For Weiner, The Pictures Are Only Part of the Scandal

Photo: AP / Richard Drew

During his circus-like press conference yesterday, Rep. Anthony Weiner stated plainly that he wouldn’t resign. Today everyone is asking whether he should. Actually, what they’re asking is whether Weiner will get over this. Past political sex scandals show that it’s not the scandal, per se, that determines the political outcome. Each crisis situation is unique.

In Rep. Weiner’s case, he’s made a Congressional career out of positioning himself for a run for New York City mayor. “His role in Congress has largely been filling a niche – the liberal loudmouth, willing to shout down Republicans or embrace things like single-payer health care. That’s not a role that Democrats are going to want him to fill now,” Politico writes.

While some have called for his resignation, many of his constituents are more forgiving. And there are cases, Politico points out, where politicians have recovered from what could be considered much worse.

But there are other things that have come to light about what Weiner said and how he said it that could prove to be clearer strikes against him.

Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and other members of Congress are calling for an ethics investigation, with evidence showing that he may have been using office technology to keep in touch with his online hook-ups.

To that end, ABC News reports on findings from the Information Systems Audit and Control Association, which says that 42 percent of people have used their office technology for personal comms. This can lead to reputation problems and a work-private blurring that shouldn’t happen.

Meghan McCain questions whether politicians should be tweeting at all. That’s probably a step too far and a question asked too late. But this case should be a reminder to those in politics who are new to social media that private matters can quickly become public on social networks. Still unclear about the difference between a mention, a DM, and a reply? Here’s a crash course from AllTwitter.

Separately, TMZ is reporting that he may have offered one woman (a former porn star, natch) PR services. Services he should have been getting for himself.  The Daily Beast says that could be an ethics violation.

Rep. Weiner said he lied because he was embarrassed. But the lie may lead to greater scrutiny that could cause him even more damage. Others might be well advised to sit with their digital specialist and revisit some of the ins and outs of social networks to be sure they don’t step in a big mess.