John Judis of The New Republic is mad at Democrats for shoving Anthony Weiner out the door. “[A] sex scandal that involved no illegal activity – that is not a firing offense. A politician may resign out of embarrassment, as Representative Anthony Weiner did, but that doesn’t justify other politicians from his own party, including the president himself, calling for his resignation.”
Agreed. Weiner clearly has some issues – and was an obnoxious, self-adoring pain in the ass long before any of this – but it’s hard to see how anything he did, however embarrassing, however hurtful to his wife (and really, that’s none of our business), affected his ability to do his job. That seems to be the view most of his constituents took. I think he took it to a different level by lying – to his colleagues and, on TV, everyone else (something Judis doesn’t address); but is that a firing offense? It wasn’t for Bill Clinton.
Nancy Pelosi, calling on Weiner to resign, claimed he’d become a “distraction.” Judis resonably retorts: “From what? Pelosi herself no longer has any power. And the Democrats under Obama have decided to conduct their most critical politics in private, through secret negotiations with the opposition.” (And anyway, the “distraction” comes of the deranged, wall-to-wall media coverage. That may be inevitable, but it’s not Weiner’s fault; he would have been just fine with less media!) And then Obama worried on TV about Weiner’s ability to serve “when people are worrying about jobs, and their mortgages, and paying the bills.” This is the same Obama, Judis notes, who “has not raised a finger to defend Elizabeth Warren, his presumed appointee to head the still-born Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.”
It seems pretty clear that Democrats were cowed into ditching their unloved colleague. “Weiner’s resignation means little, except to him and his family,” writes Judis, “but the willingness of leading Democrats to cave in the face of the campaign against him will embolden the Breitbarts and Eric Cantors of the world to up the ante.”