Weiner’s progressive defenders blind themselves to the rightwing views that may now ensure his survival

Two quick points about the Anthony Weiner scandal. First, among heavy hitters in the progressive media, no one wants to point out that Weiner’s Israel-Palestine views put him in deep Likud territory, which on the American spectrum translates into an ethno-nationalism beyond the pale were it to involve any other ethnic group. Weiner is a “progressive” on health care and taxes and gay rights and myriad other issues—and on this salient point, a veritable David Duke. I was astonished to hear him in person debating Brian Baird late last winter. I had expected smooth Democratic Party style hasbara, and heard instead the kind of “my people are always right” belligerence that might come from a Milosevic backer. 

Is Israel-Palestine so insignificant an issue that it deserves no mention at all by Chris “Weiner is a mensch” Matthews? Josh Marshall has run a half- dozen pieces on the scandal without mentioning that the congressman holds views on Israel-Palestine seemingly diametrically opposed to Obama’s and his own. Hendrik Hertzberg opines on Weiner’s “steel”, “determination” and “dignity” and hopes he’ll rise soon from scandal’s muck. It’s almost inexplicable, especially from those like Hertzberg and Marshall who have shown plenty of insight into where Israel’s present course is leading, taking America with it. 

Though avoided by media progressives, the Israel connection is likely to weigh on how the scandal plays out.

Weiner is a vital, even exemplary, figure in the “Progressive Except Palestine” nexus: he’s a smart, energetic and highly regarded Congressman—the kind other pols look up to. Every politician in New York (governors included) would like to be mayor of New York City; Weiner looked like he was going to be.

This place in the PEP firmament may ensure, against heavy odds, Weiner’s political survival. Progressives are common enough but those in government who can play the double standard game at a high level are rare. Already one can see the Zionist right beginning to rally to him. Morton Klein of the of the pro-settlement ZOA calls Weiner “among the best” in his positions on Israel, and Orthodox Jewish voices have begun to contribute weighty phrases about Jewish values and forgiveness and atonement.  We should expect more of this in the days to come.

Though GOP House majority leader Eric Cantor asked for Weiner’s resignation, this was early and pro forma, and it wouldn’t surprise to see him press the point no further. Of all people, Cantor recognizes Weiner’s value in keeping the American Congress lined up foursquare behind a country that traduces the professed values of most of its members.

About Scott McConnell

Scott McConnell is a founding editor of the American Conservative. The former editorial page editor of The New York Post, he has written for Fortune, The New Criterion, National Review, Commentary and many other publications.
Posted in Israel/Palestine

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  1. Kathleen says:

    I think this is the best comment I have read so far about Weinergate. Over at Gleen Greenwalds blog at Salon
    “Exactly

    Just as during the Lewinsky non-scandal, there is a wave of sudden right wing hand-wringing and faux concern for women. He lied! His poor wife! We’re so violated! What will we tell the children?

    Here’s what you tell the freaking children: You tell them that these same faux moralists getting the vapors over an underwear crotch shot cheered on and defended vehemently the actions of an administration that was caught lying – in real time – in order to go to war with a country that posed no threat and had made no threat to the US, leaving hundreds of thousands dead, millions homeless, a nation destroyed, 4000 US service people dead, thousands more maimed for life, and taxpayers $3 trillion in debt.

    Tell them that these same people defended and cheered on an administration that outed a CIA operative and her entire front organization and who knows how many assets purely for political gain.

    Tell that that these same people got all up in arms about privacy when that administration got caught playing faux journalistic footsie with a male prostitute who had visited the White House 200 times on dubious “business” but cheered on the destruction of privacy rights and the 4th Amendment by this same administration.

    Tell them that morality isn’t about someone’s sexual peculiarities but about life and death matters, and that they shouldn’t be distracted from the latter by media hype about the former.
    —heller88 Read heller88′s other letters
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    My response to Heller 88
    “Hundreds of thousands are dead as a direct result of that “pack of lies” and we have to witness once again our media, congress spending hundreds of hours on Weiners weiner. Enough. Look at his lying statements about the I/P conflict. His dismissive attitude about the Goldstone Report. Pushing for the release of Jonathon Pollard.

