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Tom Toles
Posted at 07:15 AM ET, 07/30/2013

In defense of Anthony Weiner!

If murderers get a defense counsel, Carlos Danger can have one too. I neither expect to, nor especially want to get him acquitted. Maybe just a lighter sentence. The half-eaten candy in my drawer is exhibit A.

I’ve had little to say about Anthony Weiner, mostly because there are no policy implications to his behavior, so what is there to say? Despite the lack of things to say, though, everybody is saying them anyway, so I might as well join in the fun. The two main questions are “What the heck? And WHAT THE HECK?

The answer is that people have decided that Mr. Weiner has disqualified himself from political office by his behavior, and I don’t have any argument with that. But IF they had decided that he was STILL qualified, I’m not sure I would have any problem with that either. Yes he lied about his ‘indiscretions,’ but that is a peculiar charge. Sexual indiscretion has lying built into it. Either the indiscretion itself is bad or it isn’t. The lie is just along for the ride.

As to the badness of this indiscretion, I think you have to put aside the ickiness factor. Ickiness is related to cultural norms, and those change. Two same-sex people kissing in public used to rate high on that scale, now, not so much. As for sexting, YOU may not have done it, but don’t be so sure that your kids haven’t, or won’t.. (Check the stats on this). An adult, married public figure sexting with women who are not his wife? Okay, go ahead and condemn, but while you are doing that, again, check the stats on good old-fashioned garden-style adultery. Any of your friends, perhaps?

As to how he could have continued his pattern of behavior, immediately after getting caught and going through Round One of his lip-biting I-was-really-bad-please-forgive-me routine, this isn’t so hard to explain either. In fact, he explained it with his sextname. Carlos likes Danger! This is where my half-eaten candy is helpful. Normally I don’t eat a lot of candy. Don’t like it that much and don’t crave it. I know it is not especially good for me, but here is the crux of this. There are times when I DO crave candy. I will gather and store it squirrel-like in my drawer, and the rate at which I pull it out and eat it is not particularly related to whether it’s good for me. I watch, mesmerized, as my hands open the drawer, retrieve the candy, place it into my mouth, where it is consumed, independent of any evaluation. Could I control that if I had too? Yes. And I guess that’s kind of crucial here too. But the half piece of candy in my drawer is still there because my craving went away, not because I decided against finishing it. So if you want to ask yourself how could someone do something he KNEW was against his better interests, just think about this: Hunger. Snack. I’ll bet you can identify.

By  |  07:15 AM ET, 07/30/2013

 
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