Anthony Weiner Is No Bill Clinton ... or David Vitter

Republicans are happy to forgive and forget about sex scandals, unless you're a Democrat.

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Sen. David Vitter, R-La., walks to an unusual closed session in the Old Senate Chamber on Capitol Hill in Washington Monday, Dec. 20, 2010.

Republicans, the party of forgiveness ... unless you're a Democrat.

Anthony Weiner ain't no Bill Clinton, although many Republicans consider them one and the same, which is why many on the right are perplexed about Weiner's popularity rapidly dropping in the polls this week in his bid to become mayor of New York. Democrats have pulled their support from him and, so it would seem, have the Clintons.

Weiner's problem isn't that Democrats can't be forgiving. Weiner's problem is that he continued his inappropriate behavior after stepping down from Congress. The Weiners like to compare themselves to the Clintons, but the situations are not the same, though many of my Republican friends love the comparison. Let me break it down as to why the situations are quite different:

[See a collection of political cartoons on the Republican Party.]

  • Weiner isn't, nor ever will be, president. Weiner was a congressman, and not a popular one. Bill Clinton was a popular president, the economy was good and we were at peace. In other words, Bill Clinton was doing his job, despite his behavior, and a good job at that. Weiner on the other hand, it could be argued was distracted by his…umm…hobby.
    • Hilary wasn't pregnant. As a woman, I think it was even more reprehensible to many of us ladies that Anthony Weiner was having cybersex, if you will, while his wife was pregnant with his child.
      • Weiner's marriage was new. Hilary and Bill have been together a lifetime. Hilary had already suffered through Bill's indiscretions. She had forgiven him and decided long ago to stand by her man. Although I am sure this was quite painful for her, she was used to forgiving him, and I am sure his behavior was not shocking to her as it was a pattern of behavior.
        • The "affair" of Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky was behind closed doors, albeit those doors were that of the oval office. They were not out for the public to see. On the other hand, Weiner's penchant for taking photos of his own body parts is, well….a bit perverted. And putting it out there, online for all the world to see, makes it public and a public embarrassment for his wife as well.
        • [Weigh in: Should Anthony Weiner Still Run for Mayor?]

          I also find it odd that Republicans couldn’t wrap their heads around Democrats forgiving Bill Clinton, and for a time, Anthony Weiner. Isn’t David Vitter still in his political seat after soliciting a prostitute? Not only engaging in adultery, but breaking the law? And how about Mark Sanford? A guy who lied not only to his wife and kids, but to his state when he fled to South America to see his mistress?

          So when Anthony Weiner stepped down and, at first, New Yorkers forgave him and gave him a chance, why were Republicans so harsh to judge when their own "sinners" had been forgiven? And what about Eliot Spitzer, who did the same thing as David Vitter, but had the decency to step down, get help, work on his marriage and come back, perhaps soon to be a winner again? 

          It's obvious. You can hire prostitutes, play footsies with guys under a bathroom stall, run off from your post, commit adultery and use tax dollars to fly to South America to visit your mistress, and it will be forgiven ... unless, you're a Democrat.

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