October 2, 2006

Let's talk about sex.

"Former Pages Describe [Rep. Mark] Foley as a Caring Ally," the NYT reports:
Ashley Gallo, a 21-year-old former page who is now a senior at Western Michigan University, said on Sunday that many of her friends had viewed Mr. Foley as one of the few lawmakers who made a real effort to reach out to young people.

“You didn’t have a lot of interaction with the members because most of them treated you like a kid, but he was pretty friendly,” said Ms. Gallo, who served as a page in 2001. “He would talk to people,” she said.

“He would say, ‘Here’s my e-mail address if you want to keep in touch.’ I don’t think anyone thought anything of it. They saw him as a mentor or a reference.”
How sad for a young person to hear that the one adult who was nice to them was actually more cruelly selfish that all the aloof ones. What a harsh lesson! People are cold, and anyone who isn't is out to take advantage of you. Unfriendly is the norm, so you should assume a friendly adult wants sex.

Foley has checked out of Congress (and into rehab -- in that classic plea for sympathy and understanding). But the Foley story maintains its grip. It breaks so soon before the election. How can -- why should? -- Democrats resist doing everything they can to hurt Republicans with this? A good Washington scandal becomes a big swirling whirlpool that excites us onlookers as each new victim topples in and flails. Of course, there's profuse salivating over on the pro-Democrat blogs. Democratic leaders in the House have made their moves:
...Representative Nancy Pelosi of California, the Democratic leader, called on Republican leaders to be questioned under oath by the ethics committee about their handling of the case....

Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the Democratic leader, also called for an investigation by the Justice Department. “The allegations against Congressman Foley are repugnant, but equally as bad is the possibility that Republican leaders in the House of Representatives knew there was a problem and ignored it to preserve a Congressional seat this election year,” Mr. Reid said. The public deserves “a full accounting for this despicable episode,” he added....

“Its been a time bomb from Day 1,” said a Republican strategist who is close to the party’s Congressional leaders and the White House and who was granted anonymity to speak freely about internal party concerns. “Now, it’s sad for the whole House.”

The Democratic National Committee seized on the scandal, sending out a scathing statement that raised pointed questions about Mr. Hastert and other Republican leaders. In bold red type, the dispatch asked: “What did Coach H and his buddies know and when did they know it?”
So it seems in the run-up to the election we won't have to talk about Iraq and terrorism and detainees anymore. Let's talk about sex.

184 comments:

George said...

Shimkus...

Shimkus, the Republican Congressman who oversees the page program, doesn't his name mean 'fool' in Yiddish?

Doyle said...

Jiminy Christmas, Ann.

IT'S NOT ABOUT "SEX"

It's about the Republican leadership knowing that Foley was chasing pages, and not doing anything about it.

It's about them covering for him rather than risking his seat and embarassing the party.

Hastert's clearly lying about having no recollection of being informed, and his call for a DOJ investigation is just a stall tactic.

And since when do you get away with accusing other bloggers of prurient interest in sex?

If you still haven't gotten over Lewinsky-gate ("you need to take what he [Clinton] did seriously!"), you should really brace yourself for Page-gate.

NSC said...

Maybe I am naive (and maybe just cynical), but I don't see this having much of an impact on the election past Foley's seat.

Democrats and the far left that drives them were gonna vote Dem before this happened, just as Republicans were gonna vote Republican, and I don't see many undecided types falling one way or the other based on this. Gas prices have more impact than this any day.

I do wish I had doyle's amazing ability to tell when someone is "clearly lying" based on news reports. I could clean up at carneys for sure.

MadisonMan said...

Will President Bush start looking old again?

One thing is clear: it's so much easier to talk about sex. Iraq is so complicated, so many potential outcomes, so many deaths, so many missed opportunities, so much mismanagement. Even the most uninformed voter can understand the Foley Saga.

Doyle said...

Even the most uninformed voter can understand the Foley Saga.

Except Ann, apparently.

The way you know that Hastert is clearly lying is that Reynolds, and originally Boehner, said they informed him of the emails and subsequent cease-and-desist order to Foley in 2005.

The Hinderaker defense is that Hastert is a busy man and wouldn't remember because it was known that Foley was gay so what's the big deal?

I submit that someone willing to believe that Hastert has no recollection of Foley's past improprieties is a sheep in the finest Republican tradition.

peter hoh said...

Yes, it's about sex. Money scandals sometimes catch the public eye, especially if there are bags of money in the freezer, but nothing really sticks like a sex scandal.

Shanna said...

I just think the sexual proclivities of one Rep are not going to do much one way or the other in this election except maybe lose Foley his seat. If the democrats really try to use this to regain congress it will just prove, yet again, how unserious they are. There is too much going on in the world to talk about this in a campaign! Hopefully they'll resist the urge.

