Anthony Weiner Should Resign

By Justin Gardner | Related entries in Democrats

I know I’ve been silent about the Anthony Weiner scandal, and for that you have my apologies. Other things have taken priority. Still, it wasn’t a Dem/Repub thing, it was just a timing thing.

So, having said that, why isn’t this guy stepping down?

Talking Points Memo cites a poll:

In the poll, 56% of registered voters in Weiner’s NY-9 district think he should remain in office, while only a third (33%) think he should resign. That result comes as further salacious details about the Twitter scandal have come to light.

However, voters are as yet undecided on whether they’ll support Weiner when he’s up for reeleciton in 2012. thirty percent of respondents said they’d definitely vote for him next year, compared to 31% who said they would definitely not. A 38% plurality said it was too early to say for sure who they’ll vote for in the next election cycle.

Wait…a poll says he shouldn’t back down?

This could definitely embolden him to stay put, but let’s face it…he has disgraced the office he was elected to represent. He lied, he tried to use government resources to cover it up and, for me, that’s that. Gone. Thank you for playing, but you’re out of the running. Buh-bye.

Listen, I don’t care where you fall on the political spectrum or what has happened in the past to other pols who messed up, lied on national television and the hole keeps getting deeper and deeper. Regardless of whether he’s an effective advocate for Dem positions, he’s certainly proved to be a weak advocate for Dem values.

So yes, again, buh-bye.

What do you think?


This entry was posted on Friday, June 10th, 2011 and is filed under Democrats. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

21 Responses to “Anthony Weiner Should Resign”

  1. Terry Says:

    I think his actions are deplorable, but at the same time I’m tired of the silly sex scandal = immediate removal from office equation. I have a serious problem when the politician or public figure involved proves they are a hypocrite, such as being highly vocal against gay rights then being found with a male lover, etc. But all Weiner has proven is he’s the average craigslist user. I feel the same way about Chris Lee, that is bad for them. But it doesn’t go further than that. I’m more concerned with the over-judgement of minor personal issues when it comes to politicians because eventually it will be proven that no one human will be good enough for anything. It’s dangerous.

    Again, if the actions were completely opposite what they are in office fighting for then they loose all credibility in their positions, then I have a problem.

  2. Rodi Says:

    I don’t care about his sexual actions. To be frank, that’s not any of my business and has nothing to do with his political position. That’s between him and his wife. I don’t care about anyone’s sexual escapades unless what they do is illegal by normal standards not some crazy law left from 1850 that says you can only sleep with your wife. What I care about is his very public lying and worse, absolute inability to take responsibility for his actions. All he had to say was “Hey, I disrespected my wife by having inappropriate electronic contact with other women.” Had he done that it would have blown over. Instead he created a woe-is-me-someone-did-this-to-me tall tale and stuck to it for a week. That’s my problem because that reflects his character and that affects his role/ability to lead. Sort of like Bill Clinton… We all make mistakes since we’re human but if you are in a role-model job then part of it is to own up to your foibles and show remorse. Then you move forward.

  3. Centerist Cynic Says:

    I agree with Terry, this is a slippery slope. There was an interesting discussion on the Diane Rhiem Show yesterday about this issue. One of the guests questioned why Weiner should have to resign when Tom Coburn who tried to help cover up the ensign affair is not being asked to resign.

    At the same time it is a sad state of affairs when we are left saying Weiner shouldn’t resign because someone else did something just as bad and didn’t resign.

    Bottom line if Weiner can regain the trust of the voters in his district than the rest of us should probably stay out of it. I think that is the Charlie Rangel standard.

  4. Tully Says:

    Um, the “Charlie Rangel standard” includes staying in office despite repeated and copiously demonstrated tax evasion and some very serious violations of Congressional ethics rules. Not to mention that whole rob-a-poor-person thing of (illegally) hogging multiple rent-controlled apartments for himself and family members, which continues to this day.

