Anthony Weiner and Conspiracy Theory

Conspiracy theory fails for many reasons, but first because it always assumes a man’s motives are much more complicated than they actually are. A conspiracy theorist responds to something like 9/11 by disregarding completely the decades long history of third world savagery that lead to attacks around the world, choosing instead to concoct a combination of political malfeasance, greed, and ambition that is simply impossible to produce in the real world.

Oh sure, you can believe that fire caused the structural steel of the World Trade Center towers to weaken and bow, thus leading to their collapse. Or you can believe the Bush administration had the Trade Center walls caked with thermite paint, rigged both buildings with explosives, and brought them down in a controlled demolition so that Afghanistan could be conquered and a pipeline built across the country, to the untold financial benefit of Bush’s evil oil buddies.

And so it goes, for whatever the reasons things like that get started: mental illness, boredom, a search for meaning, needing to keep your audience interested (e.g. Alex Jones). Even something better rendered harmless, like a political ideology, can be warped and shaped into black helicopters and boogiemen if you’re not levelheaded enough to remember that the simplest answer is oftentimes your best bet.

As evidence, the last ten days of Anthony Weiner’s life, an exercise in embarrassing behavior exceeded only by his most dogged defenders. As the scandal developed, those who so desperately wanted the liberal firebrand to be the victim of a nefarious plot stumbled all over themselves to make it so, ignoring the logical assumptions that should have overtaken them.

The most forthrightly comical of these came courtesy of The Raw Story, which after noting credibility problems with Andrew Breitbart’s various websites, inexplicably linked to an amateurish “error level analysis” of the original tight underwear picture. The accompanying text explains what error level analysis is and apparently cleared Congressman Weiner to the satisfaction of The Raw Story, because a post was updated to say the analysis “suggests that the screen-grab Breitbart’s site posted as ‘proof’ is a fraud.” (We trust that the editors of The Raw Story, as well the other websites who fell for this, will not worry themselves into sleeplessness about their newly damaged credibility.)

We now know this was a joke, and to the extent things like this make their way around the Internet and are taken seriously by unserious people, no one should be surprised. But at the end, error level analysis at least has the feel of something legitimate. From the beginning, the bald claims of conspiracy coming from some corners of the Left were enough to make you question their mental fitness.

Virtually every liberal website created and reposted its favorite conspiratorial narratives, though none stretched farther than those put forth by anonymous contributors to The Daily Kos, a website that also demands spotless integrity from Andrew Breitbart, but which will not hold its own members accountable for the lunacy they invent. (Someone called Stef is responsible for perhaps the most intellectually egregious piece of trash the scandal has yet produced, but there is no reason to believe he / she will be reprimanded.)

Elsewhere, Salon.com editor-at-large Joan Walsh not only suggested Dana Loesch and Dan Wolfe committed the computer hacking first blamed for the leak, she also falsely accused Breitbart’s Big Government of leaking the name of the twenty-one-year-old girl who received the unfortunate attempt at flirtation that started this mess. In Walsh’s way of thinking someone had to be blamed, but it couldn’t be the man common sense (and every real fact in evidence) suggested was actually responsible – it was more logical to create an elaborate myth than to accept what should have been obvious.

Weiner’s supporters leapt blindly to his defense, forgetting that a married congressman has a lot more to lose than their simple, childish admiration. And now that the shoe has dropped, one cannot help but wonder whether those who fought so valiantly and thought so creatively on Congressman Weiner’s behalf know and understand the depths of their mistakes. Or are they just preparing themselves for the next self-induced crisis?

Author Bio:

Brian S. Wise used to be the lead columnist at IntellectualConservative.com and a fairly well known pundit; now he’s just some dude. He has cool ideas for books and columns, but hardly ever stays out of bed long enough to get started on any of them. He is available via email at brianwisedotcom@gmail.com and via The Twitter at @BrianSWise
  • Nancye

    I contend that if you’re a jackass and a liar in your private life, you are likewise in your public life, job, etc. I don’t believe that those things can be separated.

  • Konrad Lau

    Pity any mere conservative who wanders into discussion of any event (be it political or otherwise) with a dyed-in-the-wool liberal. No fact, however incontrovertible, ever got in the way of unreasoning devotion, panic or hatred for one of our leftist brethren.

    The sky is blue…there you go, making harsh judgments again.
    Water is wet…only if Einstein fell into it, considered the condition, did experimentation and then wrote a hypothesis about it (i.e. you must be too stupid to figure out that complex problem on your own).
    Wiener is slime…you must be a closed-minded, racist bigot…and you want Granny to die of starvation too!

    There is little to be gained in debating drunkards or liberals.
    It is of times difficult to tell who is what.

    • Brian S. Wise

      “There is little to be gained in debating drunkards or liberals.”

      Oh man, am I going to steal that.

  • Nancye

    It’s simple! Weiner brought on his own destruction by his bad behavior and bad judgement. His whining and crying like a two-year-old on TV doesn’t exonerate him. His wife should pack a bag and go to a divorce lawyer.

    • Brian S. Wise

      If it’s true that Mrs. Weiner is pregnant, Congressman Weiner is the Crown Prince of Bad Timing. If she decides to leave him (I vote she doesn’t), she would get EVERYTHING. In any event, he is truly a dope.

  • BARB

    I am not defending him…but consider the other scummy persons in Congress..what he did was “par for the course”. Anyway, at least he didn’t have a gay boyfriend running a gay prostitution business from his basement…for over a year and a half..that he “knew nothing about”. What he did was super stupid. I wouldn’t want him to represent me…but then I didn’t want Keith Ellison…and that’s who I got. It’s up to his constituents to institute a recall..if they want to and it’s legal.

    • Brian S. Wise

      Elsewhere on this website – here to be exact: http://www.bernardgoldberg.com/on-mark-souders-resignation/ – I argue that having an affair does not necessarily, and should not, disqualify someone from public office. As a generic matter, Politician Involved in Sex Scandal doesn’t mean that politician cannot properly serve his constituents.

      What teeters the scales toward someone leaving office is how it damages the party in his district, whether any laws were broken, et cetera. (For example, my concern with Bill Clinton wasn’t that he was an adulterer; it was the lying under oath so many times, and that the structure of lies he built around his adultery suggested a mental illness for which we should have 25th Amendment concerns.)

      Anthony Weiner is simply a dullard. It would be something more if his contact with this 17-year-old turns out to be something more, then I’m all for his being forced out of office. As it is now, he’s just a horny, middle aged dope. No crime in that.

      With redistricting, he may be out next year anyway.