John Boehner had initially deferred to Democrats on Anthony Weiner’s future in the House, but has escalated the matter today. Reporters asked Boehner whether Weiner should resign and offered a one-word answer in response:
House Speaker John Boehner on Tuesday joined President Barack Obama and a chorus of other Democrats in suggesting that Rep. Anthony Weiner resign, while a member of Weiner’s New York congressional delegation said she expects him to quit soon.
Boehner, who until now has let Democrats wrestle with Weiner’s sexually charged messages and photos to several women, responded with a one-word answer when reporters asked whether Weiner should quit.
“Yes,” he responded.
Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY) told the media earlier that she’s hearing rumors of a resignation in the next couple of days:
Earlier, Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, D-N.Y., told reporters, “Hopefully, we are hearing he might resign in a couple of days.” She did not say how she learned that Weiner may soon buckle under the pressure.
“Hopefully” seems to apply to nearly everyone on Capitol Hill. Last night, the #4 man in Democratic leadership appeared on Hardball to suggest that the Democrats might start stripping Weiner of his committee assignments in order to push him out the door a little more quickly:
However, on Monday’s broadcast of “Hardball” on MSNBC, House Assistant Minority Leader James Clyburn, Democrat of South Carolina, said there were certain things they could as a caucus to discourage him staying in the House of Representatives. He referred to what the caucus did to New York Democratic Rep. Charles Rangel, in the wake of his 2010 Ethics Committee hearing.
“That’s absolutely true, but I don’t know that will ask him to leave,” Clyburn said. “I think that we can do certain things [take away his committee assignments] — yeah and other persons in caucus who have and a precedent set a couple years ago, you may recall when a member was removed from the Ways and Means Committee because of a scandal. So I believe that Mr. Weiner serves on a very important and exclusive committee. And so there are certain things that the caucus can do, which I would hope we would just act once and for all and get it behind us and stop talking about it.”
“Hardball” host Chris Matthews suggested there was a possibility if Weiner expelled that he could be reelected, as was the case in 1968 when Adam Clayton Powell had been expelled, but was reelected in his district. According to Clyburn, he can do that, but the Democratic caucus has the right to act as well.
“That would be perfectly with his rights, but I think that the caucus, the Democratic caucus will have acted within its power to act, and I think the American people will understand that,” Clyburn said.
Clyburn makes plenty of sense in the clip about the reciprocal nature of running on the other party’s scandals … but didn’t Democrats do that in 2006 anyway with Mark Foley? And that was after Foley resigned, as readers might recall. Clyburn is threatening to go after Sen. David Vitter (R-LA), who didn’t resign, but Vitter won re-election, and he didn’t lie about the scandal to the media and get his colleagues and friends to defend him based on his misrepresentations. Besides, if Democrats were as blasé as Clyburn acts here about the potential for electoral damage, they wouldn’t be pushing so hard and so publicly for Weiner’s resignation. They’re clearly worried about the political damage.
Maybe that’s why Democrats are digging up their own dirt on Weiner, as CBS’ Big Apple affiliate reported late last night:
CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer has learned members of Rep. Anthony Weiner’s own party may be trying to dig up even more dirt. This coming on the same day the House approved without objection a two-week leave of absence for the six-term New York Democrat. His request was approved by unanimous consent at the close of legislative business on Monday night.
The big question for Weiner is this: has his stubborn refusal to resign driven Democrats to use their opposition research teams to try to find more embarrassing information in an effort to force him off the political stage.
You’ll recall that Kramer was the reporter who asked for an interview — and in response, Weiner’s staff called the cops on her. That’s exactly the kind of media handling that has Democrats worried about getting buried by Weinergate.
Meanwhile, Weiner has begun his “rehabilitation,” Politico reports, and that promises to string this out even longer if Weiner doesn’t resign:
Based on the New York Democrat’s behavior, which the congressman says includes sending lewd messages and images over the Internet to six women in the past three years, experts interviewed by POLITICO said he could suffer from an array of conditions that could merit treatment, including narcissism, obsessive-compulsive disorder or even some variety of sexual addiction.
None of the possibilities comes with a silver-bullet treatment that delivers quick results — meaning that if Weiner is found to suffer from any of these conditions, he isn’t going to duck into a rehab center and emerge a week later with a doctor’s assurance that he is “cured,” cleared to return to Congress.
Instead, treatment requires weeks, months or even years of one-on-one therapy or group meetings, a slog through a 12-step program or perhaps even medication. It might be easy for a celebrity or politician caught in a scandal to say, “I’m getting help,” but if he really needs it — and wants it — it won’t be a breeze.
Is there really a 12-step program for being an arrested-development jackass? We’re defining addiction sharply downward these days, aren’t we? I’d say this comes closer to the real problem than a diagnosis of an addiction:
“With personality and narcissistic disorder, people in power often have a grandiose sense of entitlement and sense that they can get away with anything. In reality, most of them are rather insecure and feel smaller than they actually are,” said Brett Kennedy, a licensed clinical psychologist based in New York City.
Considering the context of this case … ouch. Disorders such as these need treatment, but assuming that’s the problem, it doesn’t negate the actions of Weiner during the last several months or longer. It just underscores the need for him to resign.