    As near as I can tell he didn’t break any laws. Unlike Rangel. If Wiener’s constituents want to keep him, that’s their business, though IMHO would show bad judgement. As does his not resigning.

  5. julia Says:

    People need to take more responsibility for what they put on the web. Once it’s out there, it’s there for good. This is a good link to acting smart on Facebook and Twitter. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/g/a/2011/06/10/prweb8557959.DTL

  6. theWord Says:

    @Tully-
    Would have liked to see the same standard applied to Vitter, Ensign, Coburn and the others at C-Street and Sanford. Otherwise it seems more like a power grab than any consistent morality standard.

    Also think Terry makes a sound point, we’d have gotten rid of Washington, Jefferson, Franklin, Lincoln (most likely), Kennedy, Reagan, Clinton if we were more morally pure. That’s before we even get to politics. Out of the country so I don’t know what he did with his office. I think Coburn’s acts were criminal too from what I have heard, has he been asked to resign. Seems like it’s like fiscal responsibility- it only becomes a principle when it’s the other guy.

  7. kranky kritter Says:

    Would have liked to see the same standard applied to Vitter, Ensign, Coburn and the others at C-Street and Sanford. Otherwise it seems more like a power grab than any consistent morality standard.

    To me, this is about the standards we should apply to ourselves. All of us know that folks who lean one way or the other are going to apply different standards, giving a break to and apologizing for their own team while being as ungenerous as possible while scoring the other side.

    I won’t be distracted by folks who want to muddy the waters by talking about other folks of demonstrated poor character. A demonstrated lack of integrity on the part of others is a poor excuse for lacking integrity oneself.

    Ideally, I wish public elected officials would always resign when they’ve clearly disgraced themselves, as much for the public’s sake as for their own honor. This used to be well understood within our culture, but that understanding has been eroded. Let’s face it, this story is dragging on in a way that it would not have dragged, if Weiner had resigned. That Weiner persists is an act of disrespect towards his constituents and his office.

    But it won’t work that way when the public continues to re-elect officials who have disgraced themselves. Weiner persists today because he knows he might get away with it. Weiner’s constituents are entitled to re-elect Weiner if they want to, and that’s no one else’s affair. But if they do so, they willingly slather the disgrace on themselves, by re-electing a bald-faced liar who has demonstrated his poor character. The people of Weiners district should ask themselves one question:

    Do I want to be represented in front of the rest of the nation by someone that I know will look others right in the eye and lie?

    That’s it. I know I would not want to represented by someone who misrepresents himself.

  8. Tully Says:

    tWord, that’s a pretty poor attempt to manufacture a double standard that I haven’t expressed while simultaneously conflating different things.

    Rangel should have been prosecuted for multiple reasons, and wasn’t. Instead he got an ethics investigation with a wrist-slap censure, paid the back taxes without indictment or penalties, AND continues to use four rent-controlled NYC apartments supposedly reserved for low-income tenants as his office and personal home. Must be nice … I sincerely doubt you or I would be so fortunate as to both keep our illegal perks and avoid prosecution.

    By contrast, Wiener (and your own cites, none of whom are on my personal “admirable people” list, which is admittedly rather short) don’t appear to have committed any actual indictable major misdemeanors or felonies, so my expressed standard applies. Their constituents are the ones who get to decide their fitness to remain in office, if they don’t feel enough shame to resign. I may think their constituents are total idiots to re-elect them, but that’s their choice to make, not mine.

  9. Mike A. Says:

    “To me, this is about the standards we should apply to ourselves.”

    “Ideally, I wish public elected officials would always resign when they’ve clearly disgraced themselves, as much for the public’s sake as for their own honor. ”

    Disgrace is in the eyes of the beholder…that’s the issue here. Applying your moral standards, as well as your definition of “disgraced”, is the core of the problem.

    He didn’t break the law, therefore he should not need to step down. The law should be the moral code here. That is the only fair way to treat these types of incidents without introducing personal bias.

