So, okay, to the discerning Clash fan this may be obvious, but if you’re not familiar with the song … let’s just say it’s my little tribute to (now former) Rep. Anthony Weiner:
“Protex Blue”, sung by Mick Jones, is about a 1970s brand of condom. The song ends with the shouted phrase “Johnny Johnny!”, “Johnny” being a British slang term for a condom.
Because maybe if Rep. Weiner did a better job of, um, protecting himself, he wouldn’t be former Rep. Weiner today. Sigh. And as much as I hate to quote the mealy-mouthed New York Times editorial page these days (still waiting on an apology for those above-the-fold lies about WMD and all that), there’s some substance to this:
There is no excuse for Mr. Weiner’s behavior, but it is worth noting the cynical way lawmakers from both houses and both parties piled on to demand his resignation. There were reports before Thursday that the Democrats might deprive him of his committee assignments in hopes of pushing him out of the House altogether.
Senator David Vitter was not pressured by fellow Republicans to resign after he was identified as a patron of a prostitution service. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi didn’t immediately take away Representative Charles Rangel’s chairmanship of the tax-writing committee after allegations of misuse of campaign donations and tax evasion that eventually led to his censure.
We would like to think lawmakers have learned something from those episodes. We fear it was just that Mr. Weiner’s offenses were particularly tabloid-worthy, his abrasive manner never won him many friends and the Democrats worried about losing his seat.
For my part, I’m not all that concerned about Rep. Weiner himself. While I admired his ability to stand up to Republicans and Fox News thugs – and don’t kid yourself; there’s a place for that type of grit on our side, even if he was “abrasive” – Rep. Weiner was, like all Democrats, a less-than-perfect progressive. Without belaboring the point, Rep. Weiner was often way off base on the subject of Israel and Palestinian rights, as Juan Cole recounted the other day.
But I am disturbed by how quickly Democratic leadership caved on the issue. Undoubtedly, the party leadership’s failure to back Rep. Weiner (or at least stay out of the matter and leave the decision to resign to him) was motivated by political considerations that they’ll never publicly acknowledge. And maybe that’s okay; the Democrats could use a healthy dose of political savvy, in my opinion. But, outwardly at least, it looks like once again the Republicans set the agenda and the Democrats just did what the GOP wanted. Timidly, at that.
If you don’t think the GOP leadership is going to light up an extra cigar and break out the expensive cognac this weekend, you’re fooling yourself. They see this as an unadulterated win, and the public and the media view it that way, too. You can hate Anthony Weiner for putting us in that position, but the timidity of our party’s leadership didn’t help.
Anyway, back to the Clash. At least Weiner’s bad judgment and the resulting media hullabaloo gave me an excuse to break out this rarity, and so I suppose I should be grateful. As a bonus, here’s a live version of “Protex Blue” from 1980, which, despite the grainy video and mediocre sound quality, is really great:
So there you go. A little extra protection from the Clash.
Turn. It. Up.
© 2011 David P. von Ebers. All rights reserved.