He was a classic Washington character: High school dweeb turned swaggering pol, with a gorgeous power wife, a gift for cable-news combat and an eye on higher office. But then he became the poster boy for whatever madness infected men in politics this year — Chris Lee, John Ensign, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Arnold Schwarzenegger, David Wu, Herman Cain. Weiner’s scandal didn’t just represent the volatile mix of sex and power — an old story — but the new impulse-control risks of Twitter (which also tripped up Ashton Kutcher and that guy who bashed Lara Logan , plus some very foolish young Hill staffers). Weinergate also brought a modicum of social progress: Unlike so many other political wives, Huma Abedin did not stand alongside her man at his confessional press conference. All this for a sex scandal that, apparently, didn’t involve any. (See also: Rita Jenrette, who now says she never actually had sex on the Capitol steps.) But his soap-opera year had a sweet ending Wednesday — the birth of his and Abedin’s first child, a son, Jordan Zane Weiner. And yes, they’re still together.
(2011’s other sex scandals: Chris Lee, John Ensign, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Arnold Schwarzenegger, David Wu, Herman Cain. Anthony Weiner was also voted In the Loop’s “biggest political scandal” by readers, and named runner-up for Worst Year in Washington by The Fix.)
PERSON OF THE YEAR HONORABLE MENTIONS
Newt Gingrich: From K Street restaurants and McLean diners to the Kennedy Center and the Tysons Tiffany, the GOP hopeful was seen all over town. Running for president of the U.S. or president of the Beltway?
Sgt. Scott Moore: The Afghanistan Marine asked out Mila Kunis via YouTube, she said yes, and the stunt went viral. Justin Timberlake took a Quantico corporal to her Marine Corps Ball; now the first lady is fielding invitations.
Wendell Pierce: Celebvocate of the Year. So many showbiz folks talk up causes, but the star of “Treme” put his money where his mouth is, with a plan to open groceries in New Orleans’ underserved “food deserts.”
Read earlier: Reliable Source Persons of the Year for 2007-2010