Weiner: National laughingstock
After days of heated denials, the congressman admitted that he’d sent lewd photos and messages to at least a half dozen young women.
“Erections have consequences,” said the New York Post in an editorial. Rep. Anthony Weiner of Brooklyn learned that the hard way this week when he admitted—after days of heated denials—that he’d sent lewd photos and messages to at least a half dozen young women, including the image that made him “a national laughingstock”—a cell phone shot he took of his boxer shorts, displaying his excitement. In a long, tearful, and excruciating press conference, the famously belligerent liberal Democrat apologized profusely to his constituents and his wife of one year, but insisted his “sexting” did not “reflect on my official duties,” and refused to resign. Sorry, but a dozen sniveling apologies are not good enough, said the New York Daily News. Weiner, it turns out, repeatedly—even obsessively—engaged in phone sex and other lurid activities while he was in his congressional office, supposedly working in behalf of his constituents. “Congressman Creep” needs to go.
How is this any of our business? said Conor Friedersdorf in TheAtlantic.com. The only real victim here is Weiner’s wife, Huma Abedin, who in an unfortunate coincidence was Hillary Clinton’s top aide during the Lewinsky affair. But as the Clinton scandal proved so graphically, it’s both prurient and pointless to obsess over “the sexual behavior of egocentric alpha males” who populate the political world. There is no evidence whatsoever that a politician’s sex life reflects on his fitness for office. Besides, said Ronnie Polaneczky in the Philadelphia Daily News, Weiner wasn’t one of those sanctimonious pols who build their careers preaching family values and the sanctity of marriage. Weiner may be a shmuck, and a cad, but “at least he’s not a hypocrite.”
If Weiner hangs tough, said Steve Kornacki in Salon.com, he can probably keep his congressional seat. The question is whether he’ll really want to. Until this week, there were two main reasons Weiner served as a congressman: to set up a run for mayor of New York in 2013, and to further his career as a “wisecracking, Republican-bashing cable-news all-star.” “Weinergate” has emphatically ended all of that. If he stays in Congress, it will be as a chastened, low-profile back-bencher. He’d find that excruciatingly boring. There’s a cruel, delicious irony here, said Daniel Flynn in HumanEvents.com. Weiner owed his career to the camera, but it was a camera, in the end, that did him in. “Live by the sword, die by the sword.”