Skip to main content

A theory about Anthony Weiner, Democrats and strong women

I expect this is the last time I write about Anthony Weiner, but I do wonder if his resignation today doesn't have something to do with the fact that there are actual women in the Democratic leadership, both in the House and in the broader party.

Remember, it was after Weiner confessed to his lewd online communications and vowed not to resign that House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said he should resign: He'd lied to her, after all, claiming he wasn't responsible for the first incriminating photo. Pelosi was followed by DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz. And there were lots of behind-the-scenes reports that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton—the friend and boss of Weiner's wife—was exceedingly furious with him. When Pelosi started the effort to take a powerful committee assignment from Weiner, the game was up: He quit. But the pattern is clear—the post-confession drive to get Weiner from office didn't seem to come from his constituents or even from Republicans, who seemed happy to let him twist in the wind. It came from powerful Democratic women.

Contrast this with some of the higher-profile Republican scandals of recent vintage. Sure, Christopher Lee resigned, but David Vitter went to see a hooker—and got re-elected! John Ensign's Christian roommates knew about his affair and confronted him, but they didn't try to push him out of office—Ensign hung on for a long time until it appeared that he might face ethics charges over his efforts to cover up the mess. What don't those men have that Weiner did? Women in leadership positions in their party who had the power to damage their careers—and the desire to use it.

None of them lied to Nancy Pelosi.

I'm certain that my conservative friends will remind me of Nina Burleigh. (Read the second paragraph at this link.) But that was 13 years ago. And in 1998, there wasn't a woman in the land who could or did exercise political power over Bill Clinton. He did keep his office, you'll recall.

Why this is notable is that the Democratic Party makes real efforts to include women and minorities in power. Republicans snort at this, believing they believe in a more pure meritocracy that just happens to be weighted more toward white dudes. But that Democratic effort seems to have played a real role in how the Weiner scandal played out. That's neither good nor bad, but it's certainly different.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Yoga

I've been making some life changes lately — trying to use the time I have, now that I'm back in Kansas, to improve my health and lifestyle. Among the changes: More exercise. 30 minutes a day on the treadmill. Doesn't sound like a lot, but some is more than none, and I know from experience that getting overambitious early leads to failure. So. Thirty minutes a day.

One other thing: Yoga, a couple of times a week. It's nothing huge — a 15-minute flexibility routine downloaded from an iPhone app. But I've noticed that I'm increasingly limber.

Tonight, friends, I noticed a piece of trash on the floor. I bent over at the waist and picked it up, and threw it away.

Then I wept. I literally could not remember the last time I'd tried to pick something off the floor without grunting and bracing myself. I just did it.

Small victories, people. Small victories.

Liberals: We're overthinking this. Hillary didn't lose. This is what it should mean.

Interesting:
Nate Cohn of the New York Times estimates that when every vote is tallied, some 63.4 million Americans will have voted for Clinton and 61.2 million for Trump. That means Clinton will have turned out more supporters than any presidential candidate in history except for Obama in 2008 and 2012. And as David Wasserman of Cook Political Report notes, the total vote count—including third party votes—has already crossed 127 million, and will “easily beat” the 129 million total from 2012. The idea that voters stayed home in 2016 because they hated Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton is a myth. We already know the Electoral College can produce undemocratic results, but what we don't know is why — aside from how it serves entrenched interests — it benefits the American people to have their preference for national executive overturned because of archaic rules designed, in part, to protect the institution of slavery. 

A form of choosing the national leader that — as has happened in …

I'm not cutting off my pro-Trump friends

Here and there on Facebook, I've seen a few of my friends declare they no longer wish the friendship of Trump supporters — and vowing to cut them out of their social media lives entirely.

I'm not going to do that.

To cut ourselves off from people who have made what we think was a grievous error in their vote is to give up on persuading them, to give up on understanding why they voted, to give up on understanding them in any but the most cartoonish stereotypes.

As a matter of idealism, cutting off your pro-Trump friends is to give up on democracy. As a matter of tactics, cutting off your pro-Trump friends is to give up on ever again winning in a democratic process.

And as a long-term issues, confining ourselves to echo chambers is part of our national problem.

Don't get me wrong: I expect a Trumpian presidency is a disaster, particularly for people of color. And in total honesty: My own relationships have been tested by this campaign season. There's probably some damage…