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January 25, 2015

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The Policy Racket


Harry Reid refuses to defend Rep. Anthony Weiner


AP Photo/Alex Brandon

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid pauses on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, June 7, 2011, while meeting with the media after the Democratic policy luncheon.

Beyond the Sun

Rep. Anthony Weiner announcement

U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner, D-N.Y., reacts during a news conference in New York,  Monday, June 6, 2011. Launch slideshow »

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WASHINGTON — It was the House Democrats’ leader Nancy Pelosi who started the trend Monday, when she released a statement almost immediately after Rep. Anthony Weiner issued his tearful apology, calling for an official ethics panel investigation into the congressman’s sexting activities.

Now a day after his admission, few Democrats are leaping to Weiner’s defense.

“I wish there were some way I could defend him, but I can’t,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid told reporters, although Reid avoided questions about whether Weiner should resign, telling reporters to “call somebody else.”

Weiner has gone from rising party star to political pariah in the past week, after it was revealed that he’d been sending lewd photos of himself, and engaging in graphic and racy text and Facebook-messaging affairs with six women over the past three years, including one blackjack dealer from Las Vegas who’s alleging the worst: He did everything from flirtatiously text to have phone sex with her in congressional offices, on official equipment, on the country’s time and dime.

It has inspired a chorus of calls from Republicans for Weiner to resign, which he said Monday he would not do.

Although Weiner may be concerned about preserving his political future, Democrats have other concerns.

Last month, the House Democrats’ campaign chief Steve Israel, who represents a Long Island, N.Y., district, said he believed the House was in play — a victory that depends on Democrats winning 24 seats either vacant or held by Republicans. Israel is supporting Pelosi’s decision to call for an inquiry into Weiner’s affairs.

“Ultimately, Anthony and his constituents will make a judgment about his future,” Israel said in a statement. “To remove all remaining doubt about this situation, I agree with leader Pelosi’s request that the House Ethics Committee use its authority to begin an investigation.”

Weiner’s seat has been Democratic for 90 years. His majority is comfortable, but not untouchable: Weiner won about 60 percent of the vote last election.

But this year, House incumbents’ elections aren’t just up to the constituents: In certain states, such as New York, they’re also up to the legislative redistricting process.

New York is set to lose two seats in the postcensus rejiggering that’s also delivering a new representative to Nevada.

Weiner’s district stretches over parts of Queens and Brooklyn, and is in the hot zone for elimination, based on population trends. As The Wall Street Journal pointed out today, while lawmakers have to squeeze out someone, they’re prevented by the Voting Rights Act from disposing of any district where there’s a majority of minority voters. But Weiner doesn’t enjoy that sort of a constituency in his crossover territory, making it a tempting choice for the chopping block, especially since his candidacy comes with such baggage.

Weiner isn’t completely without friends, however. The strongest words of support appear to have come from New York Sen. Chuck Schumer, Weiner’s longtime mentor and former boss, when the elder statesman was a House representative. Schumer said Weiner “did the right thing” by confessing.

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  1. From the beginning the Democrats have fled from Weiner like horses from a burning barn.

    The only difference Reid is the Senate Majority leader and can't avoid the press. (He and) Nancy will do one of two things:

    1. Hang him high and fast so the party can minimize the damage and get back on the election bandwagon.

    2. Conduct a slow and deceitful investigation like they did with the last two Democrats brought up on ethics charges so they can deflect the subject until after the election and then what they will decide will be based on election results for both Weiner and the house.

  2. For such a long time, it has appeared that the Republicans had cornered the market on sex scandals, but Free Market competition has finally upset the balance of trade: the 'honey trade'. (Uh-huh Honey)

  3. Spitzer & Weiner, the dynamic duo! Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely! How true in the case of these 2 dirtbags!

  4. It's not like the USA is having any problems right now. We have low unemployment, a low national debt, and a great housing market! I guess there is nothing for this guy to do instead of flirt with other women online with goverent property and being paid to do a job. Makes you wonder why our country's problems are so great. We got people in the office doing stuff like this, when they should be working for the people. That goes for any political party member that does this stuff on our time and dime. Plus he lied. He should step down out of respect for himself and the American Taxpayer.