The case of New York Congressman Anthony Weiner hit me in the gut. I have always admired this guy. He’s funny, he’s smart, he’s articulate, and he’s been unafraid to stand up and, in righteous indignation, call out Republican colleagues in the House for their frequent duplicitous and cynical actions.
And now Weiner has effectively eliminated himself as an articulate defender of his party’s president and as an effective spokesman for liberal causes and legislation. God knows, we don’t have enough people like that.
Weiner’s biggest mistake was trying to escape responsibility for a stupid, juvenile act by lying about it. Everyone screws up, and most of us will usually forgive a politician who owns up and seems to genuinely regret his mistake. But it takes a helluva lot more to forgive someone who tries to wriggle out of responsibility by lying about a transgression.
When a politician realizes that something unpleasant or embarrassing about his or her personal life may become public, there is one -- and only one -- way to deal with it:
Tell it first. Tell it yourself. And tell it all.
Anthony Weiner has just learned that … the hard way.