That does suck for the former pages, but maybe it's not that he was friendly with them to get something, maybe he was overly friendly with them and that led him into this situation. That's being charitable, but if I were a former page trying to think better of him, that's what I'd like to think, rather than that he was "more cruelly selfish".

reader_iam said...

People are cold, and anyone who isn't is out to take advantage of you. Unfriendly is the norm, so you should assume a friendly adult wants sex.

Do you mean the lesson they will take, or should take? Your experience or worldview, one that would be useful, or ????

Not a challenge, Ann, either way; it's just that those are an interesting, and even perhaps elliptical, couple of sentences. This is one of those occasions when I'd love to have been inside your mind when you wrote at least that part of the post.

Hmmm.

Too Many Jims said...

“Its been a time bomb from Day 1,”

That is an interesting comment from a Republican. Can what happened on Friday be described as a "time bomb"? Or was Day 1, much earlier?

Doyle said...

I just think the sexual proclivities of one Rep are not going to do much one way or the other in this election except maybe lose Foley his seat.

More people who don't understand the story! I thought it was easy!

This is just another example of Republicans doing anything necessary to preserve their power, even covering for a pervert.

The Republican congress is basically a slush fund for their cronies in the energy, defense, and Indian casino businesses.

There's nothing else there.

MadisonMan said...

Shanna, what you say is true is the Leadership followed through on their knowledge of what was going on. Apparently, they didn't.

Do you expect your leaders to turn a blind eye to this kind of thing? I don't.

Sloanasaurus said...

It's about the Republican leadership knowing that Foley was chasing pages, and not doing anything about it.

Sadly, this is the position Democrats have taken on this issue. It is a smart tact. Unlike Democrats, republicans severly punish their own for being hypocritical on moral principles. It could be enough to get Democrats majorities on election day. It is good partisan ammunition.

Nevertheless, a Democratic majority in Congress put in place by voter's hatred of Bush and temporarily disgust of Mark Foley will be a very weak majority - and everyone will know it including those in Congress. Democrats will be able to do nothing with their thin majority but investigate Bush (maybe not even that) and prepare for the next election. In 2008, Democrats will be without two things: George Bush and Mark Foley.

If Democrats win this November, I actually think the investigations of Bush will help Republicans and will help Bush. I am confident Bush is clean (as the Plame case and his own personality indicate). None of the reporting done by Bush's critics (Woodward et al) indicates that Bush is a parinoid type (like Clinton) that would lead him to problems within his Administration. Thus, any investigations will re-unify Republicans (the immigration issue split Republicans up).

The big down side to the Democratic majority will be the war funding. Bush may have to go up and beg Congress just as Gerry Ford did in 1975. However, politics may make such funding much easier as Democrats would be the ones defending their razor thin majorities.

And... if Democrats do not gain a majority in the House or Senate, it will be one of the greatest political failures in American history - a lot is on the line for the Democratic party this fall.

David said...

Makes me wonder what the Democrats have to hide!

There is no excuse for this behavior. There is no excuse for a coverup unless the underage victim and his parents don't want to pursue the matter.

Wise up Doyle. This problem is endemic to the political 'elite' who don't believe the rules apply to them! If I were the Democratic leadership I would be tossing and turning wondering what disaster is waiting to put them in full spin mode.

In the "be careful what you ask for" column, the democrats could be in as much trouble as the republicans if they sat on the story to make an impact on the elections. You can't accuse the other guy of a cover-up that harms the virtue of a child if you cynically and brazenly manipulate the story for self gain.

Zeb Quinn said...

"How sad for a young person to hear that the one adult who was nice to them was actually more cruelly selfish that all the aloof ones."

He could have been both. Probably was in fact. It was a young woman saying this about him, no?


It's about them covering for him rather than risking his seat and embarassing the party.

Nah. Foley's district is a safe Republican seat. It was going to be occupied by a Republican regardless of whether Foley personally came or went. And it may well continue to be. The seat is that safely Republican. If the leadership really did know about the nature and extent of the problem with Foley --and my guess is that they didn't-- and didn't take appropriate action, look for another reason for that other than because it would "risk his seat." His seat wouldn't have been at risk.

My guess is that the leadership, Hastert, et.al, heard what they regarded as some salacious rumors and believed that even if there were some truth to them Foley had the wherewithall to keep his behavior under control. And they allowed him that.

Fenrisulven said...

The Hinderaker defense is that Hastert is a busy man and wouldn't remember because it was known that Foley was gay so what's the big deal?

The worst is that Hastert gave the "I don't recall" defense. That, in combination with his defense of Jeffords against the FBI, is why he should be replaced.

MadisonMan: it's so much easier to talk about sex...Even the most uninformed voter can understand the Foley Saga.

