Weiner Admits Messaging with 17-Year-Old Girl

Where's the line when a public figure interacts with a teenage fan?

 

I ran into Ace last evening at one of those cocktail parties the we frequent* and he dropped an interesting bombshell: Weinergate had just gotten ugly, as Rep. Anthony Weiner had apparently been caught messaging with a 17-year-old girl and police were investigating. It’s a story he’d help break, so there was a certain amount of relief in having been right.

Knowing Weiner’s proclivities for sexual banter and genitalia photos, a series of questions immediately came to mind: Was it true? Were the messages in fact sexual? Did he know she was 17? Did it legally matter if he knew? Should it matter?

Yes, it’s true. Fox (“Exclusive: Police Investigate Weiner’s Messages to Teenage Girl in Delaware“):

Police here are investigating direct online communications between New York Rep. Anthony Weiner and a 17-year-old girl and are looking for any other young women who may be involved, though the nature of the communications wasn’t immediately clear.

The police probe comes as Weiner, who is married, fends off calls from both sides of the aisle in Congress for him to quit after he admitted to lying about his inappropriate online and phone communications with a half dozen women.

Weiner’s interactions with the Delaware girl “were neither explicit nor indecent,” Weiner spokeswoman Risa Heller said Friday night.

Two officers from the New Castle County Police Department arrived at the high school junior’s home around 4:30 p.m. Friday when FoxNews.com was inside speaking with a family member. The Delaware cops asked FoxNews.com to step outside so they could speak with the 17-year-old’s mother in private. While FoxNews.com was walking down the driveway, the daughter was walking up.

The girl, whose name is being withheld because she is a minor, told FoxNews.com, “I’m doing OK.”

The police left the home after about 30 minutes, followed by the daughter and mother, who left in a separate car. It was not clear if the mother and daughter were going to continue the conversation with police at another location.

Sources close the student said the girl followed Weiner on Twitter after seeing him speak during a school trip to Washington on April 1. Weiner, after signing on to follow the girl’s Twitter feed, direct-messaged the girl on April 13, the sources said, though it is not clear what other communication the two may have had between or after those dates. Weiner no longer follows the girl on Twitter.

Weiner has personally confirmed the he sent texts but denies they were in appropriate. Politico (“Anthony Weiner admits contact with girl, 17“):

Weiner confirmed the communications late in the day, but denied that anything inappropriate took place.

[…]

A Weiner spokeswoman emailed a statement in response to the reports that confirmed his contact with the girl, but denied anything was amiss. “According to Congressman Weiner, his communications with this person were neither explicit nor indecent,” said the statement.

[…]

Depending on the nature of their exchanges, it could be the most substantively serious issue to surface about Weiner after a week in which he admitted to sending lewd photos to six women he engaged with on the internet.

Weiner said on Monday that as far as he knew all the women were adults, and that they gave their ages that way. However, there was no immediate information available that contradicted Weiner’s denial about anything appropriate in his communications.

Certainly, Congressmen have corresponded to young constituents in the past. Twitter makes it easier and more personal. But, again, Weiner’s history with these things lends suspicion. And it’s odd, indeed, for a statement from the Congressman’s office to add the qualifier “According to Congressman Weiner.” Why not just say: “Congressman Weiner’s communications with this person were neither explicit nor indecent”? That would be more definitive.

Additionally, as a NYT report (“Weiner Confirms He Sent Private Messages to Girl, 17“) notes, the staff didn’t release the messages themselves. That’s rather odd. Then again, the same report would seem to vindicate Weiner:

A member of the girl’s family who spoke on the condition of anonymity to protect her identity characterized the messages as “harmless” but expressed concern that Mr. Weiner had communicated privately with the teenager, a high school junior.

The family was aware that there had been exchanges between Mr. Weiner and the girl but assumed that all of their conversations had taken place on a public Twitter feed. Then a scandal erupted last month over a photo Mr. Weiner sent of himself in his underwear to a college student.

Last week, Mr. Weiner acknowledged that he had sent other explicit photos and messages to at least six women he met over social media.

The family member said: “I am angry. This is surreal and unbelievable. It is absolutely crazy. We are just regular people who go to baseball games and basketball games, as ordinary and plain as can be.”

In the past few days, the girl and her family have become subjects of intense interest in the news media. On Friday, the local police arrived at their home and asked the girl and her mother to bring the girl’s phone and computer to the police station so they could be checked to make sure no crime had occurred.

The family member said the family complied, and did not expect any further action to be taken.

So, the family knew about the messages. There were only five of them. They acknowledge that the messages were “harmless.” But, because Weiner has subsequently been revealed to be a pervert, they’re retroactively angry?

