Right Matters
Right Matters
Talking about the future of conservatism with Ramesh Ponnuru.

Weiner Should Resign

So Rep. Anthony Weiner did what all sensible people following the story thought he had done, and then some--as all sensible people following the story had concluded.

Various Republican figures are calling for him to resign. It will be hard to take them seriously unless they called for Senator David Vitter (R., La.) to step down following his own sex scandal.

Not being married to Rep. Weiner, I don’t especially care about how faithful he is. Given my low opinion of his political work, I figure the more time he spends cruising online the better off the public is.

But if I were his friend--if what was best for him were uppermost in my mind--I’d want him to resign. He has done something terribly wrong, and needs to rebuild his character, his reputation, and his marriage. These are very difficult things for anyone to do, and I think they are likely to be almost impossible for someone in public life--for whom the overwhelming temptation will be to work almost entirely on reputation. As a man he needs penance; as a politician he needs its appearance. This is not a challenge that should be taken on by someone whose public and private lives have already come into serious conflict.

I don’t believe that all adulterers--or would-be adulterers, as apparently is the case this time--need to resign for the public good; not in the U.S. of 2011 anyway. But they probably need tor resign for their own good.

Feel free to add your thoughts below.

NOTE TO READERS: This will be my last “Right Matters” posting. I am going to concentrate in the future on my job at National Review and my weekly column at Bloomberg View. I appreciate the attention and comments you have provided over the years, and of course also the hospitality of the Washington Post Co. Best to all.

- Ramesh Ponnuru

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