Then came – Twitter.
Now, it’s extremely rare that a lawmaker loses his or her job because of Twitter, but no one has ever accused Anthony Weiner of being an unexceptional human being.
In 2011, he emailed, Facebook messaged, and tweeted a ton of sexually suggestive notes and pictures to a variety of women from across the country.
After the first lewd photo — sent to a female college student in Seattle — went public, Weiner denied he sent the image.
Then additional images and messages were published, and he admitted he had lied to his family and constituents about his online hijinks.
Ten days after he admitted to everything, he resigned from Congress under pressure from Democratic leaders.
That got us thinking…
Who else stepped up to the line and tweeted he or herself into trouble?
We present our Top 5.
The 79-year-old senator’s tweets are actually entertaining.
That is, unless you’re a PETA member or fan of the spelling bee.
Here’s a classic: “Fred and I hit a deer on highway 136 south of Dyersville. After I pulled fender rubbing on tire we continued to farm. Assume deer dead.”
And there is his frequent scolding of the History Channel for getting away from its core mission: “I’ve turned to history. Channel. Several times this wkend always Pawn Shop. No history. Change name of channel to no history.”
Of course, there was this classic from all the way back in April 2009: “Work on farm Fri. Burning piles of brush WindyFire got out of control. Thank God for good naber He help get undr control PantsBurnLegWound” (That’s his spelling)
Anthony Weiner may be a case study in why lawmakers shouldn’t handle their own Twitter accounts.
But Chris Dodd just might be the opposite.
In November 2010, a bizarre message appeared on the then-retiring senator’s account: “U love torturing me with this shit.”
Dodd’s account followed up with a message reading that “the last tweet was not from Chris Dodd.”
In a statement, his office blamed the message on a “technical mistake.”
A lot of stupid stuff got tweeted during the 2012 election, but this one may get the gold medal.
In the middle of Superstorm Sandy, the Donald tweeted his thoughts on the political implications of the storm, which almost destroyed the Eastern seaboard.
“Hurricane is good luck for Obama again – he will buy the election by handing out billions of dollars.”
In 2009, a congressional delegation traveled to Iraq.
The trip was supposed to be kept secret for security purposes, but Twitter got in the way.
Some news outlets had found out about the trip, but agreed to keep the news embargoed until the lawmakers left.
Then Hoekstra stepped in.
The former chairman of the House intelligence committee, tweeted once they touched down: “Just landed in Baghdad. I believe it may be first time I’ve had bb service in Iraq. 11th trip here.”
Palin literally changed the English language using her Twitter account.
The 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee took to Twitter in 2010 to register her disapproval of a plan to construct an Islamic center at Ground Zero.
Here’s what she wrote: “Ground Zero Mosque supporters: doesn’t it stab you in the heart, as it does ours throughout the heartland? Peaceful Muslims, pls refudiate.”
Palin deleted the tweet and replaced it with a new one, but not before the whole world took notice.
The tweet received such wide recognition that the New Oxford American Dictionary named “refudiate” the 2010 word of the year.
So congrats, or something.