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June 7th, 2011
04:42 PM ET

Letters to the President: #869 'Who says public floggings are out of fashion?'

Reporter's Note: Democratic Rep. Anthony Weiner has been a champion of the president’s policies, but now he has fallen into a bit of a hard time.

Dear Mr. President,

It’s never easy to watch a friend or colleague fall, so I’m guessing you’re pretty unhappy over what happened with Rep. Weiner - admitting he was sending inappropriate photos and swapping racy messages with a half dozen young women.

But not only are a lot of Democrats understandably upset, I think a fair number of Americans in general are disturbed. Watching the congressman hold that press conference was painful, and for a lot of reasons. We would like to think our leaders (no matter which party) are a little more controlled, a bit smarter, or at least a tad more discreet.

Related: Weiner ends week of lies

On that scale, I know some of his political foes probably loved it. It was, after all, a trifecta of mistakes - the original messages and photos, the lying about the whole mess, and the hiding behind those lies while defenders unfairly accused his accusers. So I can’t fault anyone who says Weiner deserves whatever fate befalls him.

That seems especially reasonable when you consider all the blameless victims in this - his wife; his staff; his friends; all the people who will be silently humiliated for months, if not years, by mere association, although they did nothing wrong. When I think of that, again, I think “Well, whatever flogging he gets is well deserved.”

On a human level, however, it is awfully hard to see anyone suffer so much in public over such a private matter. Comedians making jokes, pundits criticizing, or a committee considering a forced resignation - that’s all fair enough and involves the main subject in a sort of “arm’s length” way. But it’s not quite the same as strapping him into the stocks and lobbing tomatoes at his face. Let’s face it: His position is defenseless. And seeing him, or anyone else, stand up there and take whacks like a piñata, makes me feel like I need a shower. Of course, when they hang around for the beating…well, I guess that comes with the territory.

Anyway, an ugly story, an ugly turn of events.

So other than that, I hope your week is off to a decent start. Give a call if you can.

Regards,
Tom

Follow Tom on Twitter @tomforemancnn.

Find more of the Foreman Letters here.

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