    Pelosi taking “impeachment off the table” for the Bush administrations Iraq war lies that resulted in unnecessary and immoral death and destruction.

    This is what it takes our congress to get their justice juices flowing. Pathetic…and the whole world is watching”
    The joys of repressed voyeuristic titillation
    link to salon.com

    Glenn has a picture up of Chris Matthews on Weiners body. I have been encouraging Chris Matthews to have Glenn Greenwald on his program about different issues of importance. Glenn is always respectful and fact based. Would love to witness Matthews and Greenwald go a round or two. This issue would be a great start.

    Matthews keeps having Alex Wagner on a guest journalist. She nods her head to almost everything he says. On Chris Matthews Sunday show Chris asked a question about the New York Times and the future of national newspapers. Alex said something about doing the NYT;s cross word puzzle and how this will keep the bloody and complicit NYT around. How old was Alex Wagner when the NYT allowed Judy “I was fucking right” Miller to write up pages of lies about Iraq WMD intelligence?
    Matthews needs to start choosing some guest who can go a round or two with him instead of ass kissers who seem to know little about the history of the war in Iraq and who stuffed those lies down the throats of the majority of the American people

  2. Kathleen says:

    Bringing all of these points up and more over at Glenn Greenwalds and Hardball. Linking to Mondoweiss and elsewhere. The other issue no one is talking about in regard to Weiner is his pushing for the release of Jonathon Pollard. WTF….This need to be looked at and discussed when it comes to Weiner.

    Weiner is the Dem attack dog in Congress. He is ruthless when it comes to certain domestic issues. If he took that same approach in the I/P conflict based on facts..would be amazing

  3. Madrid says:

    Jesus Christ, how do I get out of this country? It’s so friggin f-ed up that one doesn’t even know where to begin…

    • Chu says:

      lead the way. I’ll follow…

      • Kathleen says:

        Been looking at land in Costa Rica. Headed into the late fall winter of life. I have done my time knocking my head against brick walls. Some fall down but would be nice to live in a country that does not export killing and suffering

        • Citizen says:

          Kathleen, maybe you should check out the long piece the St Petersburg Times in Florida did about a couple who bought land in Costa Rica to build a house, and get away from the USA mess–that was about a month ago.

        • MHughes976 says:

          I have family in Panama. I think Costa Rica is nicer but Panama is more interesting. The President, Ricardo Martinelli, has extremely close relations with Israel, which provides his personal security. The great game between China and Taiwan is being played in Panama quite vigorously. Definitely interesting.

  4. Kathleen says:

    There are going to be more photos released. My sense is this is the beginning of Weiners troubles not the end

  5. Nice post, Scott. While you may be right that Weiner is “smart,” both his sexual escapade and his amazing comments about Israel suggest he is downright mad.

    • GalenSword says:

      But will Weiner’s support of Israel trump both

      1) Weiner’s leftist politics as a reason for the right to drive Weiner from office and also

      2) Weiner’s apparent insanity for the left to attempt to replace him with someone that would be less of a threat to progressive programs.

  6. Weiner’s district in Brooklyn has a large population of Orthodox Jews who are closer to ZOA than to Aipac in their outlook. It’s not as if he represents Nevada or Nebraska or Wyoming.

    • Mooser says:

      You are remarkably prescient about the whole thing, “wondering”.
      I bet you are right, given their convictions, they won’t mind the Internet pictures at all. Or are you saying that Weiner was obliged by constituent pressure to send them?

      • My comment was regarding Weiner’s stand on I/P. I don’t know whether he will survive this scandal. There are no grounds for an ethics investigation. The next election is not scheduled for another 17 months. If he can take the ridicule for another few weeks I bet he can survive as a congressman.

        • Mooser says:

          “My comment was regarding Weiner’s stand on I/P.”

          No! Well, I’ll be! Funny how those little misunderstandings crop up.
          And funny, how you find misogyny and pathological mendacity so acceptable, or even endearing.

        • Mooser- Read Ezra Klein in today’s Washington Post. I agree with him completely.

        • Citizen says:

          So, WJ, you think that Ezra Klein’s article is the way to go on this incident? What exactly do you agree with in Ezara’s article? You don’t say. Wanna make a bet his wife will divorce him? Please tell us exactly what you affirm in Klein’s article in the WP. Thanks!

