Source: CBSLocal.com

It was the shot seen ’round the world.

As we all know by now, Congressman Anthony Weiner confirmed yesterday during a teary-eyed press conference that the crotch shot published to his Twitter account was not the result of hacking, but of his own virtual trysts with female fans accidentally made public. The questions lingering in the wake of his announcement are whether he’ll resign (he said he won’t), whether he used public funds or government resources in his relationships with these women or in the ensuing cover-up (he said he didn’t), and whether his wife will leave him (he said she won’t).

But enough about what Weiner said about Weiner. What does he know, anyway? What are other people not at all connected to the situation saying?

Well…

Jack Shafer, Slate’s media critic, was a little miffed with another iteration of politicians thinking copious apologies are what will shut the press up, and further worried that maybe some of his apologies weren’t the most sincere:

I’m less judgmental about the “sin” that Weiner confessed to this afternoon, of sexting his junk or his chest shots to six women over three years. If you’re as old as Weiner (46) and have never done something naughty but still legal, you’re probably immune to the power of human desire, have no sense of fantasy, and have been living in a locked veal cage in a convent basement. You don’t have to be a libertine to not care about a politician’s kinks, as long as those kinks don’t get in the way of his job.

The most painful apology that Weiner appears to have tendered at his press conference was not to his wife, his family, his staff, or his constituents, all of whom were subjects of his contrition, but the one he gave to Andrew Breitbart after reporters kept hounding him for one. When he said, “I apologize to Andrew Breitbart,” I smelled a lie.

Conversely, over at the New York Times, Op-Ed contributor Ross Douthat, thinks a contrite politician makes a better politician. He thinks Weiner could come out of this a better statesman than ever. However, saying your sorry is not enough. One has to pay for their misdeeds:

He didn’t resign. And this, to me, is the dealbreaker. A confession is just words, so much sound and fury, without an act of contrition, and the act of contrition appropriate to Weiner’s offenses is the resignation of his office. When there are real consequences for a shameful act, there can be a second chance — but the whole idea of a second chance implies that you’ve given up your first one.

Over at Huffington Post, psychologist Michael Bader calls the whole fiasco “bullshit,” and doesn’t lay an ounce of blame on the congressman. Being a psychologist, naturally the problem is with all of us, and our desire to watch the mighty fall, particularly over naughty photos, so we can judge the hell out of them:

The problem we face is that we do stuff all the time that probably doesn’t reflect our best judgment, or feels somewhat compulsive, or self-destructive, or involves forbidden longings, fantasies, and needs, and that we not infrequently dissemble, lie, and rationalize in order not to face them or have them discovered by others. It’s not a comfortable part of being human but it does seem to come with the territory. But one thing we all know for sure: we’d rather be the judger than the judgee. We’d rather have the high ground than the low.

Meanwhile, his local Democratic colleagues are similarly pointing out that the mistake was human error:

“You’ve got to feel for the guy,” said Councilman Lew Fidler (D–Mill Basin), a staunch ally of the congressman. “All we learned today was that Anthony Weiner is human and subject to the same frailties. Americans are very good at finding forgiveness for those who ’fess up and tell the truth.”

Flatbush Democratic District Leader Jacob Gold said Weiner was guilty only of was “youthful exuberance.”

“This isn’t a disqualifying factor,” said Gold. “A year from now, we’re all going to chuckle about this. Weiner’s a hard-driving, hard-working congressman — and that hasn’t changed. If this is the only misstep he’s made, then he’s a fortunate man.”

At least three of the six women he said he’s been in contact with have come forward, explaining to the big bastions of journalism, like TMZ and BigGovernment, what happened on their end. Unfortunately for Weiner, it’s likely to open a whole new bag of worms: the congressman may have done at least some of his “human” activities during company time.

Meagan Broussard – the recipient of the infamous crotch shot - told BigGovernment:

At first I was skeptical that I was really talking to Rep. Weiner, so I asked him to take a picture of himself, which he did. Then I asked him to pick up the phone and call me. I had to hang up because of something that was happening on my end, but then I called back and heard a voice saying, “Congressman Anthony Weiner’s office,” so I hung up. He asked me if I was satisfied, and I guess I was–I didn’t pursue that any more.

During the cover-up, Weiner may have offered one of the ladies – a former porn star – some PR help from his congressional staff:

On June 2, Weiner emailed [Ginger] Lee, “Do you need to talk to a professional PR type person to give u advice?  I can have someone on my team call. [Yeah, my team is doing great. Ugh].”

It’s unclear if Weiner’s PR team is from his Congressional staff.  If so, Weiner could run afoul of House Ethics Rules as well as the law.

Weiner put on a full court press, urging Lee to lie about their relationship.  On June 1, he emailed her:  “The key is to have a short, thought out statement that tackles the top line questions and then refer people back to it.  Have a couple of iterations of: ‘This is silly.  Like so many others, I follow Rep. Weiner on Twitter.  I don’t know him and have never met him. He briefly followed me and sent me a dm saying thank you for the follow.  That’s it.’”

Weiner suggested a nice touch — some good ol’ Southern charm: “And then maybe insert some y’alls in there.”

The Hollywood Gossip is also saying Weiner used congressional phones to chat with Lisa Weiss, another of his online mistresses:

The casino worker also claimed that she had steamy phone sex with the six-term Congressman on a U.S. Government phone.

Said Weiss: “After a while I said to Anthony, ‘Why are writing these messages when we can just speak?’ I gave him my number and he called me from his office and we proceeded to talk dirty for at least 30 minutes.”

“A few days later, I tried to call him back on that number. But the number wouldn’t connect to his office; instead there was a recorded message stating that it was an outgoing U.S. Congress line only.”

Meanwhile, Mayor Bloomberg, who Weiner had hoped to succeed in the 2012 mayoral election, is saying that any pressure to get the man to resign is undue, since voters are well aware of what’s going on:

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Tuesday, “It’s hard to believe, given the coverage that all of the press has given this situation, that any voters in his district aren’t familiar with the situation, what happened, whatever, and they will have an opportunity to express themselves in one year and four months from now. In the meantime, you know, I keep saying, this country has lots of very big problems that maybe we should all focus on and Congress should certainly get back to work and focus on.”

Wait a second. Sheepshead Bites’ readers are Weiner’s constituents. Why am I turning to these blowhards for analysis when I can turn to you?

What do you think? Should Weiner resign? Does any of this reflect on his ability to serve the people? Will he be a better statesman if he recovers?

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  • http://www.flickr.com/knightmare6 Knightmare6

     Weiner fucked up. He should’ve just flat-out admitted he was a pervert and be done with it. Nothing wrong with sexting so long as both parties were adults.

    • Anonymous

      LOL!

    • Anonymous

      LOL!

  • Mike

    You don’t lie to the people who elected you. If he fessed up when this first happened, we wouldn’t be talking about this anymore. I’ve voted for Anthony since he was our local assemblyman….no more.  He apologized because he got caught lying and couldn’t make it go away like he wanted, not because he felt remorse for lying to us.

    If he doesn’t resign, I pray that my fellow voters are wise enough to vote him out. I’m not hopeful, since they are they same people who re-elected crooked Kruger.

    • http://www.nedberke.com Ned Berke

      No distinction between lying about his personal life vs. lying about public policy?

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Gene-Berardelli/1173482469 Gene Berardelli

        That’s the real issue, not the Jerry Springer-like cavalcade of women that have/will spring up.  All the photos, texts, “sexts”, chats… whatever…  that’s between him and his family. 

        The issue for the public is simple – he lied.  He evaded.  He blamed others.  He contrived a phony “hacker” / “prank”.  He yelled at people who had the temerity to question him when he refused to give a straight answer.  And he did so audaciously.  His holier-than-thou, smarter-than-thou mentality makes his duplicity even worse, IMO. 

