Weiner and the Ethics Committee Gambit: Howard Kurtz of the Titina** argues that Nancy Pelosi’s quick call for an ethics committee investigation might save Anthony Weiner:
By swiftly calling for a House ethics investigation, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi distanced her party from the lurid spectacle. A senior Democratic aide, describing Pelosi and the party leadership as “furious” with Weiner both for his conduct and his week of televised denials, says her decision “builds pressure on him to go.”
Paradoxically, though, the move also buys Weiner some time. As long as he wasn’t flirting with “a 13-year-old boy or girl,” says Galen, the ethics panel probably won’t damage him. “Rank-and-file Democrats don’t have to make a decision and can hide behind it. She got everyone else off the hook.”
A “referral to the notoriously slow ethics committee freezes the clock,” which will help Weiner stay in office until the next election, Kurtz argues. … Really? Doesn’t a slow months-long ethics committee proceeding mean months of Weiner coverage in old and new media? Do Democrats want months of Weiner coverage competing with their Medicare message? I think they do not want months of Weiner coverage. … Maybe the “freeze the clock” strategy looked good a week ago, before we knew what Weiner coverage looked like. It can’t look good now, especially to politicians who pay too much attention to cable news. …
P.S.: Isn’t a least-bad solution obvious? Let Weiner resign and then run to win his seat back in November 2012, if it still exists after redistricting. Arrange, as part of the deal, to appoint a caretaker replacement who will not run against him. If Weiner’s constituents forgive him, they forgive him. Meanwhile he’s out of the national news. … Correction: There would be a special election to fill the seat. He could run in that election (even if the district were then eliminated in redistricting that might vindicate him, right?) [Thanks to @adambonin]
Update: From CQ’s Daily Briefing:
Members of [Weiner’s] staff (who were accepting Weiner’s lies as the truth until he fessed up to them Monday afternoon, just before facing the cameras) have left his Rayburn suite largely unattended while they roam the halls looking for other jobs.