Ramesh, as an antidote to Maureen Dowd's take, here's Weiner's former girlfriend Kirsten Powers. When the Twit hit the fan, Kirsten received certain assurances from him about his innocence and, based on those, went out on Fox and elsewhere and defended him. Unlike too many my-Democrat-right-or-wrong types, she's done with him:
As I have recovered from the shock of seeing an old friend's life unravel and have had time to get my mind around the extensive and sociopathic lying in which he engaged, there seems to be no other choice than for him to step aside and stop hurting his family, friends, and the Democratic Party… [I] was slack-jawed when I saw clips of him the next day sneering and pointing fingers at other people for what he knew he had done. I am of the general view that politicians are not the most honest group of people, but, even using that very low standard, what I saw in those interviews was deeply disturbing. There is no way anyone can ever believe anything Weiner says again after that.
Which is more or less what I said yesterday. But I never dated the guy. Apropos her appearance on "Hannity", she says:
My friends were furious when the real information came out and they realized he had allowed me to become involved in his sordid controversy.
In effect, he conscripted her into his lies. Now, in demanding he be allowed to "go back to work for the American people", he's forcing the entire country to collude in them. Kirsten also makes the point that his press conference was merely the sociopath's latest lie:
What has emerged is a picture of a predator trolling the Internet for women—some half his age—with which to engage in cybersex. We know only about the women who were responsive to his overtures. The odds are very high that he struck out with many, and other women were victim to his unsolicited sex talk. Women should be able to "friend" a married—or unmarried—congressman on Facebook or follow him on Twitter without fear of being the recipient of lewd talk or behavior. Just because a woman "likes" your video on Facebook doesn't mean you can send her a picture of your penis.
That a feminist Democrat should even have to explain that to her fellow liberals is a fine example of how the Weinerization of the culture leads to a moral compass as flaccid as …oh, never mind. In that ABC interview, Weiner persisted in blurring the distinction between those who "follow" him" and those whom he "follows". His latest weaselly obfuscation is to focus on those women who responded to his unsolicited penis as opposed to those who didn't. It would seem to be statistically improbable that his Weiner and the accompanying fantasies (see Miss Powers' selected excerpts) did not end up in the in-box of various 16 and 17-year olds who never asked for it.
Like Kirsten Powers, I have minimal expectations of this country's depraved political class. But if you can't draw the line at being ruled by creeps with a spambot penis, you can't draw it anywhere. Anthony Weiner Tweets his crotch to young women on the grounds that, even if only one in twenty responds, that's still a helluva strike rate: Shame on him. If his electors and the broader political culture acquieses in that, shame on us.