Political Animal


June 06, 2011 5:00 PM Weiner comes clean

By Steve Benen

Last week, things didn’t go well for Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.), with his evasive answers about his online activities. Today, he acknowledged that he lied about his actions and came clean.

Rep. Anthony Weiner said Monday that he had lied about the origins of a lewd photo sent from his personal Twitter account nine days ago although he added that he would not resign from office because of the scandal.

“I have not been honest with myself,” Weiner said at a press conference in New York City Monday afternoon. “I am deeply ashamed of my terrible judgment.”

Weiner had previously refused to answer about the episode in which a picture of an underwear-clad groin was sent to a college student in Seattle. He said at the press conference that he had meant to send a direct message to the woman and “panicked” when he realized he had sent it out to all of his Twitter followers.

As Weiner described it, he never committed adultery or even met any of the women with whom he had “inappropriate online interactions.” Over the course of three years, however, the congressman had “consensual” communications with women he met through social media.

It’s not altogether clear exactly what else Weiner sent to these women, and he would only say the content was “inappropriate.”

On the Political Sex Scandal Richter Scale, I’m still not altogether sure why this even registers at all. Given what we know, Weiner shared adult content with women he met online. They were adults and the interactions were consensual. He didn’t commit adultery (Ensign), he didn’t hire prostitutes (Vitter, Spitzer), he didn’t solicit anyone in an airport bathroom (Craig), he didn’t pretend to be someone else in order to try to pick up women (Lee), he didn’t abandon his office for a rendezvous with his lover (Sanford), he didn’t leave his first two wives after they got sick (Gingrich), he didn’t have a child with his housekeeper (Schwarzenegger), there’s no sex tape (Edwards), and no interns were involved (Clinton). He’s not even a hypocrite — Weiner has never championed conservative “family values,” condemning others for their “moral failings.”*

Major media outlets clearly disagree with me, but Anthony Weiner’s controversy is rather dull by comparison. It’s possible more information will come out, some of it damaging, but for now, I’m still not sure why anyone would care about this.

Maybe now we can talk about unemployment? Please? Anyone?

* updated

Steve Benen is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly, joining the publication in August, 2008 as chief blogger for the Washington Monthly blog, Political Animal.


Post a comment
  • Live Free or Die on June 06, 2011 5:06 PM:

    You forgot the most important detail: He had a D next to his name. If he had an R, they would not have printed it.

  • rayspace on June 06, 2011 5:07 PM:

    Sure, Steve, we can talk about unemployment. Are there any unemployed Democrats out there with a sex scandal to share?

    That's the only way we can talk about unemployment.

  • Holmes on June 06, 2011 5:09 PM:

    Weiner is an idiot for doing this stuff and lying about it. He probably destroyed his political career.

    But the most annoying result of this thing is Breitbart's crowing, and Clarence Thomas' conflict of interest now being ignored.

  • bleh on June 06, 2011 5:11 PM:

    No! We want to say "penis" again and again! Penis penis penis!

    Prostitute, too many syllables. Divorce, boring. Adultery, ditto both, and besides, who doesn't do THAT?

    But penis! And Twitter! Also penis!

  • LL on June 06, 2011 5:14 PM:

    Sorry, Steve, but for the Village "unemployment" is "icky" when it's not "boring." Weiner's weener, however, is "just right."

  • zeitgeist on June 06, 2011 5:16 PM:

    sorry that i'm not holding the political line on this because Weiner's role was too valuable for such stupidity.

    really, after Lee resigns over this, Weiner still didn't stop? seriously?

    and however bad Breitbart's motives in publishing the story, and however unfair the MSM in covering it, the reality is had Weiner simply said the first day it broke what he said today (and he even could have left out the parts about having lied!) it would have been over already. We'd be on to the next Breitbart-stirred scandal. The lies gave it legs -- legs that did things like crowding out Obama's Toledo speech.

    I agree with what Steve said, and I like the Congressman as one of the few aggressive Dems on the Hill. But that is a wholly distinct issue from Weiner's stupidity in the first place and extraordinary mishandling of the situation once he was obviously caught.

    And frankly, the more I think about it the more angry I am at any Democrat who helps bail the Republicans out by giving them fodder for a "both sides do it" response to Ensign and Vitter, two people who actually did something unlawful, and people like Gingrich and Giuliani whose serial philandering, hypocrisy, and callousness towards their wives really should be disqualifying.

