southernbeau

Making sense of the non-sensical world of American politics

I can’t believe my first blog post is about Weiner!

 I have long respected Anthony Weiner for his combative style and his willingness to take head on the Obama Administration during the health care debate.  Congressman Weiner argued vehemently and eloquently for a government-run single payer system long after the Obama Administration had publicly pulled its support for such a system.  My respect for Congressman Weiner, however, is not an attempt to defend him or his actions which, of course, were reprehensible. 

US Congressman Anthony Weiner (D-NY) resigned his seat today saying that he had become a distraction.  To be frank, I had no real opinion as to whether Congressman Weiner should have resigned his seat or attempted to retain it, weather the storm and put himself before voters once again in 2012 (a la Congressman Charlie Rangle).  It seems to me that the decision should be a personal one guided in large measure by the input of his wife, Huma, who just returned from an overseas trip serving as a top adviser to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. 

I do believe, however, that Congressman Weiner should not have resigned simply because he was a distraction to his Democratic colleagues.  In today’s press conference, Weiner said that he needed to resign “so my colleagues could get back to work.”  Congressman Steve Israel, Chairman of the DCCC, made several remarks to that effect as did DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi threw her weight in the ring on Saturday declaring that Weiner should resign.  Really?  The Democrats couldn’t go about their business until this distraction had ceased to exist.  Isn’t that more an indictment of the Democratic Caucus and its leadership than of Anthony Weiner?     

I recognize that the media seized ahold of the scandal and were unlikely to let it go until Weiner resigned or the story was surpassed by something more “newsworthy.”  But that day would have come and probably much sooner than later.  Prime example, David Vitter is still a member of the United States Senate.  I also understand that a long ethics committee hearing during election season could have become a distraction for nervous Democrats.  I just don’t have much confidence in a party to delineate their platform and persuade voters if they can’t overcome a Weiner scandal.

Lastly, there is the question of increased media scrutiny surrounding the private lives of public officials.  Should we necessarily oust important voices amongst our leadership simply because they have deplorable private habits?  If that were the case, we may have lost the historic leadership of FDR and JFK (and countless others) both of whom had enough affairs to make Weiner look like a choir boy?  Again, it is far from my intention to defend Congressman Weiner or even argue that he should not have resigned.  I am simply stating my fervent hope that Congressman Weiner didn’t resign due to his fellow Democrats being stunningly incapacitated by the situation or as a result of the intense media scrutiny.

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June 16, 2011 Posted by | Politics, Weiner | , | 1 Comment