        • Citizen- I have no idea if Weiner’s wife will divorce him. I hope that Weiner toughs it out until the next election and if he does I predict he will be reelected. I think it should be up to his constituency. He didn’t break any law. He didn’t lie under oath. I don’t see that there’s any issue of ethics involved that should be investigated.

    • Citizen says:

      WJ, Nebraska and Wyoming, home of the cowboy & cowgirl, is every bit as vulneable to outside Israel First cash as any other state. It doesn’t matter if those state constituencies never even heard the word “jew” or “Israel.” You can’t get elected there without passing the AIPAC litmus test.

      • Citizen- Weiner was not elected by outside cash. He was elected by voters. There is a difference between objecting to the role cash plays in US politics and the role that voters with “bad attitudes” play in US politics.
        One can object to both, but they are two different matters.

        • Mooser says:

          Gosh, if I ever need an example to explain the Yiddish expression “a didactic and pretentious putz!” or the more obscure “giant pain in the tuchas” I’ll know right where to look. Thanks, “Wondering”

          Ah, Wondering, with advocates like you, I’m sure the Land of Zion will fulfill my every expectation. Oh crap, I should be more honest and say it’s already exceeded them.

        • Citizen says:

          I agree, WJ. I did not mean to imply or suggest that Weiner was not elected by his Israel First constituency. I just wanted to make it clear that in the cowboy states, AIPAC cash still is the decisive thing when it comes to foreign policy in the ME, even if there is only one voting jew there. That’s the result of horse trading; if you want good things to happen for the cowboys in your state, you better give good things to Israel.

        • Citizen says:

          Avi has said Weiner’s next spot, if he was pressured to resign, would be a spot on TV Cable news. I suggest it would be on MSNBC on another thread on MW. I forgot the name of who would be his cousin partner anchor. Here he is, Eliot Spitzer; they even look and act alike, all that energy for Israel First over their own birth country–and hey, don’t they look alike also physically? :link to mediaite.com

        • eGuard says:

          Wondering says: “Weiner was not elected by outside cash”. Well, his first election won was by spreading anonymus, racist flyers. So you say, they were out of his own pocket. btw, your country sucks too.

        • Mooser says:

          Well, well, well, I’ll be sure and put my money behind every political prediction made by “Wondering Jew”. Doesn’t look like Weiner will survive the night.

  7. Citizen says:

    Yeah, the American public will be given the line, if he keeps his seat, that just shows Americans know petty stuff when they see it (Democractic commenters) or that just shows how unfair and morally corrupt the Democrats and their flunkeys in the press are (Republican commenters). Nobody will mention what a gigantic outspoken Israel Firster Zionist creep Weiner is, the last thing in being progressive on that sole issue.

    • Chu says:

      He’s finished. They’re releasing a pic of his genitals. Time to resign buddy.

      • Kathleen says:

        Had heard some really bad pics were coming. Even though I think Weiner is a pathological liar when it comes to Israel Palestine, Goldstone Report deeply worrisome that he wants Jonathon Pollard released. I do think there is something really perverse that our congress, our media, the American public gets far more upset about this hogwash than the dead, injured, displaced in Iraq, dead American soldiers, 40,ooo injured, soldier suicides. Our nations priorities are spiritually and morally bankrupt

        • Woody Tanaka says:

          I confess that I have a hard time caring that it is kind of nonsense that is taking out this PEP-piece of trash, although I agree that it is a sign of the singular unseriousness of the USA.

  8. Abierno says:

    Anthony Weiner is a pathological liar and possibly a sociopath. A rereading
    his comments prior to admitting his involvement would suggests considerable inappropriate humor in his verbal play on words – all at the
    expense of his victim, Genette Cordova, whose privacy was seriously
    violated by his failure to immediately acknowlege his responsibility for
    the lewd pictures. At the end of the day one would wonder if this man
    is a closet misogynist ?

