“I wish there was some way I could defend him, but I can't.”
-- Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, when asked about Rep. Anthony Weiner
Rachel Maddow offered a spirited argument Wednesday night, exposing the hypocrisy of Republicans excoriating Rep. Anthony Weiner for his sex scandal while they remained silent about Sen. David Vitter's.
After all, while Weiner's behavior might have been humiliating, as the MSNBC commentator pointed out, he hasn't been accused of breaking the law. Vitter, on the other hand, engaged in clearly criminal activity as an admitted customer of a prostitute.
As she always does, Maddow put forward a highly logical case — and was very convincing.
Except that many of those now calling for Weiner's resignation aren't duplicitious Republicans, they are Weiner's fellow Democrats.
From Reid, to Nancy Pelosi, and elsewhere, Democrats pointedly are declining to stick up for Weiner.
Only minutes before Maddow went on the air, her colleague Lawrence O'Donnell had asked Democratic Rep. Earl Blumenauer of Oregon his thoughts about Weiner.
Blumenauer cut his fellow Democrat no slack. Weiner, he says, should go. Weiner, Blumenauer says, had seriously impaired his credibility as a lawmaker.
O'Donnell pressed Blumenauer about whether that amounts to a double-standard given the refusal of Democrats to impeach President Bill Clinton more than a decade ago for Clinton's own dalliance.
Blumenauer argued, correctly, that while Clinton's behavior was not an impeachable offense, Democrats weren't exactly falling over themselves to exonerate the president, either.
Recall that Sen. Joe Lieberman, then a Democrat, was quick to denounce Clinton's behavior. Indeed, Lieberman's rebuke was a key factor in Al Gore choosing Lieberman as his 2000 running mate.
You could say, then, that in calling for Weiner to go, Democrats at least have some moral honor that Republicans lack because they were willing to stand silent through the Vitter scandal.