Now that Rep. Anthony Weiner's face appears in sexually-tinged photos he allegedly sent to a woman who is not his wife will the sexy tweet scandal known as Weinergate take the congressman down? He's scheduled to give a press conference in Manhattan at 4 p.m. Until he meets the cameras, there are plenty of opinions about what he should say.
Former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer resigned after he was caught sleeping with hookers, but since then he's somewhat rehabilitated his career. Sen. David Vitter admitted to sleeping with hookers too, and was reelected last fall. And, most famously, Bill Clinton left office with high approval ratings after it was proven he had an affair with an intern when she got a DNA test on her dress. On the other hand, Rep. Chris Lee resigned in March after his shirtless photo--sent to a potential Craigslist date--was posted by Gawker's Maureen O'Connor. Could it be that photo evidence--especially if it includes the politician making a goofy face--makes all the difference?
Some pundits say Weiner could probably survive the scandal, though the New York tabloids are likely to be relentless (Example: The New York Daily News notes a local eatery is now advertising "Anthony's weiners" at the bargain price of two for $6.) The national media is not letting go just yet, either: ABC News has tracked down the woman who gave the photos to Andrew Breitbart, who posted them Monday. Breitbart says the woman will give up her anonymity by Tuesday and "it will be clear that she is telling the truth."
Weinergate Will End, Eventually Politico's Ben Smith writes. Though some may call for Weiner to resign, "The main lesson of recent scandals, from Spitzer to Vitter, is that he doesn't have to: No matter how gross the private conduct, these scandals tend to burn hot and fast."
Lost His Credibility Slate's Dave Weigel writes that Weiner's "week of fumbling explanations about that photo are a bigger problem than any of the photos. Voters aren't puritans. Weiner isn't accused of abusing power, or even cheating on his wife. He's flirty with some of his fans. But he spent quite a lot of time claiming he never does stuff like this." Still, Weigel writes, it's clear Weiner can't run for New York mayor--or take shots at Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, who was accused of sexual harassment.
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Doomed National Review's Andrew Stiles argues. These pics are too much like Lee's, Stiles writes, so it's "Hard to see how he can possibly ride this out, especially since it’s likely just the tip a 'bulging' iceberg."
He'll Be Bored If He Doesn't Resign Salon's Steve Kornacki writes. Weiner used his seat for two things: to prep for a run for New York mayor, and to zing Republicans on MSNBC, Kornacki writes. Weiner has little chance of winning the mayor's race in 2013, and would have to subject himself to merciless coverage from the tabloids if he did. As for his cable news gig, "Weiner played a somewhat holier-than-thou liberal, a representative of the 'fighting wing' of his party who spoke with what many activists felt was unusual clarity. He won't be able to pull this off anymore." Since he won't be able to do that either, Kornacki writes, Weiner would be "an incredibly bored man" since he's not really into the lawmaking thing.
"This why so many of his fellow Democrats on Capitol Hill and in New York have long viewed him with disdain: He's an ultra-ambitious showman with a knack for generating publicity but little interest in the nuts-and-bolts work that comes with serving in Congress."
Clearly Weiner has more publicity than he ever wanted.
But for the Grace of God... Greg Pollowitz tweets, "Somewhere James Carville is saying, 'Thank God Bill never had a cell phone with a camera.'"