  10. theWord Says:

    Actually, I’m all for a single standard Tully. I have no issue with Weiner resigning or even raising the bar and setting a standard for ALL and throwing him under the bus if that were legal. I assumed that you’d want Rangel to go so I threw him in for the ride. My only concern is the one that Kranky stated, We’d all like them to be honorable and resign on their own but ‘it appears that the GOP members who have done the same as Weiner and (were hypocrites to boot)’ will need some help leaving because integrity hasn’t made it happen. Of course, I’m a higher standards kind of guy I’d also like to see people who lie on the Senate floor have to pay for ads with their own campaign funds to clear up the lies they spread. I’d also like to see more people censured for gross distortions so that the debate is based on honest information. I would say the same for EACH party. Your mileage will likely vary.

    @Mike A- what he did was not the main problem other than being an idiot, lying about it was. The double standard on Fox is rich though.

  11. chay32 Says:

    At the same time it is a sad state of affairs when we are left saying Weiner shouldn’t resign because someone else did something just as bad and didn’t resign.

  12. Nick Benjamin Says:

    @Tully
    The problem with your claim to fairness is simple:
    You ain’t dinging LA prosecutors for their failure to prosecute Dave Vitter. You ain’t dinging NV prosecutors for not going after John Ensign. And Ensign’s admitted to abusing his power to get a guy a job.

    On this scandal generally I have to say I just don’t care. He didn’t break any laws. A married man sexting his girl is sleazy, but it’s also none of my business. Lying about a text message is sleazy, but if it was none of my business in the first place why should I expect the truth? If he really was sexting the 17-year-old, and he knew her age, it’s a problem. But the other five? I just don’t care.

    That said I’m beginning to think he has to resign. We’re about two months from Obama being forced to cut 40% of the Federal budget by Executive Order, and the debate is being dominated by a gossip-fest reminiscent of High School.

  13. Tully Says:

    Nick, I’m not responsible for your inability to distinguish cases and make relevant distinctions based on facts.

    Vitter’s alleged crime was patronizing prostitutes, a rather low-end misdemeanor that is almost impossible to prosecute unless the “john” is caught on tape for the classic offer/acceptance. And frankly it’s not much more (legally) serious than a heavy speeding ticket. Of the two cases Vitter was involved in, one (in DC) was far past the statute of limitations making it unprosecutable even before considering whether there was enough evidence, and in the other (in New Orleans) it was not only a full decade past the statute, the only evidence was the unsupported claim of a hooker. He made a public statement begging forgiveness for past sins, with his wife at his side, and his constituents re-elected him.

    In Ensign’s case, he DID resign, so we don’t know what his constituents would have done about his admission to an affair. His (alleged–so far) crime was illegally using campaign funds to essentially pay off a blackmailer, and it’s murky enough it might be a very tough case to prove to a jury. Had he not resigned he almost certainly would have been expelled from the Senate after the Ethics Committee reported, but that’s a different standard than a criminal referrral for a jury trial. He remains under DoJ investigation for campaign finance violations related to his (alleged) blackmail payments to the Hamptons. But those are (potential) federal charges, not NV ones. Roughly the same kind of charges John Edwards is now facing. Ensign is not off the hook yet, as John Edwards can tell him.

    No major disagreement with you on Wiener. While he certainly disgraced himself, mostly by his idiotic response to the revelations, he apparently broke no laws. His constituents and conscience can decide the issue of his fitness for office. Where I disagree is that there is reason to care, as his clownitude will affect both his image and future performance in office. Whether you are D or R or I, that’s a factor to keep in mind.

  14. kranky kritter Says:

    Disgrace is in the eyes of the beholder…that’s the issue here. Applying your moral standards, as well as your definition of “disgraced”, is the core of the problem.

    Yes, yes, of course, everything is subjective, Mike, well played. You are the postmodernist king of beers! You’re right! It is my subjective opinion that public figures disgrace themselves when they look right into a camera and lie. Especially when the lie is clearly being spoken to save oneself from embarrassment and shame.

