Rehab For All!

Rehab All Around! It turns out Rep. Anthony Weiner isn’t the only one entering rehab in the wake of his sexting-and-lying scandal. At least three other figures in the affair have followed his example and voluntarily entered 12-step recovery programs.

Markos Moulitsas, founder of the Daily Kos, said he would request a leave of absence from his popular group blog to learn what he called “partisan aggression management.” “Twice now–with John Edwards and Anthony Weiner–I’ve defended pretty obviously guilty Democrats by approving nasty arguments attacking their critics–arguments that turned out to be wrong. I thought I was fighting back, but I brought nothing but humiliation and disgrace to myself and my party.  The truth comes out eventually. I hadn’t taken that into account. I have departed this morning to seek professional treatment to focus on becoming a better blogger and healthier person.”

Only a few hours later, Daily Beast writer Howard Kurtz issued this statement:

“My name is Howard Kurtz, and I’m a hack. I produce lots of copy. I meet my deadlines. But I’m sloppy and jump at the first available thought that will get me over. After pooh-poohing the Weiner story because it came from those amateur right wing bloggers I jumped at the idea that an ethics investigation would buy Weiner time to save his seat–which if I’d thought for two more seconds I might have realized was wishful thinking. But I didn’t have two more seconds. I’ve got mouths to feed! This web stuff happens so fast anyway  I feel like I’m always just reacting. At this point I don’t see how I could get by without my substantial salary or the CNN show that made me famous, and as a result I instinctively say things that will please the media executives who pay me and the fellow journalistic professionals who all say I’m worth more! Is it possible that they only say those nice things because they want to be on my show? Are they dissing me behind my back? I need some time without distraction to think through these issues.”

Said a friend, behind Kurtz’s back, “He’s such a hack. It’s clear he needs professional intervention. I’m glad he is seeking it.”

Coming amid these rapid developments, the decision of legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin to go on hiatus at CNN was almost overlooked. Toobin appeared on his network early in the Weiner controversy to declare that it was just “a lighthearted story … a silly little thing that happened.” Observers noted that this wasn’t the first time Toobin had rationalized cheating:  His book , A Vast Conspiracy, had slimed reporter Michael Isikoff in the course of attempting to argue that, as Toobin said in an interview, President Clinton’s infidelity was a “completely bogus” story because a politician’s sex life “tells you absolutely nothing about their performance” in office.  Toobin’s friends say he began a painful reassessment when he read page 49 of his book–which attributes a “catastrophic” decision made by President Clinton to “the complex dynamics of the relationship between husband and wife”–and realized those complex dynamics can be affected by things like having sex with other people behind your spouse’s back. While in rehab, the New Yorker and CNN contributor is expected to work through these issues. He has apologized to Isikoff and others.

“We love Jeffrey and hope to have him back soon,” said a colleague.

[None of this really happened, right?-ed Right Lawyers wanted to make sure-ed.]

P.S.: Conflict of interest disclosures, which are almost always more interesting than the pieces themselves, can be found here and here and here.

P.P.S.: The “it’s only sex” Weiner defense and the “he’s seeking therapy for his illness” defense sit uncomfortably together, no? I think maybe you have to pick one or the other!

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  • helpmejeeebus

    There is very little as sad as conservative humor.

    • machiavelli

      Now liberal humor, is another thing altogether – it knows no bounds.

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  • machiavelli

    WIki informs on such “Self Criticism”:

    Under some totalitarian systems of communism, important party members who had fallen out of favour with the political elite were sometimes forced to undergo “self-criticism” sessions, producing either written or verbal statements detailing how they had been ideologically mistaken, and affirming their new belief in the party line. Self-criticism, however, did not guarantee political rehabilitation, and often offenders were still expelled from the Party, or in some cases even executed.
    In the Soviet Union, self-criticism was known as samokritika. in People’s Republic of Poland, it was samokrytyka.
    In the People’s Republic of China, self-criticism, called jiǎntǎo (检讨) in Chinese, is an important part of Maoist practice.

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  • Martin Hale

    Does anyone realistically believe that a trip through rehab (usually administered in short doses not exceeding a month) will alter a life-long pattern of behaviour? Anyone? The three people mentioned are all acting from a long-held pattern of behaviour which have developed over years, if not decades. Now a month (or less) in rehab is going to change all that?

    And just for the record, was a licensed psychologist and I used to run a residential treatment programme for substance abusers. I’m honest enough to acknowledge that our long term success rate was woefully small, especially when recidivism was taken into account. The chances of Mr. Moulitsas, Mr. Kurtz or Mr. Toobin making significant progress toward actually keeping an open mind while writing are somewhere between slim and none.

    Enjoy your vacations, gents – hope the centres you visit have good food.

  • SilberStreak

    Mickey: Why not hang your shingle as provider of twelve-step recovery programs for
    “unhealthy” Liberal bloggers. The market should be a big one.

    The first step on the path to recovery, of course, is acknowledging one’s illness:
    “My name is Markos, and I’m a Liberal blogger.”

    No patient will ever be quite cured, however; you just take it one day at a time.