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Don't lie about your porn habits, especially while running for office

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Porn is porn, except when it's research.

That's the backbone of a curious defense made by Mike Webb, a Republican congressional candidate for Virginia's 8th District, who on Monday posted a screenshot of his desktop. The image pertained to a now irrelevant call with a staffing agency. More importantly, the politician had left two tabs open: "LAYLA RIVERA TIGHT BO..." and "IVONE SEXY AMATEUR."

Visiting porn to protect the people

Now, Webb hadn't be enjoying those pages like, say, his would-be constituents might. No, Webb was working. He was researching. He was experimenting with innovative methods to protect those he seeks to serve.

Mike Webb

(The tabs)

The screen was removed, presumably by someone with a fleck of political sense, because duh. But then Mike Webb doubled down, uploading the image again. This time the screen was accompanied by a 2,000-word non-apology. That apology was then removed, as well, though Gawker grabbed the relevant portion.

Rather than ask you to read this verbal gymnastics, I had a robot perform it as a monologue.

According to Webb's explanation, or what can be gleaned from it, the politician was purposefully visiting porn sites as a form of human malware bait. Webb suspected an "evil operator" was waiting for a federal candidate to visit a harmful website, so they could infect said computer's candidate with a virus that would cause their problem with their FEC files on the deadline for application, "as well as impact other critical campaign systems."

So here is, the big trick for the candidates out there: just be honest. Own up to an act of sexual expression performed by millions of people across the world. Or apologize, if you prefer that. Americans love a penitent sinner and a changed politician. We're suckers for character growth. Ask Walter White and Don Draper. Whatever you do, just don't triple down on the lie, looping in gospel quotes while refusing to atone. The only thing worse than a lie, is using God as your wingman. It's like a 13-year-old explaining their internet history by saying they were looking for sinner who need to be saved.

Beware the evil operator

Maybe Webb isn't made for politics in the internet age. On a post last week, he included a screen of an email from Hillary Clinton. He believed the email thanked him endorsing her campaign, an endorsement that he never gave. Except the email from Hillary Clinton was just a generic spam, the sort you will probably find in your spam filter right now. Webb's problem is that Facebook is simple enough to engage with the internet without really comprehending how it works.

Let's wrap this up with a quote from President Obama's commencement address, given this weekend at Rutgers University. It was probably directed at presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, but it applies to this case, and all cases of politicians trying to make excuses when an apology will do.

"In politics and in life, ignorance is not a virtue," said President Obama. "It's not cool to not know what you're talking about. That's not keeping it real or telling it like it is. That's not challenging political correctness. That's just not knowing what you're talking about. And yet we've become confused about this."