    • Abierno says:

      The additional salacious pictures tweeted by Representative Weiner
      - if posted by an individual with lessor power than a Congressional
      Representative – could well be considered the grooming behavior
      of a sexual predator, particularly the original picture sent to a
      political admirer with whom he had no sexting relationship. Inquiring
      minds would follow the path of his behavior and perhaps predict
      that what is known today about Rep Weiner’s sexual and risk taking
      behaviors would suggest that what is public knowledge at this time
      represents only the tip of the iceberg ( and one which is most probably
      being intensively excavated by Breitbart and company). At a time
      when this country is facing economic devestation, two disastrous wars
      and exceptional levels of political volatility, Anthony Weiner represents
      a vector that the Democratic party cannot afford.

      • Citizen says:

        Abierno, I don’t know about your comment’s conclusion. Weiner is a fesity fellow and goes out on a limb to say what Democrat leaders generally don’t voice in such an in-your-face-style. Those Democrat leaders may easily think they can take the flak from his association with them because he will compete most effectively against the Republican claim they are the best Israel Firsters, regardless of his seedy pastime and outright lies to the public, which can be broadcast anytime to instill doubt anything he says about anything. The two major parties always compete as to who is more of a staunch supporter of Israel First no matter the consequences. Weiner’s fierce Brooklyn Steets posturing and lying in behalf Israel’s whims is perceived as a winner when compared to the Newt Gingrich or Palin style of doing the same.

  9. seafoid says:

    A Mensch is a decent person. A Mensch wouldn’t drive a bulldozer at al Araqib nor provide political cover for the people who drive those bulldozers. Wiener is a Cossack.

  10. lysias says:

    This news makes it look as if Weiner is not going to survive long:

    Former DNC Chairman and Virginia Senate candidate Tim Kaine weighed in yesterday: “Lying is unforgivable. Lying publicly about something like this is unforgivable and he should resign,” he told a Virginia television station.

    So did another Democrat. “When you look at the situation, the more information that’s coming out I think quite frankly it’s better for him and his family if he did resign,” said Rep. Mike Michaud (D-ME).

    Politico’s Jonathan Allen reports that Rep. Anthony Wiener (D-NY) is on the verge of losing staff. “Democratic sources (say) that aides to the congressman are actively seeking employment in other offices, including one staffer who met with multiple people about finding a new job Tuesday and one who has been seeking another job since before the scandal became public. He’s known as a brute of a boss. As the Times reported last night, Weiner has been scrambling to keep members of the delegation and his donors from parting ways with him. Add his aides to the list of folks who are forced to make a decision.”

    Piling on, a study by OhMyGov, a digital analytics firm using a National Science Foundation grant, found that “the Congressman spent the majority of his tweeting time during the weekdays” and that “tweets were mostly sent from the Twitter website (64%) and from the Congressman’s Blackberry (33%).” They concluded: “What emerged is a clear pattern of Weiner tweeting casually during non-business hours and to young women.” OhMyGov story.

  11. Kathleen says:

    I am pushing Chris Matthews to have Glenn Greenwald on. (have pushed him to have Greenwald on about other issues) Would really like to witness these two go a round or two. Would really like to hear them discuss the relevance and importance of this Weinergate thing. Who knows Glenn might even tip toe into other Weiner lies, odd pushing (Jonathon Pollard release)
    Glenn has used an image of Chris Matthews superimposed on to Weiners body to describe his insights into our MSM’s obsession with these sorts of issues. Weinergate able to get their justice juices going more than false intelligence in the run up to Iraq.
    link to salon.com

    Anyone want to pile on?
    link to hardballblog.msnbc.msn.com

  12. Thank you Scott for an excellent essay.

  13. Chu says:

    I was at the debate and it was sad to actually allow a nut like Weiner to speak and blatantly lie. Of course the audience booed, but come on. I used to dislike him, hiding under chuck schumer’s wing at every god-damn press event, but after the debate he really made me sick.
    Well, it turns out he’s a stay at home (or office) pud-puller, who seems intent on seeking praise from online relationships. I feel sad for him looking the way he does, but he apparently is quite a stud when he focuses the camera on himself.

    This sick behavior will get him tossed out, and we have one less judeo-fascist to deal with in the coming decade. Mayor of New York! Yeah right.

    • Perversely, I suppose, I can see some advantages to keeping Weiner on for a while. If he stays it will be the Israel Lobby that saves him, and much of the public will get wind of that. Tying Weiner’s moral standards to the Lobby will be great for the Anti-Zionist Movement. Weiner provides lots of good negative exposure, as it were.

