I cannot begin to fathom the ego required for this level of obstinacy. It’s mortifying to even think about.

You know, sometimes people say to me, ‘This campaign is pretty rough. You may want to quit.’ I know there are newspaper editors and other politicians that say, ‘Boy, I wish that guy Weiner would quit.’ They don’t know New York. They certainly don’t know me. Quit isn’t the way we roll in New York City. We fight through tough things. We are a tough city. … If someone wants to come out with something embarrassing about you in your private life, you have to talk about that for a little while. But it’s also reminded me that citizens, when they come up to you, and they want to talk to you about a situation on their block or at their child’s school or something going on at their job site, that that’s what this campaign is all about, and I’ll never forget that.

“We fight through tough things, we are a tough city. There are people all around New York City who get up with a tough day ahead of them, and they don’t quit.” …Really? Really? It certainly sounds an awful lot like he’s actually venturing to compare New Yorkers’ economic struggles with his sexting scandal, no?

Anyhow, the consensus (to everybody but Weiner himself, that is) seems to be that the coming implosion isn’t a question of “if,” but “when” — the polls are dropping, his campaign manager quit over the weekend, and every day he succeeds in furthering alienating himself right and left. Just how many embarrassments will it take to get this guy to cut and run?

“He looks a guy who’s at the deep end of the pool and he really doesn’t know how to swim. For a guy whose whole reputation was how smart a political guy he was, how good he was on camera, how quick witted he was, this is part of the process of unraveling,” said Bill Cunningham, a former communications director for Mayor Mike Bloomberg.

Weiner’s got two options, Cunningham said: Keep taking questions that prompt more incredible answers or refuse to speak about the scandal and get accused of going into hiding.

“Either way,” Cunningham said, “he’s caught in this spiral.”

Several Democrats who knew him when he was in Congress believe the recent display is who Weiner actually is — an unvarnished version, perhaps, stripped of the protection of a government office and membership to the Washington club, but the real Weiner nonetheless.