Indeed, reading further into the story, it’s clear that the girl had something of a crush on Weiner and was excited to be talking to a Congressman:

The girl’s contact with Mr. Weiner started in early April, after her trip to Washington. The congressman spoke to her school group, and she began following him on Twitter, posting a public message saying how much she liked his speech.

Two days later, Mr. Weiner began following her on Twitter. On her profile, she says she aspires to be president. In a private message he sent to her, he said: “How hip am I talking to a future president.”

Delighted that she had heard directly from a congressman, the girl wrote a public post on her Twitter feed: “talking to Rep Weiner from New York right now! is my life real?”

At the time, a group of conservatives was monitoring Mr. Weiner’s Twitter activity, after noticing that he was sending messages to a pornographic star from Tennessee.

When members of the group saw the girl’s post, suggesting she was engaging in a private conversation with Mr. Weiner, they alerted the congressman that they were watching him. “@RepWeiner new pal is a high school girl. First porn actresses now little girls. Weird.”

According to the girl’s family member, people in the group also copied the girl on some of the messages they sent to him, so she sent Mr. Weiner a private message telling him that she felt she was being harassed. He apologized to her in a private message, and removed her from the list of people he followed on Twitter.

About a month later, Mr. Weiner sent out a public message saying he wanted to attract more followers on Twitter and offered to follow people on his account if they wanted him to.

The girl responded to the appeal and posted a public message to him: “Don’t forget me. I used to follow you.” On May 16, he began following the girl again, and over the next 10 days they had three private message exchanges, the family member said.

One was about baseball. In another, he replied to a question she had about legislation by jokingly asking for her advice, the family member said. His third message to her was in response to a link she posted to a YouTube video of his giving a speech, with the message: “My true love.”

Regardless, Ace makes the case that this is still a very big deal.

I think by focusing on the unlikely charge, and wishing it to be true, that tends to diminish the other one.

Like, right now, Weiner’s sort of in a relatively good position if he can say “Well at least I didn’t sext a minor.”

Then that makes what he did do — which is incredibly, expulsion-level inappropriate — seem like it’s no big deal.

But it is. I spent a lot of words trying to make this case: That even if he restrained himself enough to cross no criminal lines, the question must still be asked, “Then why is he bantering with children who have a romantic or even sexual interest in him in private, parents-don’t-know DMs?”

[…]

This girl’s parents assumed that all of her communications with Weiner were occurring publicly.

Why did they assume that?

Because it is the natural assumption of almost everyone that to contact a smitten, lovesick 17 year old via private, I-think-we’re-alone-now DM is blazingly, incandescently inappropriate.

What’s his defense here? “I was just getting off on the idea this 17 year old girl loved me so much, but I never actually suggested anything sexual”?

Now, obviously, if this were a movie, and you wanted the dramatic ending, you’d write the ending where he does do something criminal.

But getting fixated on that Hollywood ending — which was always fairly low probability, and seems even less likely now — distracts from just how inappropriate this is.

Okay, he didn’t sext her. So he did nothing wrong?

I don’t think so. Like most other men in the world, I keep a decent distance from underage girls. Even your parents’ old rule — the door must be cracked open at least six inches — isn’t nearly enough.

Why doesn’t Weiner? What does he find so compelling about these young, attractive, starstruck, lovestruck girls that he has to communicate with them privately?

As I suggested before, I think because he’s getting off on it. He doesn’t have to actually do the deed to enjoy the thrill. Just knowing he’s got a cute girl here who’s in love with him… well, that’s pretty thrilling.

Particularly if you’re an insecure narcissist like Weiner, needing constant affirmation and validation.

[…]

I don’t take their word for it that they’re “harmless,” because I actually do suspect Weiner of speaking in a manner I would consider a violation — too flirty, too familiar, too friendly, as if he’s just a friend of hers in high school. Adults are not supposed to confuse the situation by acting like other kids. Tends to cause…. misunderstandings.

I agree completely with all of that, except for perhaps the amateur psychological analysis. I don’t pretend to understand why Weiner acted the way he did, either with this girl or in his more lewd interactions with the college age girls. Certainly, I’d be creeped out if a teenager were publishing this kind of thing about me online and would take extra special care to be professional in my dealings with her to avoid giving any encouragement.

Still, it honestly doesn’t strike me that Weiner did anything more wrong than display very modestly poor judgment in this particular case. There are all manner of things that offend my own sensibilities and that I wouldn’t do personally that I’m loathe to harshly condemn others for doing.

