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10 June 2011

Arnold vs. Weiner

I'm sick of thinking about Weiner, but I haven't heard anyone talk about this angle.  Sigh.

There's been comparisons of Weiner and Arnold.  One tweeted (etc) while another had an affair and a love child with an employee.  Which is worse.

On a bland scale, I can't say either is worse.  I can't say either is ruin-worthy.  Your life, your business, whatever.  Yet, we're still preoccupied with one more than the other.  What gives?

I say that it all comes down to this one moment:

Okay, it doesn't really ALL come down to *that* moment, but it illustrates my point.  Arnold lied to his family and child.  Weiner lied to the country.  He looked us in the face, and he lied to us.

How is America supposed to trust Weiner?  I don't use the word "trust" lightly.  I mean it quite literally -- we've seen him lie without hesitation.  The second the photo was released, he lied about it.  That was his first instinct.  We no longer know if the words coming out of his mouth are true or false.  Before we can feel comfortable that he's not lying to us, he has to go through some sort of redemption process.  I don't know what that looks like, but traditionally there is some sort of sacrifice involved.  We feel hoodwinked, we're hurting, and we want to see some justice for he who broke our hearts.  Our something like that.

Arnold?  Pfft.  The big news was what he did, not his reaction to the story.  The big news was that he had a presumably on-going relationship with a woman who continued to feel comfortable remaining in his employ.

To an extent -- and you might think this is a stretch -- Arnold at least showed some loyalty in his, well, disloyalty.  His deceit was horrible for his family (however, we do not know what his family situation was).  There is something romantic within his tale that needs to be considered.  He sought out companionship with his maid.  Okay, sorta weird.  But also, perhaps he found something feminine and attractive about her domesticity.  Perhaps he even loved her.  His actions towards her at least indicate some level of affection or loyalty towards the woman with whom he had an affair.  (I won't go into his kid not knowing he's his father.  That's a lifetime of therapy that I can't even fathom.)

Weiner's attitude towards his partners-in-crime was to throw them under the bus.  The Seattle coed who had her life turned upside down?  That was Weiner's fault for pulling a Palin and making the media chase him around for a week.  If he considered others to be of equal value to him, he would have given himself up to spare her.

He didn't.

There is nothing in this farcical debacle that indicates that he considered anyone's interests above his own.

Did Arnold?  Well, he didn't fire the woman.  She lived with him, as did their son.  It was the closest thing to being a family that he could offer them, beyond booting Maria and being entirely honest.  No, Arnold is not super clean here.  But there's a drop of compassion there.  Not to mention that his "lie" was of omission.  In the theater of politics, that's an entirely different beast than looking into the camera and denying the claim.

Boohoo, Weiner.  You had poor judgement.  You thought you were untouchable.  You thought Twitter doesn't count.  Whatever.  None of it would have mattered, if you hadn't let the media chase you.

And as for lying, you weren't even good at it.  Of course there are tons of liars in politics.  Politics IS lying.  But why the hell did you say your account was hacked?  The media didn't want to cover this story.  The blogs broke it, and it was a battle between Daily Kos and Breitbart.  it took days for the MSM to touch it.  If you were a decent liar, you would have said:

Oops!  Meant to send that to my wife.  This'll be an embarrassing story to tell the kids.

Mr. Weiner, if you're gonna choose to lie, it's a dangerous road.  You better be damn good at it, or you'll have to pay the price.  In this case, the price is job.  Is it fair?  You tell me.

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