You seem to be saying even the most uninformed voter will find it easier to talk about sex. But there was no sex. So your comment seems contradictory.

My take, when the Left and the media are done with this story, the uninformed voter will think Foley was molesting interns.

Doyle said...

I guess that's true, peter.

The weakness for underage boys is the sizzle.

The fact that the Republican leadership knew is the steak.

Shanna said...

Do you expect your leaders to turn a blind eye to this kind of thing? I don't.

What should they have done? I'm not saying they behaved correctly, I haven't had a chance to read up on everything in this case, but what could they have done? Do they reprimand members of congress? It doesn't sound like a legal issue. I suppose they could have outted him and reprimanded him in some way, but I'm not honestly sure what mechanisms are in place. I don't think they can fire him, but I guess it would have been a good idea to warn the pages.

If the leaders behaved wrongly, they can be thrown out too, I don't really care all that much for Hastert, but I don't see what that has to do with the vast majority of congressman and senators. I still think Iraq, terrorism, taxes, social security etc. are larger issues than one guy and his relationship with a page.

But I'm sure Foley will be out.

dadmanly said...

Hypocrisy at its finest.

If Dems wnat to make this all about what the GOP leadership knew, lets explore what the Dem leadership knew about their own Dem reprobates.

Can anyone say that Ted Kennedy doesn't have a closet (and garage and basement and attic) full of behaviors that fellow Dems should have called him on?

I say its open season on secrets.

Doyle said...

the democrats could be in as much trouble as the republicans if they sat on the story to make an impact on the elections

I agree that they would be equally culpable if they had evidence and sat on it.

But is there any reason to think they did (or would have the discipline to)?

Doyle said...

Shanna -

He resigned immediately. Brush up on this, will ya?

SteveR said...

I'm not naive enough to believe that if the shoe were on the other foot this would not be happening, but its getting silly. Whenever any news (or even some unsourced book by Woodward)that can be spun against Bush, the administration, Republicans in Congress, it sets off a very predictable round of the same old faces saying the same old things.

Is this all they have to offer?

Fenrisulven said...

He resigned immediately.

Unlike Studds, Frank, Condit, or Clinton.

Too Many Jims said...

Dadmanly,

"If Dems wnat to make this all about what the GOP leadership knew, lets explore what the Dem leadership knew about their own Dem reprobates."

Fine but I never want to hear another Republican say they are better than Dems on such matters then.

Fenrisulven said...

Fine but I never want to hear another Republican say they are better than Dems on such matters then.

We are. It was two Republicans who cornered Hastert on this.

Shanna said...

He resigned immediately. Brush up on this, will ya?
Ah, well that's that.

I just don't think this is that big of a deal. They guy was 16, apparently there wasn't even any sex...so what are we left with? Some inappropriate IM's.

I don't want to "brush up" on this because I don't think it matters all that much. This is the classic "dead girl or live boy" salacious political bullshit and it has nothing to do with the issues.

And to my mind, if the democrats want me to think differently of the Republicans because some leadership possibly "looked the other way" from salacious IM's, well, I just don't think they have all that much credibility. (see Clinton, Frank, Condit etc..). Clearly they don't have a problem with congressman, senators, presidents going after their much younger employees.

MadisonMan said...

Unlike Studds, Frank, Condit, or Clinton.

Did the House Leadership know about things a year in advance with Studds, Frank, and Condit and turn a blind eye? Also, as far as I can recall, those three (Clinton too) were not chasing minors.

Too Many Jims said...

"It was two Republicans who cornered Hastert on this."

And he is still speaker!

AJ Lynch said...

I feel there is a real anti-incumbent undercurrent out there. And this will add fuel to it so we may see some surprising upsets.

And I say so what? Would the republicans really miss guys like Hastert? I sure won't.

Fenrisulven said...

/here's the contrast, via piratelt_6

Reps. Dan Crane (R-Ill.) and Gerry Studds (D-Mass.)

"The House ethics committee on July 14, 1983, announced that Crane and Studds had sexual relationships with teenage congressional pages – Crane with a 17-year-old female in 1980, Studds with a 17-year-old male in 1973. Both admitted the charges that same day, and Studds acknowledged he was gay. The committee voted to reprimand the two, but a back-bench Georgia Republican named Newt Gingrich argued that they should be expelled. The full House voted on July 20 instead to censure the two, the first time that ever happened for sexual misconduct. Crane, married and the father of six, was tearful in his apology to the House, while Studds refused to apologize. Crane's conservative district voted him out in 1984, while the voters in Studds's more liberal district were more forgiving. Studds won reelection in 1984 with 56 percent of the vote, and continued to win until he retired in 1996."

TWM said...