One theme that I’ve returned to again and again over the years is how dumb people are about online communications. I don’t understand why people post compromising photographs of themselves on Facebook, for example. Or choose email addresses like hornybitch69 and then use them to fill out job applications or as their contact information for college courses. I’ve written something like 50,000 blog posts and 25,000 Tweets; in each instance, I’ve been at least vaguely aware that my reputation is at stake. Then again, it’s never occurred to me to photograph my private parts.

 

 

_____________

*Well, there was alcohol available, anyway. And I’ve never actually run into him before except at CPAC. Also, there were few liberal elites in attendance, just us cloth coat Republicans.

FILED UNDER: Law and the Courts, US Politics
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. KipEsquire says:

    Indeed, reading further into the story, it’s clear that the girl had something of a crush on Weiner and was excited to be talking to a Congressman

    All the more reason to have no contact whatsoever with the child. Banish her to staffland until a plain vanilla handshake photo op, with parents present, can be arranged in Weiner’s DC or NYC offices.

    The Appearance of Impropriety, RIP.

  2. OzarkHillbilly (used to be tom p) says:

    OK, he engaged in some morally questionable behaviour with some consenting adults (I say questionable because some one somewhere found nothing wrong with what he did… in fact 6 some ones)

    Then he has apparently innocent conversations with a 17 year old girl “How hip am I talking to a future president.”….

    I am outraged!!! Why this is horrible!! Someone has to pay for this!!!!

    As far as I am concerned Weiner is a gutless lying little weasel who deserves the pilloring he is getting in the media… But the 2 situations are not related in any way shape or form.*

    *I do not twitter. I have no desire to twitter. I don’t even want to know how twitter works… Or why anyone would use it. All that said, maybe there is something involved in this that others take as common knowledge that I do not know, that might change my opinion.

  3. TG Chicago says:

    And it’s odd, indeed, for a statement from the Congressman’s office to add the qualifier “According to Congressman Weiner.” Why not just say: “Congressman Weiner’s communications with this person were neither explicit nor indecent”? That would be more definitive.

    Good point. You have to wonder if Weiner lied to the spokeswoman previously about sending the other pics, so now the staffer is hedging her bets.

    So, the family knew about the messages. There were only five of them. They acknowledge that the messages were “harmless.” But, because Weiner has subsequently been revealed to be a pervert, they’re retroactively angry?

    This seems perfectly understandable to me. The way I read it, they’re saying that the public messages were “harmless”, but they aren’t sure about private messages. If it was my daughter, I think I’d be angry to learn that the Congressman that she was communicating with was sending explicit messages to young women. You’d have to wonder about what was said between them, and that would make you anxious and angry. Not to mention the police and media attention, asking questions about the daughter’s sex life. You wouldn’t mind that?

    You said you agreed with Ace’s post. Do you agree with this part?

    Then that makes what he did do — which is incredibly, expulsion-level inappropriate — seem like it’s no big deal.

    Should Weiner be expelled? If, as Ace indicates (and I know you didn’t endorse this part), we should expel any lawmaker who is an “insecure narcissist…needing constant affirmation and validation”, who will run the legislature?

  4. Hey Norm says:

    Doesn’t appear that Weiner did anything wrong.
    He’s f’ed just the same.
    That’s the reality of our world.
    Unfortunate. But true.

  5. James Joyner says:

    @TG Chicago: I don’t think playful banter with a 17-year-old is expulsion, or even censure, worthy. I lean toward thinking sending junk shots and embarrassing Congress (I know, I know) is both. But in the post-Bill Clinton era, it may simply be that sexual misconduct short of rape is just par for the course.

  6. cfpete says:

    Or choose email addresses like hornybitch69 and then use them to fill out job applications or as their contact information for college courses.

    You assume that is unintentional. Always conduct office hours in a public place, with TAs present, or in a group.

  7. superdestroyer says:

    Who cares? Does what one Congressman does ever affect policy or governance in the U. S.

    I guess endless posts about Palin, Weiner, Trump, and Gingrich is what passes for being a political wonk these days. I guess it beats writing posts about economic, foreign, educational, environmental, or energy policy.

  8. Southern Hoosier says:

    Maybe he he should have gotten her a position as a page or some other position in Washington DC, so he could be near her.

  9. James Joyner says:

    @superdestroyer : This is front page news. We do countless posts of those other issues. The difference is that they’re slow moving targets. Not much changes in Afghanistan or the economy in the course of a day, so there’s little new to say about them that’s of interest to a general audience.

    Hell, my pace at New Atlanticist has slowed considerably for similar reasons. How many times can I say the same thing about NATO, Afghanistan, Libya, the EU, or the economic crisis? It’s hard to find fresh angles on slow moving stories that have been around for months or even years.

