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June 14, 2:39PM EST

What Should Anthony Weiner Do?

In case you haven't heard, New York congressional representative Anthony Weiner is the latest politician to get caught behaving badly. The embattled congressman from New York is being beseeched from all sides to please resign. But, should he? Both Republican and Democrat politicians appear to agree that Representative Weiner should go. Even the President has suggested that maybe Representative Weiner has overstayed his welcome. Recent polls, however, indicate that the majority of Congressman Weiner's constituents think he should stay. Although everyone has an agenda, the ultimate question is, what's relevant in this context, and what isn't?

After the death of Osama Bin Laden, the historic upset by a Democratic candidate in the traditionally Republican 26th New York District, and the hugely unpopular vote by a Republican House to turn Medicare into a voucher system, the Democrats finally had some traction. Some progressive grassroots' movement was finally starting to build.   Enter Anthony Weiner and his tacky behavior. To say he has been a distraction from the new and improved Democrat momentum would be a galactic understatement.

If Representative Weiner's loyalty is to the national party, then the fact that he is a distraction from the party's overarching message is relevant. He should resign. In theory, his continued presence taints the entire pool of Democratic candidates and jeopardizes the House's chance to regain a Democratic majority. But all Democrats don't get to vote for Representative Weiner. Only his constituents in his district do.

If the Democratic caucus removes representative Weiner from all important committee assignments, and relegates him to persona non grata status in the House, is this a relevant reason for his resignation? Again, probably not.  His district constituents are the most directly affected by Representative Weiner's ability to sponsor legislation in the House, and they will need to decide whether he can effectively represent their interests anymore.

Is there a double standard regarding how the Democrats treat disgraced colleagues, compared to how the Republicans deal with such indiscretions? Maybe, but it's not relevant. It's for the voters to decide whether their respective parties appropriately handle their members' inappropriate personal and professional conduct.

And finally, what about Representative Weiner's agenda?  Should he feel a personal compunction to resign? His decision may be based upon more practical considerations than just his sense of personal shame and embarrassment. It may not be economically feasible for Mr. Weiner to walk away from his gainful employment. How would he earn a living? He's not a lawyer. He's not going to be hired as a teacher. In the short term, his prospects as a lobbyist aren't great. Would he be in demand as a paid speaker? It seems doubtful. He may need to stay on the job simply to pay his bills. Is any of this relevant?  Not really.

Mr. Weiner is an elected public servant. The only relevant consideration is whether the people who voted for him want him to continue in their service. How can this be determined? By polling the voters? That may be an indicator, but it's not dispositive.

Representative Weiner needs to resign for the sole purpose of allowing his constituents a real opportunity to decide under these new circumstances whether they still want him to continue to represent their interests in Congress. They can re-weigh all the pros and cons of having Anthony Weiner as their congressman, and then make a considered decision in the voting booth. If Representative Weiner resigns, an election will have to be held to fill his vacancy. There is nothing to stop citizen Weiner from throwing his hat in the ring for his old job. If his constituents decide they want him back, case closed, let's move on. Only the voters in Anthony Weiner's congressional district have the right to decide if Mr. Weiner is relevant anymore. They're the only ones who have legitimate interests at stake.

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