I have a confession to make. Up until the day he resigned in 1974, I was a fervent supporter of President Richard Nixon, because I thought he was a victim of political opponents and the liberal media. Of course, I was a mere kid at the time, but I was still a True Believer of the worst kind.
When Nixon resigned on Aug. 8, 1974, I finally accepted the truth that had been right in front of me for a long time. I sat down and wrote the letter you see here and it ran on Aug. 18 as a letter to the editor in The Birmingham News. The paper had no way to know it was running a letter from someone who couldn’t even vote for years to come.
I don’t bring this up just to point out my own gullibility — although there’s that, too — but to point to something painfully common. People have a natural instinct to trust politicians that they agree with. They have a tendency to accept almost anything from the ones they like, even though they hold their enemies to a much different standard.
I thought about this again Tuesday as embattled U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) admitted that he did indeed engage in “inappropriate behavior” with women he’d met online. As Republicans attack him and Democrats pointedly refuse to defend him, it’s pretty clear that the only question is how long it’ll be before he resigns.