  10. superdestroyer says:

    James,

    At least you have not made endless posts about the Casey Anthony murder trial. The MSM has no excuse about focusing on non-issues such as Case Anthony, Tiger Woods except that is shows that most Americans actually like to follow fluff stories and are small and easy to follow. Talking about a single Congressman or a mother who murders her child is easy and fun for most writers. Covering something like safety on passenger buses or the lack of ability of high school graduates is hard and thus considered boring.

  11. James Joyner says:

    @superdestroyer :

    There’s some of that. Mostly, though, it’s cost-benefit analysis. Substantive posts take much longer to write (thus imposing a high cost on the writer) and tend to get much less reader interest (thus conferring little benefit).

    But it’s more than that. News is what’s new. That the Arabs and Israelis can’t seem to make peace is damned important but status quo. Even when there’s a new round of talks in the “peace process,” it’s hardly worth writing about them because it’s just another turn of the wheel. Similarly, I’ve long since stopped writing about small incidences of violence in Iraq and Afghanistan because they don’t add anything to the discussion; they’re almost background noise in a public policy sense.

    Additionally, as Steven Taylor pointed out in another thread, posts that get a lost of comments tend to generate spin-off posts addressing themes in the comments.

  12. Janis Gore says:

    There’s a problem with safety on passenger buses, superdestroyer?

    I haven’t been in one in years. What’s going on? City buses? Long distance?

  13. Tano says:

    I think we have a case here of a rightwing blogger who is hyping his “scoop”, and, in his mind, scoring points against a member of the opposite team. That is what is behind the claim that this is some really really big thing.

    It could be, but it seems not to be. It depends on the content of the DMs. WE are given some insight into the content of most of them and they do seem to be totally innocent. We are not really told the content of the last one he sent, in response to one in which she apparently makes reference to “my true love”, but one should note that it was the last message – so maybe he did cut things off.

    Anyway, it seems that this little chapter of the story is a complete dead end. Desperate attempts by enemy bloggers to hype things, notwithstanding.

  14. superdestroyer says:

    Janis,

    there have been recent fatal bus crashes in North Carolina and New York. Both involved drivers with license issues and companies that were cutting corners. Since the eastern seaboard had an increasing number of cut rate bus companies, the economics of the markets appears to have created a market where the only way a company can survive is to cheat.

    Of course, worrying about the sex life of some congressman seems much more interesting because the story is smaller, it is easier to write posts about, and it has continued for several days.

  15. ponce says:

    Ace and Patterico have hounded this poor girl off Twitter.

    I’d say what they did was far more disgusting than anything Weiner did.

    I can’t believe you’d assist them in their perverted efforts, James.

  16. Janis Gore says:

    I saw something about the one in Newark, wasn’t it? The bus doing speed trips from Chinatown to the casino upstate?

    Horrible carnage.

  17. michael reynolds says:

    The majority of my Twitter and Facebook interactions are with teen-age boys and girls. I’m a YA writer, it goes with the territory. But it also goes with the Congressman’s territory, at least in the abstract.

    I’ve had some DM exchanges, but the only one not directly on-topic (Glad you like my books, sure you can send me a YouTube,) was with a girl who was upset that I suggested Michael Jackson was a child molester. The closest I’ve com to trouble was some girl saying she wanted to stalk me. I told her to knock it off.

    But it’s always a bit nerve-wracking. I don’t know whether these kids have permission to be online. I don’t know if their parents have access or not. Some parents might be upset at the mere fact that their 14 year-old daughter is conversing with a creepy old man (me.) But if that’s the case they need to get their kids off-line.

    I think most of this Wiener hysteria is from older people just frightened by the technology. The teenagers themselves are pretty sophisticated and blase about it, but there’s always a chance some loon of a parent will freak out that I’m saying, “I’m very flattered that you liked the book,” to their teenager.

  18. TG Chicago says:

    @Joyner:
    If you need a substantive topic for a post, it looks like OTB hasn’t touched Syria in the last two weeks. There’s plenty going on there.

  19. Janis Gore says:

    That’s a point of interest, the technology. It’s unlikely that Mr. Weiner would have carried on so in written letters.

    Another waggish commenter said that digital pictures are going to be the downfall of Western civilization. In olden times, you turned the film over to a developer and had a few days to contemplate the ramifications. “Do I really want to send a pic of my dick to Sarah Jane? Will my mother find out? Will the service turn me in to the police?”

  20. Jim says:

    Why did Wiener take time out of his busy day to tweet a seventeen year high school student?
    How many women have rejected his advances?

