Representative Anthony Weiner (D-Queens, Brooklyn) resigned just after 2pm at the senior center in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn where he began his first run for city council two decades ago, leaving the door open to a future run for office by staying tightly focused on a message of regret, support for middle class families, and his upbringing in the neighborhood as having shaped him.
The overflow crowd was the most extensive gathering of journalists anyone could remember, far rivaling the turnout for former Governor Elliot Spitzer’s resignation in 2008 after it was revealed he was a regular client of prostitutes.
Also on hand were the seniors themselves, many of whom supported Weiner to this day. When asked whether he thought the congressman’s resignation was the right move, one elderly man said, “not really.”
Weiner said there was “no higher honor” than being elected to represent his “neighbors,” and lauded his constituents as “hardworking, patriotic, opinionated, and authentic.”
He weaved a pleasant narrative of his father attending college on the G.I. Bill after World War II and apologized again for his actions and the distraction he had become. When he spoke the word “resign” there was a groan from supporters in attendance, and also obnoxious heckling from a man who asked Weiner explicit questions about his body.
There is a precedent for other elected officials having been caught up in scandals, resigning, and then being reelected by their constituents. Perhaps the most extreme example is that of Preston Brooks, the South Carolina congressman who caned abolitionist Senator Charles Sumner nearly to death on the Senate floor in the 1850s before resigning and then being promptly sent back to the House by his constituents. Weiner does not appear to have broken the law or engaged in any physical misbehavior.
Copyright 2011 The National Memo