I submit that someone willing to believe that Hastert has no recollection of Foley's past improprieties is a sheep in the finest Republican tradition.

I submit that someone willing to assume a Republican cover-up every time one Republican does something wrong or stupid is a sheep in the finest Democratic tradition.

Sloanasaurus said...

Unlike Studds, Frank, Condit, or Clinton.

What about William Jefferson, he is caught on camera taking a bribe, yet he is running for re-election. How is the democratic leadership able to reconcile that? Or Alcee Hastings, a convicted felon for perjury who was removed as a judge by the Senate (how often does that happen). Yet he gets re-elected

Doyle said...

There is no excuse for a coverup unless the underage victim and his parents don't want to pursue the matter.

Take the hook out of your mouth.

What about the parents of the pages who still had to work for/around him?

The "respect for the parents wishes" is garbage, and it contradicts their assertion that there wasn't anything to investigate.

Sloanasaurus said...

Why hasn't ABC reported the name of the 17 year old IM recipient. After all ABC got the IM messages from this individual. He is an adult now. What kind of reporting is that? Why is his identity being protected?

Doyle said...

twm -

I only assume a Republican coverup in this case because they (except Hastert, for the time being) admit to having known about Foley for months or years.

The 2001-2002 page class was also warned about Foley, but just the ones who were sponsored by Republican reps.

Doyle said...

Sloanasaurus: Unlike Democrats, republicans severly punish their own for being hypocritical on moral principles.

...as vividly illustrated by their covering for Foley as he served as co-chairman of the Committee on Missing and Exploited Children!

Syl said...

You know, we're talking about different things here.

There are emails.

There are IMs.

The emails were known before. There's really nothing much to them. They were brought to some people's attention way back when, but the kid's family didn't want to press it and wanted their names kept out of it.

So Foley was told to be careful and not to even give a hint of impropriety.

That was then.

This is now.

These emails were posted on a website. Foley's opponent called for an investigation. ABC's the Note got wind of it and posted. Then someone handed ABC those IM's. Word got out about the IM's and Foley resigned.

The IM's have the stuff in them. Not the emails.

As far as I know, all Hastert knew about was the emails.

TWM said...

I only assume a Republican coverup in this case because they (except Hastert, for the time being) admit to having known about Foley for months or years.

Putting aside the possibility of a Republican cover-up (which I do not believe so call me a sheep), where were the Deomcrats on this? Are we to believe that not one Democrat leader in the house had heard of this situation? Did they wait until now to bring it out for political purposes or did they not call attention to it because of their own sorrid history of sexual scandal in the House.

Heh, there's plenty of conspiracy theories for both sides.

paul a'barge said...

"How can -- why should? -- Democrats resist doing everything they can to hurt Republicans"

Barney Frank.

Bill Clinton.

Gerry Studds


That DHIMMIcRAT who screwed a page, refused to resign, turned his back on the House when they rebuked him, and ran for reelection over and over until he retired.

That's 4 and counting.

Doyle said...

syl -

Thank you for laying out Hastert's case. That is indeed the crucial distinction made in his request for an investigation, and his attempt to make it an issue of the explicit IMs (which the leadership can plausibly deny knowledge of) rather than the "over friendly" emails (which they can't).

All I can say is it hinges on people believing that there wasn't sufficient reason to notify people (esp. on the page board) about the email incident.

The emails were not explicit, but they did include a request for a "pic", which I think you'll agree is a red flag.

They also thought it was serious enough to put Foley on notice, and order him to cut off contact with that page.

As I've said before, the deferring to the parents wishes is an incredibly weak explanation for why they didn't investigate Foley, and there's now evidence they knew about him as early as 2001.

I'm not sure the intense focus on the truly shocking IMs will exculpate Hastert and Co., but it is certainly their best bet.

Greenwald has (much) more.

charlotte said...

Syl,

I've seem conflicting reports. Do you know whether the explicit IMs were with former pages who were out of high school or with sixteen year-old/s still serving as pages?

MadisonMan said...

Are we to believe that not one Democrat leader in the house had heard of this situation?

Yes. The relevant Democrat that shares oversight of the Page Program with Rep. Shimkus (R-IL) was not told. I don't recall his name, but he's from Michigan.

Why would the Republican leadership tell the Democratic Leadership about this anyway?

Too Many Jims said...

"There's really nothing much to them [the e-mails]."

I agree with this. But given they were so innocuous, why would the kid think the request for the picture was "Sick"?

"Are we to believe that not one Democrat leader in the house had heard of this situation?" That is a very good and fair question. Though cutting the Dem representative responsible for the page program out of the investigation suggests there were attempts to hide the conduct from dems.

Joseph Hovsep said...

I think the angle the Dems are putting on this story is implