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Why Congressman Weiner Should Resign

Congressman Anthony Weiner (D-NY) is a political voice in Washington I have always respected. He is a passionate crusader for our country’s elderly, middle class, children and most importantly his Brooklyn constituents.

In the past Weiner has used his position to call out his political opponents for their personal and collective hypocrisy, their ideological stubbornness and their frontal attack on public employees. During that time Weiner has made plenty of enemies on both sides of the aisle. 

Unfortunately Weiner has placed himself in a situation that can no longer be characterized as an individual struggle for political survival and relevance. His indiscretions are trivial in the broad scope of political scandal. At this point he has broken no law unlike a certain Senator from Louisiana who was never prosecuted and won reelection in a landslide in his so-called “pro family” state. Weiner’s political troubles are his own doing and his attempt to mislead the people of his district through the news media has given him a self-inflicted black-eye.

Representative WeinerIf that were the total extent of his affect on the politics of Washington maybe he could survive and allow his New York electorate the final say on his career in politics but as usual, his plight is being employed by the Republican Party in an attempt to negatively portrait the entire Democratic Party.

Since our nation’s media is obviously more interested in a budding sex scandal as opposed to covering such mundane stories as the high unemployment rate, political corruption in Florida, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and, our debt Weiner’s unfortunate dilemma has taken too much airtime and newspaper space over the last two- weeks and is taking the focus of the national spotlight off the choices we must make as a country.

Every day the news media focuses on Mr. Weiner’s text messages and tweets is another day the public does not have an opportunity to learn more about the competing visions each major political party has for our country’s future.

This is why the Congressman should step down. The continuing coverage of his digital escapades is in the way. The endless stories concerning to whom he has texted or tweeted are clouding the real issues we face collectively. It is too easy for a lazy press corps to talk and write about whether the Congressman’s tweets to a 21-year old woman they conveniently characterize as a “girl” were inappropriate.

Since this sordid story broke America has lost valuable time when we should have been continually debating whether the federal government is spending too much of our valuable resources on corporate subsidies or on the Head Start program.

The longer Representative Weiner stays in the news the more opportunity the Republicans have to spread their disingenuous message that in order to balance the nation’s budget and reduce our debt we need to starve the federal government by cutting more taxes for corporations and the rich.

The light needs to be shined directly on the GOPs efforts to privatize Medicare thereby sending a huge multi-trillion dollar windfall to their friends in the health care industry.

Weiner is a fighter and his passionate defense of the poor, elderly and the middle class in this country is, as I have said admirable. He has stood his ground politically in the face of withering attacks and outright lies. He is a champion of many of us who have been labeled “progressive.”  However, this low level scandal is sucking all the oxygen out of the real debate that must be engaged.

As a progressive I try not to be hypocritical. In fact progressives are appalled by the lack of decorum and the outright lies that are spewed by the political right. We look at recent history and are revolted by the innuendos and revisionism the right is much too comfortable espousing even in the face of facts. We see our party moving towards the right’s stand on issues ranging from entitlements to taxes yet we are still demonized and as we move in their direction they continually move the goalposts further and further away from us. We reach out our hands and they slap them away. It seems the right believes it is to their benefit politically to be contrary rather than accommodating for the good of the country.

About Ronald W Weathersby

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Weiner should step down…despite the fact that the Republicans almost never come out and say their people should step down when they’re caught living with mistresses, wearing diapers with prostitutes, paying off husbands of their mistresses, breaking not just their marriage vows, but also ethics regulations AND the law…you get the idea.

    But why? Because we hold our own to a higher standard, as can be seen by the reactions of Obama and Pelosi AND all but two of the leading liberal pundits. The family-values Republicans don’t much care what their guys do (unless it’s a gay sex scandal which is – to them – unforgivable), as long as it’s another vote in Congress. But we DO care.

    One side preaches family values but never holds their politicians accountable for ignoring family values…and the other side actually tries to hold their own accountable for much, much less serious infractions against ‘family values’. One side has no problem being hypocritical. The other tries not to be.

    That’s one of the main reasons why I left the Republican party a long time ago.

  • Ronald W Weathersby

    Oh yeah, Republicans hold their own to a higher standard. NOT!

    That’s why there is a Republican Senator who BROKE THE LAW in at least two jurisdictions (Paying for sex) who was never asked to step down by the GOP leadership in Congress or at the national party who was re-elected by his “family values” voters back home in Louisiana.

