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June 18th, 2011
09:00 AM ET

Letters to the President: #880 'All in the timing'

Reporter's Note: I wonder what Anthony Weiner is doing this weekend. As for me, well, I’m writing another letter to the White House. (No pictures.)

Dear Mr. President,

With the weekend upon us, I suppose you’d like to forget about work for a while and I can’t blame you. I get pretty tired at my job too, and I don’t even have to put up with Biden. Ha! Still, I found myself thinking about this whole Anthony Weiner debacle, and a notion came to mind. Do you know why he ultimately lost his position? Timing. I am convinced that was the crux of it, plain and simple.

Sure, what he did was wrong, but that has never been a disqualifier in D.C. You and I have both seen political leaders in both parties get caught with their BlackBerry down their trousers (or worse) who successfully held onto their seats. So sure, Weiner made some bonehead moves, but there is no sign that he made off with the taxpayers’ money, or peddled influence, or shared a cigar with Castro.

So why did he have to get cooked, while others have stayed on? Because many times in other cases, even as the stew pot was heating up for their dunking, some other world event erupted, took over the news cycle, and by the time it had calmed down, the public fever had died. You know that Weiner had to be praying for something like that: “Oh please, let China invade some other country; or let a massive hurricane shape up somewhere; or let Snooki get arrested…anything…I’m getting desperate here.…”

But it didn’t happen. The Republican debate produced some headlines, the fires out West gave us some interesting pictures, you even engaged in a little back and forth with the congressional crowd, but none of it was enough to unhinge Weinergate. The story stayed around. And each day that it stayed in the news, the pressure grew for him to step aside, and ultimately he did.

Oddly, by the time he quit, I thought the story was preparing to die something of a natural death. I think if he had held on a few more days, he would have survived. Not that he should have, I’m just saying he could have. And you know what? Sadly, I believe that D.C. really wouldn’t have cared.

For all the tut-tuts we hear from either party when one of their own gets caught in something like this, in the end, all they really care about is the headlines - and if you can wait those out, you’re safe.

Hope your weekend is going well.

Regards,
Tom

Follow Tom on Twitter @tomforemancnn.

Find more of the Foreman Letters here.

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