Key Democrats are now bailing on New York Rep. Andrew Weiner faster than farmers bailing hay at harvest time. The Hill only gives us a glimpse of part of what news reports are increasingly reporting:
Rep. Anthony Weiner’s grip on his House seat grew far more tenuous Wednesday as he was hit with the release of another graphic picture purported to be of his genitals, the public revelation that his wife is pregnant and a flood of calls from prominent Democrats for him to resign.
It’s up to Weiner to decide whether he’ll ride out a scandal that grows more intense, and more embarrassing, by the day. For now, Weiner is resisting the calls. “He is not resigning,” said a Democratic insider who spoke with him.
But pressure is steadily building from within Democratic ranks for him to call it quits and end the saga of the first Twitter-made political sex scandal.
Two former Democratic National Committee chairmen, former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell and former Virginia governor and current Senate candidate Tim Kaine, have called on Weiner to tender his resignation, as has Rep. Allyson Schwartz, the Pennsylvania Democrat who runs the recruitment and candidate-services operations for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
“Having the respect of your constituents is fundamental for a member of Congress. In light of Anthony Weiner’s offensive behavior online, he should resign,” Schwartz said in a statement given to POLITICO Wednesday afternoon.
The Hill report and other reports provide more names of Dems in Congress and else who want him to step down.
The social-media derived scandal has been accentuated in recent days by several developments:
1. Democrats fear that Weiner is drowning out their larger message and can actually keep them from retaking the house or at least make it more difficult.
2. It turns out he had few real, solid friends in Congress. Again, The Hill reports that he was considered a lone wolf who generally hasn’t helped his party in past election cycles.
3. Weiner’s wife is reportedly pregnant which is causing some in the media and some sources to note how difficult it must be for his wife and that he should spare her the stress by resigning.
Another twist is Andrew Breitbart explaining that, why, he didn’t intend for the latest x-rated photo of Weiner’s private parts to get onto the Internet. He just happened to be carrying it on his cell phone and just happened to show it to two satellite radio talk show host. I mean, how could anyone think radio talk show hosts would possibly tell anyone or get a photo of it and put it on the internet? And don’t we all walk around with photos like that on our cell phone and if someone asks us to see it show them?
As I noted here, this kind of partisan seek and destroy does work and does increase the profile and presumably income of those who do it. So look for lots more of it in coming years — and more practioners getting into this than Andrew Breitart. Fame, fortune and political scalps can be yours.
It’s the logical extension of our talk show political culture and the mainstream media must follow it because if it’s news you report it. Weiner indulged in behavior that the vast majority of members of Congress on both sides would never do because apart from other reasons it could be political suicide. Which it was here. Some of the calls for Weiner to resign are now coming from partisans of the other party who relish excising a powerful progressive voice from the Democratic Party. And some are genuinely outraged and revolted.
Some of the calls from the Democratic Party are coming from Dems who consider Weiner a political liability for their party and their political futures (Liberal talker Ed Schultz has virtually begged Weiner to resign but he also does have his sympathizers.). And some are genuinely outraged and revolted. Still others are outraged and revolted that members of their own party are calling for Weiner’s resignation in a scandal that so far doesn’t seem to involve illegalities or even actual sex. But members of Congress have indeed seen careers cut short for inappropriate behavior not involving a sex act.
But the bottom line is this: it involved a Congressman involved in inappropriate behavior that he had to know could end his political career and some partisans of the other party who were out to nail him not just because of what he was doing — but because he had another party letter in front of his name.
And that’s our new trend. It’s the wave of the future of our journalistic and political cutures.
And it brings to mind (minus the reference to California) these words of former San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom on another matter:
UPDATE: From Andrew Borowitz:
Weiner Resigns; Will Run for Prime Minister of Italy
Stunning Comeback for Embattled Lawmaker
WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report) – Embattled congressman Anthony Weiner (D-NY) sent shockwaves across the political landscape today, resigning from his seat in Congress and announcing a run for Prime Minister of Italy.
“Today is bittersweet for me,” he said in a resignation speech on the floor of the House of Representatives. “But it is time to say goodbye to the past and buongiorno to the future.”
Mr. Weiner said that before resigning his seat, he briefly considered running for Prime Minister of Italy while still serving in the House: “I’ve shown that I’m good at multitasking.”
But instead, Mr. Weiner decided to devote himself wholeheartedly to his new campaign: “I’m very excited about this, as all of my followers on Twitter can see.”
There’s more so go to the link.
Joe Gandelman is a former fulltime journalist who freelanced in India, Spain, Bangladesh and Cypress writing for publications such as the Christian Science Monitor and Newsweek. He also did radio reports from Madrid for NPR’s All Things Considered. He has worked on two U.S. newspapers and quit the news biz in 1990 to go into entertainment. He also has written for The Week and several online publications, did a column for Cagle Cartoons Syndicate and has appeared on CNN.