    You are absolutely correct.

  • zingzing

    weiner’s gonna wait it out, see if he can weather the short storm before the media finds something else to latch onto.

  • Baronius

    I recently discovered that Democrats have been losing sleep over Vitter. They’d never mentioned it until about a week and a half ago, but now they’re opening up about how deeply troubling they find his presence in the Senate. This wound must run pretty deep, too, because these people didn’t object this much to Kennedy killing a girl.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    ‘scuse you, Baronius –

    Most of us Dems did make noise about Vitter and his diaper fetish…but the Republicans ignored it, of course. He was another vote in Congress, so why would they really care? What does perversity and hypocrisy matter when there’s a congressional vote at stake?

    And when it comes to Kennedy, I’ve never made excuses for him leaving the scene of an accident or for calling his lawyers first before the police or for his extramarital affair. But did he kill her? I’ve seen no evidence suggesting such.

    Speaking of causing wrongful deaths, how many people (American and Iraqi) were killed in the illegal invasion of Iraq? If we’re going to hold our politicians responsible, then we need to hold ALL of them responsible…particularly those presidents who start wars for personal reason.

  • Ronald W Weathersby

    Baronius…

    “Kennedy killing a girl?” Wow, what a blast from the past. Do you guys EVER get over ANYTHING besides your own misdeeds?

    First off Mary Jo Kopechne was 28 years old and was a grown woman. I love it how you guys always attempt to characterize the adults Dems have affairs with as girls. Secondly to say Kennedy “killed” her is stretching the facts a tad bit. I guess he was never indicted because the matter took place in Mass. Look, Ted Kennedy had a part is the death of Ms Kopechne and admitted as much.

    What happened was a tragic to say the least but to hammer Democrats in general in 2011 about an event in 1969 is crazy.

    How many Democrats in DC today held office in 1969? Come on. Is that the best you’ve got to counter the fact that a confessed criminal is serving in the US Senate?

  • zingzing

    “They’d never mentioned it until about a week and a half ago, but now they’re opening up about how deeply troubling they find his presence in the Senate.”

    vitter broke the law, which is more than you can say about weiner (so far). and really, the idiots like to bring up their opponents misdeeds to cover their own.

    “This wound must run pretty deep, too, because these people didn’t object this much to Kennedy killing a girl.”

    see, you know how the game’s played!

    *coughlaurabushcough*

    dammit.

  • Baronius

    The best comparison to the Weiner situation is Chris Lee, a New York congressman who sent an inappropriate message online. He resigned from office the day the scandal broke.

    Kennedy won reelection in 2006, just a year before the Vitter story broke. They were contemporaries in the Senate. I think it’s fair to compare the treatment of “The Lion of the Senate” to Vitter.

    Of course, the biggest sex scandal in recent politics serves as a backdrop to this whole story. Weiner tried to use the same tactics that Bill Clinton did – heck, he even used some of the same lines about moving past the rumors to get on with the people’s business. They’re both good pro-choicers, so the apparatchiks overlook their treatment of women. (Didn’t Chris Matthews say that Weiner’s wife was responsible for this?) Meanwhile, the Republicans continue to shun Newt Gingrich, despite his being the most experienced and articulate candidate for president, because they believe that character matters. The Democrats still brag about the fact that Bill Clinton outlasted Newt Gingrich.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    “Character matters” to Republicans?

    Did they call for John Ensign to resign?
    Did they call for Vitter to resign?
    Did they castigate Reagan or Oliver North or ANY of the Republicans who were involved in selling arms to Iran?

    Did they call out any of the current candidates who have told outright and outrageous lies? Palin’s not an official candidate, but did the Right say much about her wild revision of Paul Revere’s ride?

    It’s obvious, Baronius, that the Republicans really don’t give a rat’s hind end what a Republicans politician does or says as long as it doesn’t involve sex with minors or homosexuality, and as long as their political ‘positions’ are in accordance with Republican dogma.

    This reminds me so much of how the Catholics will not excommunicate someone for mass murder (look up the WWII Croatian Ustase regime), but they WILL excommunicate priests for performing a gay marriage.

