Why It Took So Long for Anthony Weiner to Leave

It says something about Anthony Weiner's determination to stay in Congress that it was a porn star, and not a president, that finally forced him to step down. Most politicians would have succumbed to pressure from their leadership long ago, but not Weiner, who despite his constant media presence did not have many friends in Congress. One of the oddities of serving in Congress is that a lack of close relationships actually makes it easier, not harder, to dig in as Weiner had done -- having no close friend or mentor who can draw you aside and let you know that you must step down makes it harder for the party's leadership to compel you. (Interesting that Weiner's mentor, Sen. Chuck Schumer, quite obviously had no interest in playing that role.) After President Obama's clear message on Monday, Weiner still wavered. But the sight of porn star Ginger Lee alongside media sensationalist/celebrity lawyer Gloria Allred at a press conference yesterday appears to have been the final straw. There was no mistaking the damage that would be done to his party -- to say nothing of his marriage -- were he to continue sticking around (the prospect of being stripped of his committee assignments was an added incentive to move on). It's hard to feel much sympathy for Weiner, or pretend that his loss is particularly damaging to Democrats. Weiner was never a serious legislator. And after a brief interregnum in "rehab" I expect he'll soon be back to what it was he always did, and did fairly well: battling conservatives on cable shout shows, only this time as host rather than guest.

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Joshua Green is a former senior editor at The Atlantic.

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