    It’s quite true that in 2011 fewer Americans believe that lying is clearly and objectively “disgraceful behavior,” and that such behavior brings great dishonor upon a public office. By supporting Weiner, you imply that you believe that such lying is not a dishonor and a disgrace. Personally, even I can’t be that relativistic about things. Good luck with it.

    I still that it’s about as close as you can get to “objective” to say that such lying is a dishonor and a disgrace. To the extent that it’s subjective instead, I would say that such subjectivity is a nevertheless auseful and valuable norm, one that the overwhelming majority of Americans still agrees with, and one we’d all be well-served to follow.

    He didn’t break the law, therefore he should not need to step down. The law should be the moral code here. That is the only fair way to treat these types of incidents without introducing personal bias.

    I don’t buy that. As Tully states, it’s Weiner’s constituents who get to decide. And they get to apply the standard they want. Once upon a time, someone who lied and therefore disgraced themselves would resign in part because they already knew they’d become untenable, and would not be retained.

    I never explicitly said that Weiner should resign. I said it was the honorable thing to do. He shouldn’t be forced by any new mechanism or rule. If people want to tolerate being represented by a liar, that’s their choice. And the choice reflects upon them.

  15. Tully Says:

    Let’s make an important distinction here. Whether or not Wiener should be forced to leave Congress by Congress itself is an entirely different matter than whether one believes he should step down.

    While his actions (as so far reported) were IMHO disgraceful and reprehensible, he does not appear to have committed any actual crimes, much less felonies. So I would not lift a finger to procedurally force him out of office, other than at the ballot box. And judging from the history of censures and such in Congress, nothing he did (as so far reported) would earn more than at most a reprimand from Congress itself. Even that’s pretty darned unlikely, other than as a posturing party-line slaparound of no real significance.

    I personally think he should step down, but not being in his district I literally have no vote in the matter, and his constituents are the appropriate judges of his fitness to continue in office. That will reflect on them as well as on him.

  16. Mike A. Says:

    “As Tully states, it’s Weiner’s constituents who get to decide. ”
    Agreed 100%. That should be the final word on this (assuming no laws broken).

    KK

    “By supporting Weiner, you imply that you believe that such lying is not a dishonor and a disgrace. Personally, even I can’t be that relativistic about things. Good luck with it.”

    In which paragraph did I claim to support Weiner? I didn’t support your position, but that’s clearly not equivalent to supporting Weiner.

    Once you’ve incorrectly implied I supported Weiner you then extend your implications to defining my moral code by stating I believe lying is not a dishonor nor a disgrace. Interesting way to build your argument, and as you would say, good luck wth it.

    I tire of self-righteousness and those who would extend their version to those around them.

  17. Mike A. Says:

    ….and then I watched this….

    …what a friggin idiot…..

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HClsBFDLye4

  18. kranky kritter Says:

    In which paragraph did I claim to support Weiner? I didn’t support your position, but that’s clearly not equivalent to supporting Weiner.

    Once you’ve incorrectly implied I supported Weiner you then extend your implications to defining my moral code by stating I believe lying is not a dishonor nor a disgrace. Interesting way to build your argument, and as you would say, good luck wth it.

    Right here:

    He didn’t break the law, therefore he should not need to step down. The law should be the moral code here. That is the only fair way to treat these types of incidents without introducing personal bias.

    So you don’t “support” him, but you say he shouldn’t need to step down. You’re splitting hairs. Suppose (as you are NOW implying) that you really do think that lying like Weiner’s is a dishonor and a disgrace. Then where’s the disconnect that leaves you somehow unwilling to say “this liar is a dishonor and disgrace, and stepping down is his only honorable action.” Do you have the courage of your convictions? Or do you have some sort of quiet private convictions that you are unwilling to stand behind or support when it comes time to be heard and talk about real consequences. What would be the point of such convictions?

