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The truth

Published June 08. 2011 05:26PM

It seems that too many of our elected officials these days have the darndest time obeying that tricky ninth commandment ... the one about not lying.

Many of us learned that one at a very impressionable age and depending on the severity of the parental discipline, it seemed to set us on a proper course in life. Back in the day, any lie was dealt with quickly; the punishment was swift and the lesson was learned within hours or in many cases, minutes.

The disgraced New York congressman, Rep. Anthony Weiner, is obviously hoping his constituents have short memories and that somehow all the embarrassing sexual twittering he engaged in blows over. Standing before many of the media members he had consistently been lying to over the previous nine days, he finally apologized to his online sexcapades on Monday.

Known for his arrogance and abrasive tongue, Weiner was betting that Monday's blanket apology would quell the political firestorm he had caused. Instead, his confession caused more embarrassment within the Democratic party and with any additional photos still floating around, the fallout may not clear anytime soon.

Even once-staunch allies like Sen. Harry Reid have backed away, saying that Weiner cannot be defended. Republicans are going much farther, saying he is not fit to hold his congressional seat.

Of course, all the public embarrassment is of his own doing. His blatant immorality and poor judgment in the sexting scandal, which involved six woman (so far) over the past three years, was bad enough. But follow that with 10 days of lying to everyone and you have all the reasons needed for Weiner's exit from the U.S. Congress. The confession came only after the evidence against the congressman proved indefensible; he was backed into a corner with no where to turn, and no one else to blame.

People caught in the first lie invariably find themselves digging a deeper hole with every subsequent denial. The sanitized word these days for lying to our face is "misstatement." Weiner's case is typical. He started with a complete denial, then tried to deflect blame to the media, then called it a joke. Finally, with all options exhausted, he told us Monday that he "panicked."

On Monday, Meagan Broussard, one of the six women Rep. Weiner confessed to having "inappropriate" online exchanges with, told one news network that Weiner wasn't a bad guy but like everybody else, he has "issues."

No kidding? Yesterday, even business magnate Donald Trump called him a "bad guy" and a "psycho."

If he remains in office, Weiner is betting his constituents in New York City can forgive and forget. One poll released yesterday even showed that 51 percent of the people in his district say he should remain in office.

That's remarkable, given the fact that Weiner lied for nine days before confessing. In any other job outside of congress, lying to a superior is reason for instant dismissal. After using the worst possible judgment an elected official could have, Weiner looked into our faces and lied for nine days. With that kind of credibility, on what authority can people judge his confession or base any future statements he makes as a congressman?

Perhaps, Weiner and his "issues" could be helped through a 12-step program. The first step, though, should be to step down from office and spare us from yet another Washington circus.

Jim Zbick

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