  21. TG Chicago says:

    @Joyner:

    But in the post-Bill Clinton era, it may simply be that sexual misconduct short of rape is just par for the course.

    I’m picking nits a bit, but do you think Weiner is guilty of “sexual misconduct”? I think that if his wife disapproves, then it counts as misconduct. While that is quite likely, I haven’t heard that it’s been confirmed. And if she doesn’t disapprove then I don’t see any misconduct.

    (I’d still call it stupid, though — even if the wife is okay with it, a Congressman has to know that stuff like this is playing with fire)

    Also, there are plenty other kinds of sexual misconduct that are neither rape nor par for the course: soliciting prostitutes, unwanted groping, requesting sexual favors in turn for political favors, demanding sex as blackmail, possessing child pornograpy, public indecency… plenty of stuff that’s illegal and would (hopefully) end a political career.

  22. ponce says:

    If you need a substantive topic for a post, it looks like OTB hasn’t touched Syria in the last two weeks. There’s plenty going on there.

    Get used to it.

    James already said he’s sticking with the tabloid crap because it generates more hits, TG.

  23. Janis Gore says:

    If he were mine (a brother, a son, a husband) he’d be getting an earful, preferably in Spanish or Italian, which have nice flows for that sort of thing.

    But is his behavior predatory, or just fishing?

  24. James says:

    All this steaming sanctimony is burning my eyes.

    Let’s recap the facts as we know them today:

    1) Rep. Weiner was not sending suggestive photographs of himself over Twitter. He sent them via DM — direct message — or email, which are supposedly personal and private correspondence. Yes, email and DM may not *always* stay private, but people can open someone’s personal mail. Accessing and broadcasting people’s personal mail, email, or DMs without consent is an invasion of privacy — in the case of opening a person’s personal mail, a federal crime.

    2) People follow and are followed on Twitter. There is nothing whatever odd or weird about that. That’s actually the point of Twitter. Taking the conversation out of the public is the point of a DM.

    3) There is nothing whatever remarkable about women, even young women, following a Congressman, and especially if he had given an inspiring speech at one’s school. There is nothing remarkable about men, even young men, following Michele Bachmann or Sara Palin or Debbie Wasserman Schultz. There is nothing “weird” about young women following Paul Ryan or Barack Obama. That’s actually what people like about Twitter, is the ability to be heard and read with ideally the possibility of a response by the intended target of the message.

    4) there is nothing odd or weird about an active Congressman encouraging an inspired follower to follow her dreams of becoming president, or otherwise cordially responding to a fan, male or female. I mean, he’s a politician.

    5) Rep Weiner had personal, private correspondence with several women, before and during his marriage. Is that any of your business?

    5) Congressman Weiner once *mistakenly* sent an intended suggestive photo through Twitter when he meant to DM it. Having immediately discovered his mistake, he immediately deleted it.

    6) Because he has been stalked over the course of months by a group of fanatics who have harassed the people who followed him or whom he followed, the zealot discovered this admittedly stupid mistake and broadcast an intended private communication in a way that was intended to take him down. The act of sending the photo out to Twitter is akin to mistakenly sending out a Reply All. Ooops! But one must endure the blowback of that stupid act, as Rep. Weiner undoubtedly has.

    It’s pretty obvious that the girl’s parents are angry at the invasion of the press and the stalking fanatics upon their peaceful, innocent lives. It’s also pretty obvious that your friend Ace and the voyeuristic, prurient reporters in the mainstream media are trying to hump this into another round of news cycle.

  25. Dave says:

    Let me preface this by saying this is super icky and morally degenerate. That said, post-Mark Foley, I’m pretty sure sexting with a minor isn’t actually illegal so long as the sexting doesn’t involve solicitations of physical contact. In other words, being a pervert to a high school kid is constitutionally protected speech, however creepy that may seem.

  26. James Joyner says:

    @TG Chicago: I’ve posted some Syria stuff on Twitter. But aside from “why Libya and not Syria?” I’m not sure I have much to add.

    @ponce: All the networks and major papers are running multiple stories on this every day. Like it or not, it’s a major topic of mainstream conversation, not tabloid stuff.

    @James: Direct Messaging is done via Twitter. It requires that both people follow each other. Yes, it’s “private.” No, it’s not private. And a Congressman, much less a married on, sending lewd messages and photographs to young women is noteworthy.

    @Michael Reynolds: There’s no doubt that people who don’t understand technology are more likely to be upset with innocent conversations. You’ve obviously got an above board reason to engage young fans on social media. And I’ve got no problem with Weiner doing the same, so long as he does it in a way that upholds the standards of his high office. The fact that he likes to send junk shots brings his interactions under greater scrutiny, though.