    And as far as Kennedy goes, you’re referring to an incident with Kennedy that happened FORTY TWO YEARS ago.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com/ handyguy

    #8 is quite thoroughly vile and hateful, pure partisan distortion without shame.

  • Ronald W Weathersby

    Vitter admitted to breaking the law.

    Kennedy was never indicted. President Clinton was the victim of a witch hunt that finally ended up with him getting outed for having an affair with an adult intern. It was not moral but it wasn’t illegal.

    Republican Senator Larry Craig pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct after being arrested in an airport men’s room.

    No, the biggest sex scandals in DC have been perpetrated by Republicans.

    Yes, Democrats have had their share of scandals but as of right now only Republicans have been prosecuted by a court of law for their misdeeds.

  • zingzing

    baronius, if weiner broke the law, let him burn. if he didn’t, let him get voted out. or let him resign. he’s already shamed. what more do you want?

    if we publicly hang every politician who has an untoward sex life, we won’t have any politicians… maybe you have a point.

    whatever, though. the republicans aren’t on the winning side of this argument. let it go.

  • Baronius

    What more do I want? I want people to not try to claim the high ground while they’re actually digging. I want people to not use sex scandals in their party as an opportunity to declare that the other party has sex scandals; I want people to not use their booming debt as an occasion to complain that the other side causes booming debt. I want less chutzpah.

  • Baronius

    And, lest I be accused of partisanship, I don’t want to see Romney trying to claim the high ground against government interference in health care.

  • Leroy

    High ground? What high ground? Is it the low ground to be in favor of UHC, as I am? Is UHC immoral and/or illegal?

  • Cannonshop

    I don’t think Weiner should resign.

    No, seriously, stop laughing, I don’t. I doubt this ‘scandal’ has or will have any serious impact on Democrat power in Congress, and I don’t think it really matters that much.

    It is incredible to me, the mind-blowing level of Naive necessary to be upset over this behaviour when, frankly, we have Federal agents from the Dept. of EDUCATION staging SWAT-raids over student loan defaults, when we have federal AGENCIES breaking U.S. Law and arming Mexican Drug Gangs, then lying about it to congress in ways that, it turns out, are fairly easy for the relevant congressional committees to back-check and fact-check.

    Wiener’s Weiner is irrelevant when we have an Executive that, in the midst of two continuing wars, initiates two more.

    Nine percent unemployment and climbing again, when pre-stimulus numbers said that if we didn’t do something, it would climb as high as eight percent, energy prices climbing with no end in sight, by comparison a democrat congressman showing off his junk to a staffer just doesn’t compare.

    (though it is rather telling of the man’s character that, really, he didn’t have the stones to just sleep around-he had to resort to electronic fantasy. Pathetic, but hardly a high crime.)

  • zingzing

    baronius, if that’s what you want, let it begin with you, rather than bringing up a kennedy “killing a girl.” do you not see the conundrum? the hypocrisy? the chutzpah? the utter uselessness of your sentiment? the fact that it’s just too bad and politicians will be politicians and they’re going to bring up the faults of others in order to hide their own? the brick wall you’ll never dent?

    you just do your part, and maybe, maybe, one day the rest of the world will grow the fuck up.

  • Baronius

    I wouldn’t put it that way, Leroy. But from the perspective of limited government, sure, a huge government expansion is the low ground.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    I would have thought the low ground would be something like, say, selling a CIA agent down the river because her husband pissed you off.

    But whatever.

  • Baronius

    Dread, that’s as off-topic as my comment about Romney, but yeah.

  • Dan

    Did Valerie Plames husband ever piss Richard Armitage off? Never heard that before.

  • Dan

    I guess if 40 years is long enough to “let go” of Ted Kennedy killing a girl, then 20 years is probably enough to forget about Rep. Gerry Studds admitting to sex wih a 16-year-old male page and taking him on a European junket. Then turning his back to the speakers chair when censured by the House.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com/ handyguy

    This topic certainly brings out the sweet side of our conservative friends. Ugh.

  • zingzing

    see, baronius? might dan remember that during the same year a republican congressman also fucked a page? (see, baronius?) this game can be played all day. like the rest of us, politicians like to fuck. it’s up to you whether or not you make a big deal out of it. (of course, a 16-year-old boy is reprehensible, but then again, a page is a page, and a 17-year-old girl is just as illegal. and it puts weiner’s relatively harmless shenanigans into focus a bit.)

