            Even Bill never sent a direct message to a porn star, as Ginger Lee claims Weiner did. I can only imagine her comment: “You think that will impress me?”
            I don’t know what the result of this Weiner roast will be. Should he leave office? If he didn’t actually do anything illegal, it should be up to his constituents. Maybe they should vote him out just for being an idiot (but that would empty the Capital!), and he can go hang out somewhere else. Or maybe this will prove to be a short story.
            On the other hand, considering I just found out he won his first major election (New York City Council) by distributing an anonymous, race-baiting leaflet, maybe it’s Karma that’s really showing skin.