The XX Factor

Anthony Weiner Should Have Had the Balls To Pull a Krystal Ball

More shirtless photos have emerged that are allegedly of Rep. Anthony Weiner . If you’ll recall, last week a photo of Weiner’s crotch was sent to a college co-ed via Twitter. Weiner said he did not send those photos but did not deny (or affirm) that the photos were of him. Weiner is holding a press conference in five minutes to address this scandal, and possibly to resign.

First of all, I don’t think that Weiner should resign ( more on that front from Matt Yglesias ). But more importantly, Weiner’s been handling the entire scandal all wrong. He’s been combative with press and answering the question of whether he took those crotch shots with evasive nonanswers. Instead of dodging, he should have pulled a Krystal Ball.

Ball (and good lord, these politicians could not have better names for these scandals) was a long-shot congressional candidate in Virginia last fall . There were embarrassing photos of her that hit the Internet, showing her fellating a reindeer nose. Instead of dropping out, or crawling under a rock, Ball said: “Society has to accept that women of my generation have sexual lives that are going to leak into the public sphere. Sooner or later, this is a reality that has to be faced, or many young women in my generation will not be able to run for office.”

The parallel is not perfect-Ball’s photos were taken with her then-husband, and they didn’t imply cheating as Weiner’s alleged photos do. But as Ball pointed out (and as I argued back in September), so many people in the digital age have some potentially career-ending photos out there. Like Ball, Weiner should have said, yes, those salacious photos are mine and, no, it’s none of your business.

Update, 4:47 p.m.: In his press conference Weiner has admitted to having inappropriate contact with women across many social media platforms ! A colleague says: This is what they used to call the full hang out. He is not resigning. His wife, Huma Abedin, was not at his side. On the age of the women with whom he has had Internet contact, Weiner says: “All I know is what they publish about themselves in social media.”

My advice about pulling the Krystal Ball still stands: If he had just ‘fessed up and stood strong in the first place, he would have saved a lot of face.

Photograph of Anthony Weiner by Amy Sussman/Getty Images the New Yorker.