Krystal Ball, is a 28 year old entrepreneur, software designer, and CPA running for Congress, In Virgina\'s 1st congressional district. She is also a wife, daughter and mother, and enduring an anonymous right wing attack designed to derail her campaign. She is also a role model, a leader and has become one of my favorite politicians.

After the attack on her, instead of ignoring it, she disregarded all advice that was given to her and attacked it head-on. I am glad she did, since it is one of the best responses to this kind of attack I have ever seen. Here is an

excerpt from her press release:

How did this happen? How did I end up with private photos of me at 22 with my ex-husband across the entire Internet, and in papers from London to New York to Boston? It’s not because people care about the Congressional race in the first district of Virginia or because of my positions on energy independence, school choice, marriage equality, or pro-growth environmentalism. Here’s what happened…

Politics is a nasty game. I knew that coming in. I thought I could take it. But the day that I bought my first radio ads, my opponent called the station and inquired as to the size of the advertising buy. Two hours later, 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.

As a father of a daughter, she is someone who I would want to be a role model for my girl. I plan on showing my support for her by giving a donation at Krystal Ball for Congress. Find her on Facebook, donate to her cause, and share her story. Lets reward her courage and lot let the cowards win!

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14 Responses to What leadership looks like.

  1. Annie K. says:

    Zach I’ve tried 4 times now but I’mm getting rejected as a spammer what’s going on.

  2. Annie K. says:

    now it says I’m posting too quickly. this is really not working so well

  3. Annie K. says:

    Kept trying – no deal
    I’ll send you the text I tried to post. I can’t imagine what the content is in it that is registering as spam.

    • Zach says:

      Weird….I’m not sure what the problem is. Your email address is on my “whitelist,” so you shouldn’t be getting any problems with spam. Try posting your message one more time…

  4. Annie K. says:

    Just looking at the still photos, I don’t get how this is about her sexuality?
    It’s lame and tasteless party pix. It’s a stupid costume. They’re posing in a ridiculous manner mugging for a camera.
    They’re NOT actually being sexual.
    It mocks seks-ual behavior but is not. No one is aroused in these pix. And if anyone finds them arousing they are sad indeed.
    I feel very out of step on this issue (as always) To me, this is about PARTYING and DRINKING Culture!!!!
    NOT sexuality.
    Anyone who finds this sexy is amazing to me.

    As a leader, she might wanna be embarrassed about her blind acceptance and participation in the substance abuse culture. The fact that she says “oh this was right after college” shows on some inner level she KNOWS what the real problem is.
    And so do we all.
    Campus alcohol epidemics and drugs, and everyone acting like it’s “cute” and “normal”, THAT is the trouble here, NOT seks. But since no one wants to have honest discussions about booze and other junk, let’s focus on the Non-seks Non-issue?
    Just don’t get it.

    I guess a STUPID nose-enhancer (omg that was ridiculous) does not give the woman a lot of gravitas as a leader but, stuff like this will come back on anyone. I DO NOT see this as a feminist issue. I DO NOT think it is about her being a seks-ual being and that people are in denial that women have “relations” and “Passions”.

    AND come on, how MUCH would we all LOOOOOOVE to find old Ron Johnson Photos of him doing this EXACT same thing?

    Omg that would be sooooooo awesome!!!!

    party-down people!

    I should Photoshop that! w00t!

    so, that would be embarrassing for Ron too.
    But I have to admit. I DO have a lot of trouble accepting RoJo as a seks-ual being with “needs” and “desires”
    yuck!!!!
    mega-yuck!!! His poor wife!!!!!

    okay I admit quite a lot of that was not in the original comment. but really –
    Ron Johnson with a “Nose-Enhancer”.

    For all the rest, there’s MasterCard.

    • Zach says:

      I found out what the problem is….so ahead and type in “sex” until your heart’s content.

      As to the points you made, I do think this is a perfect example of how folks forget that what’s on the internet is not easily erased. If you’re going to cut loose and have a little fun when you’re a young person, go ahead…that’s your right; just don’t complain if pictures of you doing so end up biting you in the behind when you run for Congress.

  5. Ash says:

    I hate when women in politics cry gender discrimination.

    I’m sorry, but political operatives are just as tough, if not tougher on men.

    If they’re out to make her look like a whore then they are out to make every male politician look like a man-whore.

    Stop screaming for equality and then use situations like this to complain about not being treated fairly because you’re a woman. Like Annie said, if Ron Johnson had pictures like this you better believe they’d be all over!

