musketeersIt was the chest of times, it was the worst of times. But mostly it was the chest.

If you enjoyed the thrust of that crack you have come to the right place.

Anthony Weiner (D), Eliot Spitzer (D), Bob Filner (D), and Jeff Cogen (D): What do they have in common?

Even if you don’t know Jeff, you can still play along. He’s local and I’ll reveal him in a bit.

Hint: The “D” for Democrat after their names is not what we’re looking for here. That’s just a creepy coincidence. I’m sure Republicans have their share of mojo, too.

Yes, they are all men. They are all politicians. Those are mere coincidences. To find the true answer, we must go deeper. You may want a hazmat suit for this.

Hypothetically speaking, what is a politician? According to one definition offered by Wikipedia, a politician is “a person who is involved in influencing public policy and decision making.” Even more broadly, we might surmise such a person is supposed to be concerned with the greater good. Remember, we are speaking hypothetically here.

What would make a politician worthy of their salary? Above all else, I submit, it is the ability to make sensible decisions. We may not always agree with those decisions, but they should be grounded and defensible in some reasonable manner.

With that thought in mind, let’s meet today’s contestants.

Anthony Weiner

The main thing to know here is that even after re-scandalizing himself with the moniker Carlos Danger, candidate Weiner still thought he was going to win. In electoral language he saw absolutely no need to pull out of the race. Even after he dropped to fourth place in polls. Eventually he finished in fifth place in the New York City mayoral primary. The only one who seemed surprised was Weiner.

When it comes to decision making skills this guy certainly stands out. He’s been caught with his pants down (so to speak) more than once.

Tagline: “A Fighter for the Middle Class and those Struggling to make it.” In retrospect that last bit sounds creepy.

Issues he won’t be able to fight for: Cutting taxes by 10%, a single-payer health care system, restoring discipline in public schools. (Yeah, he actually used the word “discipline.”)

Guru says: “What more can be said about this guy that hasn’t been said already? I like his spunk. Never give up in the face of total defeat. Fight to the end. That’s Weiner all the way.”

Eliot Spitzer

The former governor resigned after it came to light that he had “at least seven liaisons with prostitutes from the [escort service] over six months, and paid more than $15,000 for their services.”

After waiting an appropriate period of time, Spitzer bounced back, hopeful that the voters would be open to forgiveness. The job he wanted? New York City Comptroller. What are the duties of comptroller? (I had to look this up.) “Chief fiscal officer and chief auditing officer of the city.”

In other words, he’d be handling the public’s money. Perhaps he doesn’t have quite the best resumé for that. Even though he knows value when sees it, Spitzer lost the primary.

Tagline: “Proud father. Former Governor and Attorney General of New York.”

Issues he won’t be able to fight for: Feminism, protecting reproductive rights, oversight of Wall Street.

Guru says: “There’s something about the utter refusal to acknowledge reality that’s appealing here. He thinks blowing $15,000 on prostitutes shows he’s able to handle the public’s money. I’m almost sad we didn’t get to see how that would have turned out.”

Bob Filner

Filner finished his career as Mayor of San Diego. Previously he was a congressman and before that, in his youth, was even a Freedom Rider.

Even after behavior in the mayor’s office that would have landed regular people in jail facing criminal charges, Filner stubbornly refused to resign. He may have come across as delusional, but I think he was crazy like a fox, maneuvering for an immunity deal, which he eventually got. (The City agreed to help shoulder his financial responsibility for his actions.) He finally resigned in the face of a tsunami of a recall effort that would have made Fukushima look like a walk in Balboa Park.

Although the only one on this list not married, Filner had a fiancé. But she called off the engagement citing “Filner’s verbal abuse and blatant sexting as reasons for the split.”

Tagline: “The only candidate who will to take on downtown special interests and stand up for middle class San Diegans.” Yeah, Filner apparently knows all about going downtown.

Issues he won’t be able to fight for: Public safety, arts and culture, jobs, education and small business.

Guru says: “This guy totally rubs me the wrong way. And that’s only because I bumped into him once.”

Jeff Cogen

A local politician, Cogen was a commissioner in Multnomah County, the home of Portland, Oregon.

Hopefully you’ll find this guy worthy of inclusion on this illustrious list. Cogen is married and had an affair with a county employee, also married. (For those counting that is two homes wrecked.) The employee happened to be in his chain of command. The employee happened to get promoted after personal input by Cogen. He vociferously proclaimed there was nothing wrong with this.

The affair came to light after an anonymous email hit the county email system claiming that his subordinate’s promotion was based, at least in part, on her involvement with Cogen. After the scandal broke the subordinate resigned her position with the County, thus proving she was infinitely more wise than her boss.

For his part, Cogen steadfastly refused to resign, even surviving a vote by his peers on the Board of County Commissioners. The vote on an “emergency order” calling for his resignation was unanimous save his vote against. The vote was 4-1. Shamelessly he saw no conflict of interest in voting on it himself. Despite approval by the board, Cogen survived the vote due to a procedural thingie that stated forced resignations must be unanimous. Technicality for the win!

Finally, after several months of the issue eclipsing everything else, with Cogen’s ability to lead utterly gutted, he finally announced his resignation in ten days time. He was a mysterious no show at what would have been his final meeting. In political circles that’s known as keeping it classy.

Tagline: “Multnomah County/Portland, OR.” Amazingly that’s all it says on his Twitter.

Issues he won’t be able to fight for: Unknown. His official website and Facebook have since been scrubbed. Maybe he does have some residual sense of shame.

Guru says: “Being a politician can and should be admirable work. At least in theory. This guy seemed hell bent on a course to do the exact opposite. The needs of the self outweigh the needs of the many. He must hate Star Trek or something.”


Elected officials likely constitute the least qualified people to lead us based on their complete inability to read the writing on the wall and make anything resembling sound decisions.

If, like I suggest, these dudes really are birds of a feather, perhaps they should go flock themselves.

What is it about the need to make naughty bits feel good that takes priority, for some, over everything else, including dignity and self interest? I propose we take a vote on that.