Just when you thought this saga couldn't get any stranger, the New York Times produces this scoop. Surprise:
Their marriage has become the subject of intense speculation and scrutiny amid an embarrassing online sex scandal. Now, Representative Anthony D. Weiner and Huma Abedin are about to make news of a different kind: they are expecting their first child. Ms. Abedin, 35, is in the early stages of pregnancy, according to three people with knowledge of the situation. The pregnancy, which the couple has disclosed to close friends and family, adds a new dimension to questions about the future of their marriage.
Er, congratulations? Some are already calling this a PR stunt designed to engender some degree of public sympathy. I don't want to believe that Weiner is quite that cynical, but who knows, really? If Weiner's wife is, indeed, pregnant, all of us should wish her a healthy and safe pregnancy. And if Rep. Weiner is going to be a new father, now would be the time for him to get his life in order. Meanwhile, the political sharks are circling:
A Democratic lawmaker familiar with discussions with and about Anthony Weiner tells CNN that Weiner's colleagues are telling him this afternoon he should resign "to preserve his own dignity."
This Democratic congressman says that this afternoon's public call by Democratic Rep. Allyson Schwartz, D-Pennsylvania, for Weiner to resign is part of a new stepped up effort to force Weiner out. The source said the effort includes private and public calls explicitly telling him it's time to leave Congress.
"There is increased resentment by his colleagues that far from having a press conference where he was going to tell the truth and roll with the flames, the flames are just getting worse and he's dragging us through it. We really thought by now, after the press conference, we would be able to talk about the Republicans' Social Security privatization bill and instead we keep talking about Anthony Weiner. And people are getting angrier and more resentful," said the Democratic congressman.
In addition to Schwartz's remark, former DNC Chairman Tim Kaine has called on Weiner to step down, as has Massachusetts Rep. Niki Tsongas. Expect these calls to grow louder and more frequent. Will Weiner endure the cacophony, or relent? For an extra dose of awkward, read this column by Kirsten Powers -- who dated Weiner in 2002 -- taking him to task for his lies and misogyny:
Narcissism doesn’t begin to describe this kind of behavior. It seems there was nobody he didn’t lie to. The New York Times reported this morning that he told donors a week ago that the scandal was the result of a “vast right-wing conspiracy” and that “everything [would] be fine.” We also learned after his press conference that he coached a former porn star with whom he had communicated online on how to lie to the media.
But even if I could see past the lying and extreme narcissism that is noteworthy even by Washington standards, there is the issue of his attitude toward women. What has emerged is a picture of a predator trolling the Internet for women—some half his age—with which to engage in cybersex.
Until Weiner resigns and starts putting the pieces back together, this scandal seems primed to burn on. For the sake of his pregnant wife and unborn child, the Congressman should bow out, taking advantage of the few shreds of grace that remain available to him. Why would he put her through any more humiliation at this point, other than to satisfy his own self-regard and thirst for power?