America's scandal of the week involves the aptly-named Rep. Anthony Weiner (D, NY), who put himself in a hard place by stiffing his constituents in more ways than the norm.
Actually, that's a somewhat unfair (though irresistible) pun; the one thing Rep. Weiner apparently did not do was stiff his constituents. Let's hear it in his own words:
I've exchanged messages and photos of an explicit nature with about six women over the last three years. For the most part, these communications took place before my marriage, though some have sadly took place after. To be clear, I have never met any of these women or had physical relationships at any time. [emphasis added]
It is hardly news that powerful men like to avail themselves of willing women going all the way back to Mark Antony and Cleopatra. Cleopatra was reputedly the most beautiful and alluring woman on earth at the time, but absent photos, that might be spin.
John Kennedy is now well-known for his affairs which the media covered up while he was alive. Let's face it: would you say no to an eager Marilyn Monroe? As a married man, I'd hope I would, but Sir Lancelot had it right in Monty Python and the Holy Grail:
Sir Lancelot: We were in the nick of time. You were in great peril.
Sir Galahad: I don't think I was.
Sir Lancelot: Yes, you were. You were in terrible peril.
Sir Galahad: Look, let me go back in there and face the peril.
Sir Lancelot: No, it's too perilous.
On the other hand, we have... Monica Lewinsky? OK, Monica may be slightly more appealing than Time magazine writer Nina Burleigh, who suggested that all American women should offer Slick Willie intimate favors in gratitude for keeping abortion legal, but a Hollywood starlet she is not.
There seems to be a pattern here. Modern politicians are so unutterably corrupt, so impossibly venal, that they can't even concoct an illicit liaison that makes any sense.
What sane individual would pass up Elizabeth Edwards for Rielle Hunter? Who scouts for a shag in the basement restroom of Minneapolis airport? Miami, maybe, but Minneapolis? At least Eliot Spitzer's playmate was respectably hot - but he was paying her Washington-lawyer rates.
Well, as the saying goes, maybe all women look alike when the lights are off. Rep. Weiner doesn't even have that defense: he's flaunting photos of Free Willie to chicks he's never even met. Where's the fun in that?
What's more, has he not heard that on the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog? For all he knew, one of those "hot college girls" might have been Rep. Barney Frank on the trawl.
Even assuming the targets of his lechery were real and appropriately nubile, what sort of human female would have any interest in seeing Rep. Weiner's rather uninspiring skivvies? If you are Arnold Schwarzenegger, such a photo might - might - get a favorable response, though even he found it necessary to proffer romantic gifts in addition to his awesome bod.
Regardless of your gender, it doesn't take the eye of an expert to discern the non-Schwarzeneggerian nature of Weiner. Apparently a ludicrously overinflated opinion of oneself is now the only job requirement in modern American politics; it's just not too often we get to actually see a politician's overinflation, albeit disguised by singularly ill-laundered briefs.
Now, like a dash of cold water or Austin Powers' "Margaret Thatcher naked on a cold day!" - let's talk about Hillary Clinton. Oh yes, she comes into this too - though, let us pray, not the reverse.
You wouldn't know it from his behavior, but Rep. Weiner has a wife - of not even a year, and rather better-looking than Monica Lewinsky. Her name is Huma Abedin, a Pakistani Muslim, and she has been strangely invisible: not present at the Weiner press conference, not appearing at public events, not seen or heard from by anyone at all. No, rather than keeping the home fires lit or making sure hubby's laundry is properly done, she's keeping her nose to the grindstone spending long hours at work...
Which just so happens to be, as traveling chief of staff to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
If there is one woman on earth who a) knows how to deal with "bimbo eruptions", b) knows how to put partisan political needs ahead of personal problems, and c) has almost (but not quite) unlimited clout to get done what needs to be done, it is Hillary Rodham Clinton, Mrs. Weiner's boss. Bill Clinton even married the happy couple - which is a little strange, as we weren't aware he was a man of the cloth, nor of what church would welcome him into the pulpit.
Comparing the Weiner scandal to Monicagate, one can't help but be struck by the remarkable similarities and the one key, pivotal, outstanding difference:
The difference? Rep. Weiner lied to all and sundry, except law enforcement. When it came to men with badges, he clung to the Fifth Amendment like a drowning man. Ol' Bubba, in contrast, lied under oath and paid a price in legal humiliation.
It's not a crime to lie to your family, friends, employees, constituents, or the media, but you can go to jail if you lie to the Feds at the wrong time. Bill did; Weiner most ostentatiously didn't.
It's almost as if there's a powerful person behind the scenes who knows all about these situations and who sent a very forceful message: "There's one and only one way for you to survive this mess with any hope for a future. Here's what you do - or else!"
Yep, Hillary Clinton's experience in handling Foreign Affairs spreads far and wide. Thanks to her, we may yet get an answer to the closing question at Weiner's press conference:
“Were you fully erect or are you capable of more?”