Thursday, June 16, 2011

Keeping His Job was Always a Long Shot for Anthony Weiner


COMMENTARY | Anthony Weiner's wife, Huma Abedin, returned to the U.S. Wednesday after a period in absentia with her boss, Hillary Clinton. Abedin accompanied Clinton on a diplomatic mission to North Africa while her beleaguered husband turned on a spit of press headlines, public forums discussion, social network postings, and water-cooler conferences.

Congressman Weiner's raunchy tweeting to female "followers" on Twitter has caused an explosion of interest in a scandal that has eclipsed the Democrats' agenda in Congress. For this and other reasons, top Democrats have been pressuring Weiner to resign.

Weiner said earlier this week he was taking a leave of absence to seek counseling or therapeutic help of a type not yet clear. The Mail Online reported that close friends of Weiner have said he was waiting to confer with his wife before making a final decision on whether to resign.

Now, Abedin has returned and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi says the couple has been given a chance to discuss. Those discussions may have been a foregone conclusion. The script had likely been written in the oval office and the Democrats' caucus.

President Barack Obama and Pelosi have made clear that resignation is the only way out. After a week of silence, both Democrats have not hesitated to make their feelings known.

It seems now that Weiner's resignation is more important than any of the issues on the Democrats' agenda. At the same time, the public remonstrations against Weiner have chipped away at the dwindling cadre of hard-core supporters.

There was early hope in some quarters that Weiner could survive. At the same time, Republicans calling for Weiner's resignation on moral grounds were criticized as Puritanical fundamentalists.

All that changed as additional photos sent by Weiner to Twitter "followers" emerged, with one "follower" as young as seventeen. Still, one wonders if the sudden outpouring of "outrage" would be so virulent if Weiner had not become a problem for Democrats in other areas.

Weiner criticized Pelosi for not fighting hard enough against the Republican agenda. He's also been critical of President Obama's statements pertaining to Israel and the concessions the president felt Israel should make in the interest of giving the administration a public relations credit in the Arab world.

With Weiner's resignation, his 9th District in Brooklyn and Queens would almost certainly remain Democrat, as a suitable replacement was found.

Ultimately, Weiner's banishment would come cheap. Getting rid of Weiner gets rid of an unpleasant echo in White House foreign policy. Weiner's 2006 attempt to ban the Palestinian Authority from the U.N and his introduction into Congress of the 2007 Saudi Arabia Accountability Act were not admirable traits to the incoming administration.

The Obama White House wants nothing more than to smooth the conflict between America's growing Muslim population and those who believe the religion is incompatible with American values. The marriage of a Jewish American congressman and a Muslim American protege of the Secretary of State was a celebratory event which, in the fairyland of liberal utopias, would serve as a model for America's future.

Aside from the politics, there were two moral issues which felled Weiner. There was the issue of public lying, carried almost to an extreme in days of denial. Then there is the issue of marital infidelity to newlywed Huma Abedin, who is pregnant.

For the New York congressman, keeping the job was always a game he couldn't win. Weiner will resign at a news conference scheduled for 2 p.m. EDT today.

Winning for Weiner now is a matter of keeping his marriage and family together, and that, too, may be another long shot.

Anthony Ventre is a freelance writer who has written for several weekly and daily newspapers, for Demand Studios, and for AOL Online. He is a frequent Yahoo contributor, concentrating in news and financial writing.

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