The fresh round of Weiner rumors, per The New York Daily News is that he'll resign to stem the media embarrassment that most recently included crotch grabbing shots from the House gym. If he does, he'll be heeding the call of, among others, several female elected representatives and party leaders. The congressman has also inadvertently relaunched the conversation around electing more women.
In a Week In Review piece on why women in political office don't have sex scandals, Sheryl Gay Stolberg points out that it was a woman, Representative Allyson Y. Schwartz, "who last week became the first Democrat to call on Mr. Weiner to resign." On Saturday, she was joined by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and DNC chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz. Steve Israel, another House leader, joined them, though plenty of other top-ranking Democrats abstained.
Word is that they consider Weiner an embarrassing distraction from the Democratic agenda as the House reconvenes this week. But maybe they're also holding Weiner to as high a standard as they're used to being held themselves — not because women in office are inherently more moral or correct, but because if they've chosen to go that far and succeeded at it, they're used to an advanced level of scrutiny and hold the belief that doing something to screw it up their agenda just isn't worth it.
"Women run for office to do something, and men run for office to be somebody," was how Debbie Walsh, director of the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University, put it to Stolberg. "Women run because there is some public issue that they care about, some change they want to make, some issue that is a priority for them, and men tend to run for office because they see this as a career path." That was also the consensus of the ABC News/This Week roundtable of women convened by Christiane Amanpour yesterday.
And Dee Dee Myers, former Clinton press secretary, observed, "There are certain men that the more visible they get, the more bulletproof they feel. You just don't see women doing that; they don't get reckless when they're empowered."
This is rather rational because many men do get away with it, including Myers' boss, plus John Ensign, David Vitter, Mark Sanford, and so on. (Others , like Chris Lee, who for whatever reason resign immediately, are spared the trickle of paid-for revelations as the circus moves on.)
Maybe somewhere along the way, we'll achieve enough political parity to have elected women engaging in a similar level of hubris and recklessness. Whether or not you think Weiner should resign, we can all agree we're not there yet.
When It Comes To Scandal, Girls Won't Be Boys [NYT]
Weiner Scandal: A Victory For Women Leaders [ABC News]
Rep. Anthony Weiner Finally Considering He May Have To Resign Amid Sexting Scandal, Says Source [NYDN]