The Weiner photos: would you dump him? Sack him?

Anthony Weiner and his wife Huma Abedin.

Weiner is as Weiner does, apparently.

American Democratic representative Anthony D. Weiner is facing calls for his resignation (and a stint in therapy) after he accidentally tweeted a picture of his crotch (not really safe for work) – that’s nice speak for ‘erect penis’ – to a woman who was not his pregnant wife.

Yet another case of powerful men and erroneous sex lives.

I’ll let that sink in for a second. Now, to be sure, he never meant to tweet it publicly. It was an errant message that was meant to be private. One click and this Member of Congress sent his member to everyone. And then lied about it. For days on end.

He tried to claim his account was hacked, even made a joke about whether his toaster would attack him next (it didn’t). He spoke about hiring lawyers to catch the dastardly hacker.

Then when the questions were asked, he confessed. Live.

The New York Times wrote this brilliant piece about the occasion:

“This man who for so long has played the perpetual juvenile, the jokester, became that rare sight, a politician making a clean breast of his lies — or some of his deceits anyway. The unspoken prospect was that far worse was about to be unleashed.

Give him this much credit: He did not lay off his recklessness on sexual, drug or alcohol addictions. He did not hide behind plans to check into an inpatient anything. And he had the good sense — or perhaps his wife made sure he did — to stand unaccompanied. “Everyone deserves an apology,” he said. “This was a very dumb thing to do.”

Who could argue with that?

Spending 27 minutes at the Sheraton New York Hotel talking about your propensity for sex virtual and telephonic with women of uncertain ages would seem to define an extinction-level event for a politician. Mr. Weiner says he is not resigning. “My constituents,” he said, “have to make a determination.” The State Legislature, charged with drawing new Congressional lines, just might decide that his district is not so necessary.”

And that’s kind of the focus now: how much should we demand of our politicians? Does it matter if Weiner wanted to pounce on some lady he was sexting on Facebook? Obviously it matters to his pregnant wife, but is fidelity a pre-requisite for public office?

Transcripts of his online chats (very, very X-rated but condensed in a more safe for work format here) later emerged.

Weiner’s wife, Huma Abedin

It may not be the morality offence itself but the lies told afterward that make people uneasy. An unpalatable truth, so long as it is the truth, is certainly looked upon more favourably in Australia.

There are those, too, who just don’t want ‘someone who puts their dick on the Internet representing me’. Those, the eloquent words of one protestor in the Weiner affair.

Would we tolerate it here? Would we care? America, by dent of sheer numbers, has plenty of precedent to call upon. New York Governor Eliot Spitzer resigned after his penchant for prostitutes was revealed (he’s now an anchor on CNN). Bill Clinton was spared after ‘that’ blue dress and ‘sexual relations’ incident with Monica Lewinsky. Senator David Vitter, a family-values elected Republican, was also spared the sack after he booked several prostitutes. We’ll never know with Arnold Schwarzenegger because his term as Governor came to an end as his affair was made public.

Think about last year’s gotcha piece on NSW Labor Minister David Campbell. Transport Minister, husband, father…frequenter of gay sex venues. Does it matter? Was it the gay sex or use of the Ministerial car to get there? He offered his resignation.

Is there a rule here? Should we hold our politicians to a higher standard, or do their ‘extra curricular’ activities have nothing to do with the job? What if you were in that position?