Why Anthony Weiner Will Not Be NYC Mayor in 2013

I often tell our clients that they should view crises as opportunities to demonstrate their competence. By that measurement, Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) has failed miserably, and has likely cost himself his dream job as New York City’s next mayor.

As I documented on Wednesday, Mr. Weiner has been embroiled in a mini-scandal over a photo sent from his Twitter account. The photo features a man in his underwear, sporting what appears to be an erect penis. The tweet was sent to a college student on the west coast.

Take Our Poll: Would Anthony Weiner Be More Likely to Survive the Scandal if He Had Been Honest the Moment This Crisis Broke?

In a series of bizarre media interviews, Weiner denied sending the tweet, although he couldn’t rule out “with certitude” that the photo was of him. He strained credulity by trying to explain that he couldn’t verify the photo was of him since it could have been manipulated. (Huh? Couldn’t you just look at the original pictures on your computer and check in about two seconds? Clearly, your answer infers you’ve taken pictures of yourself in your undies.).

\”The Bulge.\” Photo from The Daily Caller website.

Photo of “The Bulge” from The Daily Caller website.

Two Democratic consultants quoted by the Associated Press had it exactly right:

“Chris Lehane, a veteran Democratic strategist, said he was surprised Weiner had not been more forthcoming sooner. ‘You aren’t going to get by on a story of this nature without giving a comprehensive explanation,’ Lehane said. ‘The only way you can put out a fire that has been ignited with bad information is to douse it with good information.’

Democratic strategist Steve McMahon said the congressman botched the first rule of crisis communications: getting out the facts as soon as possible.

Instead, Mr. Weiner has resorted to the wit of 12-year-old boys, making numerous cringeworthy sexual puns about his penis:

“I’m not really sure it rises, no pun intended, to that level.”

Perhaps the hacking was “the point of al-Qaida’s sword,” he suggested.

“You did not just introduce that by saying ‘the long and short of it,’ did you?”

He made even more awkward allusions to his penis on Wednesday night’s Rachel Maddow Show.

In addition to wanting to save his political career, Mr. Weiner is a newlywed who has been married for less than a year. I can’t shake the feeling that his actions are consistent with those of a man who doesn’t want his wife to learn what he’s been up to (or, perhaps, a man who is trying to protect somebody else).

Either way, his immaturity and lack of judgment in dealing with this issue has put his mayoral goal in jeopardy – and even if he runs, he’s just helped his Democratic opponents increase their chances of beating him for the nomination.

Mr. Weiner’s inept handling of this mini-crisis has turned it into a referendum on his very competence. And he has left the public with the unmistakable impression that he has something to hide.

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Related: Congressman Anthony Weiner’s “Bulge” Photo Crisis

Related: Why Anthony Weiner’s Sarcasm Doesn’t Work