America has been really harsh on Anthony Weiner. And yes, it’s the entire country because both Democrats and Republicans turned on him.
His leader Nancy Pelosi politely told him to resign. His fellow New York Representative Steve Israel called him “an insurmountable distraction.” Republicans ripped him. Not one person, not even his mentor Chuck Schumer, defended him (Schumer didn’t call for his resignation either).
Did Weiner really commit such a horrible crime?
In the legal sense, no, he didn’t. Meanwhile, Idaho Senator Larry “Wide Stance” Craig, arrested for lewd conduct in the men’s bathroom, served out his term before retiring.
Bill Clinton, too, broke the law by perjuring himself regarding his relationship to Monica Lewinsky. Clinton was subsequently held in civil contempt and had his law license suspended. Still, he was able to finish out his term.
Former Washington DC mayor Marion “B***h Set Me Up” Barry was caught on tape using cocaine at a hotel room.
Through his trial and arrest, he remained mayor. After his trial, he successfully ran for a city council seat. After that, he successful ran for mayor just four years after he was initially arrested.
So why was America so harsh on Weiner? He did have illicit affairs with six women online and then lied about it to the world. But compared to Clinton and Barry, his mistakes really weren’t that egregious.
Indeed, the calls for his resignation on both sides were surprising.
The best explanation is that Weiner didn’t fall in line with the Democratic Party. He was like Senator John McCain, a maverick whose powerbase comes from the media and general public. These politicians spend their time commanding media attention instead of climbing up the party ladder, establishing alliances, and currying favors.
They didn’t abide by the rules of the political machines and not everyone, including politicians from their own parties, liked that.
When things are going well, politicians like McCain and Weiner get all the name recognition. When things aren’t, no one is there to back them up and they’re often purged from the party.