    As Tully states, it’s Weiner’s constituents who get to decide. ”

    Agreed 100%. That should be the final word on this (assuming no laws broken).

    I can cheerfully accept that it’s an acceptable outcome related to a position in which I have no legal interest. But there’s no reason for it to be the “final word.” Disgraced people carry their disgraces, whatever they may be, with them. Wiener doesn’t become redeemed in my estimation simply by getting re-elected. He could do so by doing something positive of note. Same thing with Rangel, and lots of other folks like him on both sides of the aisle. The sour whiff of a scoundrel lingers. and that’s a feature, not a bug.

  19. Nick Benjamin Says:

    @Tully:
    You don’t know much about how the IRS behaves if you think an ordinary person would be treated differently then Chuck Rangel. If you screw up, you catch it, you tell the IRS, and then you pay what they think you owe you will not be prosecuted. You can believe he didn’t make an honest mistake with the income from this villa in the Dominican Republic, but proving that beyond a reasonable doubt to 12 jurors is not a gimme.

    Which leaves the rent control thing. And that’s a lot more complicated then his critics make out. For example it’s not clear to me that the renter is responsible for ensuring his rent-controlled apartment complies with all relevant city regulations. It’s entirely possible the landlord is supposed to do that. To me it looks like what’s supposed to happen is the landlord was supposed to jack up Rangel’s rent when he put an office in one of his apartments, and failed to do so. Which mean Rangel’s not actually doing anything illegal. Granted benefiting from his landlord’s incompetent criminality is incredibly sleazy, but it’s not something he can be prosecuted for.

    Which means that to avoid being a hypocrite you’re gonna have to lay off the demands Chuck Rangel be immediately prosecuted. By all means keep on him for being a sleazeball who (at best) doesn’t know the tax laws he supposedly wrote, and currently reaps $15,000 a month in benefits that are supposed to go to poor people, and the other crap he’s done. But demands for prosecution just ain’t gonna fly.

    As for John Ensign, he stayed on for almost two years after the scandal broke.

  20. kranky kritter Says:

    Nick, the core of your Rangel argument seems to be that he shouldn’t be prosecuted because conviction “is not a gimme.” Which is a fairly weak argument against prosection.

    Then you go to essentially acknowledge that he’s a sleazeball but then say “demands for prosecution just ain’t gonna fly.” That seems like a disconnect to me. What is it that you find troubling about prosecuting a sleazeball that even you seem to think might be guilty?

    The weirdest part is how you keep trying to turn the discussion of Rangel into the relative guilt of a variety of partisan figures. Tully isn’t even the one who brought up Rangel, Tully simply stated his opinion of the guy. Then it was YOU who listed other guys that you thought were comparable. Tully then stated known facts about them, ones which you don’t dispute, although you think they deserve some different context. Then YOU accuse Tully of being a hypocrite for stating his view of the specific figures that YOU brought into the discussion. All of the momentum behind any dispute about wrongdoing along partisan lines has come from YOU!

  21. Tully Says:

    Sure does seem like a Rangel booster, doesn’t he? Since that seems to be what he takes particular exception to. Do note that I did NOT say Rangel should be “immediately prosecuted.” I said his case differed materially in kind on the established facts from those also listed (which list was tWord’s, BTW, not Nick’s). That Rangel had not been forced to resign despite his “troubles,” but had instead been censured. Bit of a benchmark there for Congressional penalties. A low one, IMHO.

    Of course, Nick apparently believes that you get a jury trial in tax court (good luck with that) and that Rangel turned himself in on the tax charges. Nope. He got caught after 17 years of not reporting the income. I somehow doubt the IRS would let us ordinary peons get away with simply paying the back taxes but not any interest or penalties, as Rangel did. But laws are for the little people, right?

    The Ethics Committee had a whole lot more than Charlie’s Caribbean villa to play with when they censured him.

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