October 3, 2006

"I am fairly sickened by the Republicans and as much as I cannot stand statist, liberal polices, will not mind seeing the Republicans chastened."

If you're looking for the Foley discussion, including the Washington Times call for Hastert to resign, go back to this post from last night, which has a nice comment thread going, including that quote.

And by the way, how long do you think it will take before some terrible story about the sexual failing of some Democrats in Congress hits? I'll see you one representative and raise you a Senator. Aren't you expecting that? There must be a hundred members of Congress sweating now over something they once said in email or that porn they looked at on the computer.

138 comments:

David said...

This behavior is disgusting. Is there no EEOC that applies to Senators and Congressmen/Congresswoman?

These breaches of trust and violations of human dignity would result in immediate termination in the private sector!

A clear message must be sent to all public servants that this type of behavior will result in immediate removal from service, invesitgation, and termination from said service if found guilty.

Checking into rehab is not a get out of jail free card for the perp/perv! Our society does not need more victocrats who blame others for their own moral failings.

It is all about personal responsibility, morals, ethics, and principled behavior.

Doug said...

This behavior is disgusting. Is there no EEOC that applies to Senators and Congressmen/Congresswoman?


I know congress exempts themselves from many of the laws that they force upon the rest of society and I think that may be one of them.

Mike said...

I think most congresspeople are relieved. There's nothing like a scandal to relieve them of the responsibility of dealing with substanative issues. Dump this guy overboard and get back to the business of the people. But that will never happen, of course. We'll go through round after endless round of moralizing and finger pointing. I'm so sick of Congress.

Internet Ronin said...

I bet there are many in Congress, state houses, and private houses throughout the country sweating this out. How many people do you think ever thought someone would keep copies of Instant Messages for 3 or 4 years?

gj said...

Ann, as the Washington Post points out, Democrats are not hurt by sex scandals as much as Republicans are, because the element of hypocrisy is not so clear.

Also, the trule explosive part of the Foley scandal is the dereliction of duty by the Republican House leadership. It's not so easy to come up with a comparable Democratic distraction.

Ann Althouse said...

gj said..."Ann, as the Washington Post points out, Democrats are not hurt by sex scandals as much as Republicans are, because the element of hypocrisy is not so clear. Also, the trule explosive part of the Foley scandal is the dereliction of duty by the Republican House leadership. It's not so easy to come up with a comparable Democratic distraction."

False. Sexual harassment. Period.

Fenrisulven said...

It has been amusing to watch the Left play one of these Foley's is not like the others - maintaining their "outrage" while carefully meandering around Clinton, Condit, Frank, Kennedy, Kennedy, Kennedy, and Studds.

Did I leave out a Kennedy? I think I might have...

gj said...

False. Sexual harassment. Period.

If you look at the current press coverage, most of it is focused on the response by the House leadership team. Foley has hidden himself away, so the press can't do much more with him. There will be lots of interviews with former pages, and maybe more e-mails will come up. But other than that, the only thing that the press has to chew on is the House leadership.

Of course, the House leadership is helping this along by engaging in on-camera fratricide. But really, as far as schadenfreude and political drama, the story is currently all about Hastert and how Republicans have screwed themselves (pun accidental but appropriate) for the upcoming election.

But we'll see, maybe you're right. It will come out that some Dem had an extramarital affair with a former staffer and the whole country will be riveted.

Fenrisulven said...

Elanor Mondale perhaps.

MadisonMan said...

This scandal makes Bush campaign headlines like Bush Says Democrats Shouldn't Be Trusted and President Bush Says Democrats Shouldn't Be Trusted to Hold Reins in Congress immediately brings up memory of the current House Republican Leaderships' apparent failings. Maybe that's my non-Republican view of it, though. But perhaps the chastening will occur.

Perhaps Bush should modify his message so the headlines written about it explicity include GWOT, his perceived strength.

Too Many Jims said...

In answer to the question who in congress is sweating, Ross on the ABC Nightly News last night said he is being sent "all sorts of messages about possible other Members". So yes, they should be sweating.

And if there are Dems who sent similar IMs, good fricking riddance. And if the Dem leadership knew or should have known, good fricking riddance.

Fenrisulven said...

I wish we could dump them all and start over. There are good leaders out here who will not subject themselves or their family to Beltway politics.

And no more "revise and extend" bs either. Reform the whole process from top to bottom.

RaymondW said...

I grew up in Foley's district.

Always liked him, very disappointed in him.

I feel this is really about liberal white male revenge. This is about a gay republican. They sat on the story for months, waited to do maximum damage. Liberal white guys don't give a rat's arse about a gay guy trolling for young meat, and don't even talk about sexual harrassment.

As for Hastert, I've never liked him, but he's getting railroaded here. I don't know exactly what he saw, but he would have been careful before going after a gay congressman. These same smug liberals would have gone spastic.

This thing will boomerang. The press is going so far over the top in bashing Bush and republicans that the negativity will lose its impact. We have another month left and I fully expect the NYT to have an article accusing Bush of killing puppies.

rafinlay said...

Term Limits.

MadisonMan said...

They sat on the story for months, waited to do maximum damage.

Even if this is true -- as Ann noted elsewhere, it shows the Republican Leadership in even worse light. Let's give the Democrats something they can use against us, and let's let them control when they use it. Idiots.

Art said...

Does anyone want to guess what Congress' approval rating will be the next time the polls come out?
Will they break into single digits?

Or will blaming the young hustlers who exploited this poor legislator...and the media for not reporting this sooner...work?

I'm waiting for the ad: On November 7th. You have a clear choice: A standin for a sex predator endorsed by the folks who covered for him? Or Nancy Pelosi.
((Brought to you by the Republican National Campaign Committee.))

Fenrisulven said...

Idiots.

Agreed. We are the stupid party - we always manage to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

I'm not ready to blame Hastert for any deliberate coverup. Perhaps incompetence for not taking this more seriously - maybe it just fell off his radar.

But his handling of the Jefford's case was unbelievably monarchist. Congressional offices are beyond the reach of the law? Uh-huh. You've been in the beltway too long and need a permanent vacation. Add to that his "I don't recall" weasling over Foley. Its time for him to step down.

Elizabeth said...

The GOP didn't go after Foley because they were afraid of looking homophobic? Give me a break! That's the new GOP defense and damn it, they're sticking to it.

No one accused anyone of homophobia for prosecuting pedophile priests. And homosexuals aren't jumping up and down defending Foley; the right to sexually harrass a teen-age subordinate isn't on the queer agenda.

What's clear to me is that in the GOP, there is no sense, not a shred, of personal responsibility. If a GOP rep gets caught with his pants down, it's the Dem's fault for making hay over it. If the GOP leadership gets caught covering up scandal, it's someone else's fault for making them do it.

Fenrisulven said...

The GOP didn't go after Foley because they were afraid of looking homophobic? Give me a break! That's the new GOP defense and damn it, they're sticking to it.

No. There is no defense. The remark was made to highlight the dishonest way the Left is exploiting this - the same people
who are chastising us now would label us homophobes for outing Foley a year ago.

the right to sexually harrass a teen-age subordinate isn't on the queer agenda.

NAMBLA.

What's clear to me is that in the GOP, there is no sense, not a shred, of personal responsibility.

I think you're over-reacting here. Foley has been forced to resign. He's a joke. Hastert and others will likely lose their leadership positions for incompetence or for covering up sexual harassment [if true]. If they were Dems, they would get a slap-on-the-wrist censure and keep their cmte chairs.

I think all the conservatives here blame Foley and blame Hastert. But we are ALSO responding to Dem opportunists who's only interest in this is counting coup.

Elizabeth said...

Fen, you're way wrong here. Foley wasn't "outed" as gay; he was outed for sexually harrassing young people. You can say it all you want, but it won't make it true that revealing his offense would have resulted in accusations of homophobia.

NAMBLA is not part of mainstream gay politics, or society. That's a pernicious, evil, right-wing slander. They are not welcome at our table; no reputable gay rights organization includes them in their ranks.

When I talk about the lack of personal responsibility, I'm speaking of how commenters here grasp at straws to shift the blame for the behavior of the GOP leadership over the past months, and blame their choices on other parties. You've done it again here, in your post, so thanks for the illustration.

Fenrisulven said...

Fen, you're way wrong here. Foley wasn't "outed" as gay; he was outed for sexually harrassing young people.

We already all agree that Foley was outed for sexually harrassing young people. He was not outed for being gay. But we are certain that if we had outed him earlier for stalking boys, the Left would have distorted it [like everything else] and accused us doing it because we "hate" gays.

Dtl did it to me a few days ago. Should I retrieve it? He falsely accused me of calling him a "fag", then wrapped himself in his victimhood, then "gracefully" said he wasn't offended by my "bigotry". Are you honestly going to argue that the left doesn't use homosexuality as a political weapon?

You can say it all you want, but it won't make it true that revealing his offense would have resulted in accusations of homophobia.

You're kidding right? Fen at a debate:

Fen: "Our oppostion to homosexuality is based on -

The Left: "Racist Sexist Homophobe!
Racist Sexist Homophobe! Racist Sexist Homophobe!

Fen: " - excuse me, if I could fini -"

The Left: "Racist Sexist Homophobe! Racist Sexist Homophobe! Racist Sexist Homophobe!"

NAMBLA is not part of mainstream gay politics, or society. That's a pernicious, evil, right-wing slander. They are not welcome at our table

They vote Democrat. The same way your side saddles us with David Duke supporters. But I honestly didn't know they had no place at the DNC table. Thats good.

no reputable gay rights organization includes them in their ranks.

Note the disqualifier - "reputable". You don't appear all that confident that they're denied a spot at the table[?]

When I talk about the lack of personal responsibility, I'm speaking of how commenters here grasp at straws to shift the blame for the behavior of the GOP leadership over the past months, and blame their choices on other parties. You've done it again here, in your post, so thanks for the illustration.

I don't see what you're seeing. Commenters here have roundly bashed Foley and Hastert. We have not defelected blame to the Dems. Its our problem. Even Malkin says "deal with it". We have merely pointed out that those throwing stones at us are behaving hypocritically - they hold the GOP to a higher standard than their own party.

Elizabeth said...

Fen, I agree that there's no party lock on bad behavior. But you're too sure that the Dems would offer only a slap on the wrist. Dollar Bill Jefferson was removed from the Ways and Means Committee by means of a proposal by the Democratic Caucus. They moved quickly to do that--the raid of his office was May 20, Pelosi asked him to resign from the committee on May 24, and the caucus voted to strip him from it on June 15, with the House following on the 16th.

Just as a sidenote, I've got my Karen Carter sign in the yard already (she's his leading opponent in November's election). I hope there aren't enough boneheads to put him back in office, but I never misunderestimate the whims of voters in either party.

Elizabeth said...

Fen, nice attempt to change the subject. Of course the left uses homosexuality as a political issue. So does the right. But claiming that you're "certain" that revealing Foley's sexual harrassment would have triggered that reaction from the left is just a dodge. Homosexuality isn't the issue with Foley. Yes, I do think the anti-gay stands of the GOP amount to bigotry. I also think legislators ought not to be sending dirty IMs to teenagers, of either sex. Enough with the red herrings and changing the subject.

As for reputable as a qualifier? You are grasping at straws. There are probably thousands of gay rights groups. None of the national or international groups with which I am familiar include NAMBLA. Most include in their material statements specifically repudiating NAMBLA and its efforts to piggyback on our movement. Reputable is a good qualifier for any institution, so I offer no apologies for using it.