  • zingzing

    and no, i don’t think dan forgot about the equally disgusting republican. i think he just chose to think that no one else would remember. silly dan.

  • Baronius

    Wikipedia tells me that Crane apologized, stepped down, and didn’t win election when he ran again. Studds defended what he called a “consensual relationship with a young adult”, remained in office, and was reelected six times.

  • Ronald W Weathersby

    It seems the Congressman is about to resign. I am not happy about this development.

    Unfortunately it seems the Republican trash machine is so well-tuned that as of right now that is the only option Weiner has.

    As a progressive Democrat I am upset that my party seems only capable of turning the other cheek as the right wing bombards us with lies and mis-statements and rewriting history daily.

    Here’s a suggestion: Take a page from the Clinton White House!!!!

    FIGHT BACK!!!!!

    Taking the “high road” is admirable but is a losing proposition. Just ask Mike Dukakis, Al Gore and John Kerry. Ignoring the slime is not an option.

  • Baronius

    Ronald –

    “the Republican trash machine is so well-tuned…the right wing bombards us with lies and mis-statements and rewriting history daily”

    That’s kinda creepy. Has anyone lied or misstated anything in this whole story, other than Weiner? Were Obama, Reid, and Pelosi any quieter than the Republican leadership in calling for Weiner to step down? I understand that you have a horse in this race, but that doesn’t give you the right to distort the facts.

  • Ronald W Weathersby

    It’s just not Weiner. It’s all the lies that have been spewed by the right including the “birther” crap, the so-called doubling of the national debt, socialism, death panels and more.

    This is the atmosphere we are dealing with politically in this country today. If there were no propensity for lying and re-telling history I believe Democrats would not be so sensitive. However, given the well-oiled Republican trash machine the left has no room for crap like the Weiner story.

    The debate about the future of this country has to take place in a meaningful manner not in the midst of crazy talk and stubbornness that is a result of purely partisan politics.

    Our collective problems cry out for solutions not finger pointing and partisan bickering.

  • Baronius

    So if a congressman dropped trou and took a picture of it, then lied about it for a week in a political environment that hadn’t been tainted by Birther madness, he’d be fine? Come on, you know that’s not true.

    But if you want to be completely honest about it, Weiner was the poster boy for political nastiness and distortion. He was never known as a bridge builder or a legislator; he was an attack dog. When he got caught, he attacked. When he still got questioned, even by CNN, he kept attacking. If your theory is correct that Weiner could have survived in a different political climate, then the man fell into his own trap.

  • http://cinemasentries.com/ El Bicho

    Ronald,

    For the good of the party he needed to resign because he was a distraction. When porn stars are holding press conferences about you with Gloria Allred, it’s time to step down.

    Also, considering he waited until his pregnant wife came home to decide tells you what her opinion on the matter was, which should have a little more weight than what you want him to do.

  • Ronald W Weathersby

    I agree. Remember that is the entire premise of my blog.

    As for the Republican trash machine, Weiner’s escapades just played into their scenario which only clouded REAL issues which need to be addressed in a manner that is productive and which will benefit the country.

    When this matter is behind us we can get back to whether we will balance the budget on the backs of WIC recipients or will we close corporate tax loopholes. Will we invest in our future or privatize Medicare? Can we truly place all budget matters on the table or will we allow the right to hold our nation’s budget and economy hostage to get pet projects passed in the face of a budding crisis?

  • zingzing

    what a load of bullshit. america, land of the puritanical, hypocritical, pompous, holier-than-thou, unforgiving, wretched bundles of bloodthirsty pus-bags. not for one second of the day would they hold themselves to the same standards as they do him. if it was their wiener on the line, they’d sing quite a different tune. sickening little fucks. how is this anybody’s business to begin with? sometimes, i hate this stupid country. celebrity-obsessed bunch of drooling hicks.

  • Baronius

    Yike, Zing. Of course I don’t hold myself to the same standards I set for a politician. There’s plenty of behavior I’d tolerate in a politician that I wouldn’t excuse myself for. I bet that you’d never let yourself sink as low as Weiner.

