Schieffer: Washington is like one big high school

Reese Witherspoon runs for high school office in the 1999 comedy "Election."
Paramount Pictures

The author Kurt Vonnegut once observed that life was more or less a replay of high school, and with every passing day, that comparison becomes more apt in describing Washington.

The one difference is that high school stays in session most of the time. Yet the parallels with high school are inescapable.

Just think about this:

Distractions such as vanity and the mania for gossip and the short attention span that prevents focusing on problems even long enough to try to understand them.

Unbridled meanness toward those who are not part of your crowd. The cliquishness that requires group think - if you don't believe exactly what we believe you can't be part of our crowd. We're right, you're always wrong, and don't confuse us with facts.

An inability to act for fear it will cause a loss of popularity.

Oh, and did I miss old-fashioned jealousy and insecurity, which seems to be a factor no matter the issue?

Which brings me to this scandal over Anthony Weiner, the New York Congressman who sent out those pictures of ... how shall I say this ... himself to women on the Internet.

I think most high school students would have been smarter than that. But here's the other part: A high school student who did what Weiner did would have been expelled in a matter of hours.

Not until late yesterday did leaders of Weiner's own party finally say he should resign.

Well, good! My question is, what took them so long?

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    Bob Schieffer is a CBS News political contributor and former anchor of "Face The Nation," which he moderated for 24 years before retiring in 2015.