  • Reliant on June 06, 2011 5:16 PM:

    Major media outlets clearly disagree with me, but Anthony Weiners controversy is rather dull by comparison.

    Well, Weiner did say he thought all the women he sexted with were over 21.

    And he did lie about it, which in the end is what made this nontrovery a story.

    You got busted, just admit it. Don't make up excuses about hacks and pranks and whatnot.

    When you're in a hole, stop digging.

  • RollaMO on June 06, 2011 5:19 PM:

    Did he say "It's my weiner"?

  • flyonthewall on June 06, 2011 5:20 PM:

    This will be used for spereotyping purposes. Since a democrat did it, all democrats are now perverts. Being a ex-New Yorker, I think this will not have an impact on his career. I would vote for him in a heartbeat.

  • Holmes on June 06, 2011 5:26 PM:

    I think there are two separate issues here: Weiner's abhorrent behavior and the media's coverage of it.

    There are no excuses for Weiner's behavior, and his lying just made the situation worse. But at the end of the day, if he was just sexting with women, while creepy, seems like something he and his wife should handle privately.

    As for the press, this got more coverage in 10 days than the entirety of the Ensign affair, which involved criminal behavior by a, possibly two, Senator. That is a problem, and illustrates the double-standard that the MSM applies.

  • DAY on June 06, 2011 5:29 PM:

    Thank goodness we are finally discussing something important, and can get away from all that boring debt crisis and health care nonsense!

    As to the specifics of Weiner's internet adventures, once again we can fall back on the Old Reliable- "I'm shocked that there is gambling at Ricks".

  • Mark D on June 06, 2011 5:29 PM:

    You know, last I checked, Ensign lied about his scandal as well -- repeatedly, and to investigators.

    Yet the media STILL doesn't seem to give a shit. Thus, while the "It was the lying!" is somewhat true in that it made the whole thing worse, it is in no way, shape, or form the crux of this issue.

    The crux of this issue is that Weiner is a Democrat.

    Full. Fucking. Stop.

    There are simply no other explanations as to why this gets so much run, yet ACTUAL ILLEGAL ACTS BY A SITTING U.S. SENATOR INVOLVING A SEX SCANDAL is all but ignored.

    None. At all.

    Captcha = Stupid and hard to read

  • John R AKA Mr Serf Man on June 06, 2011 5:31 PM:

    Maybe now we can talk about unemployment? Please? Anyone?
    And thats the worst part - The latest shiny object.
    It will be all Weiner all the time for the next week unless there is some monumental calamity somewhere.

  • Concerned on June 06, 2011 5:31 PM:

    You forgot the most important part... He lied about it. What does that say re: his integrity and how is anyone going to have faith in him again?

  • Brenna on June 06, 2011 5:32 PM:

    The whole situation just reeks. I feel differently about him now. You just never know the truth about people.

    No, it wasn't as bad (as far as we know), then the situations you listed in the story, but it's pretty sleazy.

  • beejeez on June 06, 2011 5:32 PM:

    Weiner's not the only one who's not being honest with himself, Steve. He has to take one for the team and resign, for lying, for being a creep, for hurting the cause. Let him spend a couple years in purgatory, then we'll talk about a comeback.

  • T2 on June 06, 2011 5:34 PM:

    Lets see....he's married but has six online girlfriends of unknown age. He sends them pictures of his penis. He lies about it. I'm a Dem, but I wouldn't vote for that dumbass.

  • June on June 06, 2011 5:37 PM:

    I'm supremely disappointed in Anthony Weiner. What a damn stupid thing to do. Weiner must know that the GOP has a target (metaphorically speaking) on his back for all the powerful calling out he does of them. This was damn stupid; when you're a Democratic official, and especially a high-profile one, it's not just about you. He must have realized that whatever he does impacts the Democratic Party. I can't agree with Benen on this one - there shouldn't be a double-standard. I love my Democrats, but Weiner's act was a monumental example of dumbery compounded by lying about it -- I don't think excuses should be made for him. (Ditto, John Edwards.)

  • JustAVisitor on June 06, 2011 5:38 PM:

    I’m still not altogether sure why this even registers at all.

