She talked not just about Rep. Weiner, but about what has been bothering me for so long about the men (it's been men so far) we liberals count on to help solve the country's problems.
First there was Gary Hart, who practically begged the press to catch him with a babe on a boat and got caught. Bill Clinton fooled around with women (whose appeal caused some real head-scratching for most of us) and got caught. Then it was John Edwards, who co-created a child with a woman who was not his wife and got caught. Now it's Anthony Weiner, who got down and dirty in words and pictures and got caught.
(In earlier times it was FDR, JFK and Lyndon Johnson, but, while rumors flew, they didn't get caught. And who knows how many others there were?)
They were all supposed populists -- my kind of people. Their ability to speak up convincingly for the poor and disenfranchised is what got them where they were. Their inability to tame their penises is what brought them down and ended any chance for us to count on their intelligence, their compassion, their flair for skewering the lies.
Often powerful men crave more than love and admiration from The Good Wife. Sometimes they want risk, even danger. Sometimes they’re turned on by a power differential. They adore a fan reaction like the one from Lisa Weiss, the Vegas blackjack dealer, who flirted with Weiner on Facebook: “you are sooo awesome when you yell at those fox news” pundits, and “I bet you have so many chicks after you! you are our liberal stud.”
In her book, Elizabeth Edwards wrote that she would have bet her big house that her husband would not fall for a cheesy line like the one Rielle Hunter tossed at him: “You are so hot.”
But clichés work. As Weiner wrote to Weiss: “What are you wearing?”
Meagan Broussard, a 26-year-old college student and single mom from Texas, wrote on BigGovernment.com, conservative Andrew Breitbart’s site, that her relationship with Weiner began when she wrote on his Facebook page that one of his speeches to construction workers was “hot.”
“Within an hour,” she wrote, “we were sending messages back and forth.”So what is it? What happens there? Isn't the chance at saving the country a big enough ego-driver? What is it about power that makes it such an aphrodisiac? These are all men who worked long and hard to get to the top. They're men who prided themselves on their willingness and their ability to help those who can't help themselves. Their passion for progressive causes made them heroes in the eyes of millions of people. We trusted them to help us move mountains. Was that too much to ask?
They're men, not Gods. I get that. They don't always want to be the Good Guys. But there are easier, more dignified ways to end a career than to self-destruct with your pants down.
So I'm asking: Why? Why do they do it?