Anthony Weiner and the Politics of Sexual Misbehavior


Let me begin with a broad observation. When Republican politicians are caught up in sexual scandals, the emphasis in the resulting commentary is typically on their hypocrisy. In contrast, when Democrats are caught up in such scandals, the emphasis is usually on the salaciousness of their behavior. This may seem like a distinction without a difference, but I think that it may help to explain why some Republicans and some Democrats survive sexual scandals while others are ruined by such scandals. Moreover, it may explain why the Republican efforts to conflate the sexual scandals involving Bob Filner, Eliot Spitzer, and Anthony Weiner are unlikely to gain any traction beyond the Far Right echosphere—why they are unlikely to gain the Republicans any traction with voters beyond those who would vote Republican if the party’s national ticket paired Dionysus and Priapus.

Of the three sexual scandals, Bob Filner’s is clearly the most…

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About martinkich

I am a Professor of English at Wright State University's Lake Campus, where I have been a faculty member for more than 25 years. I have now served multiple terms as the President of the WSU chapter of AAUP, which now includes all full-time instructional faculty, and as the Vice-President of the Ohio Conference of AAUP. I have also served several terms as an at-large member of the Executive Committee of AAUP's Collective Bargaining Congress. In addition to serving as co-editor of the Academe blog, I am also a member of the editorial board of Academe and have been a guest editor for an issue of the magazine on collective bargaining strategies. As co-chair of the Ohio Conference's Communication Committee, I began to do much more overtly political writing during the campaign to repeal Ohio's Senate Bill 5, which would have eliminated the right of faculty to be unionized. I have sustained that activism, and at the risk of stating the obvious, I have very much enjoyed contributing to the Academe Blog and to our chapter blog. I also maintain several other blogs to which I have re-posted, by topic, my posts to the Academe blog, as well as some other items.

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