As the Anthony Weiner story grows (sorry), the issue has turned from just how awful a person Weiner is to whether he should stay or go. That Anthony Weiner is about the worst kind of person is a fact. You can debate all you want about what is the worst thing he's done - sending pictures of himself and body parts to women; x-rated email conversations with porn stars; lying about the facts; blaming innocent people; doing all of the above while married; doing all of the above after learning his wife is pregnant - it adds up to seven shades of ugly.
The issue of whether he should stay or go has taken on a new life of it's own, and truly it's an important question that flows from the circumstances. John Hinderaker atPowerline said:
I completely fail to understand why any Republican would call for Weiner's resignation. Are you kidding? I want him in Congress forever, if possible! I want him representing his party on every other cable news show, as he has done for the last several years. I want people to snicker every time they see a "D" behind a Congressman's name. Anthony Weiner is the gift that keeps on giving, the twit that keeps on tweeting!His point makes sense from a purely political perspective, but I worry that it is a short-sighted approach. If Weiner clings to his job and seeks re-election, then (short of being censured or expelled by the House) the issue is placed firmly in the hands of his constituents. If he is re-elected, then he becomes bullet-proof. In the same way Ted Kennedy was and Barney Frank is, Anthony Weiner would be untouchable. Worse, as his scandal then fades in everyone's memory, he could gain credibility by doing nothing more than curbing his sexual tendencies, becoming a good family man and exercising sound judgment. Anytime anyone wanted to bring up his scandal, the rejoinder would be that clearly no one cares and move on. Somewhat similar to how Bush's DUI or Bush and Obama's prior cocaine use is of no import. I'm not likening the offenses, merely the responses.Resign? Hell no! I want Anthony Weiner to be the face of the Democratic Party. I wonder: has he looked into the possibility of a primary challenge against President Obama?
The other side of the issue is that Weiner must go and go now. This is politically expedient to the Democrats, as by pushing him out of office they get to wear the mantle of righteousness and honor. They would be excising an ugly distraction from their defense of Obamacare, their attack on Paul Ryan's plan and the drive to get Obama re-elected, and to avoid being blatantly hypocritical. Perhaps the Democrats should not be denied their right to judge one of their own, even if doing so serves other purposes beyond maintaining standards.
Jeffrey Kuhner tries to paint the issue with a mile-wide brush today. I think he goes a lot too far in saying:
The problem is that Weinergate goes to the heart of the Democrats’ cultural liberalism. Try as they might to disown him, he embodies the party’s moral rot. Mr. Weiner is a progressive crusader. He has championed almost every secular leftist cause: socialized medicine, government day care, welfare, high taxes, abortion rights, homosexual marriage, gays in the military, sex education in schools and a European-style nanny state. In other words, he peddles sex and socialism - the twin pillars of progressivism.There's plenty of moral rot to go around in Washington, on both sides of the aisle. To try to suggest that the Democrats have the market on immorality cornered is juvenile. That said, I would echo the sentiment that we as voters should be vigilant and hold our elected officials to the highest standards. We should not be afraid to strip them of their office when they fail such as Weiner has. Indeed, if Weiner does not face an incessant bellowing and call from his colleagues to step down, and if the House does not take action, is the message to be gleaned by others in office, or who seek to hold office, that you can be corrupt to a point, that you can lie and cover-up to a point? Every time an elected official is allowed to skate on this kind of behavior, the bar is set even lower. What does it say about us that we continue to elect these people?
I believe that the best the Republicans should hope for is that Weiner stands defiant for a few months, staying in the headlines, before finally acceding to the calls for his resignation. The country is best-served by Congress re-establishing and enforcing standards.