Democrats prove they know how to extend the life of a story into multiple news cycles, as the entire House and Senate caucus turns its guns on Rep. Anthony Weiner.
Weiner gets the full-on bus-tossing from Nancy Pelosi on down, as Democrats en masse call for him to seek “help” for something millions of Americans do every day: flirt with people online. Here’s the WaPo writeup:
Top leaders in the Democratic Party called on embattled Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) to resign Saturday even as the scandal-tarred congressman announced he would request a leave of absence from the House to seek an unspecified form of treatment.
Weiner spokeswoman Risa Heller said Saturday afternoon that the congressman “departed this morning to seek professional treatment to focus on becoming a better husband and healthier person.” She added that he would request “a short leave of absence from the House,” after which he would make a decision on his political future. Heller did not return an e-mail regarding what sort of treatment Weiner would undergo.
Senior Democratic House aides said Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) had a series of conversations with Weiner last week in which she urged him to resign. After Weiner called Pelosi to say he planned to take a leave of absence, the party leadership issued a coordinated public call for his resignation. “Congressman Weiner has the love of his family, the confidence of his constituents, and the recognition that he needs help,” Pelosi said. “I urge Congressman Weiner to seek that help without the pressures of being a Member of Congress.”
Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz (Fla.) said, “The behavior he has exhibited is indefensible and Representative Weiner’s continued service in Congress is untenable.”
In the nearly unanimous calls for Weiner’s resignation, Assistant House Minority Leader James E. Clyburn (S.C.) offered a discordant note: “I stand by my comments from last week that the full Caucus should address this issue when we meet next,” he said in a statement.
Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) has not joined in the resignation calls. In a statement Saturday, Schumer described himself as “heartbroken” and said, “It’s clear he needs professional help and I am glad he is seeking it.”
Meanwhile, there is no mention in the story that Democrats realize that by continuing to try and hound Weiner out of the House, they are the ones extending this story’s life cycle. Meanwhile, Democrats have NOT called en masse for Republican prostitution client David Vitter to resign from the Seante if Weiner has to.
What Democrats are really missing here is that their cowardice is both embarrassing and unwarranted. Dems are looking at the Weiner scandal through the lens of the New york 26 race, and quaking at the prospect that their chances of winning back the House will go up in flames because of Weiner’s naughty tweet (and the subsequent sale of his private pictures by some chick he was flirting with, and who was flirting with him, in Texas.)
But New York 26 wasn’t about Chris Lee or his icky Facebook pic. It was about Medicare. Likewise, voters are not going to go to the polls in 2012 and say “you know, I was going to vote for this Democrat in order to save Medicare for me and my children, but since Anthony Weiner tweeted a picture of his penis and didn’t resign, I’m gonna go ahead and vote for the Republican.”
Because that would be stupid. You know, kind of like extending the life cycle of a barely interesting story by repeatedly screeching for Anthony Weiner to resign.
UPDATE: Hear-hear, Charles Karel Bouley.