Dear Reader (and those sick and twisted souls simply waiting for me to start a yfrog account),
Weiner. Weiner. Weiner.
I say that not because – Weiner – I can’t stop saying Weiner. I can. Really. Weiner. Seriously. I’m going to – Weiner – get it to-Weiner-gether any second now.
Okay, now I really think I’m done.
It’s just that all of Washington has Weiner on the brain these days. I’m not sure I have any more Weiner puns in me. But I hate to give in to the jabbering bandersnatches of the Left who’ve been giving me a hard time for making Weiner jokes. A couple days ago, on Twitter, I was making a lot of – at the time fresh – Weiner jokes and some folks (Glen Greenwald, some woman from Gawker, and a slew of their tweeting and e-mailing minions) decided that this was proof that I am unserious or something. Quite a few insisted that my book, Liberal Fascism, must be a joke because of my sincere hope that we could get a quote from Dick Swett or the respective chairmen of the Cox-Dicks commission about the Weiner controversy.
The upshot of course is that these people had such high opinions of me right up until the moment I started calling the congressman’s car the “Weiner Mobile” and surmising that Mrs. Weiner might be requiring her husband to embrace the individual man date for a while.
But we know that’s not the case. The simple fact is that a lot of liberals are terribly embarrassed by – let’s face it – a terribly embarrassing episode in which a rising, er, star of the Democratic party was felled by his own refulgent wretchedness. Even if you believe that he is some sort of victim here and he did not junk-tweet a college girl, we are still witnessing one of the great unforced errors in modern American political history.
It’s not quite as wonderful, or as important, as the great episode in American political life where Dan Rather climbed up the jackass tree and then hit every branch on the way down, but it’s close enough.
Weiner didn’t merely pull a boner, as it were. He didn’t merely leave pictures digitally lying around – pictures he took! – of his mini-me. He has admitted that there are a sufficient number of such pictures “out there in the world” that he couldn’t possibly be sure this isn’t one of them. Even better, he took several days to say all of this, and in a manner that only invited media scrutiny the way shouting “I think my forelock is broken” in gazelle attracts hyenas.
When sanctimonious bullies are caught – literally! – with their pants down, it seems downright un-American not to have some fun with it.
I’d leave it there, but what really sticks in my craw is that even if I am wrong, the last people in the world who have any right to suddenly claim that Weiner jokes are beyond the pale are the same tittering student-government dorks who’ve spent the last two years laughing endlessly over the phrase “tea bagger.”
To date, I’m not aware of a single instance of “tea bagging” by anyone associated with the grassroots movement to rein in government.
Meanwhile, I can’t believe I have to explain this to anybody, but the guy’s name is Weiner and he’s caught in a Weiner-related scandal!
Can these people spot the difference?
Well, if they can’t, there’s also this: For several years, Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert were hailed not just by the Left but by the mainstream media as two of the greatest journalistic-truth-teller heroes America has ever seen. I’m not going to work the Google machine too much, but you can take my word for it. I mean, how many Peabody Awards did those guys win? And at least they’re funny. There’s also that guy Al Franken who A) is not funny and B) is now a U.S. senator.
I know I sound defensive here. Weiner.
But I’m not. Weiner.
There’s a more serious point to be made.
It’s this: Conservatives are always wrong.
Let me count the ways:
If it’s a Republican sex scandal, the Republican almost always resigns almost immediately. Often that’s because Republicans have higher moral standards for this kind of thing. But it also has to do with the fact the media has exactly zero tolerance for Republican sexual “hypocrisy.”
Meanwhile, if you’re a Democrat and, say, your boyfriend runs a gay prostitution ring out of your apartment, well, that’s complicated. Of course, it’s not just the Franks and Weiners. Remember the “waitress sandwich”? That involves putting some poor woman between two slices of Irish stout named Ted Kennedy and Chris Dodd. That was complicated, too. I really wanted to keep going with the food-themed sex scandals but I petered out there. Regardless, the point is well-established: The Right, for good reasons and cynical ones, gets held to a higher standard.
(The same holds true in international politics, apparently. When Paul Wolfowitz ran the World Bank, he maintained a mature, fully disclosed relationship with a colleague. IMF president Dominique Strauss-Kahn borrowed his management style from the nobility in Braveheart, believing that he had the right of Prima Nocta – and secondae nocta, tertia nocta, etc. – with anything in skirt. Guess which guy was railroaded out of a job before he tried to rape a hotel maid?)
It’s also worth noting how outrageously cynical liberals and Democrats are about all of this. I have no problem with Republicans being forced from public office when they reveal unambiguous moral skeeviness. Indeed, that’s usually my preference. But the only time you can count on liberals to be sanctimonious about sexual morality is when they are using conservative standards as a cudgel for political gain. It’s not that they actually condemn most of the behavior, they simply condemn Republicans for not living up to standards Democrats don’t even hold.
