The Weinerman Really Needs to Go
By David H. Landon
Should Weiner withdraw from Congress or stand firm? OK! Sorry! Let’s get the jokes out of the way here at the start of this otherwise very serious column, starting with some of the jokes heard on the late night shows where Anthony Weiner has become the nightly easy target.
“Congressman Weiner is in a lot of trouble since he tweeted those pictures. But good news for him, he just found out he’ll be allowed to keep his porn name … Anthony Weiner.” — Late Night with Conan O’Brien
“It turns out that one of the women Congressman Anthony Weiner was communicating with was a porn star. When asked how it was possible to get involved with someone in such a sleazy business, the porn star said, ‘I don’t know.’” — Late Night with Conan O’Brien
“What?! The congressman had a sex scandal and had to apologize to Bill Clinton? For what?! Copyright infringement?” — The Daily Show with Jon Stewart
Late Show host David Letterman introduced a new show segment titled “What’s in Anthony’s underpants tonight?”
And then there were the headlines: “Battle of the Bulge, Weiner Exposed,” New York Post; “The Big Wang Theory,” The Daily Show with Jon Stewart; “Disgusted Democrats Letting Weiner Shrivel,” New York Post; “Congressman Wants Weiner Probe,” Fox News.
OK … I’m done. No more Weiner jokes.
The question on everyone’s mind about Congressman Anthony Weiner’s sexting revelations: What in the hell was he thinking? Here was a politician who “gave as good as he got” during spirited debates on the cable news circuit. He was beloved by the left for his brash defense of Obama and everything liberal. He was, in effect, the go-to guy whenever the liberal point of view needed to be advanced on a national news program. As effective as he had been as the congressman from New York’s Ninth Congressional District, there was another job that he most coveted. Weiner, more than anything else, wanted to be the mayor of New York City. That dream is probably over now.
Over the weekend Weiner requested a leave of absence from Congress while seeking treatment of an unspecified nature in order to become “a better husband and a better person.” We can only presume that such treatment will deal with Weiners’ propensity to send pictures of his erect penis to random women. His decision to seek therapy came just hours after the big dogs of the Democrat House leadership called on him to resign. Weiner is probably hoping his decision to undergo treatment will slow the calls for his resignation and buy some time for something else to intervene on his behalf … like a new war someplace or maybe another sex scandal, this time involving a Republican. There is a school of thought that if he can simply ride out the controversy, legally there is nothing that can be done to force his removal assuming no laws were broken.
As a conservative and Republican supporter, my first reaction is that I would love to see Anthony Weiner hang in there and keep his seat. I’m joined in this view by every late-night talk show host. From a political gamesmanship point of view, nothing would be better than to have Sir Weiner around to use as a punch line about democratic policies that don’t work (i.e. the only stimulus plan that seems to be working is Rep. Weiner’s self-stimulus plan.) The other factor on keeping Weiner in the seat is that it is such a democratic stronghold; there is no chance for a Republican to carry the district. The last Republican to be elected to that district was one Andrew Petersen from 1921 to 1923.
This is the former congressional district of Geraldine Ferraro and Chuck Schumer. In his last race Weiner received 61 percent of the vote in a bad year for Democrats. Whether it’s Weiner or some other Democrat, this district will not anytime soon go Republican. So why not allow the Weinerman to stay put?
Despite all of that, here’s why he has to go. The man has lost the right to represent the decent people of New York’s Ninth District. He has shown such incredibly bad judgment that he can no longer be allowed to be a member of Congress. However low our esteem as a nation for the U.S. Congress has sunk, this behavior goes beyond the pale. These were the incredibly stupid and selfish acts of a narcissist. He’s now such a joke, and his behavior was so egregious that he needs to immediately do the decent thing and resign.
Last week we learned that one of the women he was tweeting was only 17 years old. He’s sounding more like a predator. On Sunday, 11 not-previously-released photos of Weiner, taken in the House gym, have raised new questions about use of Congressional facilities during his online exchanges. Seriously, Congressman … are you so fascinated with pictures of your own body that this has become a preoccupation? May I suggest you find another hobby?
We have troops in harm’s way in Iraq and Afghanistan; our economy is sputtering from the Obama/Keynesian approach to economics; peaceful protesters seeking freedom are being slaughtered in Syria, Iran and other Middle Eastern countries; and American families are struggling every day to make ends meet. Despite all these very serious issues, Anthony Weiner thinks some of his female constituents need to see his penis? The reaction of one tweeter who saw the released picture of the Weiner package in all its glory perhaps summed it up best when she tweeted, “It looks just like a penis, only smaller.”
David H. Landon is the former Chairman of the Montgomery County Republican Party Central Committee. He can be reached at DaveLandon@DaytonCityPaper.com