Let’s do the accountability game:
One man shot another guy in the face.
One man slept with a prostitute.
One man was found with tens of thousands of dollars frozen in his freezer.
One guy likes to send pictures of himself to people who want to see pictures of him.
Only one is under serious pressure to resign!
Now, you can’t call this a party thing—there’s one Democrat (“Dollar Bill” Jefferson) and two Republicans. And you can’t call it a sex thing only (I mean, Vitter slept with a prostitute). So what explains the derision for Weiner and the survival for Mssrs. Cheney, Vitter, and Jefferson (well, the latter survived the elites and was finally ousted by the voters…three years after it became clear Jefferson was absurdly corrupt)? I’m not sure there’s a perfect answer, but if I had to guess, the titillation here is that Weiner had the misfortune to be into a modern form of sex. If Weiner slept with a secretary, probably no big deal—because sleeping with the secretary is an ordinary kind of a sin. At least part of the derision behind the Weiner thing is that a large proportion of people believe it’s utterly asinine to be sending pictures of your private parts over the internet (though it’s difficult to tell what proportion of the aforementioned large proportion enjoy looking at pictures of private parts on the internet). But that just explains the “titillation” part—it’s a leap to resignation, isn’t it? Maybe it’s because they believe Weiner is such an idiot to be indulging this that there’s no way he can be effective. Of course, we have a pretty good idea whether or not Weiner is an effective representative, seeing as he’s been a representative for a few years now. His record is his record.
But that’s accountability in the U.S.