WASHINGTON – This is not a Brett Favre situation or a John Ensign, David Vitter, Larry Craig, John Edwards, William Jefferson Clinton moment.
By now you likely know Rep. Anthony Weiner has retained a private security firm to investigate what he’s calling a “prank.” Weiner gets points for originality when he points to not wanting to use taxpayer dollars it would cost to involve the Capitol Police.
“There are photographs of me in the world. Yes,” he said. “We don’t know where the photograph came from. We don’t know for sure what’s on it, we don’t know for sure if its been manipulated, if it was taken out of one place and dropped in something else. And I’m going to let this firm try to get to the bottom of all that.” He said he for sure did not SEND the photo. – Weiner ‘can’t say with certitude’ that lewd photo isn’t of him
So, we have a “lewd” picture passed over technology that is allegedly Anthony Weiner rising, pun intended, which he adamantly says he did not send.
We know the college student who received the lewd shot, Gennette Cordova, says she is not having an affair with Rep. Weiner. We also know there are other female Twitter followers of Weiner who raised people’s curiosity, including “Miss Ginger Lee,” an adult actress. Pictures of these women are now plastered across the world.
In the background is Huma Abedin, who is married to Weiner and also happens to be an aide for Hillary Clinton.
The Right wants to humiliate Anthony Weiner any way they can, but there was no affair that we know of and no woman is claiming so. The questions remaining start with whether these Twitter associations and flirtations are cheating, then who passed the “lewd” photo to Miss Cordova and how it was obtained in the first place.
Weiner’s credibility hangs in that balance, as does his reputation, but neither means he can’t do his job, which is what the amateur blog sleuths are working to prove, while destroying his career.
Voyeurism and non-physical connection is powerful. It goes back a long way, but technology blasted it wide in the ’90s with personal ads. That’s when I was at the LA Weekly as “relationship consultant,” my whole job in the classified ad department revolving around teaching women and men how to connect through words and voicemail messages to attract the right person for what they desired, which was usually marriage; there were those times when arrangements were sought, which I also helped people navigate. It’s where I learned about the politics of sex through talking to many people over several years, including in the adult industry. If I had a dime for the number of men wanting to be a pen pal with a famous stripper I’d have retired in ’98.
Now Rep. Anthony Weiner’s dating past is also being chummed. There’s nothing wrong with being a “playboy” when you’re single, though the definition in this MSNBC article is laugh out loud hilarious. He’s also being called a “womanizer,” but enjoying the ladies doesn’t make that label stick. Why wouldn’t a man enjoy us? We’re fabulous. Weiner’s married not dead.
Right now Anthony Weiner is alleging he’s the “victim” of a “prank.” Perhaps it’s even a malicious political dirty trick akin to what made famous by Republicans back in the days of Richard Nixon, championed by Donald Segretti. But if Mr. Weiner is a “victim” of anything it’s his own ego.
That’s certainly not a crime. It’s not even political malpractice, but it’s proving very embarrassing.
Ask anyone who’s been caught reaching out over technology to flirt with someone. The thrill is the secret and the distance, not consummation. Your worst nightmare is someone finding out, let alone having it blasted across the new media world we live in and being asked if that engorged package in the picture is you.
Taylor Marsh is a Washington based political analyst, writer and commentator on national politics, foreign policy, and women in power. A veteran national politics writer, Taylor’s been writing on the web since 1996. She has reported from the White House, been profiled in the Washington Post, The New Republic, and has been seen on C-SPAN’s Washington Journal, CNN, MSNBC, Al Jazeera English and Al Jazeera Arabic, as well as on radio across the dial and on satellite, including the BBC. Marsh lives in the Washington, D.C. area. This column is cross posted from her blog.