Remember the good old days when a political sex scandal involved real investigative reporting, slightly racy headlines and an eventual resignation in shame?
The story would break on a Monday with three confirmed sources for each allegation in the well-written article. The photographs that would accompany the initial story usually were of a politician covering his face with a newspaper or hat and a stock publicity photo of a local D.C. stripper.
After ignoring the story for a day in hopes that it would simply go away, the politician would release a written statement for publication on Wednesday apologizing to his family for his tawdry indiscretions and promising to be a better man. The press release would then quote the politician asking for the forgiveness of his constituents and declaring that it was time to move forward and finish the important laundry list of chores that he had been sent to Washington to accomplish.
The story on Thursday was usually all about the stripper. She would tell all about how she had been seeing the politician on a regular basis since he first walked into her K Street strip club three years prior. The only lewd detail that would be reported was that he wasn’t a good tipper.
On Friday, public reaction would be overwhelming, and the shamed politician would call a press conference. With his wife, family and minister by his side, he would tearfully announce his resignation.
The next Monday, everything in D.C. would be back to as normal as things can be inside the Beltway.
A few months later the cycle would start again with a new politician and a fresh stripper.
Ah, the good old says. Wilbur Mills, we hardly knew ye.
Where have all the strippers gone?
The politician of the modern-era sex scandal is like the same stupid jerk of yesterday that has let power go to his head. He is the 40-year-old virgin who has sipped the aphrodisiac of power and believes that he can get away with anything.
Instead of approaching strippers and prostitutes, however, today’s Internet-savvy politician apparently approaches random women via social networking.
Okay, Eliot Spitzer (D-NY) used a prostitute, but she was hot enough that it eventually got Spitzer a cable news show. The tens of viewers who have actually watched the show understand why Spitzer had to pay for sex.
The current dilemma of Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) started with a photo and a tweet. One would think that the experiences of bare-chested Congressman Chris Lee (R-NY) looking for love in all the wrong places was sufficient warning to his colleagues on the Hill about shopping for love on the Internet.
Are there no strippers in New York? It appears that all these guys from New York can’t find strippers. I blame former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani (R-NY). If he hadn’t cleaned up Times Square, Spitzer, Weiner and Lee would have been able to just go to the city like normal politicians and laugh while reporters tried to find three confirmed sources that they were ever at a strip club.
Add your own wiener headline here
The Weinergate story has been followed up in television and print by childish sophomoric humor related to Rep. Weiner’s phallic name. In order to get cheap laughs, late-night talk show hosts have sunk to the lowest common denominator of penis jokes.
Craig Ferguson was happy for the scandal because he could “Google ‘wiener photos’ and not get fired.”
Like most Ferguson fans, I was appalled … that I didn’t think of that one first.
The real heroes of Weinergate are the men and women of journalism who write headlines. They have not had this much fun since Tricky Dick was in the White House. “Weiner in Hot Water” and “Weiner Allows Wiggle Room” are Pulitzer Prize-winning prose for someone who has spent years writing obituary banners.
It’s late in the week and Weinergate has changed the life cycle of D.C. sex scandals. In the old days, resignation would be just around the corner. Yet, for some unknown reason, Rep. Weiner himself has decided to go on the offensive with a series of politically disastrous interviews that have highlighted his inability to properly identify his wiener.
The whole story was funny on Monday, tawdry on Tuesday, raunchy on Wednesday … and now, like a re-broadcast of Eliot Spitzer’s greatest television moments, I’m just bored.
Rick Robinson is the author of political thrillers which can be purchased on Amazon and at book stores everywhere. His latest novel, Manifest Destiny, has won seven writing awards, including Best Fiction at the Paris Book Festival.