Weiner, the star of so many viral YouTube clips excoriating Republicans and the go-to source for a dynamite quote — “that special Weiner spin,” he called it — had finally reached his full saturation point.
Just not the way he had expected.
Weiner’s clamorous, choked-up media-circus admission on Monday afternoon that he had, despite his multiple denials, used Twitter to send a photo of his crotch to a college student in Seattle effectively gave his media profile a status update. No longer is he the liberal blogosphere’s and cable television’s favorite champion of left-leaning causes. Instead he is yet another straying congressman, who publicly lied about sending private inappropriate messages to at least half a dozen women across the country.
That change has been devastating to Weiner’s mayoral ambitions in New York, which seemed highly realistic only a few days ago, and throws into serious question his ability to stay in office, which he has vowed to do.
But even before his teary live-feed admission to his friends and family — especially his wife, Huma Abedin, a close aide to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton — colleagues in the New York congressional delegation said they had serious reservations about the incongruity between his high media profile and what they considered his low impact in pushing legislation behind the scenes.
Several said in interviews that they regarded his diminished stature as more of a loss to cable television bookers than to the Democratic legislative agenda.
As the television explained Weiner’s unfolding saga in the Bagel Oasis last week, some voters in his district had already written him off.
“He doesn’t qualify, not after this,” said Boccomino, 64, a retired schoolteacher. “You’re out, Anthony. No way.”
Phillip Stamatis, 20, piling sesame and everything bagels into a brown paper bag, agreed. “Weiner spoke at my elementary school graduation. He seemed like a nice guy,” Stamatis said. “I would have voted for him if it wasn’t for this.”
Rising through the ranks
This was not supposed to happen to Weiner. With his sharp tongue, middle-class sensibilities, self-deprecating humor and Clinton connections, his supporters thought he was destined for great things.
In 1985, Weiner — who roomed in college with future “Daily Show” host Jon Stewart and originally considered a job as a weatherman — interned for then-Rep. Charles E. Schumer, an ambitious Democrat representing the Park Slope neighborhood where Weiner grew up.