South of Boston, there’s clearly something different in the dirty water of Washington, D.C. Many cynics would generalize that no politician is immune to these dirty political waters, male and female alike. When it comes to the personal morals of politicians, there is plenty of talk about Weiner’s wiener, Spitzer’s sluts, Clinton’s intern, Edward’s extracurricular activities and Sanford’s South American sexcapades. As Larry Craig might say, working in Washington can be a toe-tapping good time if you don’t get caught.
The only women who seem to be involved in these affairs, other than the unending parade of congressional concubines, of course, are the wives standing loyally by their husbands’ sides with stoic glares during the obligatory press conferences. This was true until recently when former Rep. Anthony Weiner’s wife drew a line in the sand and refused to cross it. But as for America’s legislative ladies, there aren’t any tweets or texts with photos of Bachmann’s boobs or evidence of Pelosi’s extramarital flings with young Senate interns making headlines. Politics might have the reputation as a dirty business, but it would appear that only the congressmen are drinking the water.
As the male players in the political arena steadily file off to treatment centers (although I wasn’t aware that being a sleaze ball is a treatable medical condition until Mr. Weiner), the women are left to hold down the fort. As Bubba played naughty secretary games under his desk, it’s entirely possible that he purposefully kept Hillary busy with the task of conjuring the Harry Potter magic of universal health care. Then she forgave him and after that she drank the dirty political waters, liked the taste of them and jumped in. Love that dirty water.
Women forgive, men make excuses and voters roll their eyes but return to the ballot box to elect a “suitable replacement” for the banished sleaze ball. Recently, Nancy Pelosi forgave Rep. Weiner as quickly as Obama laid blame on the Cambridge police officer before actually gathering the facts. But once she had the facts, and the photos, Mrs. Pelosi did an about face and told Weiner and his wienie to hit the road. Congressman Charlie Rangel, however, put “bros before hoes,” and defended Mr. Weiner saying that at least he “wasn’t going out with prostitutes … or little boys.” Great – so we’re saying that male politicians are slightly more pious than catholic priests. Voters in Weiner’s district will now be tasked with finding a replacement wiener, because the “distraction” he created would make it impossible for him to do his job.
There are a lot of boring jobs out there. Procrastination, social media and computer solitaire would not exist without them. I’m sure many of us would enjoy setting off fireworks at our desks and then saying, “I’m sorry, but the distraction I’ve created will make it impossible for me to do my job so I’m going to treatment now to find out why I did this.” And I don’t think Charlie Rangel would suddenly drop by to defend our actions. In Washington, Weiner’s distraction is called a salacious front page scandal worthy of hours and hours of press coverage. In the real world it’s called adultery, immoral and a crappy choice no matter who you are.
Is it possible that they want to get caught? Has the dirty water of Washington inflated their sense of self-importance so much that they see this as a show of vulnerability, a connection to “the common man”? As many of their votes continue to pierce America’s resilient armor, perhaps they see these personal admissions of imperfection as an excuse of sorts: “It’s not my fault I accidentally bankrupted the country – look at how flawed I am!”
Nevertheless, if bad morals are embedded in the dirty waters of Washington, D.C., then so far it looks like the women are drinking out of a different bottle.
Christine Whitmarsh is the owner of local writing firm Christine, Ink. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.