I'll meet you halfway on the responsiblity issue. Most comments here have shown disappointment in Hastert, and yes, Malkin is saying "Deal with it," but she's saying that to reluctant conservatives. The fact that she's saying it points to the fact that there are too many still yelling about this being about the Democrats playing politics. And today, actually starting late last night, I've started seeing the "we didn't reveal it for fear of being labeled homophobes" meme. That's nothing but a cheap dodge, which should be nipped in the bud right now.

Fenrisulven said...

But you're too sure that the Dems would offer only a slap on the wrist.

That certainty is also based on history. Via my Mothership, Captain's Quarters:

"However, let's please recall the case of Gerry Studds and his sexual relationship with a 17-year-old page in 1983. This didn't involve a few e-mails and explicit instant messaging; Studds started a sexual relationship with a minor, and then announced in a press conference that people should mind their own business about his private life. The House censured Studds (he turned his back on them as the censure was read), but the Democrats endorsed Studds for five subsequent elections. The only reason he no longer serves in the House is because he retired. He didn't even lose his chair on the House Merchant Marine and Fishing Committee until 1995, when the Republicans took over and abolished the committee."

Am I correct to assume you never heard of this? If so, doesn't that in itself betray a different set of standards between the Left & Right?

charlotte said...

What's clear to me is that in the GOP, there is no sense, not a shred, of personal responsibility.

Elizabeth,

Foley was forced to resign as soon as the three year-old nasty IMs (with a consensually aged former page who participated without seeming offense) surfaced. Do you have any evidence that Hastert knew about these IMs? What kind of legal authority do you presume he has to go on a fishing expedition into Foley's hardrive to find evidence of something illicit other than a creepy but legal request for a pic of a page?

At the time, the parents of the boy did not want the "send me your pic" email to become public knowledge. Hastert was stupid enough and far too lax to take Foley's word that there was nothing more to the episode, but for the life of me I can't figure out how he should have gotten hold of Foley's cyber correspondence without a criminal complaint being lodged by someone.

Also, to officially tell House pages and their parents to watch out for Foley 'cause you heard on the grapevine that he flirts with some boys, without proof of wrongdoing, is skirting slander. Obviously, Repubs were hoping Foley would mind himself after being asked about possible misbehavior.

And so the proverbial rock and "hard" place. Foley let everybody down with his gross behavior and hypocrisy, and Hastert is on the ropes for not seeing how serious a problem Foley presented to the teenage pages (and also his party.) But, unbelievable as it seems, we still don't know if Foley actually broke any laws.

Fenrisulven said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Fenrisulven said...

I've started seeing the "we didn't reveal it for fear of being labeled homophobes" meme. That's nothing but a cheap dodge, which should be nipped in the bud right now.

I agree that [would be] a cheap dodge that should be nipped in the bud. But I still think you are confusing:

[resigned] "Yep, the Left would have screwed us no matter what we did. Their only interest here is in scoring points - just look at how they handled Studds"

with

[defensive] "We didn't stop Foley because we were afraid the Left would use it score points via the homophobe meme - so they share some blame"

Elizabeth said...

Fen, 1983? That's what you have to turn to? Come on, what about Gary Hart (1988)? Surely you can get even more current than that? Or can I tar the GOP eternally for the crimes of Richard Nixon? Why not just agree that given the ability to peer into the dark hearts of our species, we'd find plenty of evil in the reps of both parties? But I don't particularly care how Dems or GOPs responded to scandals in 1983.

Catherine, there was more than one boy involved, and the "investigation" by Hastert, Reynolds, et al, consisted of asking Foley what was up, and accepting his response of "oh nothing." It's useless to speculate now, though. It's all unfolding still.

My only purpose here, has been to point out that the current GOP response seems to be to try to change the issue and shift blame. All you have to do is read the interviews in the media with GOP leadership and follow the right-wing blogs to see that what I'm saying it true. Instapundit's now blaming the HRC and liberal bloggers. Oh, excuse me, he's not doing the blaming. He's just linking to sites that do.

Shanna said...

What's clear to me is that in the GOP, there is no sense, not a shred, of personal responsibility. If a GOP rep gets caught with his pants down, it's the Dem's fault for making hay over it. If the GOP leadership gets caught covering up scandal, it's someone else's fault for making them do it.
With respect, Elizabeth, I don’t think this is in any way a sole GOP shortcoming. I think the GOP does a better job of policing it’s own once the information comes out. I agree with those who say this was sheer stupidity and Denny should be out for that if nothing else.

But the general republican response to this kind of scandal is for the perpetrator to be forced out or to resign. The Democrat’s response is often to brazen through with the support of much of the group (see Clinton etc..).

So in conclusion, they all suck. Throw the whole lot of them out and let’s start again.

Elizabeth said...

Fen, wow. Well said. But are you happy with a party that is stuck between resigned and defensive? There were other choices:

[responsible]: yeah, the other party will make hay out of this, but we need to act with integrity anyway.

They seem to have moved to:

[deflective]: let's blame the Dems. What were we to do? We were stuck being resigned or defensive, so we chose to stay silent.

Elizabeth said...

shanna, sadly, I agree that they all suck. I cannot think of more than a very, very few elected officials in or from my state that I have any genuine respect for or faith in, of either party.

Edward said...

Fenrisulven: Speaking as a gay person myself, I can tell you that the Democrats were wrong in early 1980s to defend Gerry Studds. He should have been forced to resign.

There are plenty of gay people who hate hypocrisy and double standards. We simply want the same standards to apply to everyone, gay or straight. But we also insist that there be no discrimination against openly gay people who conduct themselves responsibly and maintain mature sexual/romantic relationships.

I firmly believe that today’s Democratic Party would not be anywhere near as lenient toward any other Congressman who behaved today in the same way Studds did in the early 1980s. There also exist today much more stringent rules about the Congressional Page program that didn’t exist in 1983. Those rules are sure to be tightened even more now in the wake of the Foley scandal. Today, Democrats will not defend one of their own who breaks clearly specified rules in this sensitive area.

1983 was a long time ago, and America in general has learned a great deal in the meantime about the harms of child sexual abuse and sexual harassment in the workplace.

As for the more recent case of the Clinton/Lewinsky scandal, let me just say two things. First, even though I am a Democrat, I believed at the time and I believe now that Clinton should have resigned as soon as his sexual dalliance with the intern Lewinsky became public knowledge.

Second, the Democratic Party had far less influence over a sitting president, even one from their own party, than they do over a member of Congress. Clinton was always completely defiant and determined never to resign, and there wasn’t much Congressional Dems could do about it, short of voting for impeachment, and taking that extreme step gave most of them pause.

Fenrisulven said...

Edward: Noted. There is nothing in your comment I would disagree with. Good post, good points. Esp:

There are plenty of gay people who hate hypocrisy and double standards. We simply want the same standards to apply to everyone, gay or straight. But we also insist that there be no discrimination against openly gay people who conduct themselves responsibly and maintain mature sexual/romantic relationships.

I did not mean to imply that all on the Left are pimping this for political traction.

Elizabeth and I are just bumping heads. It can get heated, and I'm prone to overkill, but one of us will always be buying the drinks afterwards.

Although to be fair, we should have Ann's MC number.

Too Many Jims said...

As to what should have Hastert done once he knew about the e-mails? I would ask, if the emails were "compelling enough to confront Mr. Foley, why [weren't they] also compelling enough to dig deeper?" Actually, I wasn't sharp enough to come up with that question on my own, I had to rely on liberal talking points.

Fenrisulven said...

Elizabeth: But are you happy with a party that is stuck between resigned and defensive?

Not at all. But some of us are just coming out of the denial phase of this - give us a few days - remember, this scadal broke on Friday[?] and while the Dems already [cough] have all their talking points circulated, we are still finding out the details of what really happened. For example, some of the information in Catherine's post is new to me.

Fenrisulven said...

via WSJ: After Mr. Foley folded up his Senate ambitions, why didn't Mr. Shimkus or anyone else considered the possibility that there was more to those emails than Mr. Foley let on?

Yup. Willfull ignorance. Or incompetence. Win or lose this November, the GOP should replace the House Leadership - if for no other reason than self-defense.

Garage Mahal said...

Elanor Mondale perhaps.

Often overlooked, is the last Republican man-boy scandal. Anyone remember the "call-boy" ring under Reagan/Bush 41 ?

Just google "Franklin Coverup"

Fenrisulven said...

"There are undoubtedly at least a few people in the US facing such a situation. They are about to begin a political career but are nagged by fears that their sexual proclivities/activities may become exposed/reported at some time in the future. If you are one of these people, you have a very important question to answer before you begin your first campaign.

Which political party should you join?

Which political party would best serve a politician that engages in or facilitates hidden, illegal sexual activities?"

charlotte said...

Catherine, there was more than one boy involved...

Elizabeth,

Could you please be more specific? Boys of what ages and were they, at the time, still pages? Do we know that Hastert had the evidence? How long ago were these episodes, and do we know whether Foley has been recently sex-IMing pages?

Far worse evidence could still emerge on Foley and he might face charges of some sort, not just the shame of resignation. But to date many of us are clamoring to run all the Repubs out of town on a rail without knowing any specific crimes, other than how gross one man acted and thoroughly obtuse another. More info is needed to indict, much less to convict.

Also, I think we're all owed an explanation as to why we're just now hearing about three year old IMs- who had them and why did they hold onto them for so long if "children were at risk" (even though they were with older, former pages, as far as I've seen)?

Garage Mahal said...

Which political party would best serve a politician that engages in or facilitates hidden, illegal sexual activities?"

Republicans?

Fenrisulven said...

Is thats your final answer, mahal?

If so, click the link to see if you advance to the next round..

Elizabeth said...

Elizabeth and I are just bumping heads. It can get heated, and I'm prone to overkill, but one of us will always be buying the drinks afterwards.

Fen, thanks; I very much enjoy our discussions, and I think highly of you. I'll raise one to you this weekend at my first weekend of Oktoberfest.

Elizabeth said...

Which party? I'd guess Libertarian. But I'm pretty sure that link leads to the Democrats, otherwise you wouldn't post it.

Elizabeth said...

Catherine, as I said, and as Fen has noted, it's all still coming out. I'm going on news reports that refer to more than one page, over time. No doubt all be revealed. As for children at risk, I am always wary of appeals to "we must save the children!" As you note, we're talking about teens here.

When I was in high school, two male teachers made explicit attempts to have sex with me. I knew at the time that they'd done so, in some instances successfully, with others. Neither I nor any other of the girls involved told anyone. I've never been able to explain that to myself as an adult, but at the time it made sense. Perhaps I assumed other adults knew and didn't care; I liked both men as teachers and felt conflicted about "ratting" on them. I don't know. But it doesn't surprise me that the situation with Foley wasn't exposed by the teens he was targeting.

Garage Mahal said...

Fen,
One need only to look at the title to your link, for me to decide.

Which political party should you join?"

If I were to "join" a party, this would be in the now, in the present. No?

At the present, it is your party that is involved in a nasty scandal, and apparent cover-up.

When you ask:
"Which political party would best serve a politician that engages in or facilitates hidden, illegal sexual activities?"

I would have to say Republicans. Look at the title to this thread!

paul a'barge said...

What's clear to me is that in the GOP, there is no sense, not a shred, of personal responsibility says Elizabeth.

you're staring in the mirror, dearie.

You just sit back on the morality-sidelines and watch, as the Republican Party, the only party with constituents who still value their principles, demand accountability.

Foley? Gone within a hearbeat of notoriety. Hastert? Getting a deserved beating.

Compare: Bill Clinton. Y'all circled the wagons on that one, and you sacrificed feminist princples rather than stand for accountability.

Compare: Barney Frank. Y'all still sit with hands over eyes, ears and mouths.

Compare: Jefferson from LA, with the money in the freezer. How's that moral progress working out for you there?

You have no standing to criticize us. You bitch-shriek all you want, but no one takes you, your party or the wing of your party to which you belong with a shred of credibility.

You just STFU and watch as the moral party begins to clean its own house.

Take notes, and keep ranting at that mirror. Who cares what you think?

MadisonMan said...

I could be wrong (Wouldn't be the first time), but I seem to recall that Studds' behaviour, though censured in '83, actually took place in '73. It seems it was dredged up so that when Crane was censured for something that happened in '80, the House could look Bi-partisan, and all the smug moralists could then shake hands afterwards.

Perhaps the Republican Leadership were waiting for a Democrat to be caught doing something, so then a similar ritual purge could occur.

dick said...

I love how they point to Studds as having happened so long ago. What they try to shove under the carpet is that not only did he ignore the ethics committee, he was supported for re-election until he retired in 1996. That means that not only was he found guilty of having sex with underage pages, he continued as a congressman with the support of the democratic party for an additional 13 years. At the same time his buddy Barney Frank had a lover who ran a whorehouse out of his apartment and he is still in congress today. That is almost 25 years later.

I am waiting for the shoe to drop from the democrats supporting these guys and blaming Foley who apparently never had sex with any of these interns that I have heard about. Pot, meet kettle!!

Art said...

The Washington Times editorial calling for Hastert's ouster recomments retiring Illinois Rep. Henry Hyde as a "serve out the term" replacement.

Seriously.

Slogan: "A youthful indescretion: Not an indescretion with youth."

MadisonMan said...

Dick: what Studds did was repugnant. But it was not illegal. What Foley did was repugnant. It was possibly illegal -- jury's still out on that -- because of Foley's own legislation.

Your argument should be with Studds' consituents, some of whom were likely quite conservative. Why'd they keep electing him? My guess would be that the Republican party offered up no palatable substitute.

If you can't beat an opponent who's tarred down with a sex scandal, something is wrong.

Elizabeth said...

I always feel lifted up, invigorated even, after a good "STFU" from paul a'barge. In another thread, someone actually called the GOP "The Party of Integrity," as if such a thing exists in America.

paul's right that Foley was "gone within a hearbeat of notoriety," but alas, not within a heartbeat of the GOP leadership knowing about his indiscretions. Once the cat was out of the bag, we dealt with it! We'll handle it, if we can't cover it up any longer!

There's nothing funny about Foley's actions, but the flailing and whining as commentor after commentor tries to change the subject away from Foley and the months of GOP inaction is just getting funnier and funnier.

Fenrisulven said...

MadisonMan: I could be wrong (Wouldn't be the first time), but I seem to recall that Studds' behaviour, though censured in '83, actually took place in '73.

You're right. But his actions in '83:

"As the House read their censure of him, Studds turned his back and ignored them. Later, at a press conference with the former page standing beside him, the two stated that what had happened between them was nobody's business but their own."

No shame for the reprimand & sex with a minor is nobody's business..

Its why I didn't support a censure against Clinton - which the Dems could have done anytime on their own - they wanted censure instead of impeachment, and likely would have pushed for stern words instead of censure once impeachment was off the table - it has less meaning than a UN Resolution.

Imagine the outrage on the Right if Foley tried to fight this down to a censure.

Fenrisulven said...

what Studds did was repugnant. But it was not illegal.

His page was a minor at the time.

Fenrisulven said...

A minor for Us is 18yrs

Age of consent in DC is 16yrs.

Hmmmm....

MadisonMan said...

Studds was not stupid. The contact (if I can use the euphemism) occurred overseas. In Morocco, I believe.

Fenrisulven said...

Elizabeth: I'll raise one to you this weekend at my first weekend of Oktoberfest.

I can't believe you passed on my bi-partisan offer to put all the drinks on Ann's tab.

Revenant said...

not within a heartbeat of the GOP leadership knowing about his indiscretions

I keep hearing this and I've yet to see any evidence of it. The only reports I've seen are that the leadership knew of the earlier emails he'd sent to the one page -- which weren't indiscreet or inappropriate. I hope we're not at the point in this society where asking for a picture -- not a nude picture, just a picture -- of a teenager merits an automatic assumption of pederasty.

charlotte said...

The breathless latest ABC News:

"Former Congressman Mark Foley (R-FL) interrupted a vote on the floor of the House in 2003 to engage in Internet sex with a high school student who had served as a congressional page, according to new Internet instant messages provided to ABC News by former pages.

"ABC News now has obtained 52 separate instant message exchanges, which former pages say were sent by Foley, using the screen name Maf54, to two different boys under the age of 18."

The bold font is mine, and those sections seem to translate as, Foley did the cyber nasty with two 17-year olds still in high school who were former pages. IOW, they were age of consent and no longer "underlings" serving in the hypocritical Halls of Congress. Also, the messages they cite are three years old, not recent, and ABC gives no evidence that Hastert or other House Repubs had ever been given copies of these private IMs.

Certainly, Foley is a disgusting predator and good riddance. The teenagers who IM'ed along with him seemed willing enough, but still Foley is no kind of friend that any missing or exploited children would ever want. Wonder whether he thought his chairing that committee was a joke or some kind of expiation for his exploits with teenaged boys (of consensual age, that we know of)?

Revenant said...

Wonder whether he thought his chairing that committee was a joke or some kind of expiation for his exploits with teenaged boys (of consensual age, that we know of)?

Or he simply didn't think flirting and talking dirty with willing teenaged boys was "exploiting children". I certainly don't think it was. If an older woman I was interested in had wanted to talk dirty to ME when I was 16 or 17 I wouldn't have considered it exploitation. I'd have considered it totally awesome.

In any case it is perfectly possible to be sexually attracted to 16-year-olds while still thinking that people who are sexually attracted to 8-year-olds should be thrown into a woodchipper -- just as it is perfectly possible to think Kirsten Dunst looked hot in "Dick" while still thinking only depraved perverts could think she looked hot in "Interview with the Vampire".

The Exalted said...

ah, some things never change.

when in doubt, no matter what {insert GOP scandal} has occurred, bring up clinton.

rinse, repeat.

good thing that argument is sooo persuasive.

Cedarford said...

Fenrisulven - But his handling of the Jefford's case was unbelievably monarchist. Congressional offices are beyond the reach of the law? Uh-huh.

Minor correction. Jefford is the outgoing Independent Senator from Vermont. The person you are referring to is the Democratic black Congressman from Louisiana, Jefferson.

Elisabeth - The GOP didn't go after Foley because they were afraid of looking homophobic? Give me a break!

I won't give you a break because the Republicans do indeed have a Big Tent and welcome conservative gays. But go against gay adoption, gay marriage and thus are at war with the (mostly far left) gay activists. And are highly sensitive to keeping the more extreme of the Religious Right Republicans from demonizing gays. The Republican Party has several times publically rebuked a religious Republican for slimeing gays. And generally hold their fire against radical gays - as gay Lefties smear Christianity, the family, Republicans, blacks for not wanting white gays to adopt young black boys - appear to be doing adequate damage on their "gay agenda" cause without intervention.

In the Foley case, I can well believe that sensitivity was a consideration. Lawyers telling Leaders that "We have to treat this exactly like we would if this e-mail had been from a Female Rep chasing the boy or if had been an email from another Congressman to a 16-year old female Page."

"Otherwise, we make ourselves vulnerable to people saying we launched an anti-gay witch hunt that we would not do in a hetero case involving a minor. What if we "outed" Foley against his will in a Mega-Inquisition and all it was was an overly friendly email? We should be discrete! "

What is inexcusable is Leadership not verifying that the email was not just the tip of the iceberg, relying on a Clubhouse "Your word as a fellow Club member that there is nothing but this email and it is the end of that?? OK. Give me the secret handshake, brother, and lets go over to K-street to feed more on the money trough."

And inexcusable that Leadership, even if they believed him - like a cop with a bad rap on a shakedown charge - didn't act to limit his exposure to future incidents that could relect badly on him AND supervision - with a record established - by not sending the cop back to the same businesses where the shakedown charge happened, or Foley right back to "his boys' and Committees dealing with "his boys"..Foley should have been reassigned to different work just on that one email incident..

Elizabeth - the right to sexually harrass a teen-age subordinate isn't on the queer agenda.

Yes it is, and not just NAMBLA - but sly efforts to rehabilitate flaming pederast Oscar Wilde and other abusers of young boys as "victims of blind prejudice". And pushing for access. Access to boys is huge on the gay agenda. Why do you think the Boy Scouts are such a big thing to gay activists and they are attacking the Scouts nationwide? Not because a bunch of fashion mavens and interior decorators have this deep craving to want to hike through smelly swamps and roast Bisquick on a stick over a campfire. It is all about getting acceptance to be around other peoples boys...and be friends with them, mentor them, teach them, be in the aura of their young firm selves..if not for outright sexual use.

While many gays may indeed have purely platonic motives to be near the boys they crave, to be part of the life of a "son" they never had, maybe help and mentor in areas the father can't...Given the fact that gays are 5-7 times more likely to be pederasts than heteros...if we think assigning older men to chaperone the junior high or HS cheerleading squad is a REAL BAD IDEA, we should keep unsupervised gay men away from jobs like scoutmaster and boys school headmasters..(no pun intended on the last)

Garage Mahal said...

I keep hearing this and I've yet to see any evidence of it. The only reports I've seen are that the leadership knew of the earlier emails he'd sent to the one page -- which weren't indiscreet or inappropriate

So, you would have no problem with your 16 yr old kid, who while in D.C. with virtually no protection, getting emails asking for his pic by a 52 yr old dude?

Yes or no.

Elizabeth said...

God help us, more unsupported, unsourced, hysterical data from cedarford. And just for fun, what color is Jeffords, cford?

Elizabeth said...

I can't believe you passed on my bi-partisan offer to put all the drinks on Ann's tab.

Fen, since I'm registered Independent, can we make that a non-partisan pub crawl? And if you think Ann won't notice--spendthrift that she is, I'm sure we can slip it by her--make mine a bock, please, in honor of the season.

charlotte said...

Revenant, I said "exploits with." I haven't seen anything yet to show that Foley actually committed any crime or even Congressional ethical lapse with an underling, save for asking a sixteen-year-old page for his photo, and even that's a subjective call.

Foley did the right thing by resigning and not fighting it out on legal grounds. He had kept his behavior from his colleagues and constituents because even he realizes nobody likes the idea of their teenagers being hit upon and explicitly engaged online with older people, especially authority figures. Especially by lawmakers who make a big showing of supporting a law to help protect children from online sexual predation. At least three years ago, Foley stepped too close to the line for anyone to trust his actions or respect his judgement, again. Or at least until after rehab, he hopes, in vain.

I still think there are some opposition researchers and Congressmembers who sat on this story, until this election season and when it would be too late to replace Foley on the ballot. Offensive sexual and political gaming all 'round.

Edward said...

Cedarford: You are a raging bigot, and to the extent that you are representative of the Republican Party in its entirety, then Republicans are doomed to a great deal of political trouble in the future on account of such horribly antiquated opinions about gay people.

You don’t seem the least bit aware that Foley’s perverse behavior with adolescents was probably caused in part by the intense homophobia of the institutional Republican Party in which he operated.

Bigotry of the kind you displayed in your last post produces its own pathologies, and I believe as this scandal continues to unfold, we will see that Foley is a textbook example of this sick process. Just a short while ago, Foley’s lawyer finally announced that the disgraced Congressman is in fact gay, something that many people suspected long ago.

