The Media Zone

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Rep. Weiner Resigns Under Pressure of "Friendly Fire"

Democrats saw Weiner's pain...and bailed.

Anthony Weiner resigning from Congress
Frankly, I was saddened to see Anthony Weiner resign yesterday. He was pushed and/or likely shoved out the Congressional door, not so much for what he did (many have done worse and remained in the Senate [David Vitter], the Oval Office [Clinton] or are running for occupancy in it [Gingrich]).

Nor, as I discussed in my last blog posting, was he pressured to resign to give him the time and space to work on healing his marriage or to sort things out in therapy about the behavior and psychological problems that got him into this mess in the first place.  Really, Weiner is capable of chewing gum, talking, legislating while being in therapy, like those before him (e.g., in the film, The President's Analyst, or President Jed Bartlett on The West Wing, and who knows how many elected politicians in real life?) There are lots of "shrinks" in NYC and DC who make a good living off troubled politicians.  I know a few of them).

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Rather, it was for the fear of potential GOP temper tantrums and IEDs a living, breathingAnthony  Weiner's psychological problems might have created for the Democratic Party in its suck up to the 2012 election.

This mugging by his colleagues was effected at the same time, according to polls,  the majority of Weiner's constituents, wanted him to remain in office.

Unless he runs again for office, it may be harder for Rep. Weiner to "get past" the scandal of words, pictures, denials and fabrications his behavior spawned, the way he mishandled their revelations, and the fact that what goes into cyberspace never finds safe haven in a convenient black hole.

If he wishes to remain a politician, Weiner must work transparently in the public eye and put his troubled past behind him by dint of good deeds and convincing amends to all those who care about him. Being forfced out, being out of the public eye, out of congress, will make that doubly difficult.

Like many, I have been disappointed in Anthony Weiner's actions but feel compassion for his troubles. Keith Olbermann summed up the affair up very well yesterday.

But for the Democratic leadership, I am embarrassed at their timidity and their willingness to recognize a man's psychological problems and then run like hell the other way.

Hey, with colleagues like that...


Stuart Fischoff, Ph.D., is Senior Editor of the Journal of Media Psychology and Emeritus Professor of Media Psychology at Cal State, Los Angeles.


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