Can a shameless man be shamed into action? Democrats are putting that question to the test this week:
House Democratic leaders began an orchestrated effort on Wednesday to force Representative Anthony D. Weiner of New York to resign his seat, saying his sexually explicit Internet messages and subsequent lies about them were making him, and the party, the subject of ridicule. The push came as an angry Representative Nancy Pelosi, the minority leader from California, concluded that Mr. Weiner was becoming too much of a problem for his colleagues as they planned to retake the House in 2012.
The first — and most notable — call for Mr. Weiner’s resignation came on Wednesday afternoon from Representative Allyson Y. Schwartz, Democrat of Pennsylvania, a Pelosi ally who is overseeing the recruitment of the party’s candidates for the 2012 election cycle. After Ms. Schwartz, a parade of rank-and-file Democrats across the country joined in, including Representative Mike Ross of Arkansas, Michael H. Michaud of Maine, Niki Tsongas of Massachusetts, Larry Kissell of North Carolina and Joe Donnelly of Indiana.
Representative Steve Israel of New York, the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, spoke to Mr. Weiner by phone, bluntly expressing frustration that Mr. Weiner’s political standing was deteriorating as new and more embarrassing details of his online relationships were emerging. On Wednesday morning, a photo surfaced on Twitter that was said to be an image of Mr. Weiner’s genitals that he had sent to a woman online.
Democrats said additional prominent party leaders would step forward with a similar message if he refused to step down. Ms. Pelosi was especially furious over Mr. Weiner’s initial efforts to mislead the public about his interactions with the women he met online; she had expressed confidence in him last week when he told the news media that he had been the victim of an online hacker.
So far, Weiner has provided a clear answer to the question posed above -- a resounding "no:"
Rep. Anthony Weiner has said he has no plans to resign and that his wife wants him to stay in Congress, a Democratic source told CNN Thursday.
Weiner made the remarks to a House Democratic colleague from New York on Wednesday afternoon, rejecting growing calls from fellow lawmakers -- including key Democrats -- for him to step down, said the source, who was familiar with the conversation. Weiner also cited polling data showing a majority of New York City voters want him to remain in office, the source said, describing Weiner as "dug in."
That was yesterday. Today? Defiance:
A defiant Rep. Anthony Weiner said today that he's not resigning. In an exclusive interview with The Post, Weiner, 46, said the sexting scandal that has plagued him for the past week is not reason enough to give up his House seat. "I'm not," Weiner said when asked by a Post reporter whether he planned to resign.
Guy Benson is Townhall.com's Political Editor. Follow him on Twitter @guypbenson. He is co-authors with Mary Katharine Ham for their new book End of Discussion: How the Left's Outrage Industry Shuts Down Debate, Manipulates Voters, and Makes America Less Free (and Fun).
Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography