Free Markets, Free People

Whatever happened to “shame”?

I suppose, as with most people, you’ve been at least peripherally following what has become known as “Wienergate”.  I’ve avoided it like the plague here – I just don’t particularly care to push those sorts of stories.

But as it has evolved – risqué picture, claim of a criminal act, modified to claim of a prank and then finally admitted that all was a lie – I’ve figured at some point Anthony Wiener would feel shame and resign.  Especially when he finally admitted to sending the picture and it was revealed he had a pattern of doing so with young women.

Had that been a Republican we all know that feeding frenzy the fairly silent women’s rights movement would be involved in.  We also know we’d see the Democratic women in Congress up in arms ala Bob Packwood, right?

Weiner?  And yes, I’ve watched and enjoyed the many times juvenile plays on his name, but I can’t imagine him staying in office.  Or can I?

What finally compelled me to write about this shameful fiasco was this:

In the poll, 56% of registered voters in Weiner’s NY-9 district think he should remain in office, while only a third (33%) think he should resign. That result comes as further salacious details about the Twitter scandal have come to light.

Really?  So conduct in office that would be condemned in the corporate world, an rightly so, is okay in the political world?  Because that’s what Weiner’s constituents are saying. 

It’s easy to say “that’s none of my business” and  ignore his actions while he was supposed to be representing you.  But ignoring this means or saying he should stay, if he’s your Congressman, is saying you have absolutely no standards of moral conduct you expect from elected officials or those standards are so low that almost anything is acceptable.

In this case, if I lived in NY-9, I’d be ashamed to have Weiner as my rep.  And I’d be even more ashamed of the 56% who claim he should stay on regardless of his shameful conduct.

Whatever happened to shame in this country?


Twitter: @McQandO


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55 Responses to Whatever happened to “shame”?

  • Shame?  These people revel in the power that surrounds them.  They are above the rules the rest of the country must abide by.  They have given themselves exemptions from the laws that govern all other people in this country, they have set themselves aside as a elite and expect to be treated accordingly.

    The level of disgust I feel for this Wiener person and others like him have reached monumental proportions.  McQ, you and I spent 20+ years in a military that holds their personnel, partucularly officers, to a higher standard.  But that standard is not required of civil service and the like.

    If I had done merely a portion of the kinds of things people like Wiener, John Edwards, Charlie Rangel, Barney Frank, etc. had done I would have faced a formal Letter of Reprimand if not an Article 15 action or general court martial.  And yet these persons, according to protocol, are given complete deference by the military.

    Shame?  I doubt if Wiener can even spell the word!

  • In the poll, 56% of registered voters in Weiner’s NY-9 district think he should remain in office,

    >>>> In related news, I can now send d*kpics to the mothers, daughters, and sisters of 56% of the voters in NY-9 knowing that they won’t complain or be offended

  • He’s a modern day liberal Democrat- there is your answer.

  • I saw as good an explanation for this yesterday as I’ll ever see – with diagram –  of how you have to think to be the sort of person who thinks what Weiner did was hokey fine.
    The argument was from the perspective of why conservatives are hypocrites if they get involved in this kind of scandal, and should resign, but liberals are not and shouldn’t.  Based on ‘family values’ and other moral codes liberals will cry hypocrisy if conservatives don’t resign.
    The basic thrust of the argument was the liberals enter into it sort of like the underwear gnomes, without all the flow boxes filled in.  They pick up the flow at box 2 – where the moral flaw is encountered, progress to box 3 where they declare they are not hypocrites because they don’t tout the whole moral values thing like conservatives do and it’s really regrettable, but essentially okay if they go off the moral path (provided, they always claim at first, person x didn’t break any laws…my experience is, if person x DID, they’ll proceed to tell you that’s a stupid law anyway, and it’s none of anyone’s business and person x still shouldn’t resign, Bill Clinton lying under oath, classic example).
    What they leave out is box 1, where it all starts, because in order for them to NOT be hypocrites they essentially have to go back to a starting position of admitting they have no moral foundations to begin with, and having none, it’s not possible for them to violate them in a hypocritical way.
    And there’s always the ever present liberal grade school argument of ‘everybody does it’.  I heard several MSM talking heads blow it all off as “politicians lie to us all the time”, or “if all the liars resigned, Washington would be a ghost town”.   They have elevated it to an institutional level and now it’s presumed to be a necessary and expected PART OF THE JOB (unless you’re a conservative politician of course….).
    And SShiell – yeah, makes me wince to hear the phrase “officer and gentlemen by act of Congress”, what a mess.

