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Because of his own stupid actions that I talked about in the video above, New York Congressman Anthony Weiner is in big trouble. His sending leud photos of himself to women via Twitter, while not illegal on its face, is certainly embarrassing for a sitting representative to do. Now, some pols, including those of his own party, are calling for his resignation; others want him to stay and fight.
But where will each choice land Weiner is the question not addressed in all of this very public talk. That’s where this use of game theory can come in handy.
Game theory is best described as any one of a several ways that decision actions and reactions in a situation are compared, with the objective to find the most favorable outcome. How does that look for Weiner, especially considering that his wife Huma Abelin is pregnant? Let’s see by breaking his choices up to combinations action and message. That is, Weiner takes an action, but also has a PR message to go with it.
Now, before we proceed, this note.
Game Theory is simply a means to an end. It’s not best to imply a perfect, objective outcome. Indeed, anyone who presents a game theory approach as doing that is lying to themselves, and you. Rather, the idea is to sort out all of the possible outcomes, present possible conclusions, determine the desirability or undesirability of those conclusions, and present the findings to others for discussion and debate.
That’s what this blogger is doing, and here are the choices.
Resign Office / State Apology
While Weiner has done the latter, he’s not done the former. If he resigned and gave yet another apology, Weiner would not only be disgraced, he would be out of a job, with only his savings to count on, and income from his wife’s position. Plus, he’d sit and stew that he gave up too quickly. Eventually, his undoubted depression would set in, and it would take years to recover.
Meanwhile, Weiner’s resignation would leave the office in his district open, with the high chance a Republican might replace him. While the short term gain for Democrats is positive, the long term outcome may not be.
Stay In Office / Attack Opponents
Weiner electing to stay in office until his next voting period (2012) would be seen as a drag on the party, and few, if any members would assist him. For Weiner to have any chance, he would have to have a secret opposition research group making up “bad news reports” on opponents and on key the Republicans, thus taking some of the spotlight off of himself.
This would give Weiner a fighting chance, but the overall approach could alienate voters already wanting to see him go. It would be an expensive road with fundraising for office staff and the op-group, not to mention his own campaign work. Still, the “fighter” stance could produce an election win, and a new life for Congressman Weiner.
Resign Office / Attack Opponents
Again, as I wrote above ” If he resigned and gave yet another apology, Weiner would not only be disgraced, he would be out of a job, with only his savings to count on, and income from his wife’s position. Plus, he’d sit and stew that he gave up too quickly. Eventually, his undoubted depression would set in, and it would take years to recover.”
The work in attacking his opponents would help overcome the loss of what he had if he stepped down, but eventually, the fact that he lost would set in, and after a year or two of highs from going on the attack, he would be depressed, yet again. Meanwhile, his “out” status would be more of a liability than an asset for the Democrats on the campaign trail. Since Weiner would be gone, the ultimate thought is “Why doesn’t he just forget it. He stepped down.”
Stay In Office / State Apology
That’s what Weiner’s doing now, and he looks all the more awful for it. He’s not stepping down, so some Dems are walking away from him. But then Congressman Weiner’s not fighting either, thus, he’s not giving Dems a reason to stick around and support him.
The Best Choice: Stay In Office / Attack Opponents
In my view, that’s the only way Weiner can have a chance to hold his seat, make a credible argument, and go after the people who want after him. At the end of the day, Weiner, if he fought hard and dirty, would win new friends and come out of this smelling like a rose. Weiner would also embolden his supporters to campaign for him, which could cause him to win his next election race.
If Weiner lost the election, he would emerge, at least, with a restored level of dignity and self-esteem.
I know that such a future is difficult to see in light of current events, but the fact remains that time, life, and God march on. It’s not the past, but what Weiner does from now on that will shape his future.
My value structure says that one must take action to change their future in a positive way. You can’t wait for others to do it for you. Moreover, such an approach almost always yields a future you will not like.
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