Sext-scandal-plagued Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) will announce his resignation Thursday afternoon, according to The New York Times. Weiner reportedly came to his decision after lengthy conversations with his wife, Huma Abedin, who recently returned from a trip with her boss, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. Given the rising tide of criticism, with Democratic leaders calling for his resignation and planning to strip him of his congressional committee assignments, did the New York Democrat have any other choice but to step down?
Weiner had to resign: "I'm generally of the view that these things can be ridden out, but Weiner had a lot going against him," says Ben Smith at Politico. As I said last week, there are "powerful political currents running against him." His initial denial and well-publicized lies got the scandal off on the wrong PR foot. He has few allies in Congress, and Republicans were "eager to make the case a partisan test." All that made the prominent Dem's chance of survival slim-to-none.
"Weiner to resign"
Especially after the 17-year-old came to light: While Weiner initially insisted he wouldn't resign, things took a turn for the worse last week when he conceded that he'd chatted online with a 17-year-old girl in Delaware, say Major Garrett and Billy House at the National Journal. "The mere fact he had had such contact with a teen seemed to bring his troubles to a critical mass, and prompted Pelosi and other top Democrats to join the calls for him to resign." While Weiner tried entering rehab and taking a leave of absence, the revelation about this high school girl was the "tipping point."
"Rep. Anthony Weiner plans to resign"
The party pressure was too much: Democrats were doing all they could to get Weiner to step down, says Ed Morrissey at Hot Air. They planned to meet Thursday "to discuss stripping Weiner of his committee assignments as a last-ditch effort to get him to quit." If that didn't work, their only other choice would have been a lengthy ethics investigation. Lucky for Dems, it didn't come to that, and they "can breathe a sigh of relief." The rest of us can lament the fact that "we won't get to see the spectacle of porn stars scolding a congressman over his lack of ethics"
"Breaking: NYT says Weiner will resign; Update: 'Staff leaving with their belongings'"
Actually, Weiner might have ridden this out: Weiner shouldn't have to step down, says Derek Thompson at The Atlantic. What he did "was certainly icky," but as far as we know, it wasn't illegal or even technically adulterous. Weiner's "duty" is to "honor his voters," by staying in office to try to redeem himself, and then let the next elections, not party pressure, decide his fate. "When our representatives stray, democracy is a useful instrument of punishment or forgiveness."
"Why Anthony Weiner shouldn't have to resign"