Monday, June 6th 2011, 4:00 AM
This is how fast it happens in the fast lane of celebrity, whether you are a politician like Anthony Weiner who sometimes acts like his job is being smarter than everybody else, or an ex-politician like Arnold Schwarzenegger, who turns out to be dumber than a bag of hammers. Or Tiger Woods.
One day Weiner is thinking about his next job being mayor of New York, the next he is worrying about holding on to the job he has representing the 9th Congressional District - southern Brooklyn and south and central Queens, Sheepshead Bay to Forest Hills - where romance hardly ever involves sending a picture of yourself in your underwear instead of flowers and a box of candy.
Once it was routine to call Anthony Weiner, 46, an up-and-comer in Democratic politics, before everything with him had a double meaning.
Now he hasn't just turned himself into a headline, he has turned himself into something much worse: a punch line.
Worse than that? Weiner has done absolutely nothing to help himself.
"How about this?" he said to a CNN reporter and her producer. "You do the questions, I'll do the answers, this jackass interrupts me, and those are the new rules."
Except he hasn't. Done the answers, at least not any good ones. Oh, he talked and talked until someone finally persuaded him to stop talking. At the start, he kept saying that he wasn't going to let this be a distraction. From what, ending unemployment? Defeating the Taliban?
I was always one who thought Weiner had the game to be the next mayor, and even return the fun, after Giuliani and Bloomberg turned City Hall into a mirth-free zone for the past two decades. Maybe he still does.
But just in case you have been on the shuttle mission with Capt. Mark Kelly over the past week, a picture of a man in boxer briefs in a rather happy state was sent to a young college woman. Sent from Weiner's Twitter account. Weiner says somebody hacked that account - belonging to a United States congressman - but then informed us he hadn't reported that to the authorities.
Then come the good parts, so to speak, Weiner saying that he can't say with "certitude" that the picture isn't of him, or hasn't been doctored. Or something. At which point, he doesn't sound like a cocky guy who wants to be mayor; he sounds like a nondenial denier out of the Nixon years.
Sunday I am talking with a state Democrat who has worked with Weiner and the guy says, "That will be the T-shirt for anybody running against him for mayor: 'Certitude.' Like Anthony's gift to his opponents. It will be another way for them to say he's full of ----."