When the turgid photo appeared and “Weinergate” took over the political conversation in this town last week, I didn’t want to believe it. Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.), the man Andrew Breitbart said belonged to the protruding underpants, couldn’t possibly be that dumb.
But just over an hour ago, Weiner revealed he was indeed that dumb. “The picture was of me and I sent it,” he told a room filled reporters, including Breitbart.
With voice cracking and visible humility and humiliation, Weiner apologized to his wife, family, friends, staff, constituents and the six women who have been the object of his cyber-affections over the past three years. Weiner took questions from the New York press corps, arguably one of the toughest packs of journos around. Their questions weren’t pretty and they weren’t gentle in asking them. Nor should they have been. But Weiner deserves a lot of credit for standing there and treating the questions with the seriousness they deserved. During the 27-minute news conference, Weiner called his actions “dumb,” “embarrassing,” “regrettable,” “shameful,” and “destructive” over and over again.
The six-term congressman said he has no intention of resigning over this. Considering that Weiner didn’t break any laws, I don’t see why he should. If Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) can hang on to his seat after admitting to patronizing prostitutes, which is illegal, then Weiner should certainly stay put. But when voters send someone to Washington, they do so out of trust. Trust that you will uphold the law. Trust that you will make the right decisions on their behalf. Trust that you will not embarrass them or let them down. On that last score, Weiner failed — and failed spectacularly. How long he stays should depend on them.