Friday, June 10, 2011
There are reasons why Anthony Weiner should not resign. New York's Ninth Congressional District voters have sent him to Washington since 1998.
You don't overturn the will of the electorate because of bad publicity.
OK, really, really bad publicity. Weiner Week One started with the New York Democrat charging that he was smeared, his Twitter account was hacked and he never sent a tweet of his lower half in underpants to a college student. In Week Two, Weiner had no choice but to come clean and admit he sent the pic.
Now, it doesn't say much about his brain power that Weiner, 46, thought he could sext complete strangers and not be, well, exposed. Worse, he didn't stop after Rep. Chris Lee, R-N.Y., resigned in February because he was caught posting a shirtless photo of himself on Craigslist.
It also doesn't say much about Weiner's respect for other people's intelligence that he thought he could talk his way out of being caught with his pants down. (After watching Weiner's tortured talk about how he couldn't deny "with certitude" if the photos were of him, I thought Weiner was a lawyer, but it turns out he's not. He only played one on TV.)
Former Democratic National Committee Chairman Tim Kaine began the tumble of big-name Democrats urging Weiner to call it quits on Wednesday. Kaine told a CBS affiliate, "Lying publicly about something like this is unforgivable, and he should resign."
Sorry, but Kaine's assertion goes against everything Americans learned during the Clinton years. For two years, the Democrats' mantra was unequivocal: Everyone lies about sex -- which makes it OK. Thus they defended President Clinton after he apparently lied under oath and lied to the American people when he said, "I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky."
If the president can lie about sex, can't a congressman lie about sexting?
As far as we know, Weiner didn't break any laws.
As far as he knows, none of his Twitter mates was underage.
"To the best of my knowledge, they were all adults," Weiner told reporters Monday -- and they were "engaging in these conversations consensually."
House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi asked the House Ethics Committee to investigate "whether the rules of the House of Representatives have been violated." The request was supposed to register Pelosi's outrage.
Big deal. In 2010, the committee slapped Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., on the wrist for taking company-sponsored trips to the Caribbean in violation of House rules. Later, the House censured Rangel for failing to claim rental income on federal tax returns and improperly using congressional letterheads and staff to raise money for the Rangel Center for Public Service. After Rangel's censure, some Democrats gave him a standing ovation.
Now there won't be any standing ovations for Weiner. As I write, (mercifully fuzzy) copies of a close-up of what is reputed to be Weiner's most operative organ have hit the Internet.
An arrogant politician -- be it Weiner or Republican Newt Gingrich -- might survive lying to the public and humiliating his wife, but unless he is president, he cannot survive doing this much damage to his own party.
Besides, with this self-portrait, Weiner broke the last taboo. He left nothing to the imagination.
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See Other Commentary by Debra J. Saunders
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