  27. Jay Tea says:

    James (just James):

    There is nothing remarkable about men, even young men, following Michele Bachmann or Sara Palin or Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

    Or, say, Gabrielle Giffords?

    J.

  28. ponce says:

    Like it or not, it’s a major topic of mainstream conversation, not tabloid stuff.

    I was only following orders?

  29. michael reynolds says:

    Jay Tea once again channeling his inner moron.

    Do yourself a favor and hesitate before you write.

  30. Jay Tea says:

    What was so moronic about pointing out another member of Congress who was followed by a young constituent?

    If you are saying I am implying that Rep. Giffords did something wrong, then I wholeheartedly and deeply withdraw that implication; that was hardly my intent. What I meant was that “James” (NOT James Joyner) said something that was flagrantly wrong, as we learned earlier this year.

    J.

  31. michael reynolds says:

    You equate Twitter following with stalking with intent to murder? You analogize Wiener to Loughner? Or are you analogizing Wiener’s harmless Twitter followers to a psycohpathic murderer?

    Listen to the small voice that should be in your head warning you against saying stupid things.

  32. Eric Florack says:

    I don’t think playful banter with a 17-year-old is expulsion, or even censure, worthy.

    So, Clinton is the new standard?

    I said a few days back:

    Where was this objection, the claim that there was an obsession with sex scandals… when Tom Foley… oh, never mind. The obvious, apparently is beyond you.

    So, here we are again at Foley. Seems to me I raised this earlier and was rebuffed saying the two cases were not equal, because no underage targets were involved.

    Let the dancing commence.

  33. Southern Hoosier says:

    And I have to careful about discussing bus safety stories. If I post a story about Black youth that don’t pay their fares are dangerous, then I get called a racist. And any site that caries such a story must be racist.

    Mobs Attack on City Buses: Police
    Gang of teens storm bus, attack victims and run off with their belongings, police say

    Source: http://www.nbcchicago.com/news/local/cta-bus-wildings-123404378.html#ixzz1OzoOjF4w

  34. Janis Gore says:

    Drew and Dave Schuler have mentioned attacks in Chicago recently over at the Glittering Eye. Not buses, though.

  35. Southern Hoosier says:

    Ridding buss in Chicago may be hazardous to your health.

    3 charged with robbing CTA bus passengers

    http://goo.gl/VpqPz

  36. Wiley Stoner says:

    I think we need to have Michael Reyolds emails and other communications read. He openly admitted he like to work with those who have not yet reached the age of consent. I am sure he has a deep understanding of Anthony Weiner. Likes attract. If you do not think there is anything wrong with an unrelated adult communicating with someone’s teenage daughter in private messages. I surely hope you do not have any kids who are probably at risk. I guess if you are a donk member of the house of representatives, your ethics and moral behavior are not important to the progressive way of thinking. That is the kind of thing which will propel Palin into the White House. Weiner makes most of America’s skin crawl. If you are not among those, shame on you!

  37. michael reynolds says:

    Wiley:

    I assume that would be an example of one of your drunken posts. You start out every day stupid but at some point you transition to drunk and stupid.

  38. James Joyner says:

    @Wiley Stoner : Er, Reynolds is a bestselling author of teen lit. He’s sold millions of books to teenagers and their parents. Teenagers are his target audience. It’s not the slightest bit untoward for him to communicate with teenagers.

    If, say, Sarah Palin were sending Facebook messages to teenage Palin admirers, I wouldn’t find it slightly problematic. If some of them were teenage boys who openly let it be known they considered her a MILF, I’d be slightly more curious but, again, not alarmed. The only reason this is slightly problematic in Weiner’s case is that he’s got a history of engaging in lewd exchanges via the same medium with young but legal women.

  39. Dave Schuler says:

    I’ve had direct communication with someone who has seen the DM tweets from Weiner to the 17yo girl. They were completely innocent. There’s nothing to this story. Less than meets the eye.

  40. Jay Tea says:

    Oddly enough, Mr. Joyner, michael has proclaimed that he thinks of Palin as a MILF/GMILF on at least one occasion. It’s the first thing he thinks about when he considers her.

    J.

  41. Michael Reynolds says:

    Jay:

    You really want to go there and have me quote what you had to say about my wife?

  42. jukeboxgrad says:

    Florack:

    So, here we are again at Foley. Seems to me I raised this earlier and was rebuffed saying the two cases were not equal, because no underage targets were involved.

    That claim (“no underage targets were involved [in the Foley case]”) is false.

