The world continues to collapse upon Representative Anthony Weiner (D-NY), and it’s landing on a sensitive part of his anatomy. No, not his crotch. His political viability.
Weiner has been trying the old “I need to spend more time with my family” routine, without the resignation that customarily precedes it, buttressing my earlier observation that his days as a Democrat attack dog are over.
Today brings news that Weiner cannot hide from. It turns out there’s a non-profit group called TweetCongress.org that records the Twitter feeds of all congressional representatives in real time. They’ve confirmed that the crotch-shot photo came from Weiner’s TweetDeck application. Meanwhile, the chief executive officer of Yfrog, the photo service that hosted the Crotch of Doom image, shot down the notion that his Yfrog account had been hacked somehow.
With the Weiner lie that his account had been hacked shredded to bits, there was still some vague hope for the theory that he’d been “pranked” by a frisky member of his staff. Like all congressional royalty, Prince Anthony has a vast retinue, and although ego may have kept him from admitting it, some of them doubtless serve as ghost-Tweeters. I leaned toward this explanation myself, in the early days of the scandal.
Alas for Weiner, the “pranked” excuse is dissolving today, as Andrew Breitbart’s Big Government website says another woman is coming forward with a tale of cybersex. She claims she and Weiner had a voluntary exchange of provocative digital photographs, and served up the following image Weiner sent from his Blackberry – a mass of pixels currently churning through a hundred thousand Photoshop applications:
And here’s a delightful little flirtation he sent her under the subject line “Me and the pussys.” If you don’t get it right away, just think about it for a little while. The wit and wisdom of Anthony Weiner are subtle, and must be given time to blow through the windmills of a lesser mind.
What does this all mean? Will Weiner resign? I always thought that possibility was contingent on more women coming forward. Damaged and humiliated, he might have limped through the rest of an undistinguished congressional career after a single weird incident and comically bungled cover-up. The Democrat Party has plenty of room for perjurers, thieves, tax cheats, and adulterers. To paraphrase one of the many Republicans destroyed by the kind of Stage One scandal Weiner could have survived, the media will allow Democrats to take a “wide stance” in these matters.
These latest developments put Weiner in a great deal more jeopardy, although it still seems unlikely he’s done anything illegal. He was very carefully not to file a false report of cyber-crime with the FBI, after all, although one could make the case that any Congressman who even casually floats the idea that his highly sensitive private data has been breached has activated the national security apparatus. I can’t see the FBI computer-crime technicians just laughing it up and making armpit farts while watching Weiner claim he was hacked on national TV.
The problem is that Weiner could have survived as a laughingstock, but he might not survive making the entire liberal establishment look like fools.
That is what has happened here. A great deal of the liberal blogosphere has runny layers of egg splattered all over their faces. They’ve spent the past week trying to concoct elaborate explanations for how Weiner could somehow be innocent in all of this, or howling that everyone should stop laughing at Weiner and focus on hating Andrew Breitbart instead. Many rhetorical bullets have been fired at many digital messengers. There are lefty blogs which have done little else since the scandal erupted, other than try to shut down Weinergate by manufacturing excuses, and attacking the people who didn’t buy them.
A lot of rank-and-file liberal readers have eagerly announced their willingness to consume Weiner’s pap about how the scandal is a “distraction” designed to prevent him from “doing the work of the American people.” At the same time, the Democrat political establishment has been trying to close ranks around Weiner. DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz, in particular, has been tirelessly dispensing Weiner spin.
Those people all look like colossal fools today. Many a lefty blog will spend the rest of this week furiously deleting the angry posts they threw up in Weiner’s defense. The sheer magnitude of the damage to their credibility, and self-respect, might dissolve the last of Weiner’s political viability… and if his seat does go Republican, people like Wasserman-Schultz could be right behind him.
Someone did get “pranked” with those crotch photos, but it wasn’t Anthony Weiner. His future depends on how quickly the victims of the prank are willing to forget their shame, and forgive the man who made them look stupid.