Another politician has been caught sending photos of his underwear into cyberspace. This time it is a city councilman in Kenner City, Louisiana, and it happened in 2009. The incident is only now coming into the open, but the outcry has been relatively muted.
In December 2009, City Councilman Joe Stagni sent a photo of himself to another city employee that he was having an affair with. “I’m n trouble – serious conversation wwife,” was the message with the photo.
Although the image was sent from Stagni’s personal Blackberry, it ended up on the city server after the recipient sent it to Stagni’s work email account. The city attorney recently released the image and message.
Few are calling for Stagni to resign but the comparison to Anthony Weiner’s scandal is hard to dismiss. Unlike Weiner, Stagni had a physical relationship along with the photo. Interestingly, the incident took place in Louisiana, an environment forgiving to politicians who like to take their work to bed. Senator David Vitter and his past relationships with prostitutes is a prime example. That may explain the lack of calls for Stagni’s dismissal. It is politics as usual in sordid Louisiana.
This is not the last time that sexual images are going to be sent by politicians. There are going to be a lot more to come. That is just simply inevitable. The question is why some are forced to resign, while others carry on with a simple apology. Whether its geography or political party – Weiner is a Democrat, while Stagni and Vitter are Republicans – or some other reason, there is not a standard punishment.
All Weiner did was lie and lust. What probably got him in the biggest trouble was lying to his fellow Democrats. They no longer felt that they could trust him. That suggests lying is worse than lusting or even having an affair.
Lying is a strange boundary to draw for politics. There is probably no one who has ever been elected to office that has not lied to some extent. Political leaders holding truthfulness as an ethical standard is like a dolphin asking a shark why it’s wet. All of them lie.
Clinton lied, had an affair and did it in the midst of the Oval Office. He is a revered elder statesman now. Vitter was reelected as a senator after his scandal and is as entrenched as any incumbent.
Perhaps former Louisiana Governor Edwin Edwards was right when he said, “The only way I can lose this election is if I’m caught in bed with either a dead girl or a live boy.”
Every sex scandal becomes a monster onto its own and no one knows how it will turnout, unless its in Louisiana where it quickly becomes forgotten.