Editorial: Weiner should resign

The past few weeks have been rough for Democratic Congressman Anthony Weiner,to say the least.

After fervently denying that he was the one who posted an explicit photo on his public Twitter account for more than a week — and by fervently, we mean agreeing to appear on several interview programs and talking about the situation at every given opportunity — Weiner finally acknowledged that not only was that photo one of him, but he had also been participating in several “sexting” situations with women other than his wife during the past few years.

It was a scandal that has led party members on both sides of the aisle to call for a resignation — but Weiner hasn’t budged. If he did, he’d be following the lead of many other men in politics who have fallen from grace and stepped down after scandal, more recently including Eliot Spitzer, Chris Lee and Mark Foley among others. Even if Weiner chooses to resign soon, his actions show resistance to discontinuing his term as a representative for the 9th District of New York.

But no matter what reasoning he tries to pull for this — he didn’t technically do anything illegal, it doesn’t relate to his political expertise, etc. — it’s time to step down, Weiner.

While the original scandal that surfaced is far from the most egregious of crimes committed by those in congressional offices, the fallout since has proven damaging to not only Weiner’s reputation, but the Democratic party as a whole. Within 24 hours of Weiner’s original press conference admitting his faults, new stories began to surface from online “lovers” that Weiner had used government time and resources to conduct his salacious business. A 17-year-old girl was brought into the controversy after reports revealed that he had communicated with her via Twitter and Facebook (though both Weiner and the girl’s parents deny any wrongdoing). Several other women have surfaced, claiming they had inappropriate contact with Weiner.

The entire incident is both an embarrassment and a distraction for anyone in politics, as well as a sobering reminder that things said on the Internet aren’t private or automatically exclusive. If this party wants to attempt to make progress, it must remove those who challenge the notion of a professional atmosphere in politics. And in this instance, that includes Weiner.