Since Anthony Weiner's televised confession yesterday that he had in fact tweeted a picture of his "member of congress" and that his account was not hacked, as he had first alleged, many have called on the New York congressman to resign for the impropriety. Cable news pundits have been referencing the likes of Larry Craig, John Ensign, and the previous represenative of New York's 26th district, Chris Lee as they denounce Anthony Weiner and demand his resignation, but he is none of those people.
Larry Craig's political career came to a screeching halt when he was caught, by an undercover police officer, soliciting sex in a bathroom at the Minneapolis-St Paul International Airport. Prior to his arrest, Larry Craig was known as a socially conservative member of the Senate who supported legislation designed to oppress homosexuals. Therefore it is not the fact that he was soliciting sex from men in a public bathroom that inspired people to call for his resignation, but the hypocrisy of making life harder for homosexuals while simultaneously engaging in the aforementioned activity.
Nevada's John Ensign was in similar hot water after it was revealed that he had carried on an affair with the wife of one of his closest staffers. Beyond the simple "you're having an affair with the wife of a very close friend/colleague" Senator Ensign had been an outspoken critic of President Clinton during the Monica Lewinsky fiasco. In calling for the President Clinton to resign, he said the behavior was an embarrassment to the country.
The key difference here, besides the lack of extramarital sex on Congressman Weiner's part, is that Anthony Weiner has not built his career by attacking adulterers or as some self-righteous social conservative. Unlike Eliot Spitzer who was cracking down on prostitution rings while sleeping with prostitutes, Anthony Weiner doesn't have any public history of targeting lewd tweeters.
That being said it is extraordinarily upsetting, as a progressive, to see yet another politician on the left, who was fighting the good fight, allow his selfishness and his hubris to distract him from the job he was sent to Washington to do. I don't care what anyone tweets, emails, writes on facebook, or sends through ICQ (remember ICQ?) but politicians need to realize that this kind of crap will become public, and it will derail the important work they are doing.