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KATIE ZERR: Is there no shame in politics these days?

Remember when politicians were held to a higher standard and expected to act accordingly? It wasn’t all that long ago.
In fact, some politicians fell from grace and had the decency to leave the national limelight, for far less than what has been ignored in Washington, D.C., for the past decade or so.
In fact, it has been nearly 10 years since Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) resigned over a sexting scandal. Now what Weiner did, sending a female suggestive photos of himself, is nothing compared to what in the years that followed, politicians and candidates have been accused of. But what stands out is that Weiner said the distraction the embarrassment caused to his constituents and family compelled him to quit Congress.
If anyone had told me 10 years ago that I would be using Anthony Weiner as an example of something positive, I would have more than scoffed in disbelief. At the time, he was nothing but an immature creep, a prime example of the creeps who think all women actually like to see nude or semi-nude pictures of men they barely know.
Now days, politicians can get away with nearly anything and do. We went from the shame of Republican Larry Craig getting arrested for indecent behavior in a men’s restroom at Minneapolis Airport, ending a 28-year political career, to what we are seeing with Matt Gaetz, a Republican Congressman from Florida, who is under investigation for allegedly having a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old and paying for her to travel with him while on the campaign trail.
Craig was arrested for soliciting another male for sex in an airport bathroom. It drew widespread public attention as well as charges of hypocrisy against Craig, as he had been an opponent of LGBT rights in the United States. After initially saying he would resign, he later decided to finish the remainder of his term, although he chose not to run for re-election in 2008.
Of course, there was the crash involving Democrat Senator Ted Kennedy that resulted in the death of Mary Jo Kopechne at Chappaquiddick.
The uproar nearly felled Kennedy, the youngest of the powerful Kennedy family, but despite public outcry, his political career survived when Kennedy pleaded guilty to a charge of leaving the scene of an accident and received a two-month suspended jail sentence. A Jan. 5, 1970, judicial inquest was conducted and a grand jury convened on April 6, 1970, returned no indictments against Kennedy.
Like Kennedy, some politicians are able to push past scandal and move forward. Bill Clinton not only weathered scandal but seem to emerge stronger and more popular from the experience.
Although Clinton’s scandal came at a time when the country’s attitude about politics was changing. Gone were the days when FDR and Eisenhower could have their mistresses live in the White House with them and their wives accepted it and kept their mouths closed.
The public’s opinion changed at that point, but now has swung drastically in the other direction.
Recently we have had a president who had an affair with a porn star, was on tape talking in a disgusting manner about women and what they let you do if you are famous enough, and we have had several members of Congress who have gotten away with questionable behavior that would have felled greater men just a decade or so ago.
“I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters,” said then candidate Donald Trump at a campaign rally.
He was right. How things have changed.
Gaetz keeps telling us these wild stories that have little logic and if are true, show an incompetence in our national law enforcement of which we all should be ashamed.
He is perfectly using the Donald Trump strategy and his supporters are buying it, although other Washington Republicans are keeping quiet. It seems Gaetz has never been shy about bragging to colleagues about his conquests and has pictures to prove it.
In my book that makes him a classless swine, but we know that makes no difference in our leaders anymore. We are used to them behaving as such.

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