    • Zach says:

      Politics is a full contact sport, and that’s why candidates have to expect that they’ll have all their skeletons ripped out of the closet. In this case, it just so happened to be some unflattering pictures of Krystall Ball.

    • Annie K. says:

      There are many times that there is a special kind of hate directed at women because they are women and for no other reason than they are women. Based on what I’ve seen, I don’t feel this is one.
      HOWEVER, if Ball is receiving a type of response like “hey baby, do you want…I can give you a real…etc etc” THEN that IS a kind of response that male politicians would not get.

      If it was RoJo I can see us all laughing really hard and passing the photos from blog to blog and finding individual ways to say this proves Ron is unfit. but I am pretty sure Ron would not have scores of sick perverted women trying to contact him with aggressive, violent and sick descriptions of what they’d like to do to him.
      Trust me, there’s many reasons this would never happen. Most of which have to do with Ron being, um… lets’ just say “not hot”. The rest have to do with how some men aggressively treat women. And how women as a group do not seem to respond to men in the same way (yet~ maybe some day)
      And I am totally with Anita Hill, and I have really strong feelings about what constitutes harassment based on my personal experiences, and I know that it’s pretty sure that if a woman brings charges she has good reason and isn’t faking, and that the “system” itself is mighty abusive if you do report, and I always always think every Basketball player is guilty from the get-go. It nauseates me to see some pampered Jock boy-man crying with their girlfriend by their sides and the men acting like victims while the media writes about the “whore” who “wanted it bad” and now sabotaged our Golden Boy. And yes, a ton of men have a sense of entitlement to whatever woman’s body they happen to be feeling their feelings for at the moment.
      So don’t take me wrong. There’s a ton of crappy males out there, and people should call them on their shit.

  6. Proud Progressive says:

    First off I agree with you she should of known that these pictures were coming out, especially since they were taken with an EX husband. EX of course being the key word.

    I think she did a great job attacking this issue head on. compare/contrast ROJO and every time he has a gaffe he disappears for days until reince can adequately distribute the press release of what he really meant to say. It is unfortunate that a campaign can not be about the issues but that is crying over spilt milk, I doubt they ever will be again(especially with the Citizens United ruling). Maybe this is a democrat/republican issue. When Vitter was busted with a prostitute he came back to the Senate to a Standing Ovation from his Republican colleagues(I guess they liked his brand of diapers). I do think women are held to a different standard and its too bad.

    • Annie K. says:

      I guess people hope an ex or other person with embarrassing knowledge will take the high road and not be vindictive. A lot of people actually do that. I’ve been at parties for children where the bitterly divorced parents actually put the kid ahead of themselves and there is no crappy undercurrent.
      Beyond the “X factor” I’ve known stuff about people, people who piss me off (not an X), and I did NOT divulge it. A couple times, I did. You never know. Not everyone who can hurt a person always follows thru on that.

      and as a note – I made my previous remarks without looking at the video, I didn’t want to be influenced by a good emotional appeal about Ball.
      Now I see she’s very pretty*, seems intelligent and rational, very likable, she even resembles an old friend of mine. After seeing the intelligent way she conducts herself in the video now, I think (of course) her emotions would have been running high after such a back-stab from an Ex, so she “went there” re: sexism.

      I just don’t see it that way, I don’t think she looks like a whore, even in the photos. As college party pics go, these are pretty run of the mill.

      And didn’t a lot of people just get done looking at cellphone pix of Favre’s Thang? I didn’t go look (bhlaaaargh) but I thought that’s what was going on. Celebrity sex is news in our weird culture.
      But really, tho’ I disagree on that one reaction – I hope Krystal Ball does well, and has a nice future. She doesn’t seem like a person who will try to get by using “crutches” or gimmicks or anything like that, probably just really upset at the time.
      I also hope Favre’s thang falls off, he’s annoying as hell.
      Now, I think I’ve beaten this topic to death 😉 and I will move on….

      * and yes, I think people notice that first, it takes some time after a person speaks and conducts themselves and interacts with you or others to decide matters of character, intellect and values, humor, or niceness. But noticing good looks is instant for both sexes. I think it is human nature and not sexism, so I wrote it that way. Trust me, if it was a man, I would register the Hot Damn! factor immediately too. U betcha.

    • Annie K. says:

      There are a lot of Political Horrors (even really well-known ones) that totally pass me by. Sometimes I max out and take intentional breaks, sometimes I’m just asleep at the wheel. So I have NO clue about the Hooker-Vitter-Diaper thing :/
      And I’m just not gonna Google it. x_x

  7. Proud Progressive says:

    I wish she was in WIsconsin running for the 1st Congressional District

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