    Timing is everything! And fluffing this scandal (sorry...) right now makes a great distraction from Rep. Weiner's very appropriate concerns about Judge Thomas ruling on cases where his wife has received over $100K of lobbying money. (see http://protectourelections.org/index.php?q=taxonomy/term/31 for details)

  • hornblower on June 06, 2011 5:41 PM:

    Some of the questions were hilarious. In my next life I'm coming back as a "journalist" so I can join the pack.
    What a sad waste of time!

  • bobbyp on June 06, 2011 5:41 PM:

    Geez. Dean Baker has been crucifying this particular Samuelson for years. Rightly so.

  • Alan on June 06, 2011 5:42 PM:

    re: "consensual interactions"

    You sure about that? From what we know, Weiner sent a lewd picture over twitter to a young woman. Did she ask him to send that picture? He says he meant it as a joke. While it may not have been criminally illegal, it's pretty clearly harrassment unless she was a totally willing recipient. If she wanted to sue him for it, she might have a case. Weiner is a scumbag. He needs to go away.

  • JS on June 06, 2011 5:45 PM:

    zeitgeist: co-sign everything you said with one exception.

    Ensign and Vitter, two people who actually did something unlawful, and people like Gingrich and Giuliani whose serial philandering, hypocrisy, and callousness towards their wives really should be disqualifying.

    Ensign resigned after announcing he would not seek reelection. Vitter got a pass since his state is deep red, and maybe since he comes from the state of 'Laissez les bon temps rouler'.

    Gingrich and Rudy should be laughed out of the party of family values in a national campaign, but even though that hasn't happened - neither of them seem to have crawled very close to a nomination.

    What I would say is that this isn't something Weiner did in college - it's disqualifying in the sense that he may well be able to hold onto his congressional seat, but it's going to be a major crimp in any plans for higher office or even a leadership role. It was bloody idiotic to get tripped up by something like this, but as I saw elsewhere, it was also scuzzy.

  • iyoumeweus on June 06, 2011 5:47 PM:

    OK I am having a hard time understanding this! One guy a guy I voted for plays grabbies with an aid and resigns. another shows his bare chests and resigns. A third show his covered junk leaving no doubt what it is and then lies a blames others and gets to stay?? And then there is that senator from LA who actually 'got some'! Paid for it, and is still not talking? I my view. They all should resign, and allow the rest of us to move on.

  • zandru on June 06, 2011 5:52 PM:

    Circular Firing Squad!

    Let's all join the Republicans and the Shame-stream Media in persecuting and demanding the resignation of Congressman Weiner! Hell, maybe we can get him a cell beside John Edwards!

    Why don't Republicans get this kind of treatment? Because their base only cares if it's a Democrat. Otherwise, they support the man and ignore all allegations as being lies perpetrated by "the librul media."

    But libs, progs, and Dems will turn on their own, even when the accusations are coming from the worst actors of the Corporate Media (and even if those accusations are almost immediately proven false.) Breitbart sez? Well, I would discount any "story" he broke, just as a matter of principle.

    As has been noted, Weiner's "crime" was poor judgement in the area of sex. Big frackin' deal - what guy hasn't committed one of these?

    Weiner has been, up until now, a liberal icon. Sure, he's wrong on Israel, but who isn't? Liberals can join the wolf pack in driving him from public life - or stand up for our principles that a person's sex life isn't for public comment, if nobody gets hurt and laws aren't broken.

    Remember the days when we didn't feel compelled to be as prudish as the Republican dowagers?

  • Diane Rodriguez on June 06, 2011 5:54 PM:

    Anthony? Really? President Obama has enough problems dealing with the direct attacks from the Republicans. Now he has to deal with the shrapnel form idiots like you. All the comparisons to Republicans who have done "worse" won't rationalize this away. He shot the Democratic Party in the foot at one of the worst possible junctures.

    Im tired of hearing that we are all human. No one is nave enough to believe that people are either all good or all bad. However if you accept the responsibility of leadership keep it zipped up, covered up, under control whatever while you are a representing the rest of us. Your behavior is creepy and there is no excuse. You have diminished your strong, articulate message and are no longer an asset. Be gone.

  • June on June 06, 2011 6:02 PM:

    @Zandru - I take your point, but the sole cause of whatever happens to Weiner's career from this point on is Anthony Weiner. Personally, I'm not going to be a hypocrite and shake my head in wonder at the sexual misadventures of Republican officials, and then turn a blind eye to Weiner's goings-on just because it's one of our own. Not for nothing, but even doing that would be to give more thought for Democrats than Weiner apparently did before he tweeted the photo.

  • John B. on June 06, 2011 6:06 PM:

    What Zeitgeist said, above. Plus what Matt Taibbi said the other day:

    "[W]hen you�re a certain kind of famous, there are a few things you�ve just got to give up in life � like uploading pictures of your dick, for instance, or tweet-herding hot twentysomething women by the hundreds."

    Blame the press all you want. I do. But it won't change its behavior. American journalism loves a dive into the toilet. Pols like Weiner, Edwards, et al. had ample forewarning of this with all the Mark Foleys, Larry Craigs, and John Ensigns on the other side of the aisle.

    Some day I would like to see a club of emeritus congressmen launch a well-funded foundation to investigate the sexual peccadilloes of the press. Until then, like or not, we have to play by their smarmy rules.

  • max on June 06, 2011 6:07 PM:

    Look on the bright side. The GOPers won't be able to hog the airways using their corporate media shills carping about "ae jobless recovery". I'm going to miss Weiner because he had passion (obviously) but more importantly, courage. He was on the right side of the issues and he called out the bastards regularly. But in a district that votes 90% D there has to be some scandal-free worthy to replace him and continue the good fight. He might survive if he stays, but at what cost with so many huge fights underway? Bring up someone from AAA and continue the fight.

  • james conner on June 06, 2011 6:18 PM:

    All men should be more careful, but especially one with this guy's last name. Should he resign? No.

    But he should put down his camera, pull up his pants, put on a shirt, and never again have anything to do with Twitter, Facebook, or any social networking website.

    And he should have an anaphrodisiac handy when he gets these urges (no, not saltpetre; it works only in the metaphorical sense).

  • alki on June 06, 2011 6:18 PM:

    I agree that the MSM gave this story a lot of coverage but Weiner did not help his case by repeatedly going on air to complain about a non existent hacker. By comparison, Ensign kept his mouth completely shut and maintained a low profile.

    What has me burning is I considered Weiner to be one of the better Dems in Congress who wasn't afraid to speak out. Now he has lost considerable credibility because he is dumb enough to send pics of his junk over the Web. He either has a 'death' wish, or suffers from the worst kind of naivete. UGH!

  • j on June 06, 2011 6:23 PM:

    Weiner did a dumb stupid thing, having said that I really like him, he is great at his job and the republicans hate him because he tells it like it is.
    He could always do a 'Vitter' and say that his god had forgiven him.
    Of course Weiner's sins don't come up to the level of having your prostitutes put diapers on you, like Vitter.

  • exlibra on June 06, 2011 6:23 PM:

    Yet another instance -- as if more proof was needed -- showing that it's never a smart idea to let your "smaller, lower brain" do your thinking for you.

    As for the media not being fair and blowing up Dems' misbehaviour out of proportion, while sweeping Repubs' similar antics under the rug... We've known that they're prone to do that; we've known it for years. It's like the old chestnut about women having to work twice as hard to gain half the credit of men; railing against it doesn't change the reality; all it does (or should) is to teach us to step more warily.

    And, like Holmes @5:09, I'm pissed off more about Breitbart's record of mendacity being broken now (and, possibly, giving him credibility in his future sleazy endavours), than I am about Weiner's bragging about his body parts. Though, at the moment, given Weiner's potential importance in calling for Thomas's recusal, I'm also pissed off enough with Wiener to tie his prized possession into a very complicated pretzel.

  • zandru on June 06, 2011 6:28 PM:

    Thanks, June for your thoughtful response. I still feel that we're all being just a little too prudish, a little too uptight.

    Consentual photos of a guy's underpants? Really? This is what we choose to be outraged about? I thought there was some kind of sexual "revolution" in the 1960s that the right wing was permanently traumatized by; it's over now? The Republicans won?

  • kc on June 06, 2011 6:28 PM:

    "I'm still not sure why anyone would care about this."

    The media will care. Weiner's a Democrat, and his wife is affiliated with H. Clinton. We will never hear the end of this.

  • hell's littlest angel on June 06, 2011 6:30 PM:

    I don't think Weiner should resign. I think he should walk into an open elevator shaft. What a sleazy, immature, fucking fool.

  • AK Liberal on June 06, 2011 6:36 PM:

    Better Democrats please. We all know what the political and media environment is like. The stakes are too high for this shit.