  • Are Dems more corrupt:

    Answer seems to be “yes”. Yes, I know this comes as a big surprise . . .

    • Stand by to receive the obligatory ‘both sides do it’ volley.
      Intereesting that it specifically says liberals don’t care ain’t it?  i guess that’s what liberal means.

  • 1. Polls? Polls? We don’t need no stinking polls. In this country we have these events called elections. If Weiner had any honor or self respect, he would resign. Since he hasn’t and likely won’t, we will have to wait until next year to see if there really are 56% of his constituents who think he should continue in office.
    2. Honor. An interesting and forgotten ideal. Back in the days when the earth was first cooling, a Democratic Congressman from Texas switched parties. In a nod to the idea of office as a public trust bestowed by voters, he resigned and was then elected to his own unfinished term. In just 30 years we’ve gone from Phil Gramm to Anthony Weiner.

  • “Shame” disappeared when the “If it feels good, it’s ok” movement began in the ’60s. Since there is no absolute right and wrong, there cannot be any shame. All behavior is acceptable because everything is relative and there are no absolutes.

  • It’s worse than the 56%…
    More than 70% think that he acted unethically, which means that there is at least a 1/5 of the population of his district that thinks he acted unethically, but are completely OK with that.
    We need to identify these people, and make sure they never, ever vote.

  • Okay I agree, Weiner should resign.  After all his actions are far worse that Vitter’s who admitted in 2007 to patronizing the DC Madam prostitution ring, which is just as bad or worse that Weiners ( I think RNC Chairman Michael Steele said that).  Hmm, Vitter still remains, four years later.  Where is the gnashing and grinding of teeth about Vitter?  What about Ensign?  He served two years after admitting to an affair with his staffer, and perhaps worse the $96,000 in bribery money utilized to hush the whole thing.  What about the good senator from Nevada?  What about Larry Craig, his arrest for lewd behavior, his promise to resign, then going ahead and serving another year and a half?  To paint Dems differently than Repubs is pretty weak when it comes to s**t like this.  I don’t guess we need to talk about Gov. Mark Sanford and his soulmate from South America, his reported hiking trip on the Appalacian Trail, and his serving out his term in office as governor.  Yep these republicans did nothing wrong compared to Weiner.  Yep democrats are notorious for crap like this and republicans typically “Made a mistake and Jesus forgave me.”  I am surprised by my Libertarian friends caring anything about what Weiner did, and/or care what his constituency thinks. 

    • Could be because on those others that were noted – there was the same philosophy – resign.
      My personal standard indicates they should, and it doesn’t matter what their party is.
      Every last one of them opens themselves up to classic blackmail with their actions.   I take no comfort in the idea that you can’t blackmail people who have no shame in the first place.

    • And it’s troubling to think his constituency does not care and if there’s something wrong with this country, THAT’S part of it.

      • Looker, what about Vitter’s constituency?  They elected him again.  What was their thinking?  Are they wrong as well to elect him again?  I think so, just as I think Weiner’s backers are wrong. 

        • Yeah, I’m troubled by Vitter’s constituency too,  Weiner’s constituency doesn’t have to be all democrat, I’m not assuming only democrats voted for him, and I don’t assume that none will vote against him.
          I’m not trying to say that ONLY conservatives have what I would classify as decent morals, hell my parents were democrats 🙂
          What troubles is it speaks of our national ‘what’s in it for us’ streak – that as long as Atilla brings home the bacon, we really don’t care what city he had to sack to do it.  And that’s a problem, and if I was unclear, I’m as troubled by a ‘conservatives’ constituency not caring as I am about a liberal’s.
          Rot doesn’t become roses just because it’s on my side of the fence.

