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June 07, 2011

Verum Serum: Turns Out The Comely Coed's Statement To The Press Closely Tracks The Statement Weiner's PR People Proposed To Ginger Lee

I'm a little conflicted on this -- I don't actually believe the "joke" claim. On the other hand, it's hard to really go after the Comely Coed.

But if, like Verum Serum, you just happen to notice this... odd concordance... what are you going to do?

This is a tricky situation. I assume that it is widely believed that we don't know the real situation with the Comely Coed. I believe the media even believes this.

On the other hand, what are we going to do? We can't really get aggressive with her. She's not exactly a target that inspires partisan aggressiveness. She's just a girl at school.

This is a pretty damn deft way to handle it from Verum Serum.

You don't have to me mean to notice, now that Verum Serum points it out for all of us, that the Proposed PR Statement is awfully similar to the Comely Coed's.

Now, it can be asserted: Well of course and so what? The Comely Coed found herself in a jam, due to Weiner's actions, so why couldn't it just be that she was an innocent, as she says, but did in fact seek a little help in demonstrating that from some old PR hands?

This is possible, of course. But then, we're back into that problem I keep having, that these innocent explanations are a lot more convoluted than less-innocent hypotheses.

I honestly don't want to, as I just tweeted to her, "ding" the Comely Coed unnecessarily. Whatever happened here, she is either entirely innocent or guilty of flirting (etc.) with a married guy, which isn't cool, but then, she's not the one who took the vow of marriage and the oath to defend the Constitution.

The problem is that she is 21 years old. And that means that Weiner's sending a junk-shot to her is kind of a big deal. And his claim -- that this was a "joke" -- can't be permitted to stand.

It wasn't a "joke." He sent the same picture out when he intended to get cybernetically busy with Megan Broussard. There was no clown nose on his penis-- so in what fashion did he intend to signal a "joke" with this particular deployment of the Congressional member, whereas in other cases he intended it to signal sexual interest?

I contacted the Comely Coed by Twitter to ask about this, telling her I thought Verum Serum's piece was suggestive. She answered, "Really? It's so desperate."

I don't think it's desperate. And I told her so. I think it's an interesting and suggestive find. It's not conclusive, like I'd call some things. But suggestive? Yes, I think it's very suggestive. It suggests a conclusion. It may not go all the way home in proving that conclusion, but it does suggest one.

@stranahan (Lee Stranahan) goes one step further and suggests a comparison to the statements put up by the parents of the underage girls might be similarly suggestive.

Like I said, this is tricky. It's hard to really "go after" these girls who are either victims or, at worse, victims who were game for some amount of Weiner's awfulness.

The entire reason that we are particularly interested in girls younger than 21 here (or, frankly, just 21) is that we assume that an older, craftier, more experienced guy has too many advantages over a young girl in this situation, and it ergo is immoral to try to make moves on them. It's not fair. It's not right.

But that same reason also restrains us from really going after them, because-- well, see above. We assume that it's unfair for a 46-year-old wannabe Cassanova to try out 30 years of accumulated sleazy pick-up maneuvers on people too young and inexperienced to see through this crap. And that makes them sort of victims, even if not wholly innocent victims.

So Weiner has us in a tricky spot, doesn't he? On one hand he's talking with girls that he should not be secretly communicating with under any circumstances: on the other hand, the girls he's talking to are sympathetic (as young girls tend to be) so that dissuades us from really getting sharp with them here.

I really like Verum Serum's piece, in getting at these questions in a deft way.

And, bear in mind: No matter what you think, please don't forget that we are not in some big important mission to really rough up any of these collateral-damage people just because we think they're not being fully candid.

Don't go bananas on them. The very reason it was improper for Weiner to talk to them at all -- it's unfair; they're young and naive -- is the very reason we have to treat them with, ahem, kid gloves.

One Important Point: If Weiner wanted to protect the Comely Coed, he could say "I did not have inappropriate contact with the Comely Coed, who's just a victim here, but I did have inappropriate contact with another 21 year old."

See, doing that, then we don't have to involve her at all. Because he would have conceded what we endeavor to prove.

We could just take that admission and never speak of the Comely Coed again. Because we wouldn't have to. The only reason we're even discussing her would no longer exist. We mention her to demonstrate he was going after 21 year olds-- if he admits that, we have no need to ever mention any particular 21 year old again.

But of course he's not doing that. Once again he's hanging her out to twist in the wind to protect what's left of his career, which isn't even all that much.

And... Of course, if Representative Weiner really was only concerned about these collateral damage victims, he could do the honorable thing and resign.

His claim is that he sent a college girl -- apparently 21, though of course, he could not have been certain she was a sophomore or even a freshman -- a picture of his erection, unsolicited, as a "joke."

And then he says: I don't think I've done anything wrong enough to resign over.

Really? Really?

You just admitted to unsolicited indecent exposure to an unwitting girl in college -- not a minor, but just fortunately right over that line -- a picture of your erection, as a "joke," but you don't think that that's incompatible with serving in a high office of public trust?

Resign. If you care about your other victims.

But you don't, so you won't.

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posted by Ace at 02:10 PM

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