Thirteen-year Congressman Anthony Weiner did the right and just thing in completely confessing his actions, apologizing to his staff, his constituents, his families, and his wife. In fact when it comes to the textbook approach to dealing with one’s worse half in this battle called the human existence, Anthony Weiner got an “A” for his press conference.
People who know anything about my own writing on politics and public policy know that in recent years I have opposed nearly everything that Weiner has ever advocated in favor of, and I’ve supported almost everything he would mock.
In the hour preceding the Weiner press conference on Monday I was on the Ed Morrissey show in the midst of conversation speculating, “What on earth Weiner could possibly do or say in such a venue?” I speculated largely based on the rash of sexually charged press conferences my region of the United States has become familiar with Governors Jim McGreevey, Eliot Spitzer, and David Paterson, and of course Congressman Chris Lee. I wondered if Weiner would do the honorable thing and step down.
He did not.
But he pretty much took the second best option available.
He took full responsibility. He didn’t trot his wife out and force her to be humiliated in front of cameras. He didn’t force his staff. He calmly and repeatedly said his choice was foolish, wrong, morally unacceptable, stupid, and hurtful. He tried his best to keep tears from being evident–as I hope he would not be seeking emotional empathy from those watching.
He was asked about counseling, and he said it might do him some good, but that basically he wasn’t there to blame these mistakes on some sort of condition or pre-existing woe.
When reporters asked if he would apologize to Andrew Breitbart–who he had publicly maligned–he indicated he did owe him an apology. But “most importantly” he kept emphasizing, he owed his biggest apology to his wife.
He didn’t duck for cover. He admitted that lying to the media had only made things worse, and he unapologetically said his actions were foolish and stupid.
What I saw humanized before me was a man who had previously been so over-the-top arrogant in his denials, refutations, and bluster, I knew that this was a guy who was being broken–mostly by his own actions–and all of it avoidable.
As I said at the top of this piece, I oppose nearly everything Anthony Weiner represents in politics, but I’m not a cold hearted guy. This man hurt others–and he took responsibility for those actions in a manly and complete way.
History is full of such men. Israel’s greatest historical leader, King David, did far worse in his adultery with Bathsheba and still God found it within his heart to craft in David the type of man that was useful for His purposes.
Personally I would’ve preferred Congressman Weiner to step down. But even in resignation I’ve seen politicians buck the truth, appear brazenly arrogant, and believe they got away with something. Mr. Weiner left no room for such an ending to his own drama and for those who were watching it was almost therapeutic.
His refusal to resign may be more a result of the fact that politics is all he’s ever down, and had no back-up plan for how to provide for his family. Soon enough the voters in Brooklyn and Queens will get to make up their own mind about his foibles and his time on the job.
I will still boldly oppose Congressman Weiner on every issue of public policy that I disagree with him on. And aside from both of our steadfast support of Israel I can’t come up with any common ground between us.
Still Weiner earned my respect for finally deciding to do the right thing. Sometimes we all need a nudge to do the right thing, but when one decides to do it, credit belongs where it is due.
Sometimes we are forced to come to the end of our rope before we realize we’ve dead-ended ourselves. Few of us get the divine chance to do things over again, in marriage or in life. My hope for Congressman Weiner and his family is that this experience will grow them in maturity and seriousness about the opportunity to know integrity, joy, and contentment in the best parts of life.
And I have a feeling much of America will wish him the same.
Kevin McCullough is the nationally syndicated host of “The Kevin McCullough Show” weekdays (7-9am EST) & “Baldwin/McCullough Radio” Saturdays (9-11pm EST) on 289 stations. His newest best-selling hardcover from Thomas Nelson Publishers, “No He Can’t: How Barack Obama is Dismantling Hope and Change” is in stores now.
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