As most people know, I live in San Diego. As such, it must seem odd I remained quiet during San Diego’s recent controversy – the charges that our mayor, Bob Filner, was accused of sexually harassing women. Filner has now left office (Slate magazine has a delightfully snarky report on the whole episode.)
Of course, as the Filner episode was running, we had allegations that Anthony Weiner, running for Mayor of New York, was still tweeting pictures of his penis out to women.
Now, both men are Democrats, and Democrats (at least in the minds of other Democrats) are supposed to be above this sort of thing. They’re supposed to respect women and fight for equality etc., etc. How could they do this?
Today, I found myself considering a scenario. Let’s say you’re a certain type of person – a narcissistic sociopath – who is in love with himself and power. You wouldn’t have to be a rocket scientist to realize that if you espoused certain beliefs with a certain charisma you could rise up the ranks of the Democratic Party and gain the love and power that comes from being a successful politician. (The same could be said of the Republican Party – or the Green/Libertarian/Constitution Party for that matter – just with different views.)
The question voters have to ask then is, “How do you separate the power hungry from the true believers?” To this I have to say, “I have no idea.”
Honestly, I think it’s even murkier than what I’ve argued so far. I suspect Filner does on some level really believe his liberal views, as does Weiner (and Clinton and Edwards and Spitzer and many others that have earned notoriety.) But I think they also saw what espousing certain beliefs could get them, and that held a great attraction to them.