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Ron Hart Columns: Wiener hangs over Obama, makes him uncomfortable

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Wiener hangs over Obama, makes him uncomfortable

September 23, 2011 - Colusa County Sun Herald

By Ron Hart

Democrats scrambled to fill the House seat vacated when DNC darling and photo heartthrob Anthony Weiner resigned in disgrace. Until his online entanglements became public, the pugnacious pit bull had held this reliably Democratic seat, representing liberal Queens, Brooklyn and Flatbush, since 1998. Weiner loved his district so much that he titled one of his elegant nude self-portrait photo shots simply "Flatbush."

Just to remind you of how the scandal (or, as we op-ed humor writers called it, the "Golden Age") played out, Weiner was the media go-to attack dog for the DNC. He and the enchanting, demure Debra Wasserman-Schultz were the media faces of the Democrats on most issues. Often, when the humidity was too high in Miami and the TV cameras could not get a wide shot of Wasserman-Schultz's hair, Weiner would be the media's next choice.

But he loved cameras, especially cellphone cameras, entirely too much. In his spare time he enjoyed shoving his cellphone down his pants and taking pictures. Then - and here is where it gets weird - he would send them to random women online.

Weiner sent pictures of his to a stripper, a single mother, and a blackjack dealer - or as they call it in Queens, the circle of life. As we know, the circle of life for a politician is: up-and-comer, elected official, disgraced politician, and finally "Dancing with the Stars" contestant.

At first Weiner said he had been hacked and did not send the pictures, but he but was going to look into it and get back to us with his findings. Borrowing a bit from his mentor, Bill Clinton, Weiner's defense was "I did not have text-ual relations with that woman." Then the most annoying thing a politician can experience happened: the truth came out.

In fairness to Weiner, this could have been a misunderstanding. He was told during his briefing as a freshman House member that congressmen could mail their packages to people for free.

In the wake of revelations about John Edwards, Larry Craig and Al Gore, Weiner's misdemeanors seem par for the course. Pretty soon, the Internet will be on pace to send more powerful men to rehab than alcohol abuse. I am convinced Facebook and other sites were developed in a joint venture by TMZ, "Entertainment Tonight," Gloria Allred and divorce lawyers.

Between the Internet and the proliferation of cellphone cameras, we will probably never have another statue of a politician erected in Washington, D.C. This could actually be a good thing; Washington needs fewer erections.

Democrat historians or, better put, "historians," are glad that Bill Clinton did not have a cellphone in Arkansas back in the day.

Dems vowed to retain this important seat (after they Lysol-ed it off and had it tested by the CDC), and why not? The way they viewed it, the seat had been "theirs" since 1923.

So New York Dems hunkered down and interviewed potential candidates to run for the disgraced Weiner's seat. They asked the tough questions they should have asked of Anthony Weiner: "Where do you stand on immigration and the deficit?" and "Do you know the subtle difference between the 'reply' and 'reply all' buttons?".

The Democratic political machine decided on a former banking regulator, David Weprin. The Dems do love their regulators.

Then another inconvenient truth happened. A novice GOP candidate with a dynamic name, Bob Turner, beat the Democrat candidate for Weiner's seat. Dems outnumber Republicans by 3-to-1 in that district and they spent much more money, yet they lost.

While they said it was "not a referendum on Obama," the Democrats did bring out their big guns to defend this seat. They even had Bill Clinton doing robo-phone dialing or Weprin to homes in the district. The only problem with Bill Clinton calling people is that he only has a 50 percent hit ratio; he instinctively hangs up if a man answers the phone.

Democrat stalwart and "Crypt Keeper" stand-in James Carville tried to rally the Democrats in the wake of losing both the new York 9th seat and an open seat in Nevada. He said the Democrats should "hunker down," comparing their plight to that of the noble defenders of Stalingrad during World War II. But here's another inconvenient truth: Stalingrad is where the Soviet Union Communists defended their empire. Perfect.

2011 Benjamin Franklin Award Winner!

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Columns by Ronald Hart. Ron grew up in Tennessee and began writing a column for his hometown paper in 2002. He attended The University of Memphis and the Institute for Political and Economic Systems at Georgetown University. Ron graduated Magna Cum Laude and was elected student government president. Upon getting his MBA, he went to work for Goldman Sachs. He was appointed to the Tennessee Board of Regents by then Governor Lamar Alexander and is now a private investor. He appears on CNN and has been quoted in numerous publications including the Wall Street Journal. His columns reflect a rare combination of Southern libertarian views and humor. They have been described as "Lewis Grizzard meets P.J. O'Rourke with a dash of Will Roger's horse sense". His columns are carried by 30 newspapers with a total weekly circulation of approximately 1 million readers.