Confessed “sexter” Rep. Anthony Weiner is holding onto his congressional seat this week despite calls from both parties for his resignation. More scandalous details have continued to leak after Weiner gave a contrite confession Monday and declared he wasn’t planning to step down: The public now can see a graphic picture-within-picture of more than they would ever want to see of any congressman; they can read Weiner’s dirty text talk with a Vegas blackjack dealer; and, to make the situation more awkward, news broke that his high-powered wife, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin, is pregnant with the newlyweds’ first child.
Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus was first in line among the GOP to call for Weiner’s resignation in light of the scandal and lies, but what has to hurt Weiner the most is the fact that members of his own party are now joining the chorus. Democratic Reps. Allyson Schwartz, Mike Ross, Michael Michaud, and Joe Donnelly joined in, as did Democratic Sens. Mark Pryor and Patrick Leahy.
Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called for an ethics investigation into Weiner, but she and other top party leaders have so far stopped short of asking him to resign. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid told reporters if Weiner called him to ask for support, Reid would tell him to “call somebody else.”
Is it the right choice for Weiner's party to shut him out?
Conventional wisdom suggests if he resigns, the story may disappear from headlines sooner and return attention to the Medicare and debt ceiling battles in Congress. If he doesn’t, the negative attention could hurt the party going into 2012.
But, if he hasn’t broken House rules or committed a crime, some say, his constituents should have the chance to keep him or vote him out in the 2012 elections. Before the scandal, outspoken Weiner was recognized as one of the Democrats’ rising stars and was anticipated to run for New York mayor. He is an unusually entertaining speaker on the House floor and on TV, and some say he is an effective debater who advanced Democrats’ cause during the healthcare battles in 2009 and 2010.
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