  43. Jay Tea says:

    I don’t want you to, michael, but I wouldn’t care if you did. I have no feelings about it whatsoever.

    Actually, I have slightly mixed feelings. I’m slightly ashamed at the vulgarity, but more proud of having thrown in your face your own attitude in a way that, by your constantly bringing it back up, shows that I had at least partial success in getting your attention.

    It’d be nice if you’d actually gotten the point — that I found it quite telling that your first response to Sarah Palin is to sexualize her and comment on that, to the exclusion of anything else. That you feel the need to objectify her so you can diminish her.

    In fact, I think your constant bringing it up is quite a compliment of how memorable my statement was.

    I do have one request, though — you include your own comments on Palin that prompted my statement. The context is important.

    J.

  44. jukeboxgrad says:

    a compliment of how memorable my statement was

    Your statement was “memorable” in the same way that a giant steaming, stinking turd is “memorable.” That’s not “a compliment.”

  45. James says:

    Said I:

    2) People follow and are followed on Twitter. There is nothing whatever odd or weird about that. That’s actually the point of Twitter. Taking the conversation out of the public is the point of a DM.

    5) Rep Weiner had personal, private correspondence with several women, before and during his marriage. Is that any of your business?

    Said @James:

    Direct Messaging is done via Twitter. It requires that both people follow each other. Yes, it’s “private.” No, it’s not private. And a Congressman, much less a married on, sending lewd messages and photographs to young women is noteworthy.

    Just so I understand, you, as a libertarian, think that we ought to monitor the personal and private correspondence of our Senators and Congresspersons, especially the married ones? Who should be doing this rummaging around and curating of DMs and private emails, then? I don’t want to be reductionist here, but really?

  46. jukeboxgrad says:

    Who should be doing this rummaging around and curating of DMs and private emails, then?

    There are lots of panty sniffers in the GOP who enjoy telling other people how to conduct their private lives. They would be perfect for the job.

  47. anjin-san says:

    that I found it quite telling that your first response to Sarah Palin is to sexualize her

    Actually, I am pretty sure that the first response is that she is stupid.

    Are you still harping on this Jay? Seriously, get a life. If you want to be the self-appointed defender of women, first you should take the test I suggested a while back. Walk up to some black guys and share your little “brown sugar” remark about Michelle Obama with them.

    If you are still in one piece after that, then you can come back and whine about “sexualizing” Palin.

    I was talking to a co-worker recently. He is one of the most decent people I have ever met, pretty much loved and respected by all at work, and that is not easy to achieve in an office setting. Michelle Obama’s name came up, and I told him that someone I knew on a political blog had associated “Brown Sugar” with Michelle Obama in a thread.

    He turned kinda red and commented “what a prick”.

    Did I mention how perceptive this guy is?

  48. James says:

    There are lots of panty sniffers in the GOP who enjoy telling other people how to conduct their private lives. They would be perfect for the job.

    I was thinking more of an official government agency. We can’t let the Congressional Rs off the hook.I’m sure the press will be interested in any saucy private communications of Mary Bono as well.

    Ya think the libertarian party will approve? Our host here seems to think it’s ..necessary.

  49. michael reynolds says:

    My first response to Palin is to think, “Jesus Christ, I can’t believe John McCain, who I used to point out to my kids as an exemplary American, so forgot his duty as to inflict this mean, stupid little non-entity on us.”

    The worst thing about Palin is what she’d done to McCain. My 11 year-old — not exactly into politics — refers to him as, “That dude who had his arms broken.” Unfortunately McCain will go to his grave associated with this horrible little cretin. I find that tragic.

    My second response to Palin is that she’s a useful identifier of a certain type of politicized creep. She attracts and earns the loyalty of creeps. I don’t mean that she’s conservative — Richard Lugar is a conservative, I don’t think he attracts creeps. Joyner’s a conservative and likewise: no creeps. But Palin has a fan base made up of creeps.

    I think her fan base consists of narrow, nasty, unpleasant, ignorant people.

  50. ponce says:

    I think her fan base consists of narrow, nasty, unpleasant, ignorant people.

    I think you’re being a little too hard on Palin and her supporters, Michael.

  51. Rock says:

    Joyner’s a conservative and likewise: no creeps.

    Well, he has attracted at least one creep – a bestselling author of teen lit.

  52. michael reynolds says:

    Ponce:

    I don’t.

    Palin is the official representative of the anti-factual, anti-intellectual, resentment-fueled, hate-the-other element of the GOP.

    Romney by contrast is the candidate of practical, rational Republicans. I won’t vote for him, but if he wins I won’t fear for the Republic.