  • zingzing

    i’ve sent plenty of dirty messages to women. that’s what this is about, right? (if so, yes, i’ve “sunk as low” as weiner and frankly enjoyed the hell out of it. and i’d do it again.) or is it just a dirt dug up from a man’s private life and used to chop off his head? in what other profession would a man losing his job over some (perfectly legal) private dalliances be considered fair? it might even become a lawsuit.

    yes, it was becoming a distraction, and in the end, he had to go. but if he’s guilty, so are the dirty republicans, the wimpy dems, the bloodthirsty media and the hypocritical public. the real shame here is that america will still go on a witch hunt, and america will still turn its nose up at anything or anyone that falls below their puritanical standards. it’s 2011, for fuck’s sake. our society is child-like and too fucking stupid to grow up. we’re stunted.

    weiner’s resignation is terrible waste of great potential and a politician who spoke as he felt and believed rather than however the politics said he should. i, for one, hope he does run for mayor.

  • Baronius

    There are plenty of professional situations in which lying to one’s wife, co-workers, and the press will destroy one’s reputation.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    Is the culture here anything like what happens in the UK, where a politician caught up in a scandal will typically resign any government office he or she happens to hold, remain in Parliament as a backbencher, quietly fade into the background for a few years until everyone’s forgotten about it, then re-emerge into the limelight and carry on as if nothing had happened?

    If so, Weiner’s political career should by no means be considered finished. But he should tactfully step aside and do something else, at least for a few years.

  • Ronald W Weathersby

    Anthony Weiner will be back.

    He is a valuable voice for working class Americans and I hope he can get it together and return. The country needs his political perspective and his political passion.

    His voice will be missed.

  • zingzing

    “There are plenty of professional situations in which lying to one’s wife, co-workers, and the press will destroy one’s reputation.”

    it’s true, but it’s also applied at random, especially in the political world (see limbaugh). and i’m sure you didn’t have the highest opinion of weiner before all this. his reputation, among republicans, was probably that of an annoyingly effective (or at least loud) blowhard.

    the republicans saw an opportunity to get him, and they got him. simple as that.

    at least his seat (should it even exist anymore) has absolutely no chance to go to the gop.

    “Is the culture here anything like what happens in the UK…”

    it probably moves along on a quicker time line. something will come up (within months, i’d bet) that will completely overshadow weiner’s minor transgressions. (what’s the latest on arnold schwarzenegger? any clue?)

    america’s appetite for other peoples’ sex lives is only matched by its appetite for new scandals.

  • Leroy

    Maybe if people had more interesting sex lives themselves they wouldn’t have to borrow sensations from other peoples sex lives.

  • Baronius

    I’ve been thinking about this thread and what really troubles me is the victim mentality in some of the comments. Weiner didn’t fall from power because of birthers or the Republican attack machine. In fact, that desire to blame something, anything, other than the person/s responsible is the driving force behind truthers, birthers, Diebold conspiracists, and every other stupid thing dominating today’s politics.

    Weiner is to blame for Weiner’s situation. Schwarzenegger for Schwarzenegger’s. That’s not always true – plenty of people find themselves in bad situations they didn’t create – but unless the Republican attack machine hit the “send” button on Weiner’s phone, Weiner’s mistakes are all on him.

  • Ronald W Weathersby

    Weiner created this mess, wallowed in it and was forced to pay the price. After it was all said and done he attempted to remove himself from the public debate with honor.

    You are missing the point. The right wing slime machine is still going at full speed. Just today the Washington Times printed a misguided “letter to the editor” entitled, ‘Weiner is symbol of Democrats’ morality’.

    This is the cause of the concern and anger. The double standard and hypocrisy of the right.

    If Weiner is the symbol of Democrats’ morality then Larry Craig, John Ensign, Mark Foley and David Vitter are the symbols of the GOP’s morality. I personally do not believe that.

    You cannot have it both ways unless of course you are the family values, holier than thou Republicans.

  • zingzing

    “I’ve been thinking about this thread and what really troubles me is the victim mentality in some of the comments.”

    it’s not any “victim mentality.” it’s anger. i like weiner and i don’t give a fuck if he sent pictures of his underwear to some girl in seattle. i hate the fact that the senate is losing one of the few voices i truly respect.

    “Weiner is to blame for Weiner’s situation.”

    that’s true to a degree. although it wasn’t weiner that made a big public to-do about some inconsequential shit that should have remained a private, family issue. who was it that did that?

  • Cannonshop

    #43 The Press, because it was a slow news day.

  • zingzing

    specifically…