FRONT PAGE CONTRIBUTOR
What is the #weinergate endgame? (Part 1)
The picture found here (via Instapundit) says it all, really: it’s of Anthony Weiner, sitting in his gas-guzzling truck (which he can’t even justify as being for his kids, as he doesn’t have any) and visibly wondering how everything could have gone so badly in the space of a week. Because all the other people who got caught sending pictures of your genitals to women half their age didn’t get in trouble for it, apparently. Especially the ones that later fell out of the Stupid Damage Control Mistakes Tree and hit every branch on the way down. Note for researchers: this was supposed to be one of the Democrats’ smart ones. Truth be told, he just benefited from a media that takes it easy on its ideological friendlies, up to a point. Cross it, and it’s chum-in-the-water time and the media get to be the sharks.
But I digress. The question is, what happens now?
The first possibility is that Anthony Weiner does the same thing this week that he did last week: which is to say, continue to do and say stupid things that will give the media an excuse to continue to cover the story. It’d take a lot, but given that Weiner was doing things like being recorded calling a producer – a producer – a ‘jackass,’ possibly the Congressman is up to the challenge, or is just ready to immolate his career once and for all. If that happens, it ends with a resignation, which means… another special House election in New York state.
On the other hand, possibly Weiner will decide to keep his trap shut, hunker down, and wait for the media to find a new target. That is in fact a workable solution, at least in the short run: as it stands now I don’t think that Weiner has actually broken any laws*, and he [belongs] to the political party (that would be the Democrats) that [doesn’t] demand accountability from its members, as a look at the Democratic leadership will quickly make clear. So he could survive.
Survive, sure… but he’s also broken. Anthony Weiner wanted to be mayor of NYC. Well, he probably still wants to be, but that dream has gone up in smoke. New Yorkers might have tolerated a guy sending out pictures of his genitals – particularly if there was a good story attached to it – but they generally won’t tolerate a guy who won’t own up to it, and they don’t like having their intelligence insulted. Weiner had an impressive war chest and could have parlayed his quiet feud with NY party bosses into a genuine insurgent’s bid; now, he’s not going to make it out of the primary.
Meanwhile, his reputation on the national level is likewise wrecked. Anthony Weiner was one of the Democrats’ attack dogs… only he turned out to be a badly-trained attack dog that was all bluster and bark; the first smack in the muzzle and now he cowers and whines. Seriously, are Republicans supposed to be afraid of this guy? Do you think that our TV people are still thinking to themselves “Oh, God, I’m going to be going up against Weiner tonight!” Nope: now they’d be thinking “Oh, boy, I’m going to be going up against Weiner tonight!” Which the Democrats know full well, which is why Weiner won’t be making quite as many of those media appearances as he has in the past. Or any at all.
In other words, from a certain point of view we’re in the endgame now.
Some implications of this will be in Part 2, as this post is getting a bit long.
Moe Lane (crosspost)
*Which would not have been the case if he had gone to the FBI, of course. They have no sense of humor when it comes to filing false reports.
[Edited for clarity. – ML]