According to Christopher Hitchens, politics is show business for ugly people. If Anthony Weiner is anything to go by, it seems more like high school for ugly people. As the story evolves, the logic seems to favor the blogger Ann Althouse’s explanation – that Weiner’s cavalcade of daily Tweets are too droll to be written by him. He favors cute hashtags: For the Republican presidential field, “#TargetRichEnvironment”; for Newt Gingrich, upon entering the race, “#TallestPygymy.” “So terribly clever and edgy,” writes Professor Althouse. “Why does a Congressman have time for that?” Her conclusion is that Weiner has a ghost-Tweeter, and the ghost-Tweeter uploaded the crotch shot, but that, because the “terribly clever and edgy” Tweets are essential to Weiner’s sense of his own indispensability, he cannot admit that he’s lip-synching. It would be like Charlie Sheen confessing that it was a body-double under the bevy of hookers and suitcase of coke.
Between Occam’s Razor (it’s Weiner’s junk, and he Tweeted it) and Occam’s Lip-Syncher (the ghost-Tweeter did it) lies a third possibility – that the Tweets aren’t by Weiner but the Twitpic crotch shot to the cute co-ed is. The republic’s “citizen-legislators” do hardly anything for themselves these days, starting with reading the thousand-page legislation they cheerily pass, but if they can’t even perform their own sex scandals there really is no point to them. For the last quarter of 2010, Weiner listed 19 staffers, a few with highly specific job descriptions (“Deputy Director of Immigration Affairs”) but most with the kind of blandly nebulous titles (“Staff Assistant”) that could cover almost anything, including in-house ghost-Tweeting. For the sake of argument, let us take it as read that American men are emailing their genitals across the fruited plain all day long, and that in the nature of these things one or two attachments go awry and wind up in the in-box of the elderly spinster who runs the quilting bee and you have to make a rather sheepish apology. Congressmen are among the few in this land who, in such a situation, can breezily say, as Weiner did to CNN’s Dana Bash, “You have statements that my office has put out… .” Herein lies the full horror of American politics in the death throes of the republic: A Congressman has nothing better to do of an evening than Tweet his crotch to coeds, but he requires an “office” with “staffers” to “put out” “statements” on the subject.
When Weiners have staffers, it’s very difficult to have limited government: You cannot have a small state run by big Weiners.