  14. Mooser says:

    This whole Weiner thing is very sobering. I am going to take a good long look at my “cc” list today.

    • Citizen says:

      Not to worry Mooser, most Americans don’t realize what you use your antlers for; Weiner is on record as saying he likes to make contact with shiksas because “Jewish girls” don’t respond to what he likes.

      • Mooser says:

        “you use your antlers for”

        Getting stuck in doorways, mostly, and ever since they put up that cell phone tower, I get terrible headaches. And they fall off, you know, once a year. And always at the most inopportune, embarrassing, moment.

      • Mooser says:

        “Jewish girls” don’t respond to what he likes.

        He had more success propositioning Jewish girls after somebody finally told him “Angels on Horseback” wasn’t a sex practice.

  15. bijou says:

    I think he is going down. There are too many photos, tweets, incriminating actions floating around out there in the world for him to save himself. I predict he does not survive politically, and once his wife senses he is going down, that she leaves as well. If she hasn’t already. This morning I read she is headed out to the Middle East (Libya). She is far too savvy, classy, and sophisticated to stick by a psycho like him.

  16. Avi says:

    The more important question is: Will his TV show get the morning or evening time slot?

    • Citizen says:

      Yeah, Avi, I saw someone on FOX say Weiner is a sure thing on MSNBC, maybe on the same show as Whatshisname, who pursued SEC violations but got caught paying off prostitutes–those two think alike about Israel and they even look like they could be brothers.

      • Keith says:

        BIJOU, AVI, CITIZEN- “There are too many photos, tweets, incriminating actions floating around out there….”

        With great exposure like that, I figure he’s a shoo-in for the fall line-up of Dancing With The Stars. I know I’ll be watching.

        • Citizen says:

          Oh yeah, Kieth why not? This is America today, omitting old honest guys like Ron Paul and Kucinich?

        • Kathleen says:

          Life is cruel especially when you screw yourself. If other photos do not come out if I were him I would hunker down and ride it out.

          Pelosi “taking impeachment off the table” for the Bush administration for their lies, the death and destruction in Iraq..now that is a serious crime

  17. lysias says:

    Now a member of the Dem House leadership has joined the calls for Weiner to resign: The Hill: Top Dem calls for Weiner to resign:

    One of the Democrats’ top campaign lieutenants has called on Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) to resign.

    Rep. Allyson Schwartz (D-Pa.), the head of recruiting at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, said Weiner’s “offensive” behavior makes him unfit to remain in office.

    “Having the respect of your constituents is fundamental for a member of Congress. In light of Anthony Weiner’s offensive behavior online, he should resign,” she said in a statement Wednesday.

    Considering her position, what she’s in effect saying is that Weiner will make it harder for her to recruit candidates for House races.

    I.e., Weiner is hurting his party.

  18. AJM says:

    I think its mildly disgusting the support he is getting. In the street, this sort of thing is called flashing, and to a young women half his age. The sheer gall of thinking he can get away with it, a la Spitzer, shows he is a psychopath like most politicians, especially the kind that sell their soul to AIPAC.

    A non-aligned WASP would be out on his/her ear faster than you can say Twitter

    • Kathleen says:

      Hey Spitzer has his own show where he can repeat lies about Israel and Iran. What a come back

    • GuiltyFeat says:

      “A non-aligned WASP would be out on his/her ear faster than you can say Twitter.”

      That’s an absurd claim that is both unprovable and racist.

      • AJM says:

        Maybe, but there is one precedent – Chris Lee (R NY) – much milder shirtless photograph. Although, surprise surprise, he was just as ‘aligned’ as the rest of his colleagues – “I appreciated the opportunity to meet with members from the Orthodox Union and discuss a number of important issues facing Israel and persons of Jewish faith, including our shared desire to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran.” Didn’t save him. Maybe it was because his stomping ground was Craiglist (eew) not Twitter – increasing the seediness. His apology sounds familiar: “I regret the harm that my actions have caused my family, my staff and my constituents…. I have made profound mistakes and I promise to work as hard as I can to seek their forgiveness”. And talking of apologies, I think I should follow these fine mens example – I sincerely apologise for being a racist, I hadn’t realised until now, but isn’t everyone – even just a little bit.

