Finally, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and leading democrats have called for Rep. Anthony Wiener’s resignation. He has responded by saying he will take a leave and go into rehab.
The fact that it took democratic leaders this long suggests a paralysis based on concerns on how the scandal might reflect on them, rather than maintaining the dignity of the congress and promoting a higher standard for all elected officials. At first what appeared to be a single act of obnoxious behavior, spiraled into repeated lies about what had happened.
Then came revelations that this had happened before and that Rep. Weiner was engaging in Facebook “affairs” with numerous young women. The final shocker was that he was having private online conversations with a 17-year-old high school junior.
That his behavior was so reckless suggests a narcissistic arrogance that brings to mind the Bill Clinton/ Monica Lewinsky affair. Ironic note here: President Clinton officiated at Weiner’s wedding last year.
It is also deeply troubling that prominent democrats failed until now to call for him to step down. Even more disappointing is that prominent democratic women failed to make that demand sooner. These are, after all, not just elected officials, but mothers and daughters.
Professor David Schultz of Hamline University likes to say it is the suburban soccer moms who win elections. I know soccer moms. Believe me, I know a lot of them. And the Weiner saga and the failure of democratic leaders to take a tough stand on behavior that is clearly treading on the predatory is a failure that may cost the democrats more than a few votes.