Weigel

Progressives to Weiner: Thanks For Nothing, Jerk

MINNEAPOLIS – Here at the opening sessions of Netroots Nation, the annual conference of progressive activists, the news that Anthony Weiner would resign from Congress was greeted with umbrage and sighs.

“I’d like to know when David Vitter is going to resign,” said Shannyn Moore, a progressive radio host in Alaska. “What he did was illegal. What Ensign did was illegal. What Weiner did was creepy. I thought he was a great congressman.” Emphasis on the “was.”

Lizz Winstead, a progressive stand-up comic, said she had wanted Weiner to resign since the moment it was clear the infamous hard-on photo was his.

“If there was anyone in Congress who should have understood how the media was going to play this and obsess over this, it was him,” she said. “He was out in front trying to get people to pay attention to Clarence Thomas’s ethics issues, and he couldn’t get people to cover it. Why? Because it wasn’t sexy. And now that’s over. Now you can’t think of Weiner without thinking of that bulge photo. It’s emblazoned in our brains.” And watching conservative muckrakers manage the story was excruciating. “It was like Andrew Breitbart was the congressman from NY-9.”

“It’s like the Bush Air National Guard story,” said Cliff Schechter, an activist and author. “Democrats are trying to get attention to that story, but it’s not sexy. And then all of a sudden there’s one fake, fraud document, and Republicans make that story.”

That was the strategy side of this. There was no sympathy whatsoever for Weiner or what he did.

“If you get elected to Congress, there are things you don’t let yourself do ,” said Winstead. “I can take a picture of my hoo-hah and send it to someone and I won’t get fired. I mean, the person I send it to probably won’t have sex with me, but that’s it .”