Ed Driscoll

The Weiner Distraction

Perhaps learning his lesson after he all but publicly ordered, Godfather style, fellow Democrat Charlie Rangel to resign last year, and noticing that Charlie’s still very much in Congress, President Obama isn’t prepared to say that Anthony Weiner should fall on his sword:

A White House spokesman said Monday that Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) is a “distraction” from important issues, but he stopped short of calling for Weiner’s resignation.

White House press secretary Jay Carney, who refused to comment on the scandal last week, said Monday that “the president feels, we feel at the White House this is a distraction.”

“As Congressman Weiner has said himself, his behavior was inappropriate, dishonesty was inappropriate,” Carney said, briefing reporters aboard Air Force One. “But the president is focused on his job, which is getting this economy continuing to grow, creating jobs and ensuring the safety and security of the American people.”

Not to mention that all-important golf game.

And what a distraction Weiner has become, as Jonathan Tobin wrote yesterday at Commentary:

So when all is said and done about the Weiner scandal perhaps the only substantial conclusion to be drawn from it is about which party has the more effective Congressional leadership. While the analogy is far from exact since Weiner was a much bigger deal in Washington than the obscure Lee, the assumption by the Democratic leaders that this would blow over quickly without them having to take action was a critical mistake. It derailed what had been a wonderful couple of weeks for them in the wake of their victory in the special election to replace Lee.

Democrats are probably thinking that if not for Weiner, they could have gotten up this Sunday and spent the day ranting on the talk shows about the mean GOP’s plans to reform Medicare. Demagoguery about Paul Ryan’s budget plan helped win them Lee’s old seat in Western New York on May 24 but nobody has talked much about that since Weiner’s fateful tweet. But instead of just blaming the odious Weiner, perhaps the Democratic leadership needs to look in the mirror. Had they been as tough and as decisive as John Boehner was with Chris Lee, then the story of the last two weeks might have been different. After two weeks of watching the Democrats dither about Weiner, their slurs about Paul Ryan and the GOP just don’t have as much bite.

The previously-Wiener-friendly Huffington Post claims today that the “House Committee Staff Begin Preliminary Inquiry” into the “Anthony Weiner Ethics Investigation:”

House officials told The Associated Press on Monday that the inquiry is not yet extensive, and that committee leaders have not indicated whether they will order a more intensive staff investigation. The officials requested anonymity because the committee has yet to make a formal statement.

The New York Democrat could face an ethics investigation that could take many months, even longer if he mounts a full defense.

And that’s the last thing the Democrats want going into what promises to be a bruising election cycle next year. So how long does Weiner want to drag it out?

Oh and speaking of which, the New York Daily News notes, “Anthony Weiner has a defender: Rep. Charles Rangel lends support to sext-scandal colleague.”

Think Charlie’s giving him advice on how to stay in Congress long past your freshness dating has expired? Perhaps it’s a reward for Weiner going light on Rangel when Weiner was interviewed by Don Imus last year, and replied that “I can’t believe we keep getting drips and drips and drips” from the House ethics committee on Rangel’s scandals:

Between that line and the rest of the interview, in retrospect, the whole thing can be summed up with one word: ewwwww:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3VSpOJBIPt4

Update: Dennis Miller on “L’Affaire Weiner” and Weiner’s transformation “From Steve Urkel to Steve Reeves.”

Update: Obama begins to up the pressure on his fellow Democrat:

In an exclusive interview with TODAY’s Ann Curry that will air on Tuesday’s show, President Barack Obama said that if he were Democratic Congressman Anthony Weiner right now, he would resign in the wake of the scandal in which Weiner admitted to sending explicit photos of himself to women online.

“I can tell you that if it was me, I would resign,’’ Obama told Curry.

Weiner has been the talk of the nation since he was caught sending lewd photos of himself to various women on multiple social media platforms, prompting the head of the Democratic National Party to call for him to step down and House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi to demand an ethics committee investigation.

“When you get to the point where, because of various personal distractions, you can’t serve as effectively as you need to, at the time when people are worrying about jobs, and their mortgages, and paying the bills — then you should probably step back,’’ Obama said.

I guess we can’t make it a two-fer, huh?