But the actual substance of the story is utterly unsurprising. First off, there's the mayoral run. Of course Anthony Weiner wants to run for mayor.
Last July, The New York Post reported that Weiner was weighing a run in 2013, because after that his public matching funds would expire. In January, The New York Daily News reported that Weiner's name was among the candidates voters were asked about in a poll of a five-way mayoral primary. And The New York Post reported that pollsters had asked voters about a run for comptroller, pitting Weiner against the Manhattan Borough president, Scott Stringer.
At breakfast, Weiner quickly put all the speculation to rest: he is eyeing the mayor's race. He told me that his political committee spent more than $100,000 on polling and research by Obama's longtime pollster, David Binder.
Come on. Don't act surprised. He's always wanted to run for mayor. The former New York City Council member ran in 2005 but lost a primary. Then he wanted to run again in 2009, but thought better of trying to challenge Mike Bloomberg. No surprise here, scandal or none. Losing is a pretty sure bet. Weiner would (will?) have to play catch-up to several candidates already in the race (though his time in Washington and friendship with the Clintons would help him make up fundraising ground). Christine Quinn is already starting to look like a prohibitive favorite. And that's before you even get to the scandal thing. Weiner wouldn't share his polling with the Times, which seems like a bad sign, though he admitted he'd be an underdog.
It's possible the scandal wouldn't hurt him that much. His marriage survived and, on the strength of a single magazine piece, seems strong, given what happened. There was no actual adultery -- just texts and tweets -- and anyway, Mark Sanford seems poised to return to the House. In the early days of the scandal, the Daily Beast did a decidedly unscientific survey, asking 100 New Yorkers how it had affected their impression of Weiner. The answer was hardly at all. Most of them said their opinions were unchanged and it wouldn't affect whether they'd vote for him -- but plenty of them were skeptical to begin with.
And ah yes, the scandal. We get lots of Emotional Weiner, Chastened Weiner, Learning and Trying to Get Better at Life Weiner in the piece. To be fair, he does seem to have learned some things about himself and how to be a better person. But he also remains skilled at displacing responsibility. The man who claimed his appliances were turning against him has found new scapegoats -- all while claiming he's coming clean. As Michael Barbaro notes, he refers to his "fateful tweet," neatly glossing over the fact that while one tweet got him caught, he was after all communicating with many women over a long period of time. Here's Weiner's list of reasons the scandal was so big: "My last name; the fact that I was this combative congressman; the fact that there were pictures involved; the fact that it was a slow news period; the fact that I was an idiot about it; the fact that, while I was still lying about it, I dug myself in deeper by getting beefy with every reporter."