        Then, when he was caught in his lies, he told the truth.  Glory be.  This is not redeeming, IMO.  He had no other choice BUT to do so -had there been another choice, he’d still be lying!

        With his credibility shot, how can he effectively represent?  How can we take him at his word?  How can anything get done for us amidst all the distraction he created?  Most importantly, how can he “deliver” results while in the minority if his OWN party has left him in the cold? 

        In my opinion, the best he can do for all concerned, family and constituent alike, is resign. 

    • levp

      Welcome to the world of politics – “everybody lies”, as Det. Goren from L&O: CI correctly stated.
      This would bother me if I was Rep. Weiner’s wife, but I’m not (and this is not a lie).

    • http://blog.arikatt.com Ariela B.

      “You don’t lie to the people who elected you”? Really? Come on. EVERY politician lies to their constituents about SOMETHING at some point in their career. Whether it’s a small white lie about a situation not being as dire as it seems, a bigger one about money or statistics, or a whopper like a huge coverup, you’re never going to hear the 100% truth from anyone until they’re faced with no alternative. And forget about election season. False promises can also be considered lies by some people, given enough time and inaction.

      Lying is a fundamental part of politics at this point. Hell, even college student governments are full of it, on a more microcosmic level. Overall though, until Americans and people as a whole (or as a mob mentality rather) can accept the bad along with the good, politicians will have to be glib speakers, sugar coating things and adjusting “facts” to placate the masses.

      In Weiner’s case, I really don’t think this particular lie was all that horrible, because it was more about his personal life and stupid choices than his actual job (and as BrooklynBus pointed out, it wasn’t even on the same level as Clinton’s personal coverup). So ultimately I think you’re mistaken when you call voting Weiner out of office the “wise” decision. Wise would be more the ability to discern whether this is actually as big a deal as the media and other people are making it out to be, as well as understanding that there are more important issues this is taking attention away from. In Kruger’s case, his actions did fall into the “crook” category and deserved the attention, but Weiner’s is more “occassional dirtbag” and worth more a smack upside the head and a crash course in reputation and fidelity.

      Was he wrong for his actions? Absolutely. But this is not an “end of the world” type of scandal, TBH. And like I said in another post, he should get a thorough lashing from his wife and PR people, and actually feel remorse for what he did. But you know what, there’s no barometer or scale for us, as public outsiders, to see how high profile react to these things internally. Maybe he IS actually remorseful. We’re never going to know how he really feels beyond what he presents as a public statement (which can sound flat no matter how true it is), so I really think it’s pointless to obsess over.

  • Anonymous

    What Weiner did was indeed dumb, but it certainly does not merit a resignation, especially when you look at all the horrible things congressmen have done in the past.  He is a good congressperson although personally I don’t really like him.  As far as his lying about it.  Is there one politician that you know of who hasn’t lied?  This isn’t even on the same level as “I’ve never had sexual relations with that woman.” 

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Gene-Berardelli/1173482469 Gene Berardelli

    The cover-up is worse than the “crime”.  If he wasn’t so smug and sanctimonious, and if he wasn’t such a blatant liar after it came to light, this would be a minor bump in the road that would have been forgiven by 2012. 

    Plus, he doesn’t shut up, which means he is opening other lines of inquiry (“about” 6 women, thinking they may be all legal, but not sure, etc.).  They say an attorney that represents himself has a fool for a client – how about a politician under scandal who hires himself as his own PR team?

    • levp

      He should have simply said: “[my previous] remark was not intended to be a factual statement”.  No apologies were offered in that case AFAIK.

  • Barkingspider7

    Did he ever say that it was NOT him?  I didn’t hear him say that.  I heard him say that he couldn’t confirm whether or not it was (super stupid answer).  What he did was really dumb, but I think that as a politition, he will be ok once the dust has cleared.  Believe it or not, alot of people like him and the job that he is doing.