As Foley continues to communicate with the press, either by means of spokespeople or on his own, we are going to learn a lot more about the extreme pressures that he faced as a closeted gay politician in an intensely homophobic Republican Party.

His confessions aren’t going to be pretty, and there are going to be a lot of people who immediately discount everything he says just because of his behavior with the pages.

Yet contrary to what some people are saying, I think the Foley scandal has the potential to advance the cause of gay equality, because it opens a shocking window on the nauseating homophobia that runs rampant in one of the two major political parties in this country.

Revenant said...

Revenant, I said "exploits with."

I know, I was referring to the perceived contradiction between talking dirty to teenagers and being concerned about "Missing and Exploited Children". My point is that Foley is, so far as I can tell, sincere in condemning the exploitation of children, and that his behavior with teenagers does not fall into that category in my opinion.

Foley probably *did* break the law, as there have been all manner of absurdly draconian laws restricting the very idea of teenage sexuality in the last 20 years. Inasmuch as he helped push for those laws he deserves, Clinton-style, to get nailed by them. But I don't think what he did is something that would normally be deserving of imprisonment. The bad publicity and resultant shunning is enough.

I still think there are some opposition researchers and Congressmembers who sat on this story, until this election season and when it would be too late to replace Foley on the ballot.

That is pretty clearly the case, yes. Smart call on their part, really.

charlotte said...

Edward! And the Greeks' same-sex interest in adolescents was probably caused in part by the intense homophobia of the institutional Greco-Republic in which they operated, yes?

And Clinton's perverse serial philandering and harassing is probably caused in part by the intense slackness of the instituational Democrat Party in which he still operates as ever the operator today?

It's fun to blame others!

MadisonMan said...

But I don't think what he did is something that would normally be deserving of imprisonment. The bad publicity and resultant shunning is enough.

The ironic thing is that he apparently did.

It's not clear to me that others sat on this story to change the timing. I think that, like Hastert, they thought there was nothing there, that they didn't know just how deep the roots went of this tiny little weed on the surface. Maybe I'm not cynical enough.

downtownlad said...

I assume Cedarford is caucasian. I'd like him to please explain the actions of the KKK. After all - since he's white, he's obviously connected to them.

And we know that he's a right-winger. How does he justify the Oklahoma City Bombing? Because we know that all right-wingers had ties to Timothy McVeigh.

Edward said...

Catherine: The case of the ancient Greeks actually proves my point perfectly. The Greeks celebrated romantic relationships between adolescent boys and adult men. At the same time, however, they persecuted adult men who only wanted to form romantic relationships with other adult men.

Contrary to popular opinion today, the ancient Greeks did not tolerate and celebrate homosexuality as we now understand it. Mature, adult gay relationships of the kind that are respected today were badly stigmatized in the ancient world.

I know this for a fact, because I have a Ph.D. in a related field, and I’ve done extensive research on sexual attitudes in the ancient world. I could cite lots of research published by the best university presses to substantiate my claims.

So you thought you were disproving my point about the perverse effects of homophobic bigotry, but you’ve actually helped me prove my point.

Revenant said...

The ironic thing is that he apparently did.

Oh, I don't have any problem with *him* being locked up, for that very reason -- the same reason I thought Clinton deserved every bit of the sexual history questioning he had to endure, because he signed the damned law that made it allowable.

I just don't think, in the abstract, that people who act like Foley need to spend time in jail.

think that, like Hastert, they thought there was nothing there, that they didn't know just how deep the roots went of this tiny little weed on the surface

I'm not sure if they knew about the IMs, but they pretty definitely knew about the emails to the one page.

I would guess that they hoped to use that story, weak as it was, to get the media to rehash the past questions about Foley's probable homosexuality and possibly cost him support. The Dems pulled the same stunt by repeatedly referring to Mary Cheney's sexuality during the '04 campaign.

downtownlad said...

And someone should remind the bigot Cedarford that the Boy Scouts happen to ban BOYS who are gay from becoming boy scouts. What - is he afraid the cub scout is going to molest the scout leader?

Edward said...

Catherine: As for Clinton, he simply committed adultery. Wrong as that was, there was probably no complex, twisted psychology involved.

Monica Lewinsky was fully adult at the time she had sex with Clinton. She was still a young adult, but she was definitely an adult.

Fenrisulven said...

Downtownlad: I assume Cedarford is caucasian. I'd like him to please explain the actions of the KKK... And someone should remind the bigot Cedarford

Cedarford doesn't need to respond to you. Nor should anyone else here take you seriously. You are a fraud who plays the victim to launch cowardly attacks. From a few days back:

dtl: We all know that the Constitution doesn't apply to fags (as you like to call them).

Fen: I've never called anyone a fag. You're starting to froth again.

dtl: And George Allen never used the N word....I was in the closet long enough to know that there isn't one straight male in this country who hasn't used the word "fag". It's ok. I'm not offended by it.

Note the pattern, note his MO. He will falsely accuse you of bigotry, wrap himself in fake victimhood, then "forgive" you for the false slur he created. Fraud.

He uses his homosexuality as a weapon to invoke pity. He should not be taken seriously.

Fenrisulven said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Elizabeth said...

The Dems pulled the same stunt by repeatedly referring to Mary Cheney's sexuality during the '04 campaign.

Mary Cheney's gay? Wow.

Edward said...

Fenrisulven: I didn’t call Cedarford’s questioning of Foley’s motives bigoted.

What I called bigoted was Cedarford’s insinuation that all gay men get a sexual thrill simply by being in the proximity of young boys. Go back and read his last post. He comes very close to saying that all gay men are pedophiles, or at least potential pedophiles.

That’s simply the oldest and ugliest stereotype of gay men ever, and anyone who writes such a thing is deeply homophobic. I’m sorry, but there’s no other way for an objective person to interpret what he wrote.

As for the revelation that Foley himself was molested as a child, I’ve said all along that Foley’s inappropriate behavior with the male pages probably had multiple causes and that his psychology was horribly twisted and very complex.

I stand by my claim that the intense homophobia of the Republican Party on which Foley’s entire career depended probably contributed significantly to his pathology.

Fenrisulven said...

You don’t seem the least bit aware that Foley’s perverse behavior with adolescents was probably caused in part by the intense homophobia of the institutional Republican Party in which he operated.

Foley's lawyer just claimed that Foley was molested by a male as a child and this contributed to his misbehavior, not that its an excuse [blah blah insert more weasel words here]

Typical dodge, like checking himself into alcohol rehab: I'm a victim of addiction [blah blah insert more weasel words here], but contradicts your position that Foley molests interns b/c he's closeted.

So your reasoning does not stand. I think you are trying to pound your round-peg cause into a square hole.

Fenrisulven said...

Fenrisulven: I didn’t call Cedarford’s questioning of Foley’s motives bigoted

You're right, I caught that on my own and was deleting/reposting as you posted. Apologies.

My post above is the replacement.

Fenrisulven said...

I stand by my claim that the intense homophobia of the Republican Party on which Foley’s entire career depended probably contributed significantly to his pathology.

And I still don't see how stalking teenagers dovetails into that. Unless you are claiming he sought out victims he thought were in a disadvantaged postion to be believed? But there are other subordinates in the DC corridors that are just as vulnerable, and their not teenagers. If it comes out that Foley also propositioned them, I'd be more inlcined to buy into your theory.

downtownlad said...

Fenrisullivan is denying using the slur "fag".

What a joke. Who is actually kidding?

He says that all gay people are associated with NAMBLA and then he wants us to believe he doesn't use the word fag?

Stop acting like a victim fenrisullivan.

downtownlad said...

And I'll say it again.

Any straight male who denies using the word "fag" is a liar.

charlotte said...

Edward, you are so full of it I cannot believe that you are an accomplished scholar. Certain men all over the world and throughout time, to include male Democrats living among homo tolerant friends, hit on adolescent boys. That you blame their sexual interest in them on the Republicans and homophobia is beyond all logic. American society is fairly tolerant of gays, and homosexual men have all sorts of same-age outlets, whether they are closeted or not.

Do you blame heterosexual men's interest in adolescent girls on the Republican Party, as well? Are mean Republican mommies responsible for men's shoe fetishes?

BTW, Clinton does have a sexual problem- he can't keep it zipped up around women to whom he isn't married. Many women have testified to the fact and one took him to court for harassment.

Fenrisulven said...

I see I struck a nerve. Good.

Slink back to Kos. Your "Gay Card" doesn't trump anything here.

And for cryin out loud, if you're going to troll here, at least be creative. Entertain us with something more than lame insults and stupidty [yawn]

/ignore DowntownLad

downtownlad said...

I see you're afraid to admit you're a liar. Afraid of the wrath of your pathetic little God?

Don't think you can slander all gay people as pedophiles fenrisulven and still expect to be treated with respect.

Edward said...

Fenrisulven: We’re not obligated to take each and every thing that Foley or his lawyer says at face value.

The primary message of the lawyer’s statement today was that Foley accepts full responsibility for the inappropriate email communication with the pages. If Foley has any hope of salvaging even a shred of his previous reputation, he must accept full responsibility for what he did and not try to pas the buck. His lawyer started that process for him today.

An explanation is not an excuse, however, and even after Foley accepts full responsibility, he is still entitled to offer some explanation as to how his thinking could have become so warped that he thought it was OK to indulge in internet sex with 16 and 17 year old pages.

The revelation of his own sexual abuse as a child was certainly part of the explanation as to how his psychology became so warped and twisted.

The second revelation – that he is gay – does not by itself offer an explanation, but combined with the fact that he was closeted throughout his adult life and that his entire career depended on the support of an institution that is deeply homophobic – the Republican Party – then an additional explanation does in fact begin to emerge.

Foley could never have been elected or re-elected as an openly gay man in the Republican South, so unless he was willing to live as a celibate, he was forced to find some clandestine way to act out his sexual impulses.

I actually think your last post offers one plausible explanation as to why Foley directed his sexual energies toward young male pages. In his twisted mind, he may well have thought that online sexual encounters with these adolescents were less likely to be discovered by the Republican Party or by the public at large.

In addition, Foley may have assumed that he could always threaten and successfully intimidate any young page who might want to reveal what the powerful Congressman was up to.

I admit this is speculation, but it’s highly plausible speculation, and as the details of this scandal continue to unfold over the next weeks and months, I willing to bet that my theories on this will be confirmed, perhaps by Foley himself.

downtownlad said...

Anyone who can read fenrisulven's statement above will clearly see that he thinks all gay people are child molestors, by trying to link us to NAMBLA.

The crudest form of anti-gay bigotry.

Fenrisulven thinks it's okie dokie to slander all gay people as pedophiles. But, gasp, don't call him a bigot!

What comes around goes around Fenrisulven.

downtownlad said...

This story is getting really boring though.

If Democrats are smart, they will exploit this for all they can. The really smart thing for them to do would be to use anti-gay prejudices to gather more votes. "The Republicans are the party of gays and pedophiles" has a nice ring to it. That should help them get a slice of the anti-gay-bigoted electorate, about 93% of American according to the poll Ann published today.

Works for the Republicans, and I think it would be sweet to see it used by the Democrats against them.

Of course I wouldn't approve of it. And I'll be voting Libertarian. But it would certainly win votes.

Fenrisulven said...

In addition, Foley may have assumed that he could always threaten and successfully intimidate any young page who might want to reveal what the powerful Congressman was up to...I willing to bet that my theories on this will be confirmed, perhaps by Foley himself.

Agreed, but I think for my point [and by extension, yours] to stand, Foley would have sought out other non-teenage victims that also were in a "weak" position to challenge him publicly. Thats where I feel your theory falls short. We'll see as this pans out.

ChrisO said...

