Seriously, when did this start bothering you? Yesterday?


This used to be one of my favorite photos of myself. Today? Not so much.










If this Congressman Anthony Weiner situation had happened at a different time, I would have felt differently.  (I should point out before I continue that I have been pretty merciless in my criticism of John Edwards, someone I supported and worked for and when I started doing stand-up used to say “Every time I think this story cannot get any douchier, it does.”  That joke is as true today as it was two years ago when I wrote it).  The calls from the right for Weiner to resign and the “outrage” they have been falling over themselves to express sickens me.

You see, I have a few other scandals kicking around in my head making me put this in perspective.  There is neither rhyme nor reason to the order I am using.

America’s Mayor, Rudolph Giuliani.  The cheating really isn’t what bothers me.  He and his then-wife – Donna Hanover – were having very public problems.  This is none of my business.  Not until this happened; Ms. Hanover was doing an interview where she told of how they were “trying to work things out.”  As she says this, the channel goes to a split screen with the mayor giving a press conference that he was in the process of serving her with divorce papers.  Yes, that’s how she learned she was getting a divorce.  Ouch.  Where is he now?  Considering a second run for president.  Oh, he was a crappy mayor, too.

The GOP “ideas” guy, Newt Gingrich.  Three marriages and countless pieces of Tiffany’s jewelry later, everyone’s favorite “intellectual” and serial adulterer, divorced one of his wives while she was recovering in the hospital from cancer.  Doonesbury ran a cartoon of this at the time with Newt telling her to “Press hard, woman, you’re making three copies!”  Where’s this family values former Speaker?  Again, running for president.

The Governator.  Known for decades as groping women on film sets and press junkets around the globe, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s “recent” antics should shock no one (not the LA Times who reported on this when he ran for governor).  Think it gets worse than fathering a child with your maid, who continues to work for you and bring her son who looks just like you to the house you share with your wife and children?  Oh, it does.  Reports have indicated when confronted with his – is it indiscretion at this point? – situation he told Maria Shriver that she had to move out.  Oh, and the premise of his new animated series (from the press release issued the week this story broke) is that a governor is living a dual life – as governor during the day and super hero at night – he even keeps a separate and secrete home under the home he shares with his wife and family that he doesn’t even tell them about.  And where is he?  Right, starring in a new Terminator movie.  He said he would be back…

David “Acorn shouldn’t get funding because they support prostitution and only I am allowed to do that” Vitter.  In 2007, the world learned that Senator David Vitter was a client of the “DC Madam.”  He had been a “client” from 1999-2001(he was in the House of Representatives where he was serving in the seat vacated when Bob Livingston – at the time Speaker – resigned following his own adultery scandal, for which Vitter praised him saying “This is what Bill Clinton should have done.”  If that doesn’t make your head spin, what does?).  The main difference between Vitter’s support of prostitution and Acorn’s is the latter was investigated and found to be false while the only standing between Vitter and a  criminal prosecution for his crimes is the statute of limitations.  Where is he?  The US Senate.

Henry Hyde – my personal favorite.  This is an oldie but goodie.  Congressman Henry Hyde – one of the chief prosecutors of the Clinton impeachment – admitted he cheated on his wife but explained it as being a “youthful indiscretion.”  He was 51 when that happened.  I have tons of time to do dumb stuff and claim it was all because of my youth.  The former Congressman has passed – at 83 after retiring with a full pension and some pretty sweet health insurance.

What people do in their private lives – no matter how public they have made their lives – is private.  None of what I wrote about is any of my business.  I was never going to vote for any of them (except John Edwards).  When Eric Cantor – Minority Whip and lead “you need to resign, Weiner!” point person – was asked about Vitter, John Ensign (affair with employee that was covered up with payments to his best friend and her husband) and Mark Sanford (flew to Argentina with state funds to have an affair) he said “We are a party of ideas, not personalities” – it makes my skin crawl.

So, no, I don’t think Anthony Weiner should resign.

All these cheaters deserve to live (but not work!) here.

Not sad but not excited by the death of a terrorist

When something is thrown upwards, there is a point at which the object’s upward momentum and the force of gravity are equal. For some time period — even if it is incredibly small — when the object hangs suspended. That is the emotional space I have occupied since learning about Osama bin Laden’s death. Any relief/closure/positive emotion has been tempered by my normal instinct that death is bad and deaths, even of bad people, are not meant to be celebrated.

Now, I should confess a few things. I grew up on Long Island and live in Washington, DC. My emotional location vis-à-vis 9/11 had been a strange place. It remains one of the worst days of my life and few things would make me happier than seeing the towers built back exactly the way there were and despite knowing New York as well as I know any place on earth, I still get lost in lower Manhattan sometimes because I still look for the WTC when I get out of the subway. Growing up, that was my compass in the city. It may always be. These are the reasons, my liberal friends tell me my opinion of anything 9/11 related is less valid because I am too close to it.