    If Palin were somehow to win I’d find a good excuse to be in France for 4 years. Or 2 years, until she quit.

  53. Eric Florack says:

    That claim (“no underage targets were involved [in the Foley case]“) is false.

    In the one case we know of, perhaps. But given the degree to which he was obviously wling to go to cover his tracks, up to and including the smearing of private citizens such as Brietbart, are you really sure this is a guy you want to trust on the matter? What else is going to pop up over the next few days, hmm?

    ANd Reynolds, lets be honest, here… for a change. Your biggest concern about Palin is her being a real conservative instead of the centrist McCain is, and of course, her ability to win

  54. anjin-san says:

    a real conservative

    I am reasonably sure there have not been any real conservatives since Sen. Goldwater passed…

  55. michael reynolds says:

    No, Eric, my real concern is that my country has so many people like you, Jay, Wiley and the rest who seem to live on a diet of willful ignorance, aggressive stupidity, dishonesty and resentment.

    Honestly? People like you make me feel sick. I usually get past it with a joke and a smirk, but to be completely honest, people like you make my skin crawl. It’s probably some legacy of my attenuated Jewishness, but I find weak, angry, easily-led people are dangerous. Whether it’s Brown Shirts or Revolutionary Guard, people like you are the fertile recruiting ground of evil. Not that I think you’re personally evil, but the huffy assertion of secret knowledge, the suspicion of anyone not like yourself, the importance you give to anger, resentment over your lot in life, the suppressed but powerful feelings of inferiority, and above all the weakness, adds up to the classic portrait of a unformed thug in service to a charismatic leader or ideology.

    It wouldn’t matter if it was right or left, a guy like you, when offered the chance to join some greater cause, to feel important, to feel powerful, to pick up a truncheon and beat the “other” I think you’d do it.

  56. ponce says:

    Palin is the official representative of the anti-factual, anti-intellectual, resentment-fueled, hate-the-other element of the GOP.

    She’s also supported by a lot of Americans simply because they are raising Down syndrome, too.

  57. jukeboxgrad says:

    Florack:

    In the one case we know of, perhaps.

    OK, I misunderstood what you said earlier. You said this:

    So, here we are again at Foley. Seems to me I raised this earlier and was rebuffed saying the two cases were not equal, because no underage targets were involved.

    I thought you were saying this: “no underage targets were involved [in the Foley case].“ I pointed out that this claim is false. But I guess what you were saying is that there were “underage targets” in the Foley case, but not in the Weiner case. OK, fine, I agree.

  58. Duracomm says:

    juke said,

    There are lots of panty sniffers in the GOP who enjoy telling other people how to conduct their private lives.

    Democrats have the same unfortunate tendency.

    What, people should be allowed to do as they please, as long as it’s okay with the government?

    The idea tends to be that while liberals want to tell you what insurance to buy, how much salt, fat, and what kinds of fat you can use in cooking, what kinds of lightbulbs you can use, how much water you can use each time you flush, how much carbon you can exhale, and at what point you’ve made enough money and need to have it spread around, conservatives don’t want you to have sex with other men.

    So the two sides are basically the same, you see.

  59. jukeboxgrad says:

    So the two sides are basically the same, you see.

    Only for someone who doesn’t understand the difference between behavior that effects other people and behavior that doesn’t effect other people.

  60. Duracomm says:

    Article on weiner’s start in elected office.

    The woman Anthony Weiner smeared speaks out. The victim of the race-baiting attack that launched his political career talks

    Earlier this week, we recounted the long-forgotten story of Anthony Weiner’s first run for public office… that was keyed by a race-baiting flier that Weiner’s campaign anonymously distributed to voters on the eve of the election.

    This morning, I spoke with the victim of that attack, Adele Cohen, who was depicted in the Weiner flier as being a puppet of Jesse Jackson and David Dinkins.

  61. An Interested Party says:

    The idea tends to be that while liberals want to tell you what insurance to buy, how much salt, fat, and what kinds of fat you can use in cooking, what kinds of lightbulbs you can use, how much water you can use each time you flush, how much carbon you can exhale, and at what point you’ve made enough money and need to have it spread around, conservatives don’t want you to have sex with other men.

    So the two sides are basically the same, you see.

    Such a pretty strawman…as if there aren’t partisans on the right who would like to ban or curtail many activities (not just limited to gay sex) they don’t agree with…

  62. Duracomm says:

    The current political class in the US is a walking, talking, solid gold argument in favor of smaller government.

    This comment sums up the situation.

    There seems to be a direct correlation between how much these ***holes want to control my life and how poorly they manage their own lives.