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.
If 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.
The 24-hour news cycle has spawned the never ending political campaign. In truth the 2012 presidential campaign began November 5, 2008.
Politics has trumped governing in America and the Weiner Affair has been exploited by the right to change the subject from real policy debates to peccadilloes.
It is for that reason that Congressman Weiner needs to clear the deck and the only way for him to do that is to step down immediately.