At the same time, I will never think we should do to ourselves what the terrorists could not; destroy out way of life and take away our belief in the ideals that inspired our republic. Racial intolerance cannot be mistaken for vigilance against terrorism. We cannot convince anyone outside of the US  to believe that we believe in the importance of the rule of law if we do not apply it uniformly within the US. And the Bill of Rights is as important today as it was on 9/10/2001. These are the reasons my conservative friends tell me my opinions on this subject are less valid because I “do not understand the impact 9/11 had on America.”

You can see the paradox. One might think these opinions would give me more reason to hate Osama bin Laden but I don’t. I can’t. He doesn’t deserve that. The closest thing I have had to “joy” at seeing him be killed was when I laughed at a photo of President Obama that had the caption “I am sorry it took me so long to get you my birth certificate, I was busy killing Osama bin Laden.”

At the end of the day though, if I were to become the kind of person who celebrates any loss of life — even of someone as reprehensible as this mass killer — I just become more like them and I don’t want that.

It’s all about expectations

Our national pastime is not baseball, though I wish it was. Our national pastime is building people up to bring them back down. As Jon Stewart said on his iconic Crossfire appearance, “I don’t know much about democracy, I have only lived in this country” I don’t know if this is something other cultures do. We love it.

Britney Spears. Lindsay Lohan. Barack Obama. Even DC Mayor Adrian Fenty.

1. Mayor Fenty – possibly a victim of his own success, was a phenom. The youngest mayor in DC history, he was the post-racial symbol of how far the city had come. From several decades ago when there was no ‘home rule’ to Marion Barry, this has been a wild ride. And Marion Barry had a tagline before ‘the bitch set me up.’ Before he said that, he was popular for creating jobs. His later mantra was one of redemption; a message too many people here can relate to. And then we got Anthony Williams. Maybe Adrian Fenty is as much a victim of Anthony Williams’ competence as his own. It should be noted that Mr. Williams was not perfect either – he had to be write in candidate when his campaign workers could not procure enough legal signatures – but he was a good mayor. “At least he’s not a crack head,” was no longer good enough. And then we all met Adrian Fenty. Sporting three blackberries he seemed really interested in a dialogue with the city. I was moving when he approached me. I was impressed and went out of my way to vote for him. My expectations were too high. He was a good mayor and yet I voted for Vincent Grey because, as I told WJLA, Mayor Fenty was not the person I expected him to be. Despite the fact that the schools got better, crime went down and the city has a great new bike program. I just didn’t like him. Sorry.

2. President Barack Obama faces a similar dilemma. He promised ‘change you can believe in’ and people expected monumental things. He has actually delivered. Remember, when he entered the White House he had a series of what I like to call ‘Himalayan problems’ – each one is gigantic alone but seen with the others, they appear smaller. The worst economy since the Depression. Two wars. Global warming. The Gulf spill. And he got heath care reform passed. He got financial reform passed. He may have saved the economy with stimulus that was a third tax cuts, not that anyone knows that. He may be able to blame Bill Clinton for his problems. I always said Bill Clinton may have been Al Gore’s biggest problem; and not for the reasons you are thinking. Bill Clinton is brilliant. Absolutely, amazingly brilliant. The problem he is also ‘Bubba’ — the guy who feels your pain and you want to have a beer with. Do not, even for a millisecond, this that is criticism, I would jump in front of a bullet for Bill Clinton. The problem is that many voters in 2000 saw Al Gore and George W. Bush as Bill Clinton split in two; you had the nerd who knew everything and the normal guy you wanted to hang with. We all know how that movie ended. And so as our nation faces this great dilemma, one of the worst crises since our inception, we don’t want a professor – though we need one – we want a guy who gets us. We expected an inspirational figure and we got an intellectual.

3. George W. Bush may have been the best thing to happen for people on the right. I made fun of him as much as anyone, it was easy. At the end of the day, George W. Bush is not the idiot the left made him out to be. Did you know he got better grades at Yale than Senator Kerry? Look it up. He is so smart because he maybe the political equivalent of Keyser Soze, whose greatest gift (or it was the devil) was ‘convincing the world he didn’t exist.’ He made us all believe that if he showed up somewhere and didn’t drool on himself, he had done good that day. And what has that legacy been? Sarah Palin, Christine O’Donnell and Rand Paul. Oh, and Sharon Angle. There are others but it makes me to depressed to think about it. The left dismisses these candidates at our peril.

And so it’s all about building people up to tear them down. I both love that and hate it. Being human, and one of the snarkiest people I know, I kind of like it when some arrogant person gets what they deserve. Being someone who supports competency in government, it bothers me because President Obama has done some amazing things and gotten no real credit while George W. Bush sent us to a war we didn’t need and destroyed the economy but rather than going grey with worry like Obama, he gets to play golf all day. It’s not fair.

Of course, neither is life and that’s why I don’t regret my vote for Vincent Grey. Hope my expectations for him are low enough for me not to be disappointed.