Jun 7, 2011 4 Comments ›› Pat Dollard
Ethics Case for Weiner? Maybe One of Psychiatry
The matter of Anthony D. Weiner, unclothed congressman, is being lodged by Democratic Party elders with the House ethics committee, a holding room where it will remain until either it, or he, goes away.
Those elders must be hoping to heaven that Mr. Weiner departs before the machinery of investigation is gassed up and rumbles toward the Internet Protocol addresses where he composed his epistles.
By some schools of thought, if he wrote these personal messages on government equipment, this could be seen as unethical behavior.
Still, ethics hardly seems the right discipline for this affair.
Psychiatry might help.
He spoke brazenly against Republican plans and icons, taking swings at people like Paul Ryan and Michele Bachmann.
Less than a month ago, he told a reporter for The New York Times that he knew that his own behavior was bound to be scrutinized.
In fact, conservative bloggers, led by an individual identified as @PatriotUSA76, were tracking his Twitter account so carefully that they sent warnings to women who were being followed online by Mr. Weiner to be wary of him.
Mr. Weiner was copied on those warnings.
Even so, knowing that he was being watched, he kept up his stream of lewd communications with strangers, people who identified themselves as women.
A longstanding political friend of Mr. Weiner and his wife, Huma Abedin, said on Tuesday that he was trying to come to grips with the congressman’s recklessness.
“If you look at the sin — is it public or is it private — it’s private,” said the friend, who did not want to be identified. “But you go beyond sin, this is mental illness. It’s strange.”
The friend said he worried about the toll on Mr. Weiner, who has worked only in politics as an adult. In 2000, Mr. Weiner’s eldest brother, facing financial pressure and struggling with alcohol, was killed by a car as he crossed a busy divided highway in Alexandria, Va.
Asked about the congressman’s emotional state, Mr. Weiner’s spokesman referred to his comments at the news conference on Monday, when the congressman, weeping, said that he could not explain his behavior, but that he intended to keep his seat in Congress.