The recent sext-ploits of former Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) are well documented. He committed numerous mistakes on various fronts. From a communications standpoint, lying to the media was certainly a major no-no, though hardly his only transgression. But now that he has paid a steep career price, my eyes turn to what he could do next.
I have no crystal ball, but this need not be a death sentence for Weiner. Of course, it's almost impossible to envision any sort of future in the political arena for this one-time mayoral aspirant. However, as the saga was developing prior to his resignation, 56% of people polled from his district believed he should keep his job despite the scandal. Even during his ultimate announcement at a center for the elderly in Brooklyn, many in the crowd cried "No!" There remains some level of support for Weiner and it could serve as a starting point to his eventual recovery.
In the immediate future, Weiner's best move might be to keep communications to a minimum. His main focus should be his wife, Huma Abedin. By all accounts, it was a long discussion with her that finally convinced Weiner to resign. Her support is almost mandatory if he is to have any success winning back the masses.
Assuming that - and it's not a slam-dunk, of course - let's look at Anthony Weiner before this drama unfolded. He was a passionate speaker, fueled by ambition, who fed off a crowd. In a speech he made this past April to the House regarding the recent budget debate, Medicare, and the "hypocrisy" shown by Republicans on the subject, he was forceful, well informed, and captivating. Recent foibles aside, Weiner has it in him to be an effective communicator.
Moreover, he has a recent example to follow of a similar political castoff. One need look no further than Eliot Spitzer, former New York Governor and "Sheriff of Wall Street."
Spitzer, who resigned the governorship after he was found to be a client of a prostitution ring, was in perhaps an even more precarious position. Here was a man whose reputation was built on calling out the wrong-doing of others, so it was particularly damaging that he be outed for such actions. Moreover, Spitzer was never known as a communicator extraordinaire. His strength was in his actions.
Regardless of all that, he is now the host of In The Arena on CNN. That's quite the comeback - and it only took a couple of years. It's certainly feasible Weiner could follow suit.
Gideon Fidelzeid is the managing editor of PRWeek. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.