Pretty much no one in Congress wants to be buddy-buddy with Rep. Anthony Weiner anymore, either because his peen pic grossed them out or they're worried that his colossal stupidity might be contagious. And while most once-friendly Democratic congressmen from neighboring districts in New York are trying especially hard to avoid him, old Rep. Charlie Rangel from Harlem is offering rare support for the congressman. It's better than nothing?
Rangel, you might recall, was formally censured in the House last year after a two-year ethics investigation. His punishment in the end was brutal: Nancy Pelosi had to read a mean letter to him for 30 seconds, and nothing else. It's possible that Weiner, too, may face a two-year ethics investigation over "conduct unbecoming of a congressman" now and also have to sit through a brief reading of a mean letter. It would be a cartoonish waste of resources, so Congress is likely to go through with it. And if so, Rangel will have Weiner's back:
Rangel, who was defiant after being found guilty of 11 counts of violating House ethics rules and censured by the House last year, said there was no reason for Weiner to heed demands from fellow Democrats to quit.
"Of course not," he said. "Not one person has given any reason for resignation."
Weiner, a political ally of Rangel's, was the only New York Democrat in the House to donate money from his campaign coffers to Rangel for his legal defense, as first reported in Sunday's Post.
Rangel said, "The whole idea of resignation is something that's hyped up by the press more than his ability to serve."
Not many people will care about Charlie Rangel's stance on an ethics question, for good reason, but he's right here. Why does Weiner still get asked so many times a day if he'll resign when he keeps answering no? Weiner's constituents, at least, want him to finish his term and then face their judgement in 2012. I guess his constituents' opinions are less important than those of Ed Schultz or Chris Matthews or whoever else is feeling strident this hour.
It's a hollow feeling, having to move along without collecting the scalp.
[Image via AP]