Some Republicans, including Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), predictably were early in calling for Weiner's resignation. But that is not what pushed Weiner over the resignation cliff. More likely, he surveyed the landscape, with what seemed to be new details and revelations about his tawdry virtual dealings with women who were not his wife, and found that few House Democrats had any appetite for him to stick around. Rep. Allyson Schwartz (D-Pa.), who is in charge of recruitment for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, was one of the first Democrats last week to call on Weiner to step aside. Also early were Reps. Mike Michaud (D-Maine), Niki Tsongas (D-Mass.), Mike Ross (D-Ark.), and Larry Kissell (D-N.C.), and Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.).
And Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) may have helped to hammer home the notion for Weiner that he was now pretty much alone. Although he stopped short of saying Weiner should resign, he did tell reporters last week, "I wish there was some way I can defend him, but I can't." And when asked what advice he would give Weiner if asked, Reid responded, "Call somebody else."
Though she did not call for his resignation until Saturday, Pelosi had been out front last week in publicly requesting that the House Ethics Committee investigate Weiner's activities.
The tipping point appeared to be Friday, when a relative of the Delaware girl told The New York Times that the messages were "harmless" but according to the Times "expressed concern that Mr. Weiner had communicated privately with the teenager, a high school junior."
According the Times, "In the past few days, the girl and her family have become subjects of intense interest in the news media." Then came Sunday's partially naked photos of Weiner posted on the Internet by TMZ.com, which it said were taken from the House members gym.
As with so much in the Weiner saga, it's impossible not to be funny or sound funny - even when you don't want to be and especially when none of Weiner's Democratic colleagues find this situation the least bit mirthful. In fact, "stomach-churning" is the phrase most commonly uttered in Democratic circles, where - until Weiner resigned - a sense of dismay and powerlessness mix toxically with anger and revulsion.
Weiner's journey from the unknown congressman from Brooklyn to cable TV "political-celebrity" looked pretty vanilla in the annals of get-on-TV-make-a-name-for-yourself identity politics practiced by an avid minority of Democrats and Republicans. And Weiner has never been self-conscious about his name: At the State University of New York (Plattsburgh), he ran for student government with the slogan "Vote for Weiner - he'll be frank."
Legislatively, Weiner was always a bit of cipher. He did sponsor a bill in 2007 to create an online registry of sex offender's e-mail addresses (we'll skip the ritualistic use of "ironic" here), and the House passed a bill of his in 2008 to reduce illegal cigarette sales. Elected in 1998, Weiner seemed intent on serving his Brooklyn constituents principally on TV and laying the ground work for his next bid for mayor.