Can we please stop the back patting by Republicans claiming their party does the right thing? People are actually saying Foley did the "right thing" by resigning, as if doing the right thing suddenly became important to him. He did the self centered thing, by resiging rather than being expelled. He knew about the IMs and God knows what else, and knew he didn't have a prayer of surviving. This is the kind of thing where guys used to lock their office door and pull the gun out of the drawer. Acting like his resignation somehow reflects favorably on the Republican party is just more of the nonsense that is being spewed by Republican apologists.

And please don't give me this "Hastert had no options" BS. The Republicans run a tight ship. If you think the Speaker of the House feels helpless in dealing with a Republican member, you're dreaming. It doesn't matter what a newspaper thought about the evidence, and it doesn't matter that the page's parents didn't want the matter pursued. Since when has that ever determined the House's actions in a case like tbis?

In what up-is-down world do you people live, that you can portray e-mails from a 55 year old man asking for a 17 year old boy's picture as anything but cause for alarm? The reason this won't fly is because every parent in America knows what you people are denying. This was a very creepy action. Add in the fact that Hastert knew Foley was gay and had a reputation for pursuing pages, and tell me how poor Hastert had no options. And this isn't about Hastert kicking Foley out of the House. First, he doesn't have the power, and second, he wouldn't want the publicity. But pretending that he had no other options is just intentionally muddying the waters. How about removing him from the committee? How about forbidding him from having contact with pages? How about quietly telling him that he should drop his bid for reelection for health reasons?

And not only is it ridiculous to bring up old scandals ("Sure, we'll talk about Foley. But first let's talk about Gerry Studds.") Studds was censured by the entire House, with the vast majority of Democrats voting for censure. Republicans' primary argument about him seems to be that the voters kept reelecting him. So are we blaming the voters for being part of the scandal? And Barney Frank's wrongdoing was that he tried to fix parking tickets for his lover, hardly a censurable offense. How is the fact that a guy was running a prostitution ring without his knowledge, and that Frank kicked the guy out when he learned about it an indication that Democrats don't take responsibility? Embarrassing for sure, but there's a big divide between embarrassment and scandal.

I'm especially amused by the notion that Hastert couldn't take action against Foley because he didn't want to be accused of being a homophobe. Please. What a funny time for the Republicans to suddenly worry about what the gay community thinks.

Face it, Foley was in the sewer, and the leadership really screwed up. They still can't get their stories straight, and it's been days. Trying to claim, based on absolutely no evidence, that a key part of the story is the Democrats somehow witholding evidence, is laughable. When all you've got as a defense is a complaint about the timing, stick a fork in it.

Fenrisulven said...

Chris, did you bother to read the thread before you posted? Or are you just drive-by posting the lastest Dem talking points?

charlotte said...

This blaming the GOP for a man hitting on teens is beyond the pale. Edward hasn't answered my simple logic questions. Further, I'd like to ask him whether he blames Republicans or "homophobic" society, for Scandinavian, Dutch and German man-adolescent relations, that occur in greater numbers in permissive Europe than here.

By Edward's reckoning, evey place on earth (and even classical Greece) is homophobic and liable to contribute to gay men seeking out teens as opposed to other gay men (which makes NO sense, of course.)

Edward said...

Catherine: Please calm down. I’m going to respond to your last post, but I did notice how you conveniently neglected to say anything at all about ancient Greece, which I was able to show substantiates my ideas.

You seem to conflate all of this with pedophilia, and you then say that pedophilia has always existed, and it has nothing all to do with homophobia in today’s Republican Party.

I make a distinction between genuine pedophilia, which is sexual interest in pre-pubescent children, and what Foley did, which is show sexual interest in late adolescent boys, who could perhaps even be called very young men.

I’m certainly not the only person to make such a distinction. Many authorities on human sexuality make this distinction, and so do many posters in Ann Althouse’s various threads on the Foley scandal.

I’m not at all convinced that Foley is a true pedophile. Unless I see radically different evidence about his sexuality, I do not think he is a pedophile. He himself denies that he is a pedophile. I’m willing to be proven wrong on this point, but again, I will need to see evidence that Foley was attracted sexually to real children, rather than late-stage adolescents.

What I truly think is that is that Foley is just a gay man who allowed his sense of right and wrong to become horribly confused by the huge pressure he must have felt to conceal his gay sexual orientation on the national political stage.

Genuine pedophilia has existed since the beginning of time, and it still exists today. It has nothing to do either with homosexuality or homophobia.

Yet I do believe that extreme bigotry and super intense pressure to conceal one’s gay sexual orientation can, particularly in a person who is weak-willed or whose psyche is damaged in some other way (such as by having been abused as a child), can produce an unhealthy and inappropriate diversion of that person’s sex drive in the direction of nearly-adult adolescents.

The intense and institutionalized homophobia of today’s Republican Party causes far more harm than ordinary Republican voters are willing to admit, and Foley’s sad case shows that this homophobia is ultimately self-defeating.

downtownlad said...

Chris,

Tip O'Neill was furious about the Studds incident (sex with a 17 year-old page) and wanted him out of the House. Studds was 35 or so. And the Studds incident had happened a decade earlier - in 1973 I believe. And the page stood with Gerry Studds a decade later and supported him and said it was nobody's business but theirs. So the page that Studds slept with was certainly not a victim as it was consensual. I can only imagine what it was like to be gay in 1973, and I don't think the comparison to Foley is apt. Foley is a creepy predator.
Regardless - it was still an abuse of power - and he was rightly censured. And Tip O'Neill was furious.

Hastert - an apologist for creepy old men - did not want Foley to resign when he first heard of this.

Elizabeth said...

By Edward's reckoning, evey place on earth (and even classical Greece) is homophobic

I don't agree with Edward's causal reasoning exactly, other than to the extent that, as someone pointed out yesterday on some thread here, any part of a person's psyche is likely to get a bit twisted when hidden and lied about. But he's right about classical Greece, and Rome as well, being homophobic about adult male-male relationships.

Garage Mahal said...

Just in from Drudge...

Barney Frank 2nd shooter in Dallas

Developing...

Garage Mahal said...

Dallas 1963 that is...

charlotte said...

Edward, did you read what I wrote? I never said anything at all about pedophilia, but good try at setting up a straw man. I only spoke to man-adolescent attraction, as in teens. I don't buy your verbiage about ancient Greece and you still haven't answered my logic questions.

What does the GOP have to do with any adult's sexual interest in teens, as opposed to other adults? Since you brought up pedophilia, do you also blame the GOP for an adult's interest in younger children and if not, why?

Surely, you're aware that men have shown sexual interest in teens, both male and female, throughout the world and history. Teens have youth, vitality, reproductive attraction, and often naivete/ innocence. Also, fixations on teens happen a a result of early experiences, arrested development, power issues, etc. Your attempt to politicize some men's sexual attraction to teen boys is weak and constitutes blame-shifting at its worst.

Revenant said...

Any straight male who denies using the word "fag" is a liar

Well I'll be damned. And all these years I was *sure* I was a straight male. Now, after all these years, I learn that I'm not allowed to be straight until I start calling people "fags".

I guess it's a good thing I never married. Explaining my newly discovered sexual orientation to my wife would be tricky.

Revenant said...

What does the GOP have to do with any adult's sexual interest in teens, as opposed to other adults?

Nothing at all, and if I were you I'd stop trying to reason with people who say otherwise.

Foley stands accused of homosexual net-sex. He could just as easily -- and a LOT more safely, politically and legally -- had anonymous gay net-sex with adults. The idea that he was pushed into IMing teens instead of adults because Republican homophobia is Horribly Dangerous and Warping to Poor Gay Republican's Psyches is a load of horse shit. He probably IM'd teens for the same reason STRAIGHT men IM *female* teens for sex -- because sex with young, healthy, sexually mature and active people is an incredibly common sexual fantasy. There's a good reason the word "jailbait" has the word "bait" in it!

Edward said...

Catherine: I’m getting sleepy and want to go to bed soon, so I’m going to keep this short.

First, my discussion of ancient Greece is not mere “verbiage.” It’s the truth, and it’s been proven by nearly all the best studies on sex in the ancient world from the past 25 years. If you yourself are not personally familiar with the best scholarship on this subject, I really wish that you would at least show more restraint in your statements, if not even deference to my own substantial research in this area.

Second, as for the connection between institutionalized Republican homophobia and Foley’s sexual dalliance with the pages, the psychological dynamic that I am trying to explain is not very hard to understand.

Look, if you grant that Foley is just a gay man (rather than a pedophile), and if you grant that Foley was forced to be extremely secretive about each and every expression of his gay sexuality, because the political party in which he was a leader would not tolerate an openly gay elected official in an openly gay relationship, then it is the easiest thing in the world to see that he would have had to take extreme measures to practice his sexuality in secret.

Yes, Foley could have opted for a clandestine affair with another gay adult, but he may have been afraid of the equality that develops in a mature, stable gay relationship. He may have been afraid that a real relationship with a man nearer to him in age and power would have been much harder to conceal.

He may also have been afraid of falling in love. The juvenile, pathetic electronic messages that Foley sent to the pages are only sick expressions of sexual lust. There’s no evidence at all of any genuine love in those messages.

Do I really need to explain to you that romantic love is one of the most powerful forces in the world? Gay romantic love is just as powerful and just as wonderful as the heterosexual variety.

One of the oldest tricks in the book (pun intended) is for deeply closeted gay men to satisfy their sexual urges in the most superficial ways, such as through random and anonymous sexual encounters. This is often done specifically to short-circuit the possibility of any romantic attachment forming. The radical separation of love and sex can be carried very far and to quite dangerous extremes.

Foley may have denied and suppressed his sexual urges for so long that he never matured psycho-sexually beyond late adolescence. He may be stuck psycho-sexually at the same age as the pages to whom he sent those disgusting messages.

And Foley probably inflicted this damage to his own psyche specifically to facilitate a political career in a political party that hardly tolerates gay people at all, much less within its national elected leadership.

By the way, if you’re not willing to admit that Foley had no choice but to be deeply closeted to rise as far as he did within the Republican ranks, particularly at the time he began his political career, then I really see no way that you and I can agree about anything regarding this scandal.

There’s more I could say, but I want to go to bed now. Good night.

Edward said...

Revenant: You’re being far too logical about Foley’s motives. Yes, perhaps Foley could have chosen to IM only adults instead of adolescents, but he probably didn’t plan these sexual encounters that carefully.

The behavior Foley exhibited was almost by definition irrational to a large degree, because it was so inappropriate and so dangerous – dangerous for his career, most specifically.

Consciously or subconsciously, Foley may have thought that it was safer for him to limit his sexual encounters to raunchy IMs with former House pages, when in fact he was placing his career in maximum danger by choosing to communicate with youths in that way.

I stand by my claim that institutional Republican homophobia contributed to Foley’s misbehavior, and if Republicans are totally unwilling even to consider this possibility, then they are going to face a lot more scandals and electoral disappointments in future years.

Make no mistake about it: the rest of America is quickly becoming more enlightened about homosexuality, and the Republican Party is shooting itself in the foot if it insists on staying stuck in the Dark Ages on these issues.

Elizabeth said...

I don't buy your verbiage about ancient Greece

You can refuse to buy the verbiage that the sky is blue and the grass is green, but the state of adult homosexuality in Ancient Greece is not based on opinion or subjective belief systems. It's described in the contemporaneous writings and laws. Any adult male playing a passive, or receptive role would be mocked and ridiculed. This isn't kept hidden in some secret academic vaults. Do a little googling and you can find some verbiage to buy into.

Elizabeth said...

