You can call embroiled Congressman Anthony Weiner a lot of things, but at least you can't call him a hypocrite.
New York Congressman Anthony Weiner admitted Monday to participating in a series of inappropriate internet relationships over the past three years. In that time, the outspoken leftist and potential New York mayoral candidate flirted via Facebook and Twitter with six different women, none of whom was his wife. He even sent at least one young lady a photo of his erect penis. In his guilty press conference, Weiner said he took responsibility for his behavior, but he also said he wouldn't step down.
You can term Weiner's digital dalliances a lot of things. He himself said it was "dumb" and "destructive," while Washington Times editor Emily Miller said it evidenced "low character." Andrew Breitbart, the right-wing pundit who obtained and then released the Weiner photos, even said he expects an apology from Weiner, as Wiener initially accused him of being in cahoots with hackers. Honestly, all of those reactions seem fair—one might even add that Weiner is clearly a liar (and a worse one than most politicians). What you can't call Weiner, however, is a hypocrite.
If you look at Weiner's eight terms in office, not a single one has been bolstered by his commitment to "family values." If anything, Weiner has made it his modus operandi to destroy pieces of legislation that would infringe on people's civil rights, especially when it comes to issues of sexual orientation and gender. NARAL Pro-Choice America gave Weiner a 100 percent rating for his reproductive rights voting in 2006. He's also voted no on a bill to ban gay adoptions and a constitutional amendment that would have banned same-sex marriage. For more than a decade, in fact, Weiner has said that LGBT people should have the right to get married outright, a stance he says he says is "noncontroversial" in his mind.
Compare Weiner's legislative decisions to that of Senator David Vitter, who once equated gay marriage to natural disasters after he himself had visited numerous prostitutes. Or former Senator Larry Craig, who chastised the philandering Bill Clinton as being "a nasty, bad, naughty boy" but was later arrested for trying to have gay sex in an airport bathroom. If you try to legislate morality, you should probably be squeaky clean in your own affairs. If not, you're not just lying to the public, as Weiner did, you're also lying to yourself. You're holding yourself to one standard while trying to pass laws that would hold the rest of the country to another. That's much more dangerous than a legislator trying to cover up a sleazy Twitter exchange.
For whatever reason, it's commonly accepted in America that our politicians lie to us constantly. Few, however, are caught lying in a way as direct as Weiner was. If Weiner should step down for anything, it should be for his duplicity. What he shouldn't resign over is sending raunchy pictures of himself to other consenting adults on his own time. Weiner has long had the good sense to stay out of America's bedrooms; it's time for America to stay out of his.