The tweetaholic congressman spent the week dodging and deflecting questions about what he called a "randy" image that appeared in his official, verified Twitter account last Friday. The Fruit of the Loom torso shot in his social-networking stream was addressed to a 21-year-old Seattle college student. She's an ardent fan of the cable TV-hopping lawmaker and a member of the fawning generation that unabashedly asks its political idols "boxers or briefs"?
Curiously, one of Weiner's non-deleted tweets made reference to the Seattle time zone the same night the junk photo turned up. Weiner wrinkled his nose at a question on Wednesday about that inconvenient allusion, dismissing it as "pure, pure coincidence." He refused to explain why he gave Seattle of all places a Twitter shout-out. Weiner, if I may helpfully point out, represents New York's 9th District, not Washington State's.
"Frankly" -- (red flag!) -- he protested, he had "no idea." He then segued into relentless self-promotion of his "feisty" Twitter messages and started braying about the debt limit and health care reform.
It worked on cowed CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer. But did it work on his wife? Would it work on yours?
Sending creepy photos to another adult on Twitter is not a crime, of course. But it is abjectly embarrassing for Democrats to be caught with their double-standard pants down -- especially given how liberals hyperventilated over former GOP New York Rep. Christopher Lee's shirtless Craigslist photo. As always, it's the cover-up that's worse than the original transgression.
In Weiner's barrage of defiant yabber-jabber, the incident has morphed from a "hacking" to a "prank" to "spam" to a "goofy thing." And in the political circumlocution of the year, he can't say for sure if it's his package in the pic (Maybe it's "Randy's"?), but he adamantly maintains he didn't deliver it.
Just a few months ago, this Ick-arus of Capitol Hill was the toast of the Beltway at the White House Correspondents Dinner in D.C. -- cracking off-color jokes about his name, making nasty cracks at his GOP congressional arch-nemesis Rep. Michele Bachmann and boasting (again) about his cable-TV combativeness. Echoing the many fan-girls he follows on Twitter, the media elite gushed that Weiner "killed it."
The party's over, but he's still yukking it up while his political credibility and public dignity are on the line. Washington Times editor Emily Miller reports that Weiner indulged in repeated, bizarre phallic jokes with Beltway reporters on Wednesday afternoon, joking that he was "a little bit stiff" and that the story was "the point of al-Qaida's sword."
He then turned on his heels, sat down for the cameras and played the role of chivalrous knight for his wife, extolling his own virility in doing all he can to "protect her." But his disrespect of women (the obsession with Bachmann is downright creepy) and his disastrously flippant response to the controversy are -- as with everything he's attempted this week -- doing far more harm than good.
Like the mythical jerk who ignored common sense and flew too close to the sun, Weiner keeps flapping his lips while the brouhaha's heat melts the wax off his sullied wings.
He's falling and he can't shut up.
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