From the July issue of Bazooka Magazine:
As you probably all know, New York Congressman Anthony Weiner recently got into some trouble for Twittering pictures of his, well, weiner. As a result, partially due to pressure from his own party (motto: Democrats: Spine Free Since ‘83!), Weiner resigned from his job even though he never even got laid. Personally, I think he should have kept his job. As far as I’m concerned, there are only about four instances in which a public official’s sex life should cause them to lose their job:
Illegal Activity: If a public official is guilty of rape, preying on children, keeping a woman in a pit, or any other criminal act, he should be forced to resign and face the same criminal penalties the rest of us would. The same applies to prostitution, unless the official has a record of supporting (and voting for) the legalization of prostitution. In that case, we can probably let it slide as an act of civil disobedience. Since texting pictures of Mr. Happy to other consenting adults is perfectly legal, Weiner’s innocent on this count.
Hypocrisy: If a public official is doing something that he publicly crusades (and votes) against, he should lose his job for misrepresenting himself to his constituents. Weiner has never presented himself as a moral crusader. If anything, his public persona has tended toward “douchebag New Yorker”--exactly the kind of guy you’d expect to think women would want to see pics of his dong. Since he’s also got a good voting record for supporting sexual rights, we can’t really call Weiner a hypocrite.
Improper Use of Government Resources: If a public official is paying for hookers out of his expense account or using government jets to fly his girlfriend to Paris, it should be treated just like any other kind of financial malfeasance. Obviously, there’s some gray area here due to the crossover between the public and private lives of government officials. In general, if the official could get away with using the resources on behalf of a spouse they should also be allowed to use them for their girlfriend, mistress, or hooker without getting into trouble. As far as I can tell, Weiner’s sexting took place at his home using private accounts, so he’s still in the clear.
Sexual Harassment: I’m making this category separate from “Illegal Activity” since its usually a civil, not criminal, offense. If someone in the private sector would likely lose their job for something in this category, so should a public official. Since so far none of the women Weiner was involved with have filed charges or requested restraining orders, I think it’s safe to assume that everything was consensual, so once again Weiner’s in the clear.
Unless one of the above criteria apply to an official’s sexual activities, they should be between the official, their spouse, and whoever they’re doing whatever they’re doing with or to. If their constituents don’t think someone who engages in such “immoral” activities can properly represent them, they can always vote them out or (if they feel the official should lose their job right now) attempt to force a recall vote. But, based on the Weiner case, we’ve apparently decided that officials guilty of doing anything other than missionary with their spouse are not fit to lead. In that case, there are a few other public officials that probably need to join Weiner among the ranks of the unemployed (and I doubt Larry Flynt will be offering these guys a job like he did Weiner).
Newt Gingrich (R-Georgia)
Newt was, of course, one of the “family values” Republicans that came into power during the Clinton administration. In fact, Newt loved families so much that at the time he was on his second marriage (to the woman he’d started an affair with while still married to his first wife). During his time as House Speaker, Gingrich started an affair (while still married to his second wife) with a new mistress, who would later become his third wife. While all this was going on, Newt led the charge to impeach Bill Clinton for getting a blowjob without a hint of irony. Newt eventually was forced to resign due to his hypocrisy and sexual improprieties, but now he’s back as a GOP Presidential candidate. Fortunately nobody seems to be taking him seriously.
Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii)
During the 1992 election, Inouye’s opponent ran an ad that featured an interview with Inouye’s hairdresser (taped without her knowledge) claiming that he “sexually forced himself on her” (or, in other words, raped her) in 1975 and sexually harassed her ever since (for some reason she continued to cut his hair). Nine other women made similar claims of sexual harassment by Inouye, but refused to come forward publicly. Inouye remains in the senate to this day, where he presently serves as President pro tempore.
Tim Mahoney (D-Florida)
Remember Mark Foley, this Republican Congressman who resigned after he was caught sending sexually explicit emails to a 16-year old intern (who, despite Foley’s anti-gay voting record, happened to be a dude)? Tim Mahoney is the guy who replaced him, running on a campaign that highlighted restoring morality to the office. Well, it turns out he’d had a whole buttload of affairs. His wife divorced him, but he kept his job.
David “The Diaper” Vitter (R-Louisiana)
David Vitter has consistently framed himself (and voted) as a Bible-thumping good ol’ boy. He’s against abortion and evolution, for abstinence-only education and school prayer, and he hates the gays. Vitter also likes to hire prostitutes to change his diapers, and has been involved in two sex scandals during his time in office. Nearly every time there’s a sex scandal, people call for Vitter’s resignation, but so far he’s remained in the Senate.
Weiner’s already resigned and probably isn’t getting his job back, but before the next sex scandal breaks, the American people and both political parties really need to decide what sorts of sexual activity are worthy of dismissal and apply those guidelines in a non-partisan way. If we decided that Weiner’s resignation was necessary, we need to immediately call for the four people listed above--all of whom are guilty of at least one of the criteria that I personally believe are grounds for being booted out of office--to resign (or in Newt’s case, end his campaign), along with numerous others who have been caught up in similar scandals. If not, we need to institute what Bryan Lambert at www.youaredumb.net calls “The Vitter Rule,” which states that “if what you're doing isn't worse than prostitutes and diapers, you get to keep your job.”