(Photograph) I don't want your /(Photograph) I don't need your /(Photograph) All I've got is a photograph (Photograph) /But it's not enough...
Santana w. Chris Daughtry, “Photograph”, 2010

Congressman Anthony Weiner (D-New York City) has for 13 years built up a reputation as a liberal lion of the House of Representatives, frequently offering a staunch counter-point to Republicans on political television during the George W. Bush years. Even as the tenure of Bush ended and the Barack Obama presidency began, Weiner maintained his status as a voice of progressive interest: As policy was developed such as the stimulus packages, health care reform and financial law reform, Weiner warned against premature compromise with Republicans and stumped for such statutes as a public option for health care and stiffer penalties for stock-market manipulators. Hated by the opposition party, and in some circles resented by the centrists of his own, Weiner was unabashed in advocating what he felt were eroding principles that the Democratic Party stood for.

During the past week and a half, Weiner has almost single-handedly derailed his own career. Not to put too fine a point on it, but he didn’t just shoot himself in the foot, he pretty much used a LAW rocket. Perhaps the great karma gods above were not satisfied this time with letting stand revealed the sexual peccadilloes of former California GOP governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (while talking tough on illegal immigration, he was likely visiting detention centers to interview for part-time nannies—but I digress).

Apparently, suggestive photographs were sent by Weiner to one if not several women through the social networking Internet site Twitter. For well over a week after the scandal broke, Weiner ducked directly answering questions on whether the photos were of him, were sent by him, or if he were the victim of a cyber-prank. One wonders if he was also able to duck the items that may have flown from the hand of former Hilary Clinton Aide Huma Abelin, his wife of barely a year. In what amounts to a Herculean display of chutzpah, Weiner says that he will not be resigning, instead leaving his fate in the hands of his district voters, who will choose next year whether to give him another two years in office. House minority leader Nancy Pelosi has publicly called for an ethics investigation, which Weiner has, to his, uh, credit, openly welcomed.

In a word (or three), Congressman Weiner: You blew it. Not just for yourself. Not just for your family. But for progressives nationwide. It’s bad enough that the Tea Party express upended the Democratic advantage in the House last year. Your bungling may well have emboldened conservative activists and office-holders alike (i.e., John Boenher, Eric Cantor), who will be relentless in hammering you and every other Democrat that’s even tangentially affiliated with you from now until November of 2012, by which time—theoretically—you will either be re-elected or replaced as the congressional representative of your district.

The progressive wing of the Democrats barely gets enough respect to begin with. Up until this point, you were at least considered much more photogenic than Ohio’s Dennis Kucinich. Of course, being photogenic is exactly what got you in trouble, alas. As for your ambition to be mayor of New York City— much like your photos, that may be another goal of yours that has been shunt into the recycle bin of your political desktop.

I could dream of ways to see you /I could close my eyes to dream /I could fantasize about you...
Taio Cruz, "Dirty Picture", 2010

In closing, let me be frank, Mr. Weiner: For whatever its worth, I’m probably more forgiving than most when it comes to scenarios like this. I can emotionally compartmentalize to a degree: Let’s say you’re doing a bang-up job representing me in Congress, and bringing home plenty of resources to help our community, I probably don’t care that you, say, watch “naughty vids” on your home computer, with or without your wife. But when you start being patently reckless, using your official (i.e., taxpayer subsidized) Internet accounts to facilitate flirtation, frolicking and/or fooling around, well, that’s just meshuggah, friend.


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