Active Rain June 16, 2011

Why Anthony Weiner Needs to Go

Excuse me while I delve a moment. Under politics is the land….

I do not live in Anthony Weiner’s congressional district, but as a New Yorker and a business owner I have a say in matters regarding my state’s delegation to Washington. And like the majority of Empire State folk (except, regrettably, the majority of voters in his own district), I wish Anthony Weiner would resign. My state’s government in Albany is on the cusp of legalizing gay marriage, an important step forward in liberty that will put New York ahead of the national curve for a change, and we don’t need the political distraction. But the real reasons lay with Mr Weiner himself. 

I’m no lawyer, but I know wrongdoing when I see it.  When he reversed his strategy and admitted his lies, the congressman stated that his tweet to the student in Bellingham, Washington was not his only dalliance. Vehementarrogant denials aren’t something you can back away from in one press conference, no matter how many times your voice breaks. Contrasting Weiner’s week of repudiation with real events gives us a look into more disturbing matters about what we can and cannot have in a lawmakers.

He didn’t just deny, he fabricated.  When president Clinton disavowed his, um, inappropriate relationship with Monica Lewinsky he didn’t make up some ruse about someone else in the White House enjoying M. Lewinsky’s services. He just tried awkwardly to parse words about what sex really was. Weiner made up a lame story which only raised more questions, some of which were no laughing matter for a member of the US Congress. 

He witness tampered. Among Weiner’s pursuits was adult actress Ginger Lee. Ms. Lee has reported that Weiner wanted her to lie about his sext messages to her. To her credit, she came forward anyway. And as Jennie Ketcham recently wrote, Weiner’s conduct with Ms. Lee wasn’t mischievous fun, it was disrespectful harassment. For those of us who think this is just about America’s needing to get over it about sex, manipulating or coercing a possible witness isn’t boys being boys, it is corrupt.  

He called in a false alarm. In his televised interviews with reporters in the immediate aftermath, the congressman’s denial’s took a strange tone when he distanced himself from using the word “hacked.” He had good reason, but the horse was already out of the barn. Hackers are now targeting government and financial financial institutions. A US representative’s online accounts being compromised are serious issues that could have repercussions on national security as well as damaging information to his own party’s legislative agenda. So Weiner instead tried to use the terms “pranked” and “hoaxed” because, in his damage control after he deleted the tweet, he forgot that a US congressman can’t just brush off a Internet account being hacked. Having to do damage control on his damage control is too much even for a fast thinking guy like Weiner. 

The question to whether he utilized government resources in his hobby is probably answered in the affirmative, but I would really prefer not to use government resources to confirm that. We’ve spent far too long with this thing hanging in the air, and it is clear that he can’t effectively govern. But I’ll add another piece of coal to the fire anyway. For a technophile like Anthony Weiner, waiting for his wife to come home is about as specious an excuse to discuss resignation as you can get. He is simply strategizing- gambling that this might die down by the time Huma returns stateside. Surely the congressman has heard of Skype, texting, email, telephone, and other media that allow for private communication. If his wife follows him there, he could privately message her on Twitter. But I don’t blame him for avoiding that one. Maybe Skype. 

When New York representatives Chris Lee and Vito Fossella were both exposed, they went quickly and quietly. Anthony Weiner should do the same. 

Update: At 10 am this morning, 2 hours after I posted this, the media reported that the congressman would indeed step down. #CalledIt!