Now that Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-Twitter) has come clean about the photos, the sexting, the cyber violation of his wedding vows and the lying to everyone, he’s going to have to do some even deeper soul searching to answer the following question: Should he stay in Congress?
Yesterday I said Weiner, reelected to a seventh term last November, was right to say that he wouldn’t resign. It should be up to his constituents how long he represents them. Now I’m not sure.
Weiner said during his astounding 27-minute press conference that to his knowledge he had not violated any rules of the House. This flies in the face of what appears to be evidence to the contrary. Lisa Weiss, a blackjack dealer in Las Vegas, told RadarOnline.com that Weiner engaged in a steamy, 30-minute call from his congressional office.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) was right to call for an ethics investigation into the Weiner mess. The congressman was wise to announce that he would cooperate. And through it all, Weiner will stand as he did yesterday — alone.
As has been noted in many stories this morning, Weiner has few friends on Capitol Hill. But unlike Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.), the former chairman of the powerful House Ways and Means committee who was slapped with censure for serious ethics violations last year, Weiner won’t have colleagues saying, “I like him personally.” Perhaps that was the one thing that saved the legendary Harlem congressman from expulsion.
I’ll state it plainly. I like Anthony Weiner personally. I’ve known and reported on him since my days at the New York Daily News. All the adjectives used to describe his demeanor are accurate. But Weiner was a favorite of the left because he would take the fight to the Republicans with a zeal that was at once thrilling and unnerving, as he did in fighting for the bill to provide health care to sick first responders of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
But good works can’t trump bad judgment. Or violations of rules or laws.
Part of me wants Weiner to stay and fight, especially when formerly hooker-happy Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) still lurks the Capitol. But if Weiner knows that he did indeed use congressional resources to carry on his cyber trysts, which fly in the face of yesterday’s denials, then for the good of his constituents, colleagues, his party (which sees a chance to take back the House in 2012) and, most important, his wife, he must resign. No good can or will come from trying to hang on.