The Weinergate scandal soared to a spectacular new level yesterday in New York, when Congressman Weiner admitted to a press conference that he had lied about his obscene Twitterish activities.
Not that that made his situation much better. Pressed on what he knew about the young women with whom he'd been 'communicating' via the Internet, he said "to the best of my knowledge they were adults".
More! Before the Weiner press conference started, Andrew Breitbart took the stage for an impromptu press conference all of his own. For those of you wisely not following US political trench warfare, Breitbart is a conservative web journalist who specialises in exposing Left/progressive machinations and the way the 'liberal' US mainstream media cover up for them. Two for the price of one.
In this case, Breitbart had run with the Weiner Twitter story at the start, only to be howlingly denounced by assorted liberal pundits and bloggers. Yesterday Breitbart directly confronted the New York press pack and the wider chattering left classes with their own hypocrisy. Worth watching in full - things like this don't come along very often.
Then Weiner himself appeared. It's all too rare to hear a politician saying "I lied", especially one as vain and obnoxious as Mr Weiner, so when it happens we must relish every precious moment
Yet admire the sheer ambition of those Weineristic lies. His aggressive denials, his attempt to bully the interviewer, the horrid intensity in his eyes as he deflects questions and boldly LIES to camera. A truly epic performance.
As Hot Air says:
The last 80 seconds of it will have you squirming in your seat — not only the way he claims to be the innocent target of a hoax but his insistence on lecturing the interviewer for assuming the worst, taking care to maintain accusatory eye contact the whole way. It’s genuinely disturbing.
What does it all mean? In such moments of psychic turbulence in the political stratosphere, we turn (where else?) to the one and only:
For the sake of argument, let us take it as read that American men are emailing their genitals across the fruited plain all day long, and that in the nature of these things one or two attachments go awry and wind up in the in-box of the elderly spinster who runs the quilting bee and you have to make a rather sheepish apology.
Congressmen are among the few in this land who, in such a situation, can breezily say, as Weiner did to CNN's Dana Bash, "You have statements that my office has put out... ."
Herein lies the full horror of American politics in the death throes of the republic: A Congressman has nothing better to do of an evening than Tweet his crotch to coeds, but he requires an "office" with "staffers" to "put out" "statements" on the subject.
When Weiners have staffers, it's very difficult to have limited government: You cannot have a small state run by big Weiners. If you require an "office" to issue "statements" about your Tweets, it's hardly surprising you're indifferent to statist bloat elsewhere.
In the end, the Congressman was not so "distracted" that he wasn't able to vote to raise the debt limit. Confronted by his Twitpic, one is tempted to channel Mae West: Is that a debt-ceiling increase in your Fruit of the Looms or are you just pleased to see me? Alas for America, it's both.
What's the equivalent of this in UK terms?
Something like this.
David Miliband MP is a thrusting brash young Labourite carrying progressive hopes for the next generation of collectivists. He (of undiluted progressive Jewish descent) is married to a beautiful Muslim (hurrah!) woman who leads Jack Straw's office; Tony Blair himself presided over their wedding!
Despite his newly wedded condition, Miliband carries on an older habit of having lewd conversations with various young females via the Web. But he presses the wrong button and instead of Tweeting a picture of his groaning underpants by direct message 'privately' to woman A, he broadcasts it much more widely.
It's spotted. Aaargh. He takes down his Twitter account and feverishly tries to cover his e-traces. Too late. Conservative web denizens led by Guido are soon on the case. Miliband publicly lies, saying his Twitter account was hacked! But he won't ask the police to investigate...
A pack of lefty lofty media/blogger bigwigs and earwigs (Andrew Marr, Polly Toynbee, Johann Hari, Will Straw, Penny Red, Left Foot Forward) spring into action not to censure Miliband, but to lambast Guido for traducing Miliband. They invent elaborate conspiracy stories to show that it's all a Really Nasty Right-wing Set-up.
Then ... it falls to bits. Guido gets irrefutable photo evidence from other women with whom Miliband has been furtively communicating, including one 'X-rated' snap. Knowing that his credibility is shot to pieces, Miliband calls a press conference weepily to confess.
But Guido gets there first, and stands before the snivelling mainstraem media hordes asking them about their own dishonesty in the way they've covered this story and so many others.
Weiner eventually appears and, blathering and shuffling and sniffing, manages to blurt out that, yes, he apologises not only to his wife and supporters but also to Guido too!
The Guardian and Indy immediately explode. But a cool new breeze of honesty and transparency soon blows away the rancid smoke.
The difference between the US and UK is that here the MP concerned would be completely discredited and probably forced to step down. In the USA, the liberal media are already busily trying to 'move on' in the hope that Weiner survives a Congressional ethics investigation and it all gets forgotten.
A last word from Victor Davis Hanson who pulls it all together:
Nemesis is always hot on the trail of hubris, across time and space, and the goddess has been particularly busy in destroying the carefully crafted images of Bono, John Edwards, Timothy Geithner, Al Gore, Eliot Spitzer, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Anthony Weiner, and a host of others.
What do their tax hypocrisies, sexual indulgences, and aristocratic socialist lifestyles all have in common?
Collectively, they represent a self-appointed or elected global elite that oversees, lectures about — in sanctimonious fashion — the ethical responsibilities of the redistributive state...
Of course, we witness all these jarring disconnects amid a larger landscape of the collapse of southern European socialism, the tottering of the entire U.S. financial system as the Obamites trumped the Republican deficits and have piled up another $5 trillion in debt, the discrediting of the global warming fundamentalist religion, and the unsustainability of the redistributive welfare state.
What are we left with? The daily struggle to remember sumus homines, non dei — “we are just humans, not gods.” Whether Strauss-Kahn or Weiner or Gore, the common denominator is arrogance and a sense of exemption from the rules and protocols.
In a word, human nature as we understand it from the earliest observances of the Greeks. Be careful about lecturing others on their moral frailties. If one consumes well beyond what one needs, ensure that one pays one’s own tab and does not indulge on someone else’s money.
Beware of Nemesis, an omnipotent, all-seeing deity that marks in her scrolls every pontification, every sermon we make and then collates such professions with our deeds — so eager to note the discrepancy. She is an unforgiving goddess, and perhaps a cruel one as well
Update with added Daily Telegraph