The Washington Post

David Wu resigns — never trust a man in a tiger suit

Why was this man still in office? (AP Photo/Willamette Week)

I think we can all breathe a sigh of relief.

If there is one belief that I will stand by to my dying day, it is this: Never trust a man in a tiger suit.

There is never a good reason for anyone to be dressed up as a tiger, unless he is employed by Disney to promote the Winnie the Pooh movie, and even then you ought to ask for identification of some kind.

No matter what job you want done, I guarantee that someone not wearing a tiger suit is better suited for it than someone who is. Clean your drain? Regrout your tile? Officiate at your same-sex marriage? Serve as your elected member of Congress? Pick the guy who isn’t in the tiger suit.

I don’t care if it’s Halloween. I don’t care if he’s a “mascot for our country” or “showing solidarity with Amy Chua” or whatever it is.

Some office policies give you the sense that it all dates back to one oddly specific incident several years ago. “And no sitting on the ice machine while Dave unleashes a goat,” says line 8 of the Human Resources policy. Now Congress will have to add a line about “please, please don’t send any tiger suit pictures to your staff” to an already crowded roster of don’t’s that span from David Vitter back to Preston Brooks.

These are our representatives? They aren’t even representative samples. It almost makes me nostalgic for Anthony Weiner. No, it definitely makes me nostalgic for Anthony Weiner. At least you can imagine that someone’s day might have been made better by the pictures he was sending, even if they were in poor taste.

The tiger suit isn’t even what did Wu in. If only it had.

What actually has caused him to resign is far less funny. He’s been accused of having nonconsensual relations with a donor’s 18-year-old daughter. It’s enough to make you shudder.

But why didn’t this happen sooner? I know the tiger suit didn’t break any laws, but the fact that we were willing to defend him after he sent these definitely weird images of himself is enough to activate anyone’s squickometer. His staff kept intervening and attempting to get him psychiatric treatment in a hospital. And this didn’t clue us in to the fact that we ought to get rid of him?

Look, if you want to wear a tiger suit in private, be my guest. Actually, don’t be my guest while you’re in the tiger suit, but in general, you’re welcome to do whatever you’d like with other consenting adults as long as you don’t frighten the horses.

But when you take public office, you give up the right to do certain things — or at the very least, to distribute pictures of your doing them. And if it isn’t explicitly on a list somewhere, dressing up in a tiger suit and sending creepy e-mails to your staff definitely should be.

There was a time when we made a point of electing officials whom we hoped would somehow be loftier and better than we were. We looked up to our representatives and asked for their autographs. Now when they shake our hands we reach for the sanitizer. We are overloading their phone lines with calls saying that a child could do their jobs better.

Honorable representatives? We have fools in tiger suits.

Alexandra Petri writes the ComPost blog, offering a lighter take on the news and opinions of the day. She is the author of "A Field Guide to Awkward Silences".


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