Given recent scandals, Anthony Weiner should have been on high alert — and given his surname, he should’ve known better.
Weiner’s sins were preceded by New York Representative Chris Lee’s Craigslist fumble, former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s love child, and IMF Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s sexual assault charges. As far as transgressions go, the New York congressman’s was pretty tame. But at a time when sexting scandals had just entered the mainstream parlance, Weiner brought the conversation to a new level.
He mesmerized the nation after he denied sending a photo of bulging briefs to 45,000 Twitter followers. His intended recipient was one of about six women to whom he had sent “lewd” photos over the course of three years, none of whom was his pregnant, high-powered wife.
Weiner was smart, brash, and quick with a quip — he used them liberally after a blog reported Weiner’s May 28 tweet. But the congressman’s equivocations earned the wrath of Democrats from Nancy Pelosi to the Clintons.
Before, the up-and-coming congressman was one to watch. His direct messaging fail was ironic, given that in 2008, the New York Times’s blog described him as a tough boss and a “technology fiend who requires little sleep and rarely takes a day off.” In 2009, New York magazine mentioned his “resilient ambition” to become the city’s next mayor. The magazine also mentioned how “one of Congress’s leading horndogs” had matched up with “ultrafabulous Huma Abedin,” Hillary Clinton’s longtime right-hand woman. (Bill Clinton officiated Weiner’s and Abedin’s 2010 wedding.)
Finally, after dodging embarrassing revelations, raucous headlines, and an embarrassing action figure, Weiner resigned on June 16. He had already been apologizing to Democrats, including his former wedding officiant. He suggested that he would seek professional help and take a temporary leave, but Minority Leader Pelosi would have none of that.
Not everyone wanted Weiner gone, though. A slight majority of constituents didn’t think Weiner’s personal travails affected the office, and his polls improved after resigning.
‘Hiding in plain sight’
The rest of the year was about what the New York Times called “hiding in plain sight.” Abedin took a leave from her State Department job while Weiner attended counseling. They went on a “baby-moon” and moved out of Queens, into Manhattan. One of Weiner’s sexting buddies published naughty excerpts from her upcoming memoir. But the couple had other things to think about, from the birth of their baby to the death of Moammar Gadhafi. Weiner met with the Republican who won his seat; he also reportedly met with campaign donors and served as a legislative consultant. “Find me in, like, March,” he told a New York Times reporter in November.
The Yahoo! Year in Review editorial lead for five years running, Vera H-C Chan dissects news events, pop-culture idiosyncrasies, and online behavior to probe the “why” behind what’s hot online. On Yahoo!, her articles can be found in News, TV, Movies, and her Shine blog Fast-Talking Dame. Across the Net, there are remnants of contributions to a cultural travel guide, martial arts encyclopedia, movie criticism, business profiles, and A&E/features reporting.