Soon after Anthony Weiner mixed his creepy confession with defiance about keeping his job, a few Democrats called for him to resign. "The dam is breaking," one story said, predicting that a flood of colleagues would turn against him and force him out.
But for five days nothing happened, and it looked as if party leaders were cowed into silence. Then Saturday the dam collapsed, ending any chance he can survive in Congress.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and other top Dems, surely with White House backing, turned on Weiner to protect their damaged party, but they also did the right thing for America. If he has a whit of sense left in his twisted head, he'll drop the sham of a leave of absence, resign and slink off into his personal nightmare.
The final straw for Pelosi was a report of his online communication with a 17-year-old high-school student from Delaware. Cops are looking into it, even as Weiner insisted it was all "innocent. "
But why would anyone believe him? That's the thing about trust. It's an all-or-nothing deal. In his case it's nothing. He's an admitted liar with a penchant for pornography and exhibitionism. Next case.
He did get the support of Charlie ("The Crook") Rangel, who professed to see nothing wrong. Good grief. When Rangel sees nothing wrong, you know there's plenty wrong.
While Weiner destroyed his own reputation, the failure of leaders to break with him was morphing into an integrity test for the party. Each day they remained silent, Pelosi & Co. risked turning Democrats into the Party of Weiner. If he is good enough for them, they are not good enough for America.
Look at it this way: Weiner's toxic conduct would have gotten him fired instantly from any private job in the nation, and no sane employer would hire him. Even by the low standards of government, his behavior is so far out of bounds that it was obvious he had to go.
Thankfully, Pelosi stood up and went beyond just calling for his resignation. She said "he needs help" and that he should "seek that help without the pressures of being a member of Congress."
National Democratic Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz called the scandal a "sordid affair" and said "the behavior he has exhibited is indefensible."
No kidding. Sending naked pictures of yourself in a bid to turn female supporters into sexual groupies, then promiscuously lying about it, is moral degeneracy, plain and simple. If Weiner can survive, then "ANYTHING GOES" should be slapped on the congressional seal.
Even his wife's pregnancy was suspiciously leaked at his moment of distress. For a normal person, the prospect of a newborn would be reason to quit and rehabilitate your life. For Weiner, the fetus was a prop to spin for sympathy. That's who he is.
Still, it's worth remembering how Dems in the New York city congressional delegation ducked and hid. Those paladins of liberal morality -- Nadler, Maloney, Velasquez, Ackerman, Towns, Serrano, Engel, Meeks--were nowhere to be found.
The city once was represented by the likes of Hugh Carey, Ed Koch, Herman Badillo, John Lindsay, Shirley Chisholm and Bella Abzug. Their politics aside, each stood for something other than self-interest.
Now we have pretentious popinjays and hacks who shrink when public service is required. Duty didn't just call -- it was shouting, and they responded like mobsters bound by omerta.
The most notable silence came from Weiner's mentor, Sen. Chuck Schumer, who is never, ever at a loss for words.
Until now. He alone could have stopped the circus by taking his mini-me aside and saying, "Go."
But he, too, left the hard work to others.