It troubles me to see a human being publicly humiliated over a self-imposed scandal, but the issues here go well beyond what Rep. Anthony Weiner does in his private life. The core problem is repeated dishonesty and shameless hypocrisy.
Putting aside the creepiness of his actions, Weiner showed himself to be untrustworthy and therefore unfit to serve. Only after his clear involvement was exposed did he confess and claim to accept responsibility. However, he continued to lie, claiming he did not use government resources in the scandal, or coach anyone else to lie. New evidence suggests he did indeed coach a woman on how to mislead the press and even offered the assistance of a congressional staff PR expert.
House Ethics Rules state that all members must conduct themselves at all times in a manner that reflects creditably on the House. It also states that members should not in any way use their office for private gain. Nor should they attempt to circumvent any House rule or standard of conduct.
When it became apparent that Weiner’s violations of House rules were significant, Nancy Pelosi and the Democratic leadership team began calling for his resignation. Once a representative has lost the confidence of his own party leaders he is no longer capable of serving the best interests of his constituents, regardless of the situation.
Many people argued that Weiner is not guilty of breaking the law. But let’s consider the scandal in this way: Any private citizen would be fired from their position if they behaved in a similar way. Shouldn’t our elected officials be held to the same standards of behavior as are ordinary citizens?
And if elected officials are allowed to lie, cheat and exploit their powerful positions without consequences, what message does this send to our children?
Weiner is a tragic example of how power corrupts. When a leader is willing to cheat, lie, blame and mislead people in order to hold onto power, then that individual’s power does not serve the people and his power must be revoked.
The issue is not whether forgiveness can be offered to someone who has erred in the public eye. But I believe Weiner has betrayed the public trust past the point of being able to function in this position.
Weiner had to resign.
Bob Turner, a Republican, ran against Weiner last year.