The numbers are in: Rep. Anthony Weiner is in prime position to follow his political forebears and secure a job on television. Pew's Project for Excellence in Journalism quantified the biggest political scandals of the last four and a half years, finding that Weinergate ranks right behind the scandals of former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich (the biggest scandal, accounting for 28 percent of the newshole at the time), former New York governor Eliot Spitzer (23 percent of the newshole) and former Idaho senator Larry Craig (18 percent).
Blagoevich, of course, parlayed his corruption scandal into an appearance on Season 9 of The Celebrity Apprentice in 2010. It was excellent television. Prostitute-soliciting Spitzer continues sitting pretty as host of CNN's In the Arena, even outlasting his former Pulitzer Prize winning co-host Kathleen Parker (despite both incarnations of the show generating meager ratings). Can Weiner pull off a similar comeback?
We know he has the chops. Prior to his scandal, Weiner's on-air finesse on The Daily Show, routine appearances on MSNBC and Fox News, and wonderfully sarcastic speeches on the House floor and at press events, solidified him as one of the left's most skilled orators. But if Weiner moved to television, it might be more out of necessity than anything else. As he jokingly pointed out on The Daily Show in February, "I don't have a lot of marketable skills"--a fact the New York Post earnestly pointed out last week.
Unlike many of his peers in the House, Weiner doesn't have a business or even a law degree to fall back on...
He owes between $10,000 and $15,000 on his American Express card, according to his most recent financial-disclosure forms.
If he steps down, he could grovel to cable TV execs for talking-head "analyst" gigs that hopefully pay more than the $825 he gets for appearing on HBO's "Real Time with Bill Maher."
So who wants to wager which cable network will scoop him up if he resigns? It sounds like early bidders could get him cheap. Our colleague Jeffrey Goldberg ventured a guess last week.