    I still can't forgive Clinton for getting caught with an intern. I don't much care about the morality. It's the stupid narcissism that I cannot forgive.

  • sphinx on June 06, 2011 6:37 PM:

    I wish someone would dig up some of Brietbarts sins as well. We already know how dirty he is as a 'journalist' and there has to be something he can be embarassed and disgraced for. Brietbart makes his living smearing the left and digging up dirt. He can't always be the choir boy he pretends to be.

    So sorry that Rep. Weiner did these deeds. Wish him well.

  • June on June 06, 2011 6:39 PM:

    @Zandru - cheers. I hear you about the prudishness, but it's overwhelmingly the irresponsibility and recklessness of Weiner's actions that I'm most upset over. Why? Why, Anthony?

  • square1 on June 06, 2011 6:39 PM:

    We all know that there is a double standard between Democrats and GOP sex scandals (I less blame the media than I do the fact that the Democratic party will throw its own under the bus while the GOP circles the wagons).

    But all that aside, can we stop with the head-scratching over why the media might find a politician named Weiner sexting his Weiner to be an irresistible story?

  • square1 on June 06, 2011 6:42 PM:

    To illustrate my point, I would note that Benen's title for this post is "Weiner comes clean". It is virtually impossible to even write about this story without tripping over a sexual double entendre!

  • Quaker in a Basement on June 06, 2011 6:49 PM:

    You know what sucks about this? I'll tell you.

    Weiner has single-handedly replenished Breitbart's depleted credibility. Next time Big Government publishes some bullshit story, legit media is going to take him at his word.

  • Toon Moene on June 06, 2011 6:51 PM:

    But in a district that votes 90% D there has to be some scandal-free worthy to replace him
    Exactly - first of all, they should elect a woman. Can't go wrong with the 51 % minority.
  • zeitgeist on June 06, 2011 6:55 PM:

    let me clarify my position: while I am angry at Weiner's harming the larger cause, and think he deserves whatever Huma wants to dish out at home, I emphatically do not want him to resign, think he should resign, or support Democrats calling for his resignation.

    first, at a broader level, it will help minimize all of this media trolling for sex stories over real substance when they can quit claiming scalps.

    second, my guess is that hardly anyone in D.C. could truly come out of this sort of microscope clean - but only a few really get hammered and it is no coincidence that it is people like Spitzer (was was taking the fight to Wall Street) and Weiner (who takes the fight to the right wingers). if the targeted neutralization campaign succeeds, the people who Spitzer and Weiner were making uncomfortable win. it isn't worth it -- especially when the Vitters of the world continue to control one-man holds to use for whatever truly destructive purpose they desire.

    So to summarize: Weiner is an idiot who deserves to see his larger ambitions die, but the best reparation for his idiocy is to put down the camera and the smartphone and work twice as hard at thwarting the wingnuts in Congress.

  • T-Rex on June 06, 2011 7:36 PM:

    Damn. I don't care about Weiner's predicament (although he was a fool to lie about it and draw this thing out) but I was really hoping it would blow up in Breitbart's face. There still may be something unsavory going on with Breitbart's source, since the ol' sleazemeister printed a batch of e-mails from the guy, and seems to be trying to throw him under a bus. But now people will remember the Weiner case as the one lone time when Breitbart was right.

  • Trollop on June 06, 2011 7:41 PM:

    Sorry I used to respect Anthony Wiener utterly, now that I know he can't remember to keep his weenie off of the internet (similar to robbing a store and thinking you won't be caught on camera), I don't have any respect for him at all. You were a leader, now you're just another juvenile douchebag.. Penis, penis, Sarah Palin, penis I know, "respect" on the other hand, not so funny when lost. Now back to jobs Mr. Benen, after every other R-tard gets caught in the filter can you really expect that Mr. Wiener should just fade away after lying about sending a picture of his unit across twitter? The "sword" cuts both ways, does it not?

  • Jon on June 06, 2011 7:57 PM:

    Blah blah blah, Steve. What he did is so poorly considered and perverse, his credibility is totally shot. He should resign and remove himself as an excuse not to talk about jobs.

    Let's not play they game of "there are Republicans who have done worse!" This isn't a game of limbo. What he did is bad and very troubling. He should be committing political and social hari-kari right now, not least for proving Breitbart right. I certainly don't want to be associated with him and no longer care what he thinks about anything.

