Anthony Weiner, who at one point (so long ago!) served in the United States Congress, has a few nuggets of advice for Michael Grimm, the New York congressman who impolitely threatened to throw a reporter to his death on Tuesday night. Anthony Weiner is a font of wisdom.
What's the analogy here? Political ones abound: It's like Richard Nixon giving cover-up tips or like John Edwards giving advice on how to keep an affair secret. Or, really, it's like Anthony Weiner giving advice on how to keep an affair secret. Or Anthony Weiner giving advice on how to pick up women online. Or Anthony Weiner walking someone through how to rehabilitate a political career.
Weiner's advice to Grimm, published by the New York Daily News, is written-down stand-up, lines interspersed with well-calculated gags almost entirely along the lines of "isn't it crazy that I, Anthony Weiner, am offering this advice?" Like:
I don’t want to belabor this one incident, because stuff happens, but I do think — as someone who has had his own share of tension with local media about, ahem, different subjects — I may have something to add to the conversation.
See that self-deprecation? If not, we bolded it. This guy!, Anthony Weiner imagines us saying, shaking our heads. That Anthony Weiner. He drops cultural references for effect (BuzzFeed! Kiwanis!) while still maintaining the necessary distance from Grimm's behavior — which, he assures us, he would "never, ever" do. (Has there ever been easier "media advice" than: do not threaten to kill the media?) I guarantee you: After he was done with the piece, he read it aloud to at least one person, asking the leading question, "That's good, right?"
Allow us to skip ahead and imagine advice on other topics in the vein of one Anthony Weiner, former resident of Washington, D.C., so that the Daily News and Weiner himself might save some time. (Are the quotes below by Anthony Weiner? No, they are not, but he will probably steal them.)
How to hide your identity online. "Representing the public is a sacred bond, and one that must drive your every waking moment. But in those moments where you're considering some extracurriculars as you're drifting off to sleep, you might forget to check what Twitter account you're logged in under. So: Always log out of Twitter every time you use it to prevent any embarrassment. Trust me: I know what I'm talking about!"
How to develop a pseudonym. "If your unconsummated affairs are discovered (now, what would I know about that! :) ), your secret identities will be, too. You're not "The Bat-Man"; that revelation won't put your life at risk. But it can be embarrassing. Pick something that reminds people that you're familiar with minority constituencies and also that you are brave."
How to run for office after a disgrace. "Everyone deserves a second chance, except for that horrible Sydney Leathers upon whom I lay a thousand years of curses. If you'll willing to do the leg-work necessary to have people be at least willing to consider the idea that you deserve some small apportionment of public confidence, remember that reporters' questions aren't really intended as rhetorical exercises in tailoring answers to exclude embarrassing information. Lay it all out there! Which is also something I know about."
By far the most amusing part of Weiner's advice to Grimm is this: Anthony Weiner wants to run for office again. That is what this is. This is Round Three, another shot at rehab, a complete Lohan. This is 14 percent about Michael Grimm, and it is 35 percent about offering insight into politician-media interactions. It is 51 percent about Anthony Weiner reminding the world that he could have been worse, couldn't he?, and weren't you starting to be curious about those 2016 New York Assembly races?