It seems no matter which politician steps in it, it’s western New York Rep. Tom Reed who comes out smelling like a rose.
I guess we know what former Rep. Anthony Weiner’s wife had to say.
Weiner — whose scandalous online behavior led to his political downfall — said for days he wouldn’t make a decision about resigning until he talked to his wife, an aide to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. She returned from an overseas trip with her boss on Tuesday night. Weiner resigned on Thursday.
That the Queens Democrat thought he might have a chance of salvaging his career after salacious images he sent of himself to online paramours became public is perhaps a reflection of the same arrogance and idiocy that led him to believe such images would never become public in the first place.
In any event, the disgraced former congressman is this week’s big political loser. The big winner is, once again ... Rep. Tom Reed.
Really, I don’t know how he does it, but it seems no matter which politician steps in it, it’s Reed who comes out smelling like a rose. Or, as we wrote back in February, “Rep. Tom Reed is the luckiest guy in Congress.”
The list is getting downright eerie. Check it out:
THE SCANDAL: Former Rep. Eric Massa, D-Corning, resigned in March 2010 amid allegations he sexually harassed a male staffer.
THE RESULT: Reed, who had announced plans to challenge Massa months earlier, goes from lesser-known long-shot to odds-on favorite in the Republican-leaning district.
THE SCANDAL: Former Rep. Chris Lee, R-Amherst, resigned in February after a shirtless photo he sent to a woman online became public. (And, really, the images transmitted by Weiner make Lee look practically chaste. We said “practically.” The married congressman was trolling for dates, after all.)
THE RESULT: With New York about two lose two congressional seats following the 2010 Census, Reed and the rest of the state’s congressional representatives benefit by the sudden existence of a district without a general election winner, which is perceived as more vulnerable.
THE SCANDAL: The Lee resignation.
ANOTHER RESULT: Lee’s resignation left a vacancy on the influential House Ways and Means Committee, which Reed wanted to claim for New York. It was assigned, however, to a more senior congressman. But it wasn’t long until ...
THE SCANDAL: After prolonged investigations, Nevada Sen. John Ensign resigned in May over an affair with a staffer’s wife.
THE RESULT: Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval appointed Rep. Dean Heller to fill Ensign’s Senate seat, leaving a vacancy not only in the House, but on — you guessed it — the Ways and Means Committee. Reed got the appointment last week.
The Weiner scandal (and, really, give me a break; it’s hard not to sound adolescent writing about this episode) magnifies the benefits afforded by the Lee scandal regarding redistricting. Or, as The Associated Press put it, “lawmakers in Albany will spend the next few years redrawing the boundaries of congressional districts in a highly politicized process that could, in theory, wipe Weiner’s old territory in Queens and Brooklyn from the map.”
If the customary upstate-downstate/Democratic-Republican horse-trading takes place, the districts of Weiner and Lee would be the sacrificial lambs, benefiting the rest of New York’s congressional contingent, including Reed.
Of course, that’s just how the picture looks today. The new districts won’t be finalized until 2013. That’s 19 months — or, as we measure it in New York, four and a half scandals — from now.
Contact Kevin Frisch at (585) 394-0770, ext. 257, or at email@example.com.