When Good Judgment Is No Longer Required of a Politician

Kate Flora here. Normally, I don’t like to have conversations about politics. But as my birthday approaches and I continue my unarrested slide into old fogey status, I am musing today about Anthony Weiner, and those New York voters who say that his ridiculous and embarrassing behavior won’t affect their decision to vote for him. Here’s what I am wondering: WHAT ON EARTH ARE THEY THINKING?

Since when did character and judgment stop being something we expect of the people who are going to be our leaders? Who are going to be responsible for the financial safety of a major city? Since when did we stop expecting our leaders to be role models, or at least demonstrate that they possess self-control  control and some measure of judgment and dignity?

Evidently, things have changed a lot since I dressed up as Margaret Chase Smith for a high school debate. But I would ask the people who say this is simply a private matter between Weiner and his wife whether they would hire someone like Anthony Weiner. Here’s a man who lost his last job because of misbehavior. Who was reportedly a very difficult congressional peer, veering between lecturing and yelling at his colleagues. Not the best demeanor for a successful workplace environment.

Then there is the matter of inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace, because when else is Mr. Weiner going to be snapping photos of his wiener and sending them to his sex chat honeys? Probably not while he’s at home with his wife and baby boy. “Sexting” is a cute little word that suggests innocuous behavior between consenting adults. And Richard Kim, on The Nation blog, poses the question: should the mere existence of an X-rated selfie disqualify one from public office? (Read more: In Defense of Carlos Danger | The Nation http://www.thenation.com/blog/175418/defense-carlos-danger#ixzz2aBCEeyvD) But if his repeated incidents of such behavior are any clue, there’s a problem of narcissism and possibly of some form of sex addiction. Not exactly a good combination to have in an employee, ask anyone in any corporate HR department. In the private sector, Mr. Weiner, or Carlos Danger as he likes to be known, would be a lawsuit waiting to happen. A high-risk person to consider making an employee, especially if those photos featured on The Dirty website are sent out over a business phone. Why should we not anticipate that the same issues would arise in the public arena? Over a phone that we pay for? And public officials are all of our employees. Shouldn’t the people of New York City have more respect for themselves?

Of course, those of us here in Maine have had some experience with a temper-challenged, foot-in-mouth, ungovernably vulgar political leader, and we can tell you that it’s not a one time problem. Most recently, Governor Paul LePage said this about another politician:

“Sen. Jackson claims to be for the people, but he’s the first one to give it to the people without providing Vaseline.”

Our governor has told the NAACP to “kiss my butt,” called the IRS “the new Gestapo” and urged Maine schoolchildren that if they want a good education, they should go to private school. We may not have a sex scandal, but we have a politician with such questionable judgment and such a trenchant, truculent personality that he’s inspired a Facebook page: Mainers Embarrassed by LePage.

If New Yorkers don’t wait to waive (sp) their Weiner, they might as well start their own embarrassment page right now.

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7 Responses to When Good Judgment Is No Longer Required of a Politician

  1. Gram says:

    Well put. There are too many out there that you would not invite to your family picnic. Dee

  2. John Clark says:

    People who continue to support idiots like Weiner and LePage are pretty near impossible to reason with. I recently decided to stop writing a political column that had a liberal slant because it was like yelling in the wilderness…sans echo.

  3. Well put, Kate. And congratulations for “speaking” up. I know authors are reluctant to participate in political debate for fear of damaging their livelihoods, and I appreciate that concern. But remember, we the people cannot legitimately complain about the quality of the politicians dumped on us when we do not participate beyond casting an occasional vote. We must speak out. Who better than writers who have spent their lives dealing with words, their nuances, their power to influence others? Who better to point out the inconsistencies, the lies and the impotent sound bites? So, thank you for your writings, your books and your concern.

  4. Barb Ross says:

    I keep thinking

    –most compulsive behavior accelerates with stress
    –being the mayor of the largest city in America has got to come packed with stress
    –therefore, what will he do next?

    I can’t imagine.

  5. Mary Anne Sullivan says:

    Thanks for speaking up. Both men are an embarrassment. Hopefully, Mr LePage will be sent home the next election and Mr Weiner will quickly be defeated and become a forgotten “also ran” politician. Yes, we used to require good character from those we elected to public office and we also required them to be qualified for the job. But not any more, it seems.

  6. Suzanne McGuffey says:

    Excellent and brave post. I can’t say the American people have ever actually required good moral conduct from their leaders, but heretofore we have required good common sense and the good manners to keep your privates… well, private. As to LePage, he seems to me to embody the branch of the Republican party to which he adheres. One cannot be surprised that a group whose core beliefs refute science and the fruits of education should choose a leader whose manner is uncouth and whose reasoning lacks fundamental knowledge. (This can’t hurt my sales — I’m not published yet! 😉 )

  7. Lil Gluckstern says:

    As an “older person,” I find that this culture has become something really frightening. Why would we tolerate such a person to run a huge city and represent what that city stands for. Either he feels so entitled that he can so what ever he wants, or heeds help managing an addiction that is not so easy to cure. As for your Governor, I have lost respect for too many folks in high places who think they are above it all. After all, I live in California which had The Arnold to tolerate, and he didn’t play fair in his marriage to a Kennedy. I won’t even talk about the Congress. This is hard to watch.

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