For a brief moment last week, the country came together to collectively roll its eyes at the sexting scandal involving Rep. Anthony Weiner. Republicans responded with predictable outrage and liberals conceded and even joined in (after cycling through five stages of denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance). Now, things have shifted to an uncomfortable stage in which top Democrats such as House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz want Weiner out but refuse to punish him, as evidenced by a closed-door meeting Tuesday where the House Democratic caucus decided to take no action on the matter. Enter the Wiener defenders. On TV and in print, the New York congressman's allies aren't just downplaying his actions--they're lionizing him as the left's embattled savior. This is a few steps above just defending him to counterbalance a sense of liberal gutlessness, as we saw Cenk Uygur do last week. Observe:
People just hate Weiner because he's such a fantastic politician, writes Victor Kamber, a union activist and political consultant, in Politico:
It is because Weiner has been such an effective opponent of GOP attacks on Social Security and Medicare that Republicans, and even some Democrats, want him to resign. Republicans can’t respond to his withering rebuttals that leave their “talking points” in ashes.
I can’t help but feel that some Democrats now urging Weiner to go feel a bit guilty they aren’t standing up for their party’s ideals the way he does.
Weiner should be promoted, if anything, insists liberal actress and comedian Jeneane Garofalo on Real Time with Bill Maher.
Anthony Weiner deserves to be supported and hopefully he will be mayor of New York one day. I'm serious. He is a Democrat [who] actually fights for the things liberals and progressive and rational people care about.
He's a savior for the democrats, writes Janet Rhodes at FireDogLake:
Thank God the decision about whether or not Weiner continues to serve in Congress is up to the people in his district, because they have a helluva lot more common sense than folks like Ed Schultz... When President Obama turned his back on working people like me, Weiner was there to defend us. When Obama would not defend the Public Option for health care, Weiner did. When the media failed to cover Republicans stalling health care for 9-11 first responders; Weiner passionately defended the cops, firefighters, paramedics, and other workers at Ground Zero. Weiner has a 100 percent voting record on protecting a woman’s right to choose.
His opponents are simply sadistic, writes Peter Beinart in The Daily Beast:
Truth be told, I don’t think the real reason pundits are baying for Weiner’s head has anything to do with his ability to be a good congressman. It’s more primal than that. We live in a kick-them-while-they're-down culture. We love to see the powerful humiliated because it proves that they were no better than us to begin with. Yet we simultaneously imagine that because they're powerful and famous, they don't need the empathy that we'd desire were we in their stead. Instead of being moved by their suffering, we revel in it.
Forget the president, your constituents need you, tweets actor and Obama-supporter Danny DeVito. "Don't resign Anthony We need you to fight for the people. Get a shrink stay focused," he added Tuesday. "Anthony don't listen to him. Don't resign He's a great president but he never lived in Brooklyn! Serve the people beg forgiveness from Huma.”
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.