Is This Finally the Beginning of the End of Weinergate?
I think the beginning of the end of Weinergate has finally arrived -- thank Christ, because the story broke on May 28, which means it's entering its tenth day. Patterico has a 3,000-plus-word, timeline-based post up right now assessing the possibility that Anthony Weiner's communications with high school girls were less innocent than the girls and their families have claimed; I haven't plowed through the whole thing, but the excerpt TBogg quotes, which is supposed to make me feel creepy about the obsessions of the hunter, also makes me suspect the guilt of the hunted. Or if that tossed anvil doesn't sink Weiner as he's flailing in the water, the Daily Caller has a story alleging a greater level of communication between Weiner and porn star Ginger Lee than Weiner has acknowledged. And who the hell knows what Breitbart is teasing right now; I know, I know, it's Breitbart -- but even a congenital liar will tell the truth if the truth screws his enemies.
I'm just taking comfort in the fact that Weiner's district is solid blue -- Nate Silver rated it as 100% Democrateven in 2010, although his projection of Weiner's vote percentage over a rich GOP businessman (69.9%-25.5%) was off by quite a bit (Weiner won 59%-41%). But, post-Scott Walker and post-Paul Ryan, the Democratic candidate will almost certainly win the special election.
And there will be one, because Weiner isn't going to be in office much longer.
I'm sorry -- all this can't be trumped up. He wouldn't be squirming as guiltily as he is if every bit of it were fabricated.
When I suggested in comments here that I expected Weiner to have to resign, the good Roger Ailes wrote:
Weiner doesn't have to be an ex-congressman if he's not vindicated.
David Vitter didn't go anywhere. Larry Craig didn't go anywhere. Newt Gingrich didn't go anywhere. Barney Frank didn't go anywhere. Rudy 9/11 didn't go anywhere. Bill Clinton didn't go anywhere. Just because Mark Souder and Elliott Spitzer and Chris Lee bailed doesn't mean Weiner could or should resign. All it takes are some balls.
Some of those guys did decide to retire at term's end, but it's a good point. Except I'd modify it slightly: it doesn't merely take "some balls." It takes some effort to contain the story, or, more specifically, to shape the conventional wisdom so that "everyone" "knows" that the story should die down and the officeholder should get a pass.
So does anyone in the current Democratic Party have the chops to make that happen? And if not, did anyone in the Democratic Party have the sense to say it was time for Weiner either to fall on his sword or be pushed onto it? Or, if that's too harsh, did any Democratic elder have the sense the first weekend to work with Weiner to figure out how to either contain the story or ease him out with a minimum of embarrassment, depending on his level of guilt?
The only thing I see in regard to that is Steny Hoyer defending Weiner on Day #4, which was followed by thison Day #7:
Members of the House Democratic leadership have talked repeatedly to Rep. Anthony Weiner, D-New York, to try to get him to end what several Democrats call an unwelcome political distraction, a member of the party's leadership tells CNN.
"It's frustrating because we'll talk to him, and say clean it up, and then he goes out and does stuff," said the member of the House Democratic leadership, who declined to speak for the record about private discussions with Weiner.
"He's got to put the period at the end of the sentence," said the Democratic source, "it's painful."
On Thursday, Maryland Rep. Steny Hoyer, the number two Democrat in the House, was less blunt, but told CNN he had spoken to Weiner.
"I told him that he needs to handle this and he needed to give the facts accurately to the public," Hoyer said.
That was three days ago -- wow, that stern warning sure brought things to a head, didn't it?
Can't anyone here play this game? Can't any Democrat make a scandal go away as the GOP does, or compel a bumbler to stop bumbling (and admit guilt, if necessary) for the good of the party?
UPDATE: Well, Breitbart has nothing so far -- this is utterly chaste, as is this, apart from a silly double entendre. I still think Weiner's evasiveness last week was evidence that he knew another shoe could drop, but I guess Breitbart's only skill is trumping things up -- he's not going to locate the shoe.