(Recall that Nancy Pelosi held onto the Mark Foley story for six months before using it against the GOP. Barack Obama helped force open Jack Ryan’s – his opponent in the Illinois Senate race – divorce records.)
No, but what really gets my goat – and, note it is Goat Trauma Awareness Month – is that when conservatives put our moral values at the forefront, we’re Comstocks, prudes, or “Christianists.” But when we have a more relaxed, secular, East Coast sense of humor about these things (Weiner!), we’re suddenly immature or crude or boorish.
Well, which is it? Am I Cotton Mather or am I Carrot Top?
Oh, and keep in mind that Congressman Anthony Weiner – the man alleged to have tweeted his man-business to a college girl – has made a slew of jokes about his own bait-and-tackle (well, not so much the tackle). Surely if he can be defended for making Weiner jokes, it’s open season for us all.
Here’s what I like about Herman Cain: He admits when he doesn’t know something or hasn’t made up his mind. American politics requires that politicians have quick, easy answers for everything. Cain’s not afraid to admit that he’s unclear or not up to speed about something. That’s endearing and says a lot about the soundness of his character.
And while I agree with Charles Krauthammer that saying you don’t know enough about Afghanistan to form an opinion is problematic after we’ve been fighting there for ten years, I don’t think it’s as damning as Charles does (the other night I was on the Special Report panel and Krauthammer was getting grilled during the online show from viewers about all this; that’s why this is my head).
Look, I’ve been following the War on Terror stuff fairly closely for the last ten years, and I’m not entirely sure what I think about the situation in Afghanistan, at this point. I can certainly offer opinions, but I have no problem with a politician saying, “You know, this has gotten pretty complicated and we may need to rethink some of this.”
No, my problem with Herman Cain and his defenders is the defense he/they rely on most: He’ll gather the best experts.
I am stunned by how many sensible conservatives are not only satisfied with this, but think it’s a novel answer.
“Summon the experts!” is an ancient answer to political problems. It not only explains the formation of a million blue-ribbon panels on how to cut waste, fraud, and abuse from the Blue Ribbon Industrial Complex, but it actually illuminates much of what is wrong with the Progressive project.
Every president has experts, including Obama. And they can all claim that they’ve picked the best and brightest. You know who summoned the best experts from around the country to solve a tough problem? Mitt Romney. He came up with RomneyCare. You know who else? FDR. Does no one remember the Brain Trust? How about the Whiz Kids of the Kennedy Administration?
Of course, I think our experts are better than their experts. But one of the reasons I like our experts is that they are more likely to understand the limits of expertise.
Anyway, I’m going to be writing about this again in the near future, so if you think I’m wrong, please let me know.
One of my favorite jokes is: “What’s the hardest part about rollerblading?” Answer: “Telling your parents you’re gay.”
I’m not sure why that came to mind now instead of when we were still in Frank-Weiner territory. Oh, I remember now. Because I read this story about three guys who are suing over being kicked off a gay softball team for not being “gay enough.”
I really hope this catches on as a thing. Sort of like:
Office Worker 1: Hey did you hear Tom is gay?
Office Worker 2: No, really? Tom? Gay?
Office Worker 1: Well, not gay-gay. I mean, I don’t think he’s gay enough to qualify for gay softball. But he does like to sleep with other dudes.
Office Worker 2: Shweooo. So he’s only like sort of gay.
Various and Sundry
Here’s my column on that guy, what’s his name.
Thanks for all the encouragement about my seemingly semi-regular gig on theSpecial Report panel. I don’t know how long it will last. But I’m hoping the producers don’t sober up too soon. My next scheduled appearance is June 9. Oh, and for the record, I like being the back-up Van Dyke (it’s not a goatee!) to Steve Hayes. He’s better at this stuff than I am, and at least until my book’s done, I’m not sure I can peel off that much more time for such things. It actually takes work getting up to speed for the panel.
Speaking of which, I’m heading into cave mode. The book is due at the end of July. I’d be in fantastic shape for getting it done if only a genie would grant me three wishes (“Three? Wouldn’t one be enough?” – The Couch). Meanwhile the Fair Jessica is working on several mammoth projects this summer as well, which means that everyone is going to be stretched on the home and work fronts. I bring this up because there may be more missed G-Files (and columns) in the weeks ahead, but that doesn’t mean the G-File is dying.
In the last G-File, I offered H. G. Wells fans some links to Morlock and Eloi kittens. Unfortunately, the links were defective. So we’re trying again.
Last, I keep hearing from folks who want to be able to link to the G-File on their Facebook pages, blogs, etc. But since this is a “news”letter, they cannot. Others want access to G-File archives for no doubt nefarious reasons. And yet still others want me to do even more to raise awareness about Goat Trauma. Well, my understanding is that the technicians at NRHQ are working on all of this. Or at least my understanding is that they want me to believe they are working on all of this. If you have any suggestions on how to solve these complicated questions, I’m all ears (which is a really gross image when you think about it). Though I will probably just forward your e-mails to the appropriate NR Morlocks.