          • I couldn’t have said it better.  My parents were Republicans, and they would be appalled at the behavior.  I remember (and as well McQ probably does too) when Wilbur Mills and Fanne Foxe splashed into the Tidal Basin, drunk and probably naked.  He kept his job and was elected again, but said his standing with his peers was never the same.  I wonder why? 

          • Ah yes…the tidal basin…I’d forgotten….and I recall my Senator from Massachusetts became retired for his false statements in a divorce dispute.  Imagine if he’d revealed during the 70’s that he was shagging Baba WaWa too.

        • It does go back to what I said earlier – we’ve convinced ourselves that the ability to lie, be scum, and have scandal is stock and trade of being a political figure, we’ve accepted it’s institutional, and far too many of us are okay with it so long as they don’t get too far out of hand while ‘serving’ us.

    • The point is general, Kevin – I don’t care which party it is (although there seems to be less of a propensity of the Democrats to resign than the Republicans). It’s about us – not them. What happened to shame? When did we quit being ashamed of unacceptable behavior from any of them and accept it with a shrug? And, as SteveC asks – what happened to honor? When did start letting the dishonorable get a bye? Why do we continue to reward dishonorable people who act shamefully? Why isn’t Weiner’s (and Vitter’s) constituencies demanding they leave instead of re-electing one and a majority of the other’s constituency essentially saying bad, shameful or dishonorable behavior is apparently acceptable in public office?

      • McQ your article is totally about Weiner, and though I may have missed some examples of Republicans behaving badly in your article, I don’t think I did.  And your statement that (although there seems to be less of a propensity of the Democrats to resign that Republicans) I think needs to be backed up with some comparison of numbers of dems and repubs that should have resigned.  I just think your article that was totally about Weiner was not a balanced piece.  When it comes to bad behavior sexual or otherwise I suspect there is probably a tie between parties.
        I do wholeheartedly agree that Vitter and Weiner should resign.  Hopefully that is the last freaking time I have to agree with anything you say.
        Have a great weekend McQ.

        • Why hasn’t Charlie Rangle resigned for theft. Why hasn’t Dodd and Frank resigned for being instrumental in causing the housing bubble? Why haven’t all Democrats resigned for stealing about one trillion taxpayer dollars and using it as a slush fund for their Union cronies? Why hasn’t Obama resigned for starting and continuing an illegal war?

    • I don’t really care about the dc madam or weiners internet sex. The key problem is weiner’s lies–particularly making a false claim of a crime. He needs to go.

  • As always, using many words to state the obvious: “I’m a 44 percenter”.

    The part you’ll really hate is when the 56 percenters vote in 2012 ;).

  • 1.  Does his private behavior influence his public behavior?  Does it indicate that he is incompetent at his job?

    2.  Does he represent the people of his district in the way that they want?

    3.  Has he apologized?

    I’m not sticking up for Weenie, but I suggest that these are questions his constituents are asking (or using to justify their decision to stick with him).

    McQSo conduct in office that would be condemned in the corporate world, an rightly so, is okay in the political world?  Because that’s what Weiner’s constituents are saying. 

    It’s also OK in the corporate world if the offender is considered sufficiently indispensible to the organization.  The only difference is that MiniTru tends to hate corporations (go figure) and will make damned sure to vociferously condemn such behavior by a corporate fatcat.

    A Conservative Teacher and the wolfHe’s a modern day liberal Democrat- there is your answer… elected by a bunch of modern-day liberals. 


    As a personal matter, I find his wife’s behavior despicable.  If reports are to be believed, she’s actively helping him figure out how to stay in Congress.  It’s one thing to “stand by your man”; it’s another to enable such disgraceful behavior.  Is she a partisan hack, just desperate to stay married, or an idiot?  Or all of the above?

  • But ignoring this means or saying he should stay, if he’s your Congressman, is saying you have absolutely no standards of moral conduct you expect from elected officials or those standards are so low that almost anything is acceptable.
    Well, or your standards for a politician don’t extend to his personal relationships.
    I mean, I can see someone not caring about this kerfuffle, but caring a lot about him being on the take, which is not quite the same as “almost anything”.
    (I think he’s been a giant douchebag, but then I expect that from politicians.)

