Forward Thinking

Weiner Mania: A Puny Vice Is Making Us Nuts

By J.J. Goldberg

  • Print
  • Share Share
David, the Original Weiner

After Nancy Pelosi asked the House Ethics Committee to look into the Anthony Weiner sex scandal, The Washington Post talked to the former staff director of both the House and Senate ethics committees, Robert Walker. He made the sensible point that there’s nothing to investigate unless somebody shows some evidence that a law or congressional rule was broken. “If the only evidence out there… clearly indicated that this was personal conduct only between consenting adults, I just don’t see a reason why the ethics committee would or should take it up,” Walker told the Post. “Even if people think it’s reprehensible conduct, that doesn’t mean it’s an ethics violation.”

So far there’s no evidence of either. Zip. What there is, is a whole lot of hand-wringing about how awful men behave, how something has gone wrong with the American male (here is Rabbi Shmuley ‘Kosher Sex’ Boteach explaining how Weiner embodies the Broken American Male, and here and here he is beating the topic to death, and he’s hardly the only one) as though we had somehow just discovered that men are horny bastards who can’t keep their zippers up. Hasn’t anybody ever heard of King David and Bathsheba? Joshua and Rahab the harlot? Thomas Jefferson?

Cultural critic Lee Siegel has a smart piece in the Daily Beast reminding us that promiscuity is hardly unusual among American public figures, including some of our most revered icons. Franklin D. Roosevelt and General Eisenhower had girlfriends. John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr. went at it nonstop. Nobody blinked. You could throw in half of Hollywood, professional sports—in fact, half the fields in which men achieve public prominence and admiration.

As for Congress, fuggedabout it. Republican Senator David Vitter of Louisiana was exposed in 2007 as a former customer of a highly publicized prostitution ring run by the so-called D.C. Madam. It turned out he’d been to other prostitutes back home in Louisiana as well. He was a prominent advocate of conservative family values. He’s still in the Senate. Nobody is calling for his resignation, even though he admitted doing something that was actually a crime.

Republican Senator John Ensign of Nevada was found out in 2009 to have had an affair with an aide who was the wife of another aide who was one of his best friends. He paid the husband $96,000 to keep quiet. He remained in the Senate for another two years. He only resigned this past April to forestall publication of what promised to be a highly damaging report by the Senate Ethics Committee. (The committee can’t act against somebody who’s no longer a senator.) There was no national stampede of pressure for him to resign.

Weiner’s little vice was pathetically puny by comparison, and now the country is on the warpath. We’ve all gone nuts. Unless there’s something else going on …


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Shmuley Boteach, Robert Walker, Nancy Pelosi, Martin Luther King Jr., Lee Siegel, John F. Kennedy, House Ethics Committee, John Ensign, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Dwight D. Eisenhower, David Vitter, Anthony Weiner

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • Happy birthday to the Boy Who Lived! July 31 marks the day that Harry Potter — and his creator, J.K. Rowling — first entered the world. Harry is a loyal Gryffindorian, a matchless wizard, a native Parseltongue speaker, and…a Jew?
  • "Orwell would side with Israel for building a flourishing democracy, rather than Hamas, which imposed a floundering dictatorship. He would applaud the IDF, which warns civilians before bombing them in a justified war, not Hamas terrorists who cower behind their own civilians, target neighboring civilians, and planned to swarm civilian settlements on the Jewish New Year." Read Gil Troy's response to Daniel May's opinion piece:
  • "My dear Penelope, when you accuse Israel of committing 'genocide,' do you actually know what you are talking about?"
  • What's for #Shabbat dinner? Try Molly Yeh's coconut quinoa with dates and nuts. Recipe here:
  • Can animals suffer from PTSD?
  • Is anti-Zionism the new anti-Semitism?
  • "I thought I was the only Jew on a Harley Davidson, but I was wrong." — Gil Paul, member of the Hillel's Angels. http://jd.fo/g4cjH
  • “This is a dangerous region, even for people who don’t live there and say, merely express the mildest of concern about the humanitarian tragedy of civilians who have nothing to do with the warring factions, only to catch a rash of *** (bleeped) from everyone who went to your bar mitzvah! Statute of limitations! Look, a $50 savings bond does not buy you a lifetime of criticism.”
  • That sound you hear? That's your childhood going up in smoke.
  • "My husband has been offered a terrific new job in a decent-sized Midwestern city. This is mostly great, except for the fact that we will have to leave our beloved NYC, where one can feel Jewish without trying very hard. He is half-Jewish and was raised with a fair amount of Judaism and respect for our tradition though ultimately he doesn’t feel Jewish in that Larry David sort of way like I do. So, he thinks I am nuts for hesitating to move to this new essentially Jew-less city. Oh, did I mention I am pregnant? Seesaw, this concern of mine is real, right? There is something to being surrounded by Jews, no? What should we do?"
  • "Orwell described the cliches of politics as 'packets of aspirin ready at the elbow.' Israel's 'right to defense' is a harder narcotic."
  • From Gene Simmons to Pink — Meet the Jews who rock:
  • The images, which have since been deleted, were captioned: “Israel is the last frontier of the free world."
  • As J Street backs Israel's operation in Gaza, does it risk losing grassroots support?
  • What Thomas Aquinas might say about #Hamas' tunnels:
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.