    • Citizen says:

      I’m thinking he looks at the seedy activity of people like Charlie Rangel and Barney Frank, and thinks that similarly, they keep getting reelected by their particular respective constituency. So he will take his chance and hang in there, with only the hope of being elected mayor really dashed. If nobody unearths clearly illegal conduct, merely engaging in conduct unbecoming his office is not likely to bring him down. Everybody can review the videos where he was on national TV lying constantly with a sincere face, but I’m guessing his particular constituency, as with Rangel and Frank, will say to themselves he’s totally on their side on issues that really count and oh, well all politicians lie all the time that’s the nature of the beast. Sort of like everyone has their own line in the sand as to what’s “only a little white lie.”

  19. Kathleen says:

    “Josh Marshall has run a half- dozen pieces on the scandal without mentioning that the congressman holds views on Israel-Palestine seemingly diametrically opposed to Obama’s and his own. Hendrik Hertzberg opines on Weiner’s “steel”, “determination” and “dignity” and hopes he’ll rise soon from scandal’s muck. ”

    Chris Matthews has Josh Marshall on quite often. Too bad these bloggers are not going a bit deeper with Weiner’s lies

    uh oh
    Anthony Weiner Wife Pregnant: Huma Abedin Expecting (Report)
    link to huffingtonpost.com

  20. Mooser says:

    Just finished going over the comment thread at on Weiner at Talking Points Memo

    Not one mention of Weiner’s stance on Israel, just loads of people praising the harmlessness of penis-picture sending, and Weiner’s “progressivism”.

    Me, I don’t hold with dick-pics. In fact, I will not even approach the computer until I am fully dressed. Pajama blogging is the first step.

    • Citizen says:

      You might like this comment from somebody on Glen Beck’s web site:

      “so if I go down to the local park and open my raincoat and expose my junk to a young woman – I go to jail.

      But if I expose my junk to a young woman on a computer screen – I get another term in congress?????”

  21. Kathleen says:

    Former Governor Ed Rendell said Weiner needed to go. Even after saying that Weiner has “unabashedly” stood up for health care, the working class. And I sure agree with this. This is tough to watch Weiner self destruct. When killers in the Bush administration walked.

  22. Donald says:

    I don’t see why Wiener’s fanatical support for Israel would help him that much, because fanatical supporters for Israel are a dime a dozen (or whatever the current price is for a politician. Ask AIPAC.) This is especially true in NY. I mean, whoever replaces Wiener (if he resigns after all) is very likely going to take the same idiotic positions that he took. I’d be surprised if the Lobby goes way out on a limb conspicuously supporting this idiot who is a laughingstock in the country right now.

    There could easily be political subtleties I’m overlooking, but if I were a member of AIPAC I’d cut this guy loose and find another hack who can keep his private parts off the internet.

    • Citizen says:

      You may be right Donald. After all, Weiner replaced Shmucky (“He’s innocent!”) Schumer, and was about ready to do it as mayor too–one AIPAC size fits all contenders in the region.

    • Chu says:

      Well, I think because he is a Jewish pro-Zionist, many in his camp want to see him stay. Because he is Jewish and Zionist, he holds more weight to AIPAC and the networks. Look at how many news organizations have generally supported him. Only yesterday a poll said 50% of New Yorkers still support him (but didn’t say that it’s likely they’re Republicans who want to see this clown remain.)Some of the NYT online comments are saying ‘what’s the big deal’, etc. It’s funny how if were Gingrich, or a type like that, we’d hear no end to it.

      If he doesn’t leave, he’ll damage his (faux liberal) democratic party, as he is one of the greatest phonies when it comes to universal liberal values as we’ve witnessed when discussing Israel’s occupation. I am glad to see this uber-zionist go, by hook or crook.

      I dont even see Hophmi defending him. That’s a bad sign. But this last genital pic is the last nail in the coffin for him. Can you even imagine if this behavior is tolerated? How corrupted the parties will be thereafter allowing this pervent to remain as a ethical representative. It’s a scary thought to imagine him remaining in his seat on many levels.