It’s been nearly three weeks since the “Weinergate” scandal broke onto the news scene.
First, a non-nude crotch shot of Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) emerged on Twitter. Later, a fully nude picture was released. Now, there are strong calls from members of both parties for the representative to resign.
While the fact that Weiner has engaged in misconduct is startling, he should not resign unless he has done something criminal. So far, there is no evidence supporting such allegations. His problem is a personal one – not a political one.
One can look to other politicians that went through similar sexual misconduct scandals: South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford, who had an affair with a mistress in Argentina; Sen. David Vitter (R-LA); and of course President Bill Clinton, who left office with a 68 percent approval rating, according to CBS News.
All three stayed and completed their terms after coming forward with the truth. If Weiner should step down, Vitter certainly should have as well. Weiner has not yet been proven to have done anything illegal. Vitter, on the other hand, visited high-end prostitutes while campaigning and proselytizing family values in Washington D.C.
It doesn’t get much more hypocritical than that. Yet he simply asked for forgiveness, suggested that God be the judge of his moral behaviors and – Voila! The scandal was over.
Republicans at the time had safeguarded Vitter’s position, as he would have likely been replaced by a Democrat had he resigned and increased the Democratic control at the time.
In creating this firestorm, the media does not have its priorities straight. It has made this story a priority, knowing that people will watch their broadcast if they throw a picture of Weiner’s crotch up on the screen. The media instead should be focused on real issues like the endless wars, job creation and corporations’ increasing power in our political system.
A June 9 poll taken by New York 1 and Marist College showed that 56 percent of registered voters in New York’s 9th Congressional District wanted Weiner to stay in Congress, while 33 percent thought he should resign and 12 percent were uncertain.
Weiner is taking a leave of absence to sort things out with his family, as this is a personal issue. As asinine as Weiner’s actions were, it should be up to his voters in New York to determine his fate next election. If they feel he can’t do his job, then they should vote him out of office in the next term.
Darrin Gobble is a senior majoring in environmental science.