I don't buy your verbiage about ancient Greece

What we know about the state of adult homosexuality in Ancient Greece is not based on opinion or subjective belief systems. It's described in the contemporaneous writings and laws. Any adult male playing a passive, or receptive role would be mocked and ridiculed. We know much less about lesbianism during the period.

Anonymous said...

Ann Althouse wrote:
And by the way, how long do you think it will take before some terrible story about the sexual failing of some Democrats in Congress hits? I'll see you one representative and raise you a Senator. Aren't you expecting that? There must be a hundred members of Congress sweating now over something they once said in email or that porn they looked at on the computer.

I have an acquaintance who used to be a Capitol Hill staffer - and came away with a thoroughly bipartisan contempt for Congressmen, and she put it to me quite bluntly. Anyone who thinks there aren't more than a few Congressmen with long histories of treating young men and women at the bottom of the staff food chain as sex snacks is either naive or a liar. All this is going to do, IMO, is return the culture of sexual exploitation and abuse of power to the old school norms - keep your harassment F2F, because when it's your world against an intern's who is going to be believed?

ChrisO said...

Fenrisulven said: "Chris, did you bother to read the thread before you posted? Or are you just drive-by posting the lastest Dem talking points?"

Fenrisulven: I read every comment in this thread. And can we please stop the "talking points" BS? There's only so many facts in any given case. Do you think I should have to craft never before thought of responses to the same litany of arguments the Republicans are using? And my comments about Studds and Barney Frank are a result of my going back and researching their cases, so I would know what I was talking about. I'm not sure how else to respond, since your charge of me using talking points is something of a talking point in itself. I think it's ironic that someone who throws Gerry Studds into the mix is complaining about talking poihts. Or did hearing aboyt Foley suddenly stir your memories of a scandal from 1983?

And yes, I have read all of the comments about the nature of homosexuality and the definition of pedophilia, but that's not what this thread started out as. If I must, I can refer you back to the various comments I was responding to in my post. Now did you have something substantive to say?

MadisonMan said...

Or did hearing aboyt Foley suddenly stir your memories of a scandal from 1983?

Completely natural. If Foley had been fished out of the Tidal Basin, who wouldn't recall Wilbur Mills?

charlotte said...

You still didn't answer my logic questions, Edward, such as why would man-on-boy teen sex in permissive Europe be so prevalent if homophobia caused that very particular obsession somehow? Perhaps you're indulging in a little avoidance behavior that no doubt can be laid at the the feet of disapproving Repubs.

Last night I researched online and found volumes of research and writing on pederasty in old Greece. I'm not going to clog up the cyber inches here with citations, but readers can go online and see firsthand how the practice would either include sexual relations or no, depending on the region and era.

And, yes, a man taking on a handsome adolescent student/ lover was often encouraged and even lauded in a number of places of Classical Greece; likewise, the boy teens were often counseled to "be" with an older man, to include in a sexual way.

Plato himself supported the practice up until the time he decided it was too widespread and contributing to the breakdown of good civil order (sounds like a Family Values stump speech to me!) However, Plato still frequented the youth male brothels, along with many other men. He never wrote that pederastic sex was an outcropping of repressive Athenian society. Quite the contrary- he argued for the practice to be repressed to get society more orderly.

Nowhere did I see any authoritative work on the "homophobia" of old Greece causing pederasty. I'd love to see some extensive citations on this, since you claim it did and are linking lust for teens to our "homophobic" Republican US regime, 21 C. I found many discussions on the areas and times of Greece in which non-carnal love between men and adolescents was considered the ideal and physical love a debasement or debauchery. But, according to the evidence, many Greek men, not all, indulged in sexual pederastic practice or had sex with teens without them or their milieus seeing it as perverted.

You and Sullivan are doing gay understanding no favor by pursuing this line of thought. Blaming one group of people for another's practice, when they most certainly condemn it, is twisted. Let's not add pervy scapegoating to the sad situation.

Fenrisulven said...

Chris: I read every comment in this thread. And can we please stop the "talking points" BS? There's only so many facts in any given case. Do you think I should have to craft never before thought of responses to the same litany of arguments the Republicans are using?

No, but it would be nice if you didn't recycle accusations that had already been debunked or accepted. Your post is filled with retreads that we've already addressed. Sticking your fingers in your ears and repeating the same garbage ad nauseum is tedious. If you're going to regurgitate the same tired ponts, at least do so in a rebuttal form.

Fenrisulven said...

Catherine: Blaming one group of people for another's practice, when they most certainly condemn it, is twisted. Let's not add pervy scapegoating to the sad situation

Edward, not to pile on, but I found myself applying that theory to the Ammish school shooting. The perp claimed his "revenge" on the girls that "made" him engage in deviancy.

Yes, I know its not an entirely fair comparison, but couldn't you say: if the perp had not been forced to abide by [or shamed by] society's pedophile laws, the killings would have been prevented

I think the argument that GOP homophobia created to Foley's abuse has a few moral holes. Foley chose to hide, Foley chose politics, Foley failed to control his impulses [both sexual and drug].

Edward said...

Catherine: Give me a bit more time. I do have a response to you last post.

Edward said...

Catherine: I did my research on sex and sexuality in the ancient world by reading books and articles, the best scholarship available on this subject. I don’t have any convenient web sites to recommend to you, but the following scholarly works are excellent and support my claim that bigotry against adult gay male relationships actually contributed to rampant sexual bonds between men and adolescent boys in ancient Greece and Rome.

Roman Homosexuality: Ideologies of Masculinity in Classical Antiquity by Craig Williams, Oxford University Press.

The Reign of the Phallus: Sexual Politics in Ancient Athens by Eva Keuls, Harper Press.

Greek Love Reconsidered, edited by Thomas Hubbard, W. Hamilton Press

Bisexuality in the Ancient World by Eve Cantarella, Yale University Press

“Sex Before Sexuality: Pederasty, Politics, and Power in Classical Athens,” an essay by David Halperin contained in the anthology Hidden from History: Reclaiming the Gay and Lesbian Past.

Greek Homosexuality by K.J. Dover, Harvard University Press

The Sleep of Reason: Erotic Experience and Sexual Ethics in Ancient Greece and Rome, edited by Marta Nussbaum, published by the University of Chicago press

In a bit more time, I’ll have another post on this subject.

charlotte said...

Edward,

At random, I checked out one work you listed, The Reign of the Phallus: Sexual Politics in Ancient Athens by Eva Keuls, and skimmed what was available over the web. It is a feminist take on how phallicentric Athenian society was, and nothing I saw even comes close to attributing pederasty to homophobia.

Rather, Keuls is interested in how institutionalized male domination affected wives and women by both neglecting and exploiting them. She writes, "the institution of slavery provided (the Athenian male) with ample sex outlets, female and male, and he much preferred his hetaerai and pleasure-boys over his wife." (pg. 99)

Wikipedia and elsewhere characterize Keul's thinking on pederasty as such: "A modern line of thought leading from Dover to Foucault to Halperin holds that the eromenos did not reciprocate the love and desire of the erastes, and that the relationship was factored on a sexual domination of the younger by the older, a politics of penetration held to be true of all adult male Athenians' relations with their social inferiors – boys, women and slaves – a theory propounded also by Eva Keuls.[38] From this perspective, the relationships are characterized and factored on a power differential between the participants, and as essentially asymmetrical."

Note- still no causality between homophobia and sexual pederasty. Whether all adolescent boys wanted the physical attentions of older men does not address your assertions that Greek society was generally homophobic and that repression and disapproval of homosexuality specifically caused men to lust after and engage sexually with teen boys.

Both the above articles lay out the general scholarly understanding of pederasty in old Greece, and neither has a syllable on homophobia causing or even contributing to the practice. No doubt one of your sources above may have an interesting, countervailing thesis on Greek homophobia causing ephebophilia, but I could cite you a professor or two who thinks Cheney masterminded 9-11.

ChrisO said...

Fenrisulven

Interesting. When ever anyone makes a point you don't like, just say "That's been rebutted." Really saves a lot of time, not having to articulate yourself and all.

Fenrisulven said...

Chris: Interesting. When ever anyone makes a point you don't like, just say "That's been rebutted." Really saves a lot of time, not having to articulate yourself and all.

Well, considering I've articulated myself about 40 times on this and related threads, yes - it saves time. Thats the point of READING THE THREAD before you post. And if you'd bothered to READ THE THREAD you wouldn't ignorantly post whenever anyone makes a point you don't like, you just say "That's been rebutted." Even my detractors here would argue that I don't do that.

More likely, you're just a Kos/DU Direct Action troll who writes a one page attack and spam- posts it to every site tracking the issue. Either that, or you can't read.

I could waste more time by cut-n-pasting every point I've ALREADY made that refutes yours, but why should I spoonfeed someone who doesn't have the courtesy to read the thread? You do it - go back and find the rebuttals that I and othes have made, then counter those. We're not going to start over just because you're too lazy to read the arguments your opponents have already made.

Edward said...

Catherine: Once again, you provide me with the evidence I need to make my case. You see, the idea that homophobia leads to pederasty is not the central argument of any of the studies that cited to you earlier. Therefore, if you look online for a quick summary of any of these books, you probably won’t see this idea mentioned directly.

Nevertheless, the connection between homophobia and pederasty is present in each and every one of the studies that I cited, to a greater degree in some of them, to a lesser degree in others.

Nevertheless, the excellent quote that you cite from Wikipedia allows me to explain the connection easily and concisely. Your quote includes this phrase:

“the relationship was factored on a sexual domination of the younger by the older, a politics of penetration held to be true of all adult male Athenians' relations with their social inferiors – boys, women and slaves – a theory propounded also by Eva Keuls.[38] From this perspective, the relationships are characterized and factored on a power differential between the participants, and as essentially asymmetrical

You see, Ancient society was extremely sexist. Men (male citizens) held all the power, and they exploited horribly all those they considered inferior to them: “boys, women and slaves.”

The exploitation included sexual exploitation of all three “inferior” groups: “boys, women and slaves.” In fact, ancient society was so macho and sexist that one way for free men to gain prestige and power was to dominate sexually and exploit sexually all three inferior groups. Free adult male could demonstrate their manliness by using boys or slaves to satisfy their sexual needs.

In our society, any kind of homosexual sex is often considered to make a man less manly, but that wasn’t the case in antiquity. As long as a free adult male dominated his sexual partners, especially by being the “penetrator” in every sex act, then his manliness was actually enhanced by sex with boys and male slaves.

At the same time, free adult males were also usually expected to marry, so that they could produce children. Of course, these men were expected to dominate their wives, sexually and in every other way imaginable.

Edward said...

(Continued)

It’s not difficult to see how this horrible sexual ethic of extreme inequality was itself based on homophobia, and all the studies that I cited make this point, to a greater or lesser degree.

Free adult males of the same rank and the same age were not allowed to choose each other as sexual and romantic partners, because sex was only viewed as an act of one person dominating and exploiting another person. Both men in such an equal, mature relationship would lose their prestige and their power, because both would be accused of allowing themselves to be dominated, sexually and otherwise, within the relationship.

From the standpoint of the sex act itself, no free adult male was ever supposed to allow himself to be penetrated by another man, not because doing so was considered sinful, but rather because it was considered a sign of weakness and a violation of the extreme code of machismo that ancient society enforced.

Thus, ancient society was completely homophobic, as we understand homophobia today, but ancient society also allowed and often celebrated pederasty. Therefore, real homosexual men could only satisfy their sexual urges by banging adolescent males and male slaves, and they were often still expected to marry and father children.

Finally, the very idea of love and romance was degraded and for the most part not allowed according to the code of ancient machismo.

