Anthony Weiner, once a front-runner in New York City's mayoral race, has plummeted to single digits in the polls since his latest sexting scandal broke. The revelation that he had sent his racy messages under the name "Carlos Danger" made him the butt of endless late-night jokes, which only got bawdier once his former sexting partner, Sydney Leathers, made a porn tape.
While few thought that the disgraced former congressman's troubles could get worse, they apparently can.
Cue Weiner, his mouth stuffed with honey cake, walking out of a Brooklyn bakery as a voter called him a "scumbag." While video cameras rolled, Weiner spun around and got into a heated shouting match with the man.
"Charming. Takes one to know one, jackass," he said. The man shot back that Weiner was "deviant," and told him to "go home and get a job." The beleaguered Democrat replied, "I fought very hard for this community and delivered more than you ever will in your entire life."
The noisy clash, says Sean Sullivan at The Washington Post, might have been the moment when Weiner finally hit rock bottom. "Here's a simple rule of politics: If you are arguing with voters, you are losing. Big time," Sullivan says.
Weiner tried to spin the encounter into a sign that he has the toughness politicians need to stand up to hecklers. "That's what mayors have to do sometimes," he tweeted.
Journalists, however, saw the meltdown as a sign that Weiner had finally concluded that his campaign was finished, so it was safe to say what he really thinks — consequences be damned.
And the day had started so well, too. Weiner fulfilled what he called a "lifelong dream" by doing the weather report on a local TV station (see the video below). Annie Karni at the New York Daily News suggests that the appearance indicated that Weiner, "seemingly out of the running in the election," was becoming a "more freewheeling presence" around town.
If the Democratic primary election goes as predicted on Tuesday, maybe he's got a future on TV?
UPDATE: A longer version of the video appears to show Weiner's adversary muttering, "Married to an Arab," before the two men started going at it. (Skip to the 3:53 mark.)
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Syrian women know how to defeat ISIS
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- 3 horrific inaccuracies in Homeland's depiction of Islamabad
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- The one thing the New Atheists get right about religion
- The U.S. Marines are developing laser weapons. Here's why.
- 5 baffling foreign-language versions of the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air theme song
- Will Kobani be ISIS's Waterloo?
- 6 things the happiest families all have in common
- Briefing: Offshore drilling and the environment
Subscribe to the Week