Mr. Anthony Weiner has dominated the news lately, and has been a source of some discussion here as well. We’ve discussed the implications of the scandal on the election for New York City Mayor, how the Weiner scandal would possibly be perceived in a different social environment, and even why the scandal is getting so much attention. In that last post, I briefly mentioned in the comments one theory of mine for why I thought the scandal possibly warranted our attention: the scandal focused on a power shift. Yet, after some reflection, I don’t think that’s enough. I think there’s another reason why the scandal possibly deserves the attention it is getting, and yes, it does have to do with values.
When the twitter photo was initially released, I was behind Representative Weiner 100%. As one of my favorite congressmen, I had every ounce of faith in him that his twitter had indeed been hacked, and that the photo was, if anything, just a picture he took to send to a wife or that it was from a previous life. I was unconcerned, and found the whole thing preposterous. This was Anthony Weiner we were talking about here. Here’s a man who fought for what he believed in, and was one of the only Democrats I knew who had a spine. In his aptly named IAmA Democrat Who Fights, Rep. Anthony Weiner did an open and honest IAmA on Reddit (for those who don’t know, an IAmA is a place where anyone in the online community can ask ANY question they want, and Anthony Weiner replied). He had rousing speeches in House. One particular video that went viral, his rant on “voting for what you actually believe”, is I think notably representative of his bold nature.
It’s after watching speeches like that that I am not only dismayed and disappointed, but shocked at what the Congressman did. Not only is he off his rocker for taking photos such as he did, but he lied to the public about doing so. And that, in my opinion, is why this is worthy of news. Shock. Here was a man I placed great faith in (he was pretty good at calling out other people’s lies), and it turns out I really didn’t know his character the way I thought I did. We’ve all seen scandals before, they happen all the time, and yet each time we’re shocked. Well, this time I’m particularly shocked. I always knew Mr. John Edwards was smarmy, and I never particularly saw Mr. Larry Craig as especially honorable. But Mr. Anthony Weiner? He was the chosen one.
But none of this means he should resign. I noticed here at PHP our poll seems to indicate that the public thinks he should resign. I am of the opposite opinion. Mr. Anthony Weiner has been a fantastic congressman for his district. He has been a fantastic congressmen for the Democratic Party. He has accomplished a great deal, but even more so, he has given the Democrat Party a voice. Mr. Anthony Weiner’s personal image may be severely tainted. But he deserves that. Yet still, his talents can still be used in Congress. The Democrats need someone with a spine on the House floor, someone who isn’t striving for higher office because he knows he can’t make it. Mr. Anthony Weiner just went from being valuable to being invaluable. What could be more useful than a strong spoken Congressman who doesn’t have higher ambitions? His tweets don’t affect his ability to do his job. If Mr. Weiner was going to lie about something, I would rather it be about lewd photos than about false documents or WMD’s. If Mr. Anthony Weiner focuses (which he can now do without higher ambitions distracting him), he can get things done in Congress. And that’s exactly where he belongs.