Should Congressman Anthony Weiner Resign?
It’s probably a safe bet that you know the name Anthony Weiner. Unfortunately for Weiner, you know him because of the scandal erupting around him and becoming more lurid on a daily, even hourly, basis. But does the personal scandal mean he should resign from his job in politics?
Does Personal Life Affect Political Capability?
Weiner is the U.S. Representative for New York’s 9th congressional district. This includes parts of Brooklyn, as well as parts of Queens. The Democrat was first elected in 1998, and has won re-election for another six terms. Clearly, he’s been a popular figure for more than a decade.
Weiner has a long history in politics, starting with his service on the New York City Council at the young age of 27. With almost 20 years in politics, he has shown promise and political astuteness, whatever his personal faults might be.
Can Weiner Continue to be Effective?
There are two problems with Weiner in the light of his troubles. The first is that, no matter what his political skills, this scandal is a serious distraction. The emotional and mental toll must inevitably diminish his effectiveness. Even if that were not an issue, Weiner is now forced to spend much of his time explaining and defending his actions. That time should properly be spent working on his job.
The second problem is more pertinent and more complex. For someone with his level of experience in politics, he has shown a surprising lack of judgment. Sending suggestive pictures to random followers on Twitter is something more typically expected from a naive teenager engaging in sexting, not a mature public figure. This has been compounded by his desperate and foolish attempts to defend himself by claiming his account was hacked, and then demurring on whether the picture was legitimate. This last action immediately confirmed that, even if the specific picture in question was faked (an unlikely proposition), there nonetheless existed other risque pictures of the congressman.
This last problem is the crux of the issue. As much as some may argue that one’s personal life and one’s work life should be kept separate, the problem is Weiner has shown a serious lack of judgment and demonstrated he panics and is prone to untruths when confronted with harsh issues. This is not about separation of personal and work life; this is about the character of a public figure and what he is likely to do in a stressful situation, be it personal or public.
The people who elected him cannot trust that he will take the right actions in times of stress. For that reason, if no other, Weiner should resign.