  • Years ago, I was taken in by the idea of situational ethics.  It took an old school Democrat, a very good friend, to disabuse me of that notion.  Basically, her argument was that the notion of situational ethics is nothing more than malleable morality.
    GK Chesterton famously said of religion (paraphrased) once one stops believing in God, one does not believe in nothing, they believe anything.  The same is true of many on the left today.  Their malleable morality allows them to accept anything, as long at the perceived ends are met.  What is frightening to me is it seems that nothing short of catastrophe will debase them of their misguided ideology.

    • On second thought, given the likes of koolaide drinking pundits such as Krugman et. al., even if the left had the Presidency, 435 seats in the House, and a 99 Senate seats , they would still blame that one GOP representative for all that ails the nation.

  • I’ve avoided it like the plague here – I just don’t particularly care to push those sorts of stories.

    Yeppers, you typically steer around these stories.  Republican or Democrat, if it is a sex scandal, you are generally consistent with your disinterest.
    So when you write this,

    What finally compelled me to write about this shameful fiasco was this:

    I thought, hmm… I must have been away when you wrote about David Vitter’s constituency.  So I did an extensive google search and came up with nothing.  Maybe my google is broken – so could you kindly provide us with your sonnet about that which compelled you to write about David Vitter?
    I’m sure it won’t be too much trouble – after all, you would have predicted this inquiry and would have it at the ready.

    • Thanks – you made me check out his re-election poll numbers – unofficial ones I found said 57% to 38%.
      Course it’s from Louisiana, the Chicago of the south…still……
      How depressing.

    • It would apply to both parties – the fact I didn’t write about one and do the other most likely had to do with an election, which was well after the news broke and a poll taken during the scandal. I certainly don’t let Vitter off any hook, it just had to do with timing (scandal/electon – scandal/poll) more than anything.

      But of course, unless you assume the worst, you can’t make implication like you have, huh?

      • Immediate confession vs lies, including a false claim of a crime. But our resident leftists don’t grasp the cxoncept.

    • Just curious Pogue, are you attacking Bruce for hypocrisy, or defending Weiner for hypocrisy?

      • I think, at risk of correction, and if I understand correctly, that Pogue is merely pointing out that the GOP gets free passes (no posts, etc, about Vitter, etal) and when people such as himself point this out there is a bit of hand waving, backtracking, equivocating, and perhaps a bit of retconning. *shrug*

        And I’m sure Pogue will correct me if I am wrong.
        I think Weiner should do the honorable thing and resign. There is precious little honor left in DC however.

        • I think there is one huge difference, As far as I know Vitter, did not stand up in front of cameras and lie to the public, and berate the press, and only come clean when new evidence showed up.

          That was FAR MORE damning to me than the pranks themselves.

        • I think, at risk of correction, and if I understand correctly, that Pogue is merely pointing out that the GOP gets free passes (no posts, etc, about Vitter, etal)

          >>>. Eh,  consider it compensation for the usual media frenzy whenever a Republican does it, followed by the general media minimalization when a Democrat does it.  Had Breitbart not had the evidence, the HACKED! party line would’ve won and this would’ve floated away in a day or so. 

          Remember, McCain’s affair ran front page in the times based on nothing more than an inference. Edwards affair was actively embargoed.  The template for this was set long ago.

  • NASA/U.Mich psychologist Pat Santy on narcissism of he left:
    In a series of posts on the political left and the seven deadly sins of narcissism, I discussed the utter shamelessness of the left, who because of a profound belief in their own superiority–intellectually and morally– to the rest of us plebes, behave rather shamelessly in situations that would make ordinary people blush with mortification, admit to our wrongdoing and resign our public post. This is not to suggest (as a commenter notes) that only one political party has narcissistic traits (it is, sadly, a reality of our current political process, which generally REWARDS excessive narcissism). But let’s compare and contrast the Weiner story with Republican Chris Lee (N.Y.) who resigned immediately after the accusations against him posting a shirtless photo to someone on Craigslist surfaced in February. Lee didn’t pretend he was innocent; nor did he place responsibility for his behavior on a mysterious “hacker”.
    /end excerpt
    RTWT and follow the first embedded link. Lot’s of ‘splaining there.

