Weiner’s personal mishap is no reason for resignation

Amanda Wallace

Amanda Wallace

By Amanda Wallace

At the risk of seeming partisan, I don’t understand why the public wants Rep. Anthony Weiner to resign. Let’s assume for a minute that the worst is possible from this scandal, and that he actually had sexual relations with “about” six women in the last three years, during part of which he was married to another woman. In relation to his politics, how does this matter? Do I believe his politics less because he has failed as a husband?

He’s distracted from his job, people say. But for how long? There is a joke from “The West Wing” that takes place in the final season — you only have two good years as president because the first and the last years are spent campaigning. If Aaron Sorkin political comedies are to be believed (and they are pretty fantastic), then most politicians spend half of their time in office working on getting re-elected. Would that not constitute a distraction from their job? Is this why Sarah Palin resigned from being governor of Alaska, so she could concentrate more fully on her career as a reality show star and potential 2012 presidential candidate?

MSNBC pundit Ed Schultz has called for Anthony Weiner’s resignation and suggested that Weiner run again for his seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. Allegedly, this is because people will not focus as much on tweeted images of his area of masculinity in a year or so. If voters have such short attention spans, then why resign? Surely they will forget in the next month or so.

Allegedly, voters worldwide are forgetful in terms of the sexual misconduct of their elected officials. After all, Silvio Berlusconi is the second-longest running prime minister of Italy aside from Mussolini, and his career has been marred with as many prostitution scandals as the airing of Heidi Fleiss’s black book. Voters in this nation have been known to re-elect politicians with sexual scandals: Wilbur Mills, U.S. Congressman, once beat a prostitute in Washington, D.C. Neither of these two men resigned from their political offices — in fact, both were and have been re-elected repeatedly.

So why should Weiner resign? If we take him at face value, he’s only had sexually explicit text conversations with “about” six women. Kentucky didn’t force Jim Bunning to resign when he said that his opponent Dan Mongiardo looked like one of Saddam Hussein’s sons. In fact, we re-elected him. Personally, that’s more offensive to me then a guy who takes a picture of his covered penis and accidentally posts it on Twitter (admittedly, he was trying to send it to a woman not his wife).

Why is it that people like Ed Schultz are calling for Anthony Weiner’s resignation rather than calling for the press to find a more important story? It shouldn’t be hard. The United States is currently involved in two wars. The leader of the IMF has been charged with raping a maid in a New York City hotel. Some states are considering banning contraceptives. The world is vast and varied and unfortunately, people aren’t always faithful to their marital vows. However, as far as anyone has reported, the relationships Anthony Weiner had, however many women he had them with, were consensual and took place between adults. So he initially lied when he posted the picture. I’m not sure I know anyone who would willingly admit to tweeting a picture of their genitalia to the masses. That would be embarrassing, even if he weren’t married and in a political office.

Anthony Weiner has publicly embarassed himself, his wife, and his office — and with a name like Weiner, a sexual scandal was probably not the way for him to distinguish himself from his peers. But in a couple of weeks, some other government official is bound to try and pick up a prostitute or cheat on his wife with a lover in Argentina, or appoint his gay lover to an office. What people keep forgetting is how good Weiner is at his job — a job he apparently pulled off while carrying on affairs with multiple women. This is the man who stood up and called Republicans cowards for not voting on the 9/11 First Responders bill. In a day and age when Democrats are coming off as people-pleasing failures, Anthony Weiner is the “Daily Show” generation’s face of liberal anger. It would be a pity to lose him due to a relatively minor scandal.