Set Up Man: Throwing Anthony Weiner Out of Congress

With Anthony Weiner's resignation in hand, the Weiner-gate saga (if you can call it that) is almost over. Weiner was doomed once the MSM picked up on the story after right-wing bloggers covered the story over the Memorial Day weekend (was it that long ago?). It was an incredibly quick fall for someone who was one of the most prominent Democrats in Congress and certainly one of the most vocal proponents of progressive politics. Make no mistake, the loss of Weiner is a real blow, as compared to the sort of back-benchers like Chris Lee and Mark Foley who are typical of GOP scandals.

Lee Strahan notes, however, that there are still gaps in our knowledge, not just about what Weiner was up to, but also where lies the genesis of the tweet that shook the world. Specifically, two of the teen-agers whom Weiner sexted up have disappeared from the scene. Not only that, there remains an aura of mystery about the guy who originally re-tweeted the d**k-pic.

One of the strangest aspects of the #Weinergate story is that they are three people that are fairly central to the story that nobody seems to be able to locate. Neither the prescient Weiner-obsessed whistleblower PatriotUSA76, nor the two high school girls named “Betty and Veronica” in Tommy Christopher’s original piece reporting on the two.

I’ve discussed the situation with Patriot a number of times, so the update is – still, nobody seems to have ever spoken to them on the phone. Nobody knows who they are and there are contradictions in their story.

I had reporters calling me all weekend to try and find Betty and Veronica. These are people from major press organizations with big resources behind them. No sign of Betty or Veronica. Tommy Christopher says he spoke to Betty’s Mom on the phone and did other things to confirm their identities and it would be a fatal career move to just lie about that, so it’s hard to believe that that’s what happened. On the other hand, nobody else has seen this proof as far as I know (perhaps Colby Hall, the managing editor?) and Tommy has been very belligerently defensive about his reporting. And again, reporters have put dozens of hours into searching records and knocking on door with no trace.

Significantly, Betty seems to be connected at least four people central to Weinergate – Weiner followed her, she talked on Twitter with stripper @GingerLee, Betty contacted the 17 year old girl in Delaware, and she had some interactions with PatriotUSA76. It also seems like @GennetteC knew about her.

It’s weird and it’s weird in a way that’s not normal, either. When else has this happened? I can’t remember another story with 3 (or more, really) phantom people. The fact that Weiner is guilty of doing what Patriot long suspected him of doing makes it more weird, not less weird.

I'm not going to say there was a vast right-wing conspiracy to bring down Anthony Weiner. He brought himself down. But, I will say that he got a push, and a mighty big one at that. I can guarantee right now that there are people on Capitol Hill who were not surprised to find out that Weiner had been caught texting his penis to college girls. Maybe they didn't specifically know about his Twitter habits, but I'll bet the gossip on Weiner was (1) horn dog (2) likes to talk dirty (3) vainglorious. You all saw those photos he took in the gym. You're telling me no one knew about that?

Anyway, Weiner's colleagues - at least some - had to know. People in the media - at least some - had to know. But, as with John Edwards, progressive omerta protected him. And, just as with Edwards, it's no longer possible to suppress this sort of news. All you can do is keep it off cable, the networks, and the newspapers. But progressives' thin blue line can only take you so far. At some point, word must have gotten around to people on the right, whether on Capitol Hill or elsewhere, that something was up with Anthony Weiner. After that, it was a short journey to Andrew Breitbart and all the rest. That's where Mickey Kaus's concept of the undernews - where there is a story that the Establishment pretends doesn't exist so long it is not in the "major" media - captures how information travels in the 21st century.

In this case, the two most important people who brought information to light were "Dan Wolfe" and Megan Broussard. Wolfe was the guy who was monitoring Weiner's twitter feed, ostensibly to protect vulnerable young women from a predatory congressman. Broussard was the woman who seems to have been the source of many of the most embarrassing photos of the congressman, the photos that Breitbart began releasing one by one after Weiner and his enablers in the media had spent a solid week rationalizing what he had done. Pretty nice that "Wolfe" and Broussard were able to become privy to Weiner's secret life as an exhibitionist. Also pretty nice that they were able to forward that information to the one guy they could count on to use their material to maximum effect.

This is not a complaint, btw. The left does this all the time. (if you read Robert Novak's version of the Plamegate story, you realize that - initially, at least - it was ginned up by Joe Wilson and David Corn). But, it looks like conservatives have developed their own cadre of guerilla journalists and activists who have targeted the left's heroes.

UPDATE: Wow. The NY Times now has a story reporting that the two high school girls ("Betty and Veronica") likely don't exist. Not that this proves any conspiracy. These two were among the few as Weiner defenders who came forward during the time when the left and the media were trying to exonerate Weiner as the victim of a Breitbart smear.

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