With our long national nightmare of Weiner jokes about to end, one additional observation on why the House Democratic leadership was so eager to push Anthony Weiner out.
My understanding is that part of the deal that allowed Nancy Pelosi to retain her top dog status in the House Democratic Caucus after Democrats lost the majority in November involved giving a new generation of House Democrats a higher profile as spokespeople for the caucus. The rationale at least was that the caucus could signal change by putting forward fresh faces even as the entire leadership retained their official positions. The two most prominent of those new fresh faces were Anthony Weiner and Debbie Wasserman Schultz.
When Weiner’s anatomy became a national story, House Dems weren’t dealing with some back-bench nobody. He was a proxy for the leadership. All of his TV appearances and interviews weren’t only because he was good on TV and bookers liked him, though that certainly helped, but because there was implicit sign-off from the leadership.
That’s not the only reason Weiner had to go. There were other reasons, political and personal, that made it unlikely Weiner could survive what might have been the most boring sex scandal DC has ever seen. Unlike David Vitter or Bill Jefferson, who had no national visibility when their scandals hit, Weiner was actively being put forward into the limelight as an semi-official national spokesperson. Their fresh face turned out to be way too fresh.
David Kurtz is Managing Editor and Washington Bureau Chief of Talking Points Memo where he oversees the news operations of TPM and its sister sites.