Thus, there is great historical precedent for extreme homophobia leading to pederasty.

Edward said...

Let me add one more thing. I slightly simplified the ancient sexual ethic in my last two posts, at least as far as the sexual relationships between men and male adolescents are concerned.

In ancient times, free male adults who took a sexual interest in a male adolescent were still expected to dominate their youthful lovers, but in a somewhat gentler way than they would have dominated male slaves or their own wives. That is because a free adolescent male was still privileged insofar as he was male, and he would one day soon acquire all the rights and powers of free male adults.

Therefore, the form that the domination took in a relationship between a free male adult and a free adolescent male was one of “mentoring,” even though the concept of domination still played an important role in these relationships. The ancient “pederasty as mentoring” custom was still based on homophobia, because the adult men in these relationships had no right to select each other as romantic and sexual partners.

When Mark Foley justified the “overly friendly” emails that he sent to the male pages by saying that he was “mentoring” them -- when in fact he was interested in engaging in online sex with them – he was repeating the grotesque sexual dynamic that flourished in Ancient Greece and Rome.

Just as the foundation of that sexual dynamic in ancient times was extreme homophobia, the foundation and explanation for Foley’s reenactment of that dynamic was the extreme homophobia of today’s Republican Party.

charlotte said...

Edward,

I'll look into this further today when I have time, but what you describe is not "homophobia" as we think of it today, but rather an emphasis on power sexual politics. It was not necessarily repugnant for a man to screw around with another male, and in fact such activity was openly accepted and even encouraged in a number of places and in certain periods of old Greece.

The distinction you're making without specific citation is that mature Greek men did not often mess around with each other on account of alpha-dog type ranking among themselves only, and as a consequence, they sought sexual congress (sorry about that!), or homosexual relations, with younger males who wouldn't threaten their superior position. That isn't homophobia, it's a matter of domination social-sexual politics.

At any rate, your particular thesis bears no relation to allegedly rampant repression and homophobia in the States and Europe today causing older men to be attracted to younger ones, to teen boy-men. Certainly there are modern western men who are into the power-sexual politics of "mentoring" and dominating adolescents, but it's not because society-at-large thinks it's better to have teen partners than older or same-age lovers.

Please read that last line, again. Current social mores fairly tolerate homosexuality, except when young people are involved with adults.

I still cannot figure out how you square your idea that extreme homophobia leads to pederasty with the fact that pederasty occurs in uber liberal Europe probably more than it does here.

Edward said...

Catherine: If a society punishes two adult gay men who want to form a stable, faithful and loving relationship with each other, then that IS homophobia. If you deny that, then you’re simply playing word games with me.

Yes, the psychological and philosophical nature of ancient homophobia differs from the more religiously influenced homophobia of today, but homophobia is homophobia. You recognize it by its effects, more than by its origins.

Homophobia in ancient times placed enormous obstacles in the path of any gay male couple who wanted to form a stable, responsible and mature relationship. Homophobia in modern times does the exact same thing – just think about all the opposition today to gay marriage, which would help make mature gay relationships much more stable and secure. The effects of this bigotry are the same now as they were in ancient times.

Nevertheless, the roots of ancient and modern homophobia are much more similar than you’re willing to admit. You certainly can’t deny that an exaggerated sense of machismo, sexism and even misogyny still plays a major role in prejudice against gay men today. This exaggerated machismo is actually very similar to the sexual ethic of antiquity, with its disgusting emphasis on domination, rather than on the modern virtues of reciprocity, equality, and freedom.

In terms of your claim that pederasty is common in Europe today, that’s just nonsense. You give absolutely no evidence for that, and no evidence that European pederasty is in any way related to the greater tolerance of gay people in Europe.

I hate to say this, but I think you’re just bigoted against Europeans, as many American conservatives are.

European countries certainly still have laws against pederasty and pedophilia, and gay marriages in European countries that have legalized it never display the great age disparity that one finds in pederasty.

charlotte said...

Edward,

I don't even know how to answer you- most of what you counter with doesn't logically flow from my arguments. And you are the one making sweeping statements without specific citation. A list of books doesn't do it, especially when the first one I looked into didn't say what you said it did. You just make loose, associative arguments leading to big and unsupported conclusions.

I would like to add that married Greek men didn't have to seek sex with teen boys to feel dominant- they had their wives and concubines to lord over and exploit, which they did. Men who had homosexual inclinations or bi-sexual urges usually (not always) were free to act upon them in a certain way with social approval. To the extent same-age men may have been more or less off-limits for reasons of social standing (I haven't looked into that, yet), an institutionalized pederasty allowed men to use adolescent boys for their pleasure, for power-tripping, and even for true love. Sexualized pederasty was a design feature, not bothersome bug. Only sometimes and in some places was man-to-male teen sex considered a perversion.

You certainly are applying a different definition of homophobia for ancient Greece than what we use today, saying that it was homophobic of Greek society to discourage adult-to-adult gay sex even though adult-to-teen gay sexual relationships were often celebrated, and in the open. By contrast, when you reference Republican homophobia, which btw doesn't exist to near the extent you contend, you conjure up the oppressive burn-em-at-the-stakes social con intolerance of homosexual practice of any kind, period, and then posit that gay-hatred leads to gay men lusting after teen boys because, we must suppose, there is no tolerance for adult-to-adult gaydom and there are no active gay communities in our Cromwellian society. Are we to believe Foley went after adolescent boys in order to keep his "shame" secret, given how teens never talk?? Oh, boy.

Please consider that Foley just has a thing for that age and that he's a thrill-seeker playing dangerous games. It would have been much safer for him to take on a secret adult lover who had nothing to do with Congress or to rearrange his life so that he felt freer to be openly gay, as many American gays do.

charlotte said...

Oh, and calling me bigoted is fine form, Edward.

Edward said...

Catherine: I’m not at all defending Foley. I think what he did is absolutely deplorable, and he’s going to pay a heavy price for his actions, as well he should.

I’m simply describing a psycho-sexual dynamic that offers the best explanation for why he acted the way he did.

I’m also not denying that Foley may have a special attraction to adolescent boys, but I just don’t think that offers the most plausible explanation for what was going on in Foley’s twisted mind.

Look, pedophilia, the sexual attraction to young children, is a well-recognized and well-documented condition.

It goes with saying that homosexuality and heterosexuality, sexual attraction between adults of the same or opposite sex, are well-recognized and well-document orientations.

I’m just not aware of any recognized sexual condition where a man has a special attraction only to late-stage adolescents, or near adults.

Talk to any heterosexual man you know, and, if he’s honest, he’ll tell you that he’s very capable of being sexually attracted to an extremely beautiful and mature looking 16 or 17 year old girl.

The same goes for many gay men, except that they are capable of being sexually attracted to an extremely handsome and mature looking 16 or 17 year old boy.

This kind of attraction does not make an ordinary straight or gay man a pederast or a pedophile. Being attracted in this way is not some “special condition,” as you seem to suggest Mark Foley suffers from.

In fact, it’s one of the most natural things in the world. But acting on such attraction is highly inappropriate and the vast majority of men – both gay and straight – would never even think about doing so.

Thus, I still believe that Mark is just a gay man who made a long string of horrible decisions concerning his sexuality. He’s a despicable gay man, but he’s probably just a gay man, rather than some special creature known as “an exclusive pederast.”

Furthermore, the extreme homophobia of the political party on which his entire career depended must have played a major role in the long line of horrible decisions Foley made about his sexuality.

Should Foley have come out of the closet a long time ago? Yes, of course. But he didn’t, and after many years of being a leading national politician from an officially homophobic political party, he probably felt trapped, and his thinking became horribly confused, and he made all the terrible decisions that we’re learning more about every day.
Is Foley fully responsible for all the terrible decisions that he made? You bet. But there’s going to come a time when he and the American public are going to have to search for the truth about how and why he chose this terrible path. We have to get at the truth if only to prevent something like this from happening again.

Actually, there are lots of good reasons for wanting to get at the truth in this case, and I still think my explanation is most likely true and accurate.

Edward said...

Catherine: As for your accusations about European pederasty, please don’t act all pure and innocent on this. You basically said in an earlier post that pederasty runs rampant in contemporary Europe. You have no evidence to support this outrageous claim, and you virtually said that most Europeans think pederasty is perfectly fine and OK.

If that’s not bigotry against Europeans, I don’t know what is.

charlotte said...

I'm still researching the frequency of man-adolescent sexual relations in Europe, but here are the ages of consent for European countries.

Also, here's a bit more on Greek pederasty described as a socially normed and "positive" practice (and not as a pathological consequence of homophobia):

"In antiquity, pederasty as an educational institution for the inculcation of moral and cultural values, as well as a sexual diversion, was practiced from the Archaic period onwards in Ancient Greece. As idealized by the Greeks, pederasty was a relationship and bond–whether sexual or chaste–between an adolescent boy and an adult man outside of his immediate family. While most Greek men engaged in relations with both women and boys, exceptions to the rule were known, some avoiding relations with women and others rejecting relations with boys. In Rome relations with boys took a more informal and less civic, often illicit path...

"...Pederastic couples were also said to be feared by tyrants, because the bond between the friends was stronger than that of obedience to a tyrannical ruler. Plutarch gives as examples the Athenians Harmodius and Aristogeiton. Others, such as Aristotle, claimed that some states encouraged pederasty as a means of population control, by directing love and sexual desire into non-procreative channels, a feature of pederasty later employed by other cultures, such as the Siwan, and perhaps the Melanesian."

Word verification: vwhory and yes it is. I'm probably on some list somewhere for researching this topic.

tcd said...

"an officially homophobic political party"
Edward, are you sure homophobia is an official Republican party platform? Where does the RNC state this official platform? More likely, you're playing fast and loose with the facts. In that vein, I say the Democrat party platform is "Islamic terrorists are our friends and George Bush is the devil".

And ChrisO, no one of the rightish persuasion at Althouse has defended Foley's actions so stop spewing your talking points here.

Revenant said...

The behavior Foley exhibited was almost by definition irrational to a large degree, because it was so inappropriate and so dangerous – dangerous for his career, most specifically.

Sexual desire is always irrational. Nobody sits down and says "hm, I think I'll lust after men instead of women" -- if they did, there wouldn't be any gay people in the first place. Now, was Foley's behavior inappropriate? Sure, I think that's fair to say, but "inappropriate" doesn't mean "irrational" either.

You could argue that it was irrational for him to take such risks, but the widespread shock, even among educated people (e.g. Andrew Sullivan) over the idea that people might save IM logs suggests that Foley might well not have *realized* that he was taking a serious risk.

I stand by my claim that institutional Republican homophobia contributed to Foley’s misbehavior

You're welcome to stand by a claim that the Earth is flat, for all I care. But as you haven't provided any evidence for your claim whatsoever I see no reason to take you seriously. You might as well blame Clinton's tendancy to stick his dick in anything warm and moist on the Democratic party's laissez-faire attitude towards sex.

charlotte said...

You just don't stick to the facts, Edward. Nowhere did I say you were defending Foley- you like to set up and then knock down those straw men. My clear objection is to you declaratively stating that homophobia, in general, and our climate of "extreme" Republican homophobia, specifically, leads to pederasty.

And then, to support your calling me bigoted against Europeans (*eyeroll*), you wrote: "You basically said in an earlier post that pederasty runs rampant in contemporary Europe. You have no evidence to support this outrageous claim, and you virtually said that most Europeans think pederasty is perfectly fine and OK."

No, I didn't. I said, without opining about it, that on average Europe was "uber liberal" and more (sexually) permissive than the States (you disagree?), and only used the term "rampant" to describe the alleged repression and homophobia in the States and Europe your argument would conclude exists if occurrences of man-teen lust are, indeed, a direct consequence of discrimination and disapproval of gay expression.

