Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Foley Scandal Reeks

Congressman Mark Foley did some yucky stuff, according to news reports. I've avoided seeking out any details on the content of the messages he sent to a teenage boy we worked with. His actions have put a stink on him, his party, and the congress.

From what I can tell, the House Leadership acted appropriately with the information they received. If their story holds up, they are morally in the clear.

Investor's Business Daily has an editorial (ht Drudge) that asks why Democrats are sqealing so loudly now as compared to their reactions to previous Democrats caught in similar moral failings.

In 1983, then-Democratic Rep. Gerry Studds of Massachusetts was caught in a similar situation. In his case, Studds had sex with a male teenage page -- something Foley hasn't been charged with.

Did Studds express contrition? Resign? Quite the contrary. He rejected Congress' censure of him and continued to represent his district until his retirement in 1996.

They point out other issues for Rep. Barney Frank, President Bill Clinton, and Rep. Mel Reynolds. These were men caught in moral scandals that kept their jobs or, in the case of Reynolds, received a pardon from the consequenses of their misdeeds.

Why can't we all rejoice together that we've got Foley out of the House? Let's not play hypocritical games with our government.


Anonymous said...


Did House leadership, specifically Hastert, actually act "appropriately?" Not according to this:

A senior congressional aide said Wednesday that he alerted House Speaker Dennis Hastert's office two years ago about worrisome conduct by former Rep. Mark Foley with teenage pages.

Kirk Fordham told The Associated Press that when he was told about Foley's inappropriate behavior toward pages, he had "more than one conversation with senior staff at the highest level of the House of Representatives asking them to intervene."

The conversations took place long before the e-mail scandal broke, Fordham said, and at least a year earlier than members of the House GOP leadership have acknowledged.

Either this senior aide, Mr. Fordham is lying or Mr. Hastert is lying. Frankly, I'm going to believe the senior aide over Mr. Hastert, especially because, I am sure, he has evidence to prove this.

Why can't we all rejoice together that we've got Foley out of the House? Let's not play hypocritical games with our government.

That is ironic. It is Mr. Hastert who did not alert the full House ethics board to investigate Mr. Foley to ensure there was no problem. It is Mr. Hastert who on Friday said he did not recall the email, then Saturday said a different thing, and now this week recants. Who is playing with our government?

Bradley Ross said...

I accept the possibility that there may be a larger element of irresponsibility on the part of the Speaker than we learned in the initial reports. I'm just bothered that Hastert's political opponents (in either party) weren't willing to give him the benefit of the doubt prior to more information coming out. Shouldn't we try to adhere to the Golden Rule here?

Bradley Ross said...

The editors of National Review make a very important point. "First of all, what they had was not just a family’s complaint; it was a family’s justified complaint. Most pages’ families are eager for them to develop mentoring relationships with congressmen; they got their kids into the page program to make contacts. That the parents wanted to cut off contact should have been a sign that something was very wrong."

Anonymous said...

Benefit of the doubt? What prior actions has Hastert done that would let me give him the benefit of the doubt? I've been a close follower of politics these past six years, and frankly, Hastert has been involved in protecting his party over all other priorities from the start. I cannot give him the benefit of the doubt because he has not given me a reason to trust him in having proper priorities.

Republicans like to bring up the '83 incident with two Congressmen accused of sexual incidents with pages, yet they don't discuss how those were unearthed. A bipartisan House Ethics Panel did an investigation and found out both men were sexually involved with House pages. Did they try to cover this up? No. They went public with it.

Is it Hastert who went public with this, so as to not exacerbate the problem? No. In fact, it wasn't even a Democrat (as he accuses) who went public with this but a GOP House aide! Looks like some GOPers still have a sense of proper priorities and morality. Hastert knew Foley had a problem but did not do anything about it. All his responses and actions since Friday have been inconsistent, raising the credible accusation that Hastert tried to cover it up to save a Republican House seat in a tough election.

No, Hastert does not deserve the benefit of the doubt. He lost that trust a long time ago.