  • Rick B on June 06, 2011 8:17 PM:

    What, pray tell me, makes pictures of some anonymous body in boxer/Briefs become "a lewd photo"?

  • Doug on June 06, 2011 8:24 PM:

    The only problem I have right now, and unfortunately it's ALL Rep. Weiner's fault, is: is he telling the whole truth NOW?
    If he isn't, and only he knows whether he is or not, then he should resign ASAP. If he is, then he should cancel ALL his internet "social" accounts, concentrate completely on his job (and his wife) and hope he isn't primaried.
    A quote of the Duke of Wellington's comes to mind: "Silly, silly, silly!"*

    *Silly being used in the original sense of lacking in wisdom, I believe.

  • Freddie on June 06, 2011 8:30 PM:

    Ugh, that was stupid. Like, really, really stupid. I love this guy's politics, but this was stupidity on a major scale. No one will ever be able to take anything he says seriously again. This is a real shame, but it's also down to his stupidity. What a moron.

  • pea on June 06, 2011 8:50 PM:

    Wiener was incredibly stupid and self-centered. (true for all too many politicians probably) But perhaps his humiliation will motivate him to learn from this and seek a higher purpose in his life. And after a LOT Of good deeds and many years, we may forget/forgive like we have with others.

    As for Breitbart, after what he did to Shirley Shirrod, why is he surprised that people didn't believe him? Has he never heard the boy-who-cried-wolf story? I don't feel this redeems his earlier bad behavior. I don't see this kind of investigative journalism as a laudable purpose for his life.

    Life is short and precious. There are LOTS of problems we face. Couldn't both of these people do something more worthy with their lives????

  • JS on June 06, 2011 9:05 PM:

    I can understand why people were skeptical when Breitbart was involved, but you have to give him some credit this time - he had the goods, and was baiting Weiner into a bigger scandal. Breitbart just put out another pic, this one of Weiner shirtless, from just under his nose to about his waist.

    Now I'm thinking Weiner would probably be better off doing something else for a living (or if he can hold his seat he can be a perpetual backbencher in the US House). There are many less-public jobs in which Weiner can influence public policy, if he wants to keep working in government. No one's going to take him seriously going forward, and I would suggest with some cause.

  • Mrs. Calabash on June 06, 2011 9:20 PM:

    Sadly, neither the Republicans nor the media are to blame for this little How To: 'How to wound and publicly humiliate your wife, make a right wing scoundrel look like the prince of peace, deprive your party of an effective, intelligent lawmaker and spokesperson, give their voracious enemies enough fodder to choke an elephant and destroy a promising political career:' Tweet pics of your junk to young women, lots of them and deny it for a week.

    Have to question the judgment of anyone who would follow these instructions.

  • exlibra on June 06, 2011 9:22 PM:

    I don't feel this redeems his (Breitbart's) earlier bad behavior -- pea, @8:50PM

    You don't the rest of us don't but he does:


    And the Repubs are only to happy to crow with him, according to the same -- TPM -- source (I'm not 'puter literate enough to import multiple links). And, also from the same source... Pelosi has already thrown him under the bus. I've been of two minds about the "should he stay and fight, or should he leave?" issue but I trust Pelosi. If she thinks he's gonna do us more damage than good from now on, she probably knows what she's talking about.

    Stupid, stupid, arrogant man. I hope Huma also tells him to pack his "junk" and leave. Captcha says he was taking her assent for granted, mistakenly. "taking accsenti", indeed.

    Oh, and his "I won't resign"? That's precisely what Edwards said 24hrs before he withdrew from the presidential race.

  • Mark Gisleson on June 06, 2011 9:31 PM:

    Weiner has to resign. This represents an unforgivable lapse of judgment. He has disgraced himself and the party.

    As far as I'm concerned, he will forevermore be Anthony "Dick" Weiner to me.

  • nerd on June 07, 2011 12:02 AM:

    Maybe now we can talk about unemployment? Please? Anyone?

    It would be nice, but that's not how the game is played. I suspect that most Republicans understand that they really don't have a solution to the problems that we have with regard to the economy and jobs. They know that they are lucky that the Democrats have the White House and the Senate.

    If the Republicans were in charge they would simply be in trouble, but would use the opportunity to cut taxes more and otherwise use their power to do what they want but not really solve problems, and in too many cases, make the problems worse. See the George W. Bush years.

    There's really no percentage in solving problems if your goal is to have power.