I also said these pederastic occurrences happen in greater numbers in Europe than the States- old Europe has lower ages of consent than much of the US, and Eastern Europe is lost in a state of sexual wilderness right now. I am still looking for the stats I had seen a while ago. At any rate, saying that it is more prevalent over there than it is here does NOT mean it "runs rampant over" there. You completely mischaracterized what I said, and I do resent it. You seem to be looking for excuses to accuse people of bigotry. You have no problem making sweeping, derogatory assertions and rewriting the facts to fit the theory.

Tidbits:

Amsterdam - "Dutch paedophiles are launching a political party to push for a cut in the legal age for sexual relations to 12 from 16 and the legalisation of child pornography and sex with animals.

"The Charity, Freedom and Diversity (NVD) party said on its Website it would be officially registered on Wednesday, proclaiming: "We are going to shake The Hague awake!"

"In Europe, which has the lowest age of consent laws among industrialized nations, nations wanting to join the European Union were forced to eliminate these supposedly discriminatory laws. What follows is a list of some European nations and what they have established as their age of consent: Spain-12, Italy, Iceland, Albania-14, Denmark, France, Greece, and Sweden-15. These nations believe that children of these ages can consent to a sexual relationship with an adult."

"[Brongersma] cites a number of examples in the Netherlands and Germany where man/boy relationships stopped the boys from becoming repeat criminal offenders. He says that in Germany this was actually something that was advocated by their courts. Repeat juvenile offenders were assigned to a known boy lover to be taken under his wing to prevent the boy from committing more heinous crimes, which could result in him receiving considerable jail time."

charlotte said...

Edward, last comment here, a quick correction, and half apology. I did say pederasty was "prevalent" in Europe and then later said it occurred there "probably more than here." I meant both times that it's more common than one thinks, and in Europe, while there are many conservative or even disapproving liberal citizens (feminist groups for example), there exists more legal and cultural license to consider adolescents sexual beings. Please realize that "more" does not mean "tons."

I never said most Europeans approved of man-boy sexual relationships, just that their more liberal attitudes toward sex allow for more of these relationships to happen. Here in the States, NAMBLA has become the leading org for advocating pederasty (and esp. pedophilia) in the West, as far as I can ascertain. But when its agenda comes out in the open here it generally is reviled. I believe we're also less tolerant of older man/ teenage girl relationships than are the Europeans.

Question: Why would you give Falwell and his followers the ammunition to say that even ancient Greece was homophobic? They'd like nothing better than to say gay coupling is so unnatural that nearly every successful society has condemned it. 'Course, all the homoerotic pretty vases in museums would suggest otherwise.

Also, arguing that Republicans have caused an extreme homophobia to descend upon the land and cause pederastic perversions, among others, sounds like an unhealthy persecution complex and scapegoating. In this case, what would the gay community gain by playing the victim card, making excuses, and looking damaged, helpless?

The last word is yours, if you wish.

ChrisO said...

Fenrisulven

Get over yourself. First of all, I've never posted a word on Kos or DU, and I've posted on and off here for more than a year. So stop all this "you're not part of our club" bullshit.

You really believe that the only way someone can post an opinion counter to yours is because they haven't availed themselves of your wisdom earlier in the thread. As I stated before, I have read every comment, which I always do. But you're so convinced that the drivel you post is so compelling, that no one could possible read it and still have an opinion counter to yours. Once you've said it, case closed. So the only points I make have to be explicitly in response to yours, because you're the man on this thread.

Perhaps you haven't noticed that the way it works is that you post your opinon, then others post their opinions. Your illuminating briliiance doesn't automatically stop the conversation. What makes all of this particularly obnoxious is that you make just about the weakest points of anyone. Tell me again how it's all the Democrats' fault.

And tcd, you're engaging in the classic misdirection that so many Republican defenders are using. "Stop saying we excuse Foley! We don't! We condemn him!" Well, fine, except I never said anyone was excusing Foley, and I hardly see anyone else saying it. It's called a strawman.

Edward said...

Catherine: Give me more time and I'll answer your last post later this morning.

tcd said...

"In what up-is-down world do you people live, that you can portray e-mails from a 55 year old man asking for a 17 year old boy's picture as anything but cause for alarm? The reason this won't fly is because every parent in America knows what you people are denying. This was a very creepy action."

ChrisO, do you deny that you wrote those words? Seems to me you are accusing Republicans of defending Foley's actions. Those are your words quoted there. Eat them, you liar.

Edward said...

Catherine: Your last 2 questions were good ones, deserving to be asked, although the “problems” they raise can be resolved rather easily. In fact, I know of so many ways to reply that I could write a dissertation on each one of them. I don’t have the time or energy to do that, however, so I’m just going to start putting down one response after another, as I think of them.

I’ll start with your question about Falwell and about eliminating the idea that Ancient Greece was a successful civilization and some sort of gay paradise.

As for Ancient Greece, I say “Good Riddance!” to its use as a support for the gay rights movement. The case for gay equality can be made without reference to Ancient Greece, and gay rights supporters should always have been hesitant to cite it in their advocacy.

The main reason to avoid Ancient Greece is obvious: everyone knows that pederasty was commonplace there. Many people, even many educated people, mistakenly still believe that mature gay relationships were also commonplace and celebrated there, but the truth is that they really weren’t.

Homosexuality has nothing to do with pedophilia and pederasty, and that point needs to be emphasized time and again. Real gay men are not interested in having sex with children or teenage boys. They are no more likely to indulge in this inappropriate and illegal behavior than are normal straight men with girls.

Yet the false connection between homosexuality and pedophilia/pederasty still lingers in the minds of many good people who are ambivalent about gay rights and who are currently inclined to vote against same-sex marriage. Using Ancient Greece in support of gay rights is not only factually wrong, but it causes harm by re-introducing the whole issue of pedophilia and pederasty.

What the example of Ancient Greece actually shows is that gay people are a distinct minority who have always existed in human society but who have also always been discriminated against and oppressed. The cultural and legal situation for gay people did not really begin to improve substantially until the twentieth century.

In this respect, the situation of gay people historically resembles the situation that women have historically faced. Virtually every human society – and certainly all the big, successful human civilizations throughout time – have oppressed women and relegated them to second-class status.

The political and legal rights of women as independent, autonomous citizens have hardly existed since the dawn of civilization. It was only in the twentieth century that this began to change substantially, and women were set on a path to civic equality with men.

Does the fact that women’s political and legal equality did not come about until very, very recently in the course of human history weaken the cause of their equality? Because women have been extremely subservient to men since the beginning of time, does that justify the continuation of their oppression? Was human civilization taking a tremendous risk in the twentieth century by extending legal and political equality to women for the first time in all of human history?

No, of course not. And civilization is not taking a tremendous risk now by beginning the historically unprecedented process of granting political and legal equality to gay people.

Homosexuality is a well-understood phenomenon. Homosexuality and gay people pose no risk to society. Society only benefits by recognizing their equality and by protecting their rights, which includes the right to marry. Gay people have always made tremendous contributions to civilization, and they will make even more when the last vestiges of discrimination against them are removed.

I’ll answer your second question in a while.

charlotte said...

Terrific answer, Edward! I'm still not at all persuaded that we live in extremely homophobic times or that the Republican agenda contributed to Foley's sexual transgressions (an offensive assertion to me.) And I'm not sure why you term ancient Greece "homophobic" when male to male sex was often approved of, even institutionalized, no matter the respective ages, and considering how the poleis were not space colonies in which women were never available for any carnal delights.

BUT, you answered my question as to why show the Greeks as at least ambivalent toward homosexuality, if not hostile to the fullest expression, with convincing reason and passion. As for me, I've supported the (legislated) legalization of gay marriage or civil unions for almost twenty years.

I'm sorry for going back on my word to give the last word to you. Please post at least one more time to claim it back!

ChrisO said...

tcd

Calling people names when you are clearly on the losing side of an argument only makes you look more like an asshole. I said: "In what up-is-down world do you people live, that you can portray e-mails from a 55 year old man asking for a 17 year old boy's picture as anything but cause for alarm? The reason this won't fly is because every parent in America knows what you people are denying. This was a very creepy action."

Then you said: "Seems to me you are accusing Republicans of defending Foley's actions. Those are your words quoted there. Eat them, you liar."

My point, which is clear to anyone who isn't reading the comments in a blind panic because they're on the wrong side of an issue, clearly addressed the argument being made by Republicans that Hastert, when he saw "e-mails from a 55 year old man asking for a 17 year old boy's picture" clearly should have seen that as something to be investigated. Instead, the argument is being made, and somewhat vociferously, that the e-mails look so innocent he shouldn't have had a "cause for alarm." Notice how I repeat my words in hopes that this time your reading comprehension will kick in? Keep trying to portray this as the Democrats accusing Hastert of approving of all of Foley's actions. That way you can take both sides of the argument, and win for once. But the issue is whether Hastert should have shrugged off the e-mails, not whether he approved of Foley stalking pages.

Everyone with a different opinion than yours isn't a liar, you jerk.

tcd said...

ChrisO, Nice try, but I'm not buying your explanation. I think you 're just retrenching now. Whatever. And try taking your own advice. Calling me a jerk does not make your false argument any more true.

Edward said...

Catherine: I apologize for taking so long to answer your second question. I’m going to keep my answer here very short, because I’ve been participating in Ann Althouse’s thread on gay marriage from today.

You blamed me in a post higher up of distorting what you said about Europe. Then you changed your mind, at least in part.

Well, let me tell you, you seriously distorted what I said about the connection between homophobia and pederasty. I never said that “Republicans have caused an extreme homophobia to descend upon the land and thereby caused an increase in pederasty.”

What I said is that the today’s Republican Party is intensely homophobic, but I never said that the Party has been successful in making this entire country extremely homophobic.

They would like to be able to change this country in that way, but they are never going to succeed. The supporters of gay equality are too numerous and to powerful, even if they are not yet a majority of the American population, to allow that to happen.

I actually believe that the U.S. is much less homophobic now than it was when George W. Bush became president. So the Republicans have really failed at their own “gay agenda.”

The one thing the Republican Party has succeeded at doing is that it has succeeded at turning itself into a much more homophobic institution. I think the Republican Party is thoroughly in the grip of the most homophobic evangelicals and fundamentalists.

I think it requires extreme homophobia -- not just mild or ordinary homophobia – to cause so much panic and confusion in the minds of a small number of gay men that they might turn to clandestine pederasty to satisfy their sexual urges.

Even in an extremely homophobic atmosphere, only a small minority of gay men would succumb to the pederasty. I don’t think the number of gay men who would succumb to this is any higher than the number of straight men who, in a desperate situation, would actually try to seduce teenage girls.

I think the Republican Party is so extremely homophobic, and Mark Foley felt so trapped within its structure at the highest levels as a leader of the Party in the House of Representatives, that his thinking and his sense of right and wrong became terribly confused.

A very similar situation has taken place for years within the profoundly homophobic Catholic Church. A certain percentage of the Catholic priests caught in the child sex scandal are probably just terrified and confused gay men. Some of the guilty priests are probably true pedophiles, but many of them are just gay.

Yet the Republican Party and the Catholic Church will make a terrible mistake if they don’t realize that the extreme homophobia that they themselves fostered within their institutions was a contributing cause of these scandals.

However, if they choose to respond to these scandals by becoming even more homophobic than they already are, they are going to pay a severe price before the public, which is actually becoming more enlightened about homosexuality and will be increasingly disgusted by the intolerance and bigotry emanating from these two institutions.