New York Rep. Anthony Weiner has retained an attorney to advise him “what civil or criminal actions should be taken” after a lewd picture was sent from his Twitter account.
Weiner, who has represented part of New York City since 1998, says online hacking led to a close-up shot of a man’s underwear being sent from his official Twitter account Saturday night.
You need a lawyer to call the Capitol police or the D.C. cops? Weiner is not exactly being responsive to the press. (“Weiner’s office did not answer specific questions about the photograph, about whether he has contacted authorities or about the Seattle woman who received the photograph. He has said that his Facebook account was hacked and that if his Twitter had the same password, that too could be vulnerable.”) And if you care to follow the investigative blogging on this, there is a good argument that his excuse has some problems, starting with a basic question: Why would a “hacker” delete his own handiwork four minutes after it posted?
I have just a few observations. First, if he lied he’s toast. As embarrassing as a raunchy tweet might have been, the recipient isn’t a minor, and the requisite “allow my wife and I privacy” would probably have been sufficient to quell the storm for a liberal Democrat in a safe seat. It’s a truism that voters will put up with a lot, unless you lie to them.
Second, conservatives are complaining that a scandal that would have been front-page news for an indiscreet Republican is largely a non-story in the mainstream press. (It took the National Enquirer, if you recall, to get the mainstream media going in the John Edwards scandal.) Well, it was a holiday weekend, but if there is some excuse for continued indifference to story that, if true, could bring down a prominent congressman, I haven’t heard it.
Third, if as Weiner claims, it is some nefarious plot orchestrated by conservative blogger Andrew Breitbart (who was at the center of the ACORN prostitution sting and the Shirley Sherrod incidents), isn’t that a story as well? The lack of curiosity about a figure reviled by the liberal punditocracy is rather odd.
And finally, there is a certain political karma here, as the New York Times points out (although the reporter doesn’t much bother with looking into whether Weiner’s excuse makes sense):
Mr. Weiner, a potential candidate for mayor in 2013, is a loud, fast-talking, combative congressman who was the post-college roommate of the comedian Jon Stewart and has a similarly sharp sense of humor.
He is notorious for being an intense and demanding boss, and his temperament has always been a potential liability. He has tried to use social media to turn his pugnacity into an asset — the first word used to describe him on the home page of his campaign Web site is “Fighter,” and his grass-roots group is “Democrats Who Fight.” . . .
Mr. Weiner’s Twitter tone is strikingly punchy and personal, and sometimes juvenile. In an acknowledgment that their names can be used for double entendres, Mr. Weiner once challenged Mr. Boehner, via Twitter, to “Meet me at Dyckman Street.”. . . .
Mr. Weiner, a technophile, has clearly considered the role of Twitter in honing his public image, and he said in an interview earlier this month that while his Twitter stream “is usually something about the national conversation or a five- or 10-degree pivot from the national conversation,” his Twitter personality is all him. He says Twitter is now part of his “morning constitutional, with the New York Times, the tabloids, my e-mail,” and he takes postings from his followers seriously, often making adjustments and trying new things at their urging.. . . Despite the unwelcome attention over the weekend, Mr. Weiner has continued sending his unabashed Twitter messages. Late Saturday, alluding to the problem picture and to Sherlock Holmes’s nemesis, he posted, “Touche Prof Moriarity. More Weiner Jokes for all my guests! #Hacked!”
Come to think of it, isn’t it odd in all that tweeting, there was a single “hack” — sent to one of the 90 people Weiner “follows” on Twitter — and nearly immediately deleted? And after the incident, not a care in the world. The tweets go on. You’d think something in there might spark the media’s attention.