Why should Anthony Weiner resign his New York 9th congressional district Representative position when Bill Clinton didn’t resign his presidential post?
Weiner mistakenly sent a lewd photo of himself to a 21-year-old female college student. This mistake prompted him to invent a phony story that he’d been hacked. It also eventually led to his confession that he’s had lewd online relationships with six women over the last few years.
Still, Weiner didn’t resign because he said he didn’t break any laws or violate his oath to his office.
There is nothing illegal about chatting up women online (Weiner determined, to the best of his ability, that they weren’t minors). There is also weak evidence that it meaningfully interfered with his ability to serve as a lawmaker and represent his constituents.
Weiner was an effective Representative – whether you agree with his political positions or not – and served his liberal-leaning constituents well. He was widely popular both with his constituents and among his colleagues. He also had a reputation for being an extremely hard worker.
In short, he was pretty much a model professional politician before Weinergate.
As for whether or not he used government computers or devices to carry out his online affairs, the jury is still out. However, even if he did, it wouldn’t be the worst crime in the world. I’m sure politicians routinely use government resources for personal tasks both routine and questionable.
Weinergate is somewhat similar to Bill Clinton’s affair with Monica Lewinsky, except Clinton’s was worse. The former president had a physical relationship with one of his subordinates (Weiner just chatted online with random women). When confronted, he used much more forceful language of denial than Weiner did.
Clinton even lied under oath about it (i.e. he broke the law) and tried to squirm his way out by parsing the definition of “sexual relations.”
Ultimately, the former president was impeached, survived the impeachment, and finished out his term as president. Today, he’s regarded as a respected statesman around the world, holds considerable influence in the Democratic Party, and remains well-perceived by many Americans.
In a fair world, Weiner’s fate should be better than Clinton’s. For starters, he shouldn’t be forced to resign.
Weiner said if any of his constituents chose not to vote for him because of this scandal, he’d understand. Indeed, whatever the consequences of Weinergate, the most appropriate place to dish them out is at the re-election.