Ed Driscoll

Breaking the WeinerGate Stalemate

At the American Spectator, Stacy McCain provides a capsule summary of where things stood as of Monday morning:

Weiner’s online connections with young girls were all but ignored by most reporters in their early coverage of the scandal, which was first reported May 28 by Andrew Breitbart’s BigGovernment.com. After Breitbart mentioned that angle during a May 31 appearance on CNN to discuss the story, it drew a harsh response from that network’s senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin. “What Andrew Breitbart was insinuating about [Weiner] with young girls is outrageous,” Toobin said, dismissing the entire scandal as “a silly little thing that happened… not a big deal.” Weiner was then still insisting that he was the victim of a “prank” by “hackers.” A week later, at the press conference where Weiner admitted to having had “online relationships” with a half-dozen women, he was asked about his contacts with very young women, including the Seattle college student. “They were all adults — at least to the best of my knowledge they were all adults… and they were engaging in these conversations consensually,” Weiner replied, and when a similar question was raised later, he said, “I know that I never had any intention of having an interaction with underage women, and no information that I have now shows that I did.”

Those denials were greeted with suspicion by conservative bloggers who had covered the WeinerGate scandal from its inception, and who were becoming irritated by the mainstream media’s evident unwillingness to follow up with aggressive reporting. On Thursday, the blogger known as Patterico published a two long articles (here and here) calling attention to the case of Weiner’s Delaware teen follower. Patterico particularly noted that the 17-year-old made reference to a super-hero costume of “cape and tights,” a motif that Weiner had used in  extremely graphic online chats with Lisa Weiss, a 40-year-old Las Vegas blackjack dealer who was one of his cybersex partners. News organizations still ignored the story, however, until police showed up Friday at the girl’s house in New Castle County, Delaware. Even though police said their interview with the girl “disclosed no information regarding any criminal activity or inappropriate behavior,” the obvious objection was voiced by Ace of Spades: “A guy who sometimes sends [obscene photos of himself] to admirers should not be cultivating an online relationship with a 17 year old girl. Period.

This may have been obvious enough even to Democrat leaders like Pelosi who, less than 24 hours before issuing her Saturday statement, had publicly refused to call for Weiner’s resignation. The scandal’s drip, drip, drip continued Sunday, when TMZ published photos of a nearly nude Weiner that the congressman had reportedly sent to one of his online admirers. Weiner had taken the photos of himself — including one showing him naked except for a towel held in front of his genital area — in the gymnasium for members of Congress in the basement of the Rayburn House Office Building. Beyond mere embarrassment, the photos contradicted Weiner’s claim that he did not use official resources to carry on his Internet dalliances. After the latest revelations, one source told the New York Daily News late Sunday, Weiner “finally began considering the possibility that he may have to resign.”

Is the “possibility” of Weiner quitting likely? Despite the public calls for his resignation from top Democrats, under House rules Weiner can’t be expelled from Congress until the Ethics Committee conducts an investigation, which could take months. Whatever might motivate Weiner to quit, it obviously can’t be shame. Anyone who has seen the middle-aged congressman’s photo self-portrait of himself posing naked in front a gym mirror must conclude that Weiner is utterly shameless.

At the Wall Street Journal, Peggy Noonan suggests that the Weiner debacle is a line in the sand for otherwise see-no-evil (when it comes to their own party) Democrats:

Of course he should resign—or, better, and as a statement, the House should remove him. I speak as a conservative who wishes to conserve. If I were speaking as a Republican I’d say, “By all means keep him, let him taint all your efforts.”

But sometimes all of Washington has to put up its hand up like a traffic cop and say no. It has to say: That doesn’t go here, it’s not acceptable, it’s not among the normal human transgressions of back stairs, love affairs and the congressman on the take. This is decadence. It is pornography. We can’t let the world, and the young, know it’s “politically survivable.” Because that will hurt us, not him, and define us, not him. So: enough.

Finally sensing the Weiner is radioactive, the MSM is doing the unthinkable and investigating someone on their own side of the aisle:

The New York license plate bolted on Weiner’s Pathfinder – US Congress 9 – had expired as of 2006, according to the DMV.

“That license plate should not be on a car,” a DMV spokeswoman said. It wasn’t even issued to the Pathfinder, but to another one of Weiner’s cars, a Honda, according to vehicle records.

Valid plates were issued to Weiner’s Pathfinder, but they don’t have the helpful words “US Congress” on them, and so look less official. It’s unclear what happened to those plates.

Driving a car with expired plates, let alone those pulled off another vehicle, meant Weiner’s Pathfinder was unregistered, according to the DMV.

“Switching around license plates is what criminals do,” noted a retired Brooklyn accident investigator. “If you are a congressman, you aren’t supposed to be switching out your plates. I guess that’s the least of his worries.”

As New York-area blogger JammieWearingFool notes, providing a link back to his March post on the topic, that’s in addition to the lawmaker’s rather lackadaisical attitude towards other aspects of the New York motor vehicle code:

How amusing is this? While Democrat blabbermouth rails against UN dignitaries racking up massive amounts of parking tickets (and he does have a point there), it turns out Weiner himself has piled up over $2000 in parking tickets himself over the past four years before coughing up the dough this month.

In response to Weiner’s license plate woes breaking today, JWF adds:

We have a media painstakingly poring over 24,000 Sarah Palin emails, but in the meantime we’ve also got a very shady soon-to-be former politician who seems to need a little vetting by the press. A shame they never did any background on Weiner until two weeks ago.

Perhaps today’s news is meant to be a bit of a Democrat dog whistle to Weiner and a way to break the stalemate: don’t resign, and we’ll continue to instruct our newspapers to dig into the rest of your garbage, champ.