To expand a bit on just why I don’t care about Weinergate at this point: the alleged offense is in the realm of a minor peccadillo, distasteful and stupid, but only of real interest to Weiner’s wife, family, and friends.
Others may disagree, which raises the interesting question of whether, as some commenters have indicated, private morality and public morality are inextricably linked. I’ve thought about this question many times before, most particularly during the Clinton impeachment, and my answer is “sometimes yes, sometimes no.” If you think that’s a squishy answer, tough; I think it’s a realistic answer based on careful observation of human beings.
Would I think more highly of Weiner if he turned out to be guilty of sending a crotch picture to some young woman in Seattle? Of course not. I would say I would think less highly of him if in fact I had ever previously thought of him at all. But I hadn’t ever heard of him until he was thrust (to coin a phrase) into the glare of notoriety by this incident.
But people do compartmentalize their behavior all the time, acting very differently in the different roles they play in life. Ever heard of people, for example, who are angry and nasty and even cruel at home but pleasant and decent to everyone they meet in public life? Or dishonest at work but honest in private? Or vice versa? I have.
Of course, in many cases dishonesty and smarminess is general, and people’s behavior is congruent in all the different situations they encounter. I also think that dishonesty and smarminess are endemic in the lives of political figures. That’s not to say that there are no honest men—and women—in politics. But really honest people don’t tend to be drawn to that profession, and if they are, I’m not sure how long they tend to stay that way; the opportunities to be compromised are legion and the temptations great.
Which category Weiner fits into I do not know. But even if guilty of the offense, that act is nothing like a rape or sexual harassment of an employee (and yes, I would feel that way no matter what his political persuasion). What I am far more concerned about is his behavior in his role as a public servant. And yes, sometimes a person’s behavior can be fair in one arena and foul in the other.
But sorry, I just can’t get riled up about sifting through all the intricacies of how to post photos on Twitter in order to decide whether he’s guilty or not. If I were in his district, I wouldn’t have voted for Weiner previously, and I wouldn’t vote for him now. And yes, of course the media is acting hypocritically here; if he were a Republican, they’d be out for blood. So, what else is new?