And so, our long national
nightmare joke comes to an end its punchline:
Representative Anthony D. Weiner has told friends that he plans to resign his seat after coming under growing pressure from his Democratic colleagues to leave the House, said a person told of Mr. Weiner’s plans.
What prompted the decision? A long talk with his wife — who just got back from a long trip with Hillary Clinton:
Mr. Weiner, a Democrat, came to the conclusion that he could no longer serve after having long discussions with his wife, Huma Abedin, when she returned home on Tuesday after traveling abroad with her boss, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Democrats can breathe a sigh of relief. They were going to meet today to discuss stripping Weiner of his committee assignments as a last-ditch effort to get him to quit. After that, they had no more cards to play except for an ethics investigation, which would have taken at least weeks to conclude.
Unfortunately, this means we won’t get to see the spectacle of porn stars scolding a Congressman over his lack of ethics. On the upside, this does mean that Gloria Allred has to look for another vehicle to sate her media fix.
I’ll update the story as more comes in.
Update: According to Bret Baier’s Twitter feed, Weiner told Nancy Pelosi and Steve Israel about his decision to resign last night … presumably just after he had to face his wife for the first time since admitting to his social-network indiscretions.
Update II: National Journal seems to have trouble finding the tipping point in this scandal … but who can blame them?
Weiner’s troubles began two weeks ago when he accidentally published an erotic photograph of himself on Twitter instead of sending it privately to a college student as he had intended. Initially, Weiner denied that he had sent the photograph and claimed that someone had hacked his Twitter account.
Weiner, 46, had hoped to finish his seventh term in Congress before running again for New York City mayor in 2013 – where his road to victory was anything but certain or clear. Weiner finished second in the 2005 Democratic primary to Bronx Borough President Fernando Ferrer and appeared intent on fueling his bid for mayor with TV appearances and the campaign cash they tend to generate, but those dreams now seem remote, as Weiner’s political career lies in the smoking ruins of his libidinous tweets and lewd Facebook messages he exchanged with women he met online. Weiner was forced to confront the reality that his political future was in shambles.
Some Republicans, including Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., predictably were early in calling for Weiner’s resignation. But that is not what pushed Weiner over the resignation cliff. More likely, he surveyed the landscape, with what seemed to be new details and revelations about his tawdry virtual dealings with women who were not his wife, and found that few House Democrats had any appetite for him to stick around. Rep. Allyson Schwartz, D-Pa., who is in charge of recruitment for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, was one of the first Democrats last week to call on Weiner to step aside. Also early were Reps. Mike Michaud, D-Maine, Niki Tsongas, D-Mass., Mike Ross, D-Ark., and Larry Kissell, D-N.C., and Joe Donnelly, D-Ind.
And Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., may have helped to hammer home the notion for Weiner that he was now pretty much alone. Although he stopped short of saying Weiner should resign, he did tell reporters last week, “I wish there was some way I can defend him, but I can’t.” And when asked what advice he would give Weiner if asked, Reid responded, “Call somebody else.”
Though she did not call for his resignation until Saturday, Pelosi had been out front last week in publicly requesting that the House Ethics Committee investigate Weiner’s activities.
The tipping point appeared to be Friday, when a relative of the Delaware girl told The New York Times that the messages were “harmless” but according to the Times “expressed concern that Mr. Weiner had communicated privately with the teenager, a high school junior.”
According the Times, “In the past few days, the girl and her family have become subjects of intense interest in the news media.” Then came Sunday’s partially naked photos of Weiner posted on the Internet by TMZ.com, which it said were taken from the House members gym.
So what was the tipping point? I’d guess it may have been yesterday’s Allred presser, combined with Abedin’s return. But there truly are so many from which to choose ….
Update III: ABC reports on the Weiner/Pelosi/Israel conversations last night as the latter two were attending the White House picnic:
A Democratic source said Weiner called House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Rep. Steve Israel, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, Wednesday night while they were at a White House picnic to inform them he would resign today.