Video: Krystal Ball on the “Politics of Personal Destruction”


    Also, see Krystal Ball’s fiery, passionate Huffington Post article, in which she writes (bolding added by me for emphasis):

    …these photos were released by a right-wing smear blog with close ties to my opponent. I don’t believe these pictures were posted with a desire to just embarrass me; they wanted me to feel like a whore. They wanted me to collapse in a ball of embarrassment and to hang my head in shame. After all, when you are a woman named Krystal Ball, 28 years old, running for Congress, well, you get the picture. Stripper. Porn star. I’ve heard them all. So, I sat in my husband’s arms and cried. I thought about my little girl. I couldn’t stand the idea that I had somehow damaged the cause of young women running for office. I couldn’t stand the idea that I might shame my family, my friends or my supporters in some way.

    The tactic of making female politicians into whores is nothing new. In fact, it happened to Meg Whitman, one of the world’s most accomplished business women, just last week. It’s part of this whole idea that female sexuality and serious work are incompatible. But I realized that photos like the ones of me, and ones much racier, would end up coming into the public sphere when women of my generation run for office. And I knew that there could be no other answer to the question than this: 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.

    Strong stuff, and mostly on point in my opinion. Anyway, we’ll see how this plays out politically, but I’ve got to say, nice job by Krystal Ball in handling this situation.

    • Dan Sullivan

      Those who thought this petty middle school device had any place in politics or relevance to the issues.

      They have demonstrated that they are on the same level of maturity as those who use social networking to extend the reach of their cowardice. We now know more about the tortured and fearful lives of the characters who posted the photographs than their weak offense can shield.

    • Say What

      …. has shown a lot of poise throughout her uphill battle campaign. She strikes me as very intelligent, reasonable and serious. In a way I’m happy to know that she’s got another life that is pretty normal.

      Her points and emphasis on female sexuality becoming an issue in a campaign are well made …. but miss what I think are most damaging about the “leak”.

      It isn’t so much that she’s attractive and sexually suggestive (no negatives for me there) … it all comes off  in a way that paints her as immature …. young & stupid if you will.

      When you read anything she has written … or taken in any of her interviews … it’s very clear to me that she is just the opposite. Krystal is very mature and intelligent.

      I would have to agree … that the people who surfaced and posted these pictures are shallow and callous. And I can only guess that they are extremely jealous of Krystal’s obvious qualities.

    • Jessica Sandlin

      Sexism certainly still runs rampant in American politics; the problem is that in this case- it’s simply not a factor.  For Ball to cry foul and use the word sexism (which she did in her NBC12 interview) instead of simply saying, “I was young and partied in a silly manner- now I’m older and I want to talk issues, so let’s not be distracted,” is a shame because it distorts the story.  Most campaigns would have minimized a response to the “leaked” photos, and the traction they gained would have been minor.  The fact that Ball has used the photos to gain national media attention is a gutsy move, and will earn her more money and votes than she had before the photos were made public (and no, we still don’t know the origin of the leaked photos).  In fact, these photos being released benefits Ball politically (though definitely not personally).

      Also, historically, women don’t vote for women.  If no one told Ball this before she got into politics, then I wonder how ready she really was to take this leap.

    • Damian Karras

      I’m still trying to figure out exactly who is going to find these photos racy? There are more suggestive images in any set of commercials at any point during the day. Even most of our periodicals have ads that are racier and more suggestive on a regular basis. This is pretty preposterous, all around. I don’t disagree that there’s definitely a double standard for women in politics. At the same time, however, I really don’t think that taking this seriously is a good choice for Krystal Ball. I think there’s a perfect opportunity here, more or less saying, “Yeah, those are photos of me, so what? I’m a young, intelligent, capable and attractive women who happens to be pursuing her idea of happiness by campaigning to my fellow citizens. All of the whining, terrified, bed wetting boys in the conservative boys club, who think I should be seen and not heard (preferably on one of their arms) have another thing coming to them. I’m going to win, and I’m going to win because I’m more capable, more intelligent and more courageous than they are. We can debate views and beliefs on politics, but I can’t debate my genetic make up, because it’s not going to change, no matter how much it scares them. If this is the best they’ve got to throw at me, it’s already over.”

      I don’t think it’s right that anyone is trying to use pictures like this against her, but at the same time, I don’t think there’s anything there, and it should be treated that way. It shouldn’t be treated as some kind of serious attack on her, because it’s not. She should be pointing and laughing at anyone who thinks photos like this are worth thinking about for more than two seconds. This is a “talking to you is like talking to a coffee table” moment.