  • Vitter was named by the DC Madam as being a client 7 years after the fact. He immediately confessed. He explained he had already told his wife, done counseling, and they had “moved on” from the problem. So, that seems very different from what Weiner was doing. Weiner lied about it, and is probably still lying…the police are checking out his chats with underage girls as I write this.
    Larry Craig – he should have resigned.
    Ensign…now this is the funny thing. I don’t even remember hearing about what he did. How did he manage to fly under the press radar, I have no idea. That is a real head scratcher.

    • Now, how about Jesse Jackson…he had a love child, then went away with his wife for the weekend, and everything was “healed” after just a single weekend.

    • Since being assigned Mr. Mainstream (thanks McQ) I will leave it at that.  Okay Harun, the only problem I see with Vitter, is that he is exactly like Weiner, a liar, hypocrite, and a fake who luckily had the statute of limitations run out or he would have been charged with solicitation of a prostitute (many times).  Glad he and his wife made up and moved on.  If you discern a any difference between Weiner’s actions and Vitters, I sure don’t see it.  Both should resign.  But, since you think “That seems very different from what Weiner was doing” I don’t think anything I say would change your mind.
      As far as Ensign, don’t know how you missed that one, and it still continues.
      As far as Larry Craig he didn’t resign though Republicans were clamoring for his resignation, but alas resigned themselves that he wouldn’t.  However, Weiner, according to repubs and dems has to resign now.

      • I don’t think Weiner has to resign. Its up to him. I do think he’s a liar.
        I think we have to forgive people, too. Vitter admitted what he did, had already done counseling etc. Its not as if he had been porking girls for years and only once he was caught did he do anything about it.
        And, seriously, I follow politics, but never heard about Ensign until a few weeks ago. I am amazed he didn’t get more coverage…then again, I don’t do MSM.

  • Same thing happened to Gary Condit.  He was going to get re-elected so the Democrats had to redraw his district to get rid of him.
    People won’t admit when they’re wrong.  Voting against Wiener would by like admitting they voted for the wrong person.  So instead they’ll go into a denial bubble and re-elect him again.  Happens over and over.
    Same thing will happen with Obama.  Despite his low poll ranking, a lot of people when the time comes will pull the same lever again.

    • Yep you are correct, as the same thing happened to Vitter.  He got re-elected again, despite his criminal behavior of solicitation of prostitutes. 

      • Barney Frank is still around, and his home was the operations center for a prostitution ring.
        Maybe its a professional courtesy, as the two occupations are somewhat related.

  • I always said that “shame” was the key ingredient to making the non-violent protest work for Gandhi.  The British could be shamed.
    I always wondered what would have happened if Bill Clinton were backed into a corner, because he had no shame.

    • “I always wondered what would have happened if Bill Clinton were backed into a corner…”

      We saw. He attacked. Remember trailer-park-white-trash Paula Jones? Or those other psychopathic publicity-seeking liars?

  • Shame is detrimental to self-esteem and does not contribute to a positive self-image. It is, therefore, something to be avoided. In the bad old days we were taught that it was our responsibility to govern our actions in such a way that we could avoid it, but now we know better. Since we all make mistakes and are not perfect, it is much more fair and effective to just do away with the concept altogether.

  • Shame, indeed… I wonder who is ashamed that there no longer exists a significant difference between political news and celebrity gossip.  Who is ashamed that one fool discovered another fool sending lewd pictures to a few women and thought the solution was to send those pictures to every major news outlet to be plastered all over the television and the internet?

    We are a nation that accuses whistle-blowers who risk their careers and even their freedom to expose corruption of treason (while simultaneously calling for more government transparency, no doubt) and praises jokers who dress up in costumes to fool NPR employees or prank call governors under the guise of conservative bloggers just so they can say, “Hey! Look about bad the other side is.”  Who is ashamed of that?

