The good news: Nation’s moral strength is im­prov­ing

The Washington Times Weekly - - Commentary - Pat Buchanan

Is there any re­deem­ing so­cial value to the tawdry tale of An­thony Weiner? Only this: The na­tion­wide re­vul­sion at the con­duct of the con­gress­man com­pelled the lead­er­ship and mem­bers of the House Demo­cratic cau­cus to de­mand he re­sign im­me­di­ately and cease not only dis­tract­ing them from their work but stinking up their party.

Tra­di­tional moral­ity has just been af­firmed by Nancy Pelosi and the House Democrats.

For con­sider what it was Weiner did.

He sent lewd and porno­graphic pho­tos of him­self to half a dozen women, in­clud­ing a col­lege stu­dent, a strip­per and a 17-year-old who had be­friended him on Face­book. He ini­ti­ated “sex-ting” with women who had sim­ply ex­pressed ad­mi­ra­tion for his pol­i­tics and lead­er­ship.

On see­ing a few of the pho­tos in the tabloid press and read­ing of the oth­ers and Weiner’s lan­guage, the ad­jec­tives that come to mind are gross, in­fan­tile, weird, sick, sui­ci­dal.

How could a con­gress­man sit in his of­fice at night text-mes­sag­ing these kinds of pic­tures, en­gag­ing in that kind of talk, when he was surely aware he was be­ing mon­i­tored by en­e­mies who would rel­ish end­ing his ca­reer in the kind of dis- grace he faces to­day?

But how did Weiner’s disgrace and in­evitable de­par­ture from pol­i­tics af­firm the old moral­ity?

Again, con­sider. Weiner has not been ac­cused of a crime. His ex­changes with the 17-year-old are of a flir­ta­tious and sug­ges­tive na­ture than a propo­si­tion. And while Pelosi has asked the ethics com­mit­tee to look into his con­duct, its in­ves­ti­ga­tion had yet to be­gin.

Of what ex­actly, then, was Weiner guilty? He went be­fore the press and lied, de­fi­antly deny­ing he had sent the text mes­sages to the stu­dent. Four days later, he ad­mit­ted to send­ing the mes­sages.

But did not Pres­i­dent Clin­ton lie, un­der oath, about a far graver of­fense, his Oval Of­fice trysts with Mon­ica Lewin­sky? Yet, to a man, Se­nate Democrats re­fused to re­move him. Why, then, was Weiner re­moved?

Two decades ago, Rep. Gerry Studds ad­mit­ted to se­duc­ing a 16-year-old male page and tak­ing him on a Euro­pean jun­ket. Yet when cen­sured by the House, Studds turned his back to the speaker’s chair, and was re-elected re­peat­edly from his Mas­sachusetts district.

What Weiner did was de­graded, but it did not rise to the level of what Studds sur­vived.

Why, then, did Weiner have to go?

In tra­di­tional moral­ity, what Weiner did, en­gage in im­moral and squalid be­hav­ior, should re­sult in per­ma­nent shame and in­stant re­moval from any posi- tion of honor.

Was not Rep. Chris Lee, also of New York, a Repub­li­can, gone in four hours when it was dis­cov­ered he sent a barech­ested pic­ture of him­self to Craigslist?

How­ever, in the new moral­ity of sec­u­lar hu­man­ism, the gay rights move­ment and the lib­er­tar­ian left, what men or women do in their pri­vate lives is their own busi­ness. Sex­ual re­la­tions be­tween con­sent­ing adults are nei­ther moral nor im­moral and should never be crim­i­nal­ized.

Un­der the new moral­ity, pornog­ra­phy has been de­crim­i­nal­ized and porno­graphic web­sites are among the most vis­ited on the In­ter­net. As for “sex­ting,” this prac­tice is to­day ap­par­ently com­mon among teenagers.

Hence the ques­tions: By the stan­dards of the new moral­ity, what did Weiner do im­moral? What did he do wrong, other

Weiner was ex­pend­able. One can give up a con­gress­man whose House seat is safely Demo­cratic. A pawn can be sac­ri­ficed if nec­es­sary.

than get caught by Andrew Bre­it­bart?

From all we know, Weiner was en­gaged in pri­vate con­sen­sual dirty talk with women who ap­par­ently did not ob­ject, or they could have outed him or shut him off.

Why, then, did his friends not stand by him? Why was the party he had served faith­fully as an at­tack dog against the GOP and a guard dog of lib­er­al­ism de­sert­ing him? Why did his party want him gone? Why did they throw him un­der the bus?

An­swer: Weiner was ex­pend­able. One can give up a con­gress­man whose House seat is safely Demo­cratic. A pawn can be sac­ri­ficed if nec­es­sary. But let­ting a pres­i­dent of one’s own party be thrown out of of­fice is an­other mat­ter. A party can­not lose its king with­out suf­fer­ing the dam­age the GOP did in the 1970s.

Sec­ond, House Democrats rec­og­nize that, should they de­clare them­selves guided by the tenets of the new moral­ity, in­sist that Weiner’s pri­vate life is be­tween him and his wife, and that what he did, while em­bar­rass­ing, was nei­ther crim­i­nal nor im­moral but only stupid, they would be putting at risk Democrats from dis­tricts where the tra­di­tional moral­ity still pre­vails.

The na­tional re­ac­tion to An­thony Weiner, the clamor that he get out of the House, to which the Demo­cratic Party yielded, tes­ti­fies to the en­dur­ing moral health of the nation.

The cul­ture war is not yet wholly lost.

Pa­trick Buchanan is a na­tion­ally syn­di­cated colum­nist.

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