WASHINGTON D.C., May 3, 2013 — Former Congressman Anthony Weiner and Former Governor Mark Sanford are struggling to rebuild careers severely damaged by mismanaged sex scandals. It is clear, based on their situations and dozens of others that politicians need some help dealing with two very important subjects, the Internet and their creepy sexual choices.
Why? It is not to save careers or protect the Republic or even to advance political agendas. The American people are sick of hearing what these cheeky monkeys do with their free time and would like a break.
Many of our politicians came of age in the era of the rotary dial phone, so perhaps an explaination of the Internet is in order. The Internet is a place where people post semi-anonymous naked pictures of themselves for anyone to enjoy. It can also be used for other stuff like sharing pictures of your dinner, stealing classified information, pirating movies, and virtual farming, but mostly it is for nudity.
Politicians may be thinking, “That is outstanding, how can I get started?” They are right to be excited, but first things first.
Politicians need to understand that some of their more repressed constituents might respond negatively to unsolicited messages, which include pictures of their crotch (or “weiner” as the kids call it these days). The Internet might seem like a magical, anonymous place where politicians can finally let their pervy selves breathe free, but do not be fooled.
Whatever is done on the internet will eventually find its way onto the pages of the New York Times. This will not stop politicians from sending sexually explicit messages to underage staffers, but it requires you to make some plans for the future.
Regardless of your party affiliation, policy positions or the “substantive issues” law makers think people ought to be focusing their attention on, politicians will need to have a plan for what to do when, not if, those animals in the lamestream media notice what some politicians have been doing with their Twitter feed.
The good news is that this new era of electronic political sex scandals works just like the good old days when drunken politicians used to drown pretty girls after driving off a bridge. Do not let the fancy technical details dazzle you. Responding to your digital scandals requires the same political blocking and tackling you learned after that incident at the frat party.
Regardless of whether the scandal you are experiencing is the result of electronic fumbling or failure to pay off the gay masseuse/meth dealer, the politician’s response should be the same. The next time you are caught sending lewd emails, get arrested soliciting sex in a bathroom or find that the private stash of totally awesome self-crotch-portraits has been raided and shared on the Interwebs, stop for a moment to think before your next move.
In that moment, resist the overwhelming urge to lie. This goes against every political instinct, but this terribly embarrassing incident is the one time in a political career when it might actually pay to tell the truth.
Tell the whole truth. Tell it once. They should then kiss their miserable wife in front of the cameras and go home.
Compare these examples.
Democratic Congressman Barney Frank engaged in a years’ long relationship with a gay prostitute. Along the way he used his political position to help the guy deal with his criminal problems. Remember, this occurred decades before gay became the new black. Back then, homosexuality was more like the old black.
Career-ender, right? Wrong. Frank candidly admitted what he had done and convincingly denied what he had not. He went on to a long, powerful tenure on Capitol Hill.
And it works just as well for Republicans. Even if an official has built a career on half-sincere religious prudery, all is not lost when they’re caught at a brothel. Remember Sen. David Vitter’s career-ending scandal? Darn right you do not, because he handled it correctly.
He acknowledged the provable details in a written statement, stopped talking to the media, ignored the more disgusting details as they emerged, and waited for America’s collective attention deficit disorder to work its magic. And he continues to collect a federal paycheck as a Louisiana Senator.
If a politician looks into the camera, tells it straight and holds their ground, they can get away with anything in this country. Newt Gingrich cheated on his wives. He blamed it on America for being so unbelievably hot he could not stand it. And now he is a serious (well, serious Republican) political figure.
Compare that to John Ensign, the only honest to God Pentecostal and authentic Promise Keeper in the Senate. He got caught cheating on his wife. Yeah, that is all. No call girls or diapers or corpses. Easy, right?
Instead of using the Vitter Gambit like a pro, he tried to shut the matter up by arranging a political job for the woman’s angry husband and funneling business to him through his political donors. Then he paid the woman off with $96,000. Entirely unnecessary, not to mention expensive. Oh, and criminal.
Now instead of running for President he is looking at his retirement options, which include a shot at free federal room and board with unlimited homemade tattoos.
Do not be a Weiner. Even in the Internet Age, whatever a politician did cannot top Ted Kennedy. Do not bother lying and definitely do not spit out bizarre evasions in front of Rachel Maddow. If a the story makes sense and the details check out, the public will lose interest within a week or so regardless of how disgusting your actions might have been.
Politicians should swallow their pride, acknowledge what they did and decide what to do with their career. They should stay off the front page. Americans have more important things to be disgusted by.
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