For New York Rep. Anthony Weiner, it's him before anything else.
The scandal plagued Democrat remains in office, refusing to bow to unrelenting pressure from a chorus of critics from the party establishment calling for his resignation. When the House returns from a weeklong break, he will not. Instead of heeding calls for his resignation he fled to rehab for an unknown cause.
House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi's first contact with Weiner, was on Monday in advance of his public comments that he sent lewd photos and conducted multiple inappropriate extramarital conversations with at least six women over three years. Pelosi instructed Weiner not to resign---that was until the revelation Friday that he had privately messaged a 17-year-old girl in an non-sexual way over Twitter. Pelosi promptly asked for his resignation, in typical Weiner fashion he refused. Instead, his office says he'll request an unofficial leave of absence, seeking treatment for his sexting 'addiction.'
Pontification and bloviating has consistently been the congressman's modus operandi, using his seat in Washington as a stepping stone to his goal of becoming the next Mayor of the City of New York.
The congressman's Sunday soapbox press conferences and years of planning now seem pointless after Weiner's confession Monday. While Weiner's conduct appears to be legal, his repeated lies to reporters and colleagues as well as his wife, Huma, analysts say his hopes of leading the city where he was born is dead on arrival.
Weiner knew when he rode the yellow cab from his lawyer's office at Rockefeller Center to the Sheraton Hotel blocks away, Monday the focus immediately shifted from his hoop dreams of being mayor to retaining his congressional office.
Weiner has always found creative ways of winning, when he dropped out of the 2009 mayoral race, he took to The Times' opinion editorial page to steal shine away from his opponent Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg.
He wrote, I've taken stock of my life, my work in Washington and decided that now is not the right time to run.
This was only after the Queens Democratic Party refused to back him and the Bloomberg campaign had planned to bury the Queens and Brooklyn Democrat with negative ads. When the going gets tough, Weiner finds a way out.
In August 1991, Weiner was a menial force in New York politics, just weeks before the September primary he was slated to lose. His political mentor, then Brooklyn Rep. Charles Schumer at the time had little pull in the city political establishment.
The Crown Heights Riots, which meant a trying time for black and Jewish relations in Brooklyn, was a saving grace for Rep. Weiner.
Weiner's opponent during his Councilmatic campaign was Adele Cohen, who was backed by the Majority Coalition, which had ties to Dinkins. An unsigned mailing circulated and it read The Majority Coalition endorsed Adele Cohen, the mailing reads. Obviously she agrees with the Dinkins/Jackson agenda. Do you?
Weiner admitted to penning the flyer, but claimed he didn't endorse the piece because I didn't want to confuse the messenger with the message.
The goal was a clear attempt to shift Cohen loyalists to Weiner and it worked. That September he won the primary by less than 200 votes.
His coarse appeal to racial fears in his mostly white Jewish district effectively meant playing the race card. Weiner's cloak and dagger politics was legal under a loophole in New York state law at the time. Had it been a Federal election, Weiner would have been fined or tossed in jail because under Federal law campaign literature must disclose its source.
His pompous style is well noticed on Capitol Hill, he actively engages with members from his party but Weiner is largely a man of his own accord.
In recent months, he has become the mouth piece for the Democratic Party on issues ranging from the James Zadroga Act to opposing the Ryan budget proposal.
Weiner associates with the Democratic Party leadership on as needed basis; his call to Rep. Pelosi was more of a formality than a friendly call to admit his indiscretions.
His time in Congress has meant no landmark accomplishments, he is mostly known for his passionate rant over a bill that funded health care costs for 9/11 first responders. When the bill was stalled in the House last year, Weiner admonished Republicans who opposed the bill over Congressional procedural concerns.
The latest development that Weiner sent photographs of himself in front of a mirror at a Congressional gym was enough for a top Democratic strategist to say he will have to resign.