  • Gilbert on June 07, 2011 1:03 AM:

    Not to be too nit-picky, Steve, but Monica Lewinski was not an intern at the time of her affair with Bill Clinton. She was working for the office of legislative affairs.

  • John Puma on June 07, 2011 2:37 AM:

    I certainly don't care about "this" because Weiner, while exhibiting rationality on many issues, is one of the many who think solving the problems of the state of Israel shares equivalent importance with solving our own. I'm sure there are many suitable replacements in his district ... if it comes to that.

    THE problem Weiner has caused is that his behavior validates:

    1) the "false equivalency" argument for poor behavior that the radical reich uses to defend itself and

    2) the scum Breitbart

    Thanks for nothing, Anthony!

  • Goldilocks on June 07, 2011 4:58 AM:

    What a lot of verbiage! Amazing.

    There are crimes and there are lapses. Weiner's moral lapse is lying. In my books that is more disappointing than breaking a law which in itself may be dubious.

    He's astute and outspoken - wonderful assets among lawmakers who tend to lack both. Since millions of people these days are interacting on-line in all sorts of ways, exchanging images and messages consensually among adults is totally run-of-the-mill. There is no fault it that. It avoids pregnancies and saves on contraception. It even avoids accusations of adultery.

    I was impressed with Weiner's handling of the issue, whatever its origins. I thought he was on top of it and having fun with it. Why in the name of blazes did he have to lie? That's the great, weak stupidity now.

    As an absolute, bottom line rule of thumb, especially for someone in public office: Never do anything you cannot answer truthfully for. I'm so sorry that Anthony Weiner has failed this test. But it was fun while it lasted.

  • kahner on June 07, 2011 11:41 AM:

    I think the remarkable thing about this is how mindbogglingly stupid it was. Tweeting a college girl with a picture of your junk? jebus.

  • Leonard Waks on June 07, 2011 12:47 PM:

    There is nothing to this story beyond a right-wing slimeball trolling around to find embarassing stuff to drag a democratic pol into the gutter.

    So far the only stuff we have on Weiner looks tame next to every underwear we find every day in family magazines.

    It is understandable for Weiner to get caught off gurard and behave foolishly -- no crime but bad news with the Dems in weak shape.

    The correct response (in 20-20 hindsight):

    "Yes, I did send these pictures to consenting adults. They show what typical underwear ads in family magazines show. It is unclear what my accusers are calling to account. So far as I know it is no crime to be photographed in my underwear, or without a t-shirt.

    To set the record straight: yes, I took and sent the photos. Yes, that is my 'package' right behind the underwear. If its a crime, please call out the police and have me arrested. If anyone was harmed, I invite them to call a lawyer and sue me.

    And as to Mr. Brietbart, I feel sorry for him and anyone who sinks to this depth. He is truly a pitiful excuse for a human being."

  • Becca on June 07, 2011 2:06 PM:

    For the cretins who pose as journalists, and that large-headed, mouth-breathing, dough boy, Breathheart, or what evs.........NEWSFLASH:1. Males are born with a penis, it will be used as nature intended.

    2.Ditto for the female reproductive organ.

    3. I do not care who politicians are screwing in private. I want to know who they're SCREWING IN PUBLIC.


    5. If it was not illegal, it's a private matter. This stunt by Breathbart is close to TRACKING A PERSON'S BATHROOM HABITS. Did he wipe??? Did he wash his hands?? Did he grunt, and make noises???

    6. Now we have to stomach this puke actually trying to bribe this congressman with other pictures??? YES......IT IS THE IDEAL RED HERRING. What is it these baggers are trying to conceal?????

  • Michael on June 07, 2011 2:32 PM:

    Shocked, I am shocked, by this. Not because a sitting representative sends a questionable picture of himself to a female admirer. Not because it's a Democrat instead of a Republican. No, what shocks me is that any congresscritter even knew that EXIF data was embedded in digital pictures, let alone that they knew how to edit it. This guy's in the wrong job - he should be working for a high-tech startup.

  • beejeez on June 07, 2011 3:11 PM:

    Fer Crissake, making Weiner walk the plank isn't handing his seat to a Republican. He's from a reasonably safe Democratic district. There are plenty of smart Dems who can do his job without ruining the carpet. Get him gone. Now. No ethics investigation, no "tough luck, Charlie." You want to get somewhere, Democrats, you have to keep the place clean.