    News was reported of Thomas Jefferson’s affair with Sally Hemings in 1802, when Jefferson was still president.  Should he have resigned?  Where was his shame?

    The truth is: if you have a legion of partisan “journalists” spending all of their time trying to dig up trash in the private lives of their political rivals, you’re going to have a country with a weak economy, a collapsing health care system, and a confused role in the world; but at least everyone will know what Congressman Weiner’s weiner looks like.

    And since the media has crammed Weiner down our throats, I can safely say that, were he my representative, I would want him out.  However, I’m more concerned that my state has a governor who spent $600,000 on a new Governor’s Mansion (not including the ridiculously high rent he paid while waiting for the mansion’s completion) while the state and the nation is in a budget crisis, or that my congressman who claims fiscal conservatism voted for all the big spending increases during the Bush presidency, yet they both still get re-elected because they have an “(R)” after their names.

    We, as a nation, spend all our time peeking in the neighbors’ windows, while our wives are outback with the pool boy and our kids are getting lit in their rooms.  Maybe that is where our shame should be directed first.

    • Yeah, well, if only 1 out of a 100 of us feel shame, the country is screwed.  It doesn’t help that we jumped on and said we understand the concept of shame, and then proceeded to, for various reasons, then explain why we think some of these guys get a pass now because others of these guys got a pass before.
      Draw a line in the sand, pick a starting point, make a stand – every dude after this on your side who screws up goes, we’ll pick a starting point and say every dude on our side who screws up goes.
      If we keep excusing current garbage based on letting slip the jerks from the past then we NEVER fix the problem because we’re forever citing past excuses to grant current exceptions.

      • I think you missed my point.
        I did not say Representative Weiner should not be punished or should not feel the need to resign.  In fact, I said if he was my congressman that I would want him to resign.  He messed up, he likely violated House ethics, and should be removed from office. 

        My purpose, however, was to simply question our priorities as a nation and to point out that smearing our political dick-pictures all over the national media probably warrants more shame than one man sending such pictures to a few women. We, the people, are the ones who have been demanding this smut.  Maybe there’s just not enough reality trash on TV or maybe most people have lives that are just that boring, but for some reason we want the media to dig this trash us and then scold the culprit for bringing shame to our nation and our institutions.

        And, while your concept of mutual partisan ousting of corrupt and immoral politicians is a noble idea, it is unrealistic.  It is much easier for the parties to say, “we’ll take advantage when your side screws up and try to play it down when our side does.”  People care more about partisan power than moral standards, and it would be foolish to think that politicians and the politically-involved public care much about these events outside of their potential to shift power between the parties and the entertainment they get from pointing out the flaws and mistakes of others, especially those with some kind of power or fame.
        Several national crises that affect or will affect each and every one of us are culminating at once, but we’re (not QandO, mind you, but the nation) focusing on Arnold’s love-child and Weiner’s weiner.  For that we should be ashamed.

        • “We, the people, are the ones who have been demanding this smut.  Maybe there’s just not enough reality trash on TV or maybe most people have lives that are just that boring, but for some reason we want the media to dig this trash us and then scold the culprit for bringing shame to our nation and our institutions.
          I’d be foolish, wrong, and a few other things I can’t even itemize to disagree.  Nor can I argue with the premise my idea is unrealistic, more’s the pity.
          I anticipate the various train wrecks you allude to, that we’re about to experience will snap our heads around though.  It’s going to hurt.

          • I agree. Unfortunately, it is likely that only a massive tragedy will turn us around.  Hopefully it will not come to that, yet I cannot help but be pessimistic.  Why would people make hard choices that require sacrifices today when they can continue to suckle at the federal teat and hope tomorrow never comes.

  • Shrewd Republican advisers are telling their clients to let the story simmer down in hopes that Weiner does not resign.  If he stays, he’s wounded and probably less effective, in the long run, than a fresh new liberal Democrat from NY-9.
    Shrewd Democrat advisers are telling their clients to call for Weiner’s resignation, so the party can get back to accusing Republicans of pushing old people and cripples off cliffs.

  • Come back shame,,,  Come back shame,,