  • Guest

    My biggest annoyance is that he apologized to Breitbart. Conservatives have been so angry over anything and everything they will search for anything they can find to discredit a liberal they don’t like simply because he doesn’t agree with their views. Weiner is a human being. Should he have not covered it up and come clean the first time..yes. Did he have an affair? No. Did he commit war crimes? No. Is he guilty of being a liberal and therefore by association a dirty rotten piece of scum just like Obama (not my personal beliefs btw) Yes. I’d like to know what Breitbart is doing with what he claims to be an X-Rated picture of the congressman. No one has brought attention to the type of person Breitbart is. Listen to him in this clip from an apparence on Real Time a few weeks ago, regardliess of your political background.          

    http://theothermccain.com/2011/05/01/video-andrew-breitbart-vs-bill-maher/

    If Weiner runs for Mayor I will gladly vote for him and this is one of the only times I will say Bloomie is making sense.

    • levp

      That’s why I always teach my children to stick to the truth, with rare exceptions such as preservation of life (“There are no Jews in my cellar, Herr Offizier”).

      But for now, to borrow from one of his opponents, “Don’t Retreat, Instead – RELOAD!”
      Again, not my words:
      http://twitter.com/#!/sarahpalinusa/status/10935548053

  • jayjay

    So much press about something so minimally relevant. He did something stupid. He lied because he was embarrassed. Neither the act not the lie had anything to do with his constituents or his job. This got way too much press because it’s more entertaining than real news for people who are getting their own sleazy enjoyment watching this guy be humiliated. Enough. Let him stay in office and find a good psychoanalyst so he can get his personal life in order. 

    • Local Broker

      Its crazy that the media would take their attention off of Snookie and Kim Kardashian for 5 minutes to talk about a congressman’s dick. What is the world coming to. 

  • TJ

    He said his wife “supports him 100%” yet when asked where is  she, he responded “shes not here”
    WHAT A WEINER

    • levp

      Read between the lines: wife supports him 100% = she won’t divorce him.  Again, it’s between the two of them – unless she would want to run for his seat…

  • Brian H.

    I’m going to assume for a minute that there isn’t another shoe that’s waiting to drop. I mean, I’m definitely expecting the Tiger Woods-esque parade of a dozen women with their own Weiner story, along with even more ridiculous pictures, but the rest of my two cents applies only if it stays at that.

    I’m a strong believer that your screwups in your personal life shouldn’t impact your employment status at your job, including Congress. To me, the “public trust” nature of Weiner’s job is to not use his position as a lawmaker to enrich himself with bribes or the like. I realize the prevailing Republican school of thought is that anyone who gets caught straying from Cleaver Family Values should be banished from the tribe – I don’t agree with that at all.

    I even have some tolerance for some minor lawbreaking, depending on (1) the seriousness of the crime and (2) if it is related to the job or if it is completely personal. In other words, I would have tolerated Vito Fossella’s DUI and secret family (even though I disagree with his politics and wanted to beat him at the polls), but not Eric Massa’s sexual harassment of a member of his staff (despite generally supporting his politics).

    In Weiner’s case – I don’t object to racy photos being sent to adults who, as near as we can tell, seemed to enjoy that sort of thing themselves. It doesn’t make him a perv, though maybe just a bit tacky. It also makes him a cheater. It’s up to Huma Adebin if she wants to dump his ass or not.

    Nor do I care that he lied about sex, or whatever that was supposed to be, for a few days. I’ll be more annoyed if his apology press conference contained more big lies versus little ones (“about six,” yeah, right).

    You could say my political bias – I generally support Weiner’s politics, even if some of his statements and tweets regarding history and foreign affairs contain factual errors, such as the current composition of the NATO alliance – is influencing my opinion. I think my opinions on Fossella and Massa suggest otherwise.

    Of course, he’ll never be able to run for mayor, get a leadership post in Congress, or even be able to show his face on Fox News again. And he could totally lose the upcoming game of redistricting musical chairs.

    • levp

      Short version of my would-be reply: “what he said”.

      I’d only like to add that in case of Vitter, Fossella et al. they were all staunch “family values” supporters.  I mean, “protect sanctity of marriage from evil gayz” and all that.  That makes them a special kind of hypocrites.
      Same goes for Spitzer, caught having hired a prostitute after running a whole campaign against prostitution.

      We clearly do not have that kind of case here, thus my continuing support for Weiner.

    • BOP

      But your last paragraph is the problem: people in the district he represents now have a 7 term rep who is damaged goods, and all because of his bad judgment.  All his seniority, stature, etc., are gone out the window, and this has to affect his effectiveness.

    • http://blog.arikatt.com Ariela B.

      “I’m a strong believer that your screwups in your personal life shouldn’t impact your employment status at your job”

      Agreed, but provided you didn’t use your business email and accounts to perpetrate those screwups in the first place. In this case it was a more minor infraction, assuming there’s no other shoe to drop like you pointed out, but still an issue if he did it on company time.

  • SunnyDays

    Did he do his job right?
    Who cares about his personal life as long he does his job.

    • Jansta

      I agree 100%. 
      Why are we obsessed with peoples’ personal lives. I bet every person that is calling for his resignation has a skeleton or two in their own closet. 

      I don’t have any clue what was going through his head when he was sending those photos to those hookers but I still support his decisions as a politician.

    • BOP

      The question to ask is: will he be able to do his job as effectively now that he has gotten himself into this mess, purely through his bad judgment.  His constituents (us) supported him for 13+ years, and now he has thrown away his reputation and stature because he wanted to send lewd pictures to college kids?  Check out the word “gravitas,” as in “Weiner has no gravitas.”

      • levp

        His job is mainly to vote, and he has enough gravitas for that.

  • http://blog.arikatt.com Ariela B.

    The fact that Weiner was so shortsighted to think he was safe in using
    his primary business identity for his shenanigans is what bothers me. My main issue is not whether he sends photos to or contacts other women, or whatever. Yes, it’s a stupid practice (or habit, as the perpetrators and their therapists like to call it), and it’s cheating, and when you get caught you’re basically screwed, but people do it in private all the time, even sending worse things, without getting caught. The difference is that he was stupid enough to use his congressional Twitter account to do it, as well as emails and phone records that could be traced directly back to his office.

    Part of the beauty of the Internet is the ability to create a totally
    (or mostly) anonymous second identity to use for forums (trolling,
    anyone?), questionable sites, contacts, etc. Even I have a couple of
    “throwaway” email addresses to use when signing up for things I suspect
    might be spam, or different screen names for places where I don’t want
    my posts/words/actions connected with my “real” identity.

    Weiner evidently didn’t think to do that, or was otherwise so obsessed with wanting these women to know it was REALLY HIM that he put his entire career on the line for it. But wait…he wasn’t even banging these girls, so where’s the part where it was worth it? If he simply wanted “sexting” flings with them, why did he need to tell them who he really was? I can understand it if he was still single and desperate, but if any of those relationships started before he got married, he should have stopping them once he took his vows. (Or on the dirtbag side of things, moved the correspondences to more anonymous channels. He’s not so old that the technology to do that is “newfangled” or anything, so he really has no excuse.)

    He can apologize for being lewd and perverted all he wants, but he’s
    still an idiot for using corporate accounts for his funny business, as well as overestimating his online privacy and ability to
    tell the difference between an @ reply and a DM.

    I don’t care if he stays in office or not, provided he gets a good, thorough
    lashing from his wife and PR people, and a crash course in how to properly maintain online identities and overall reputation. It’s kinda like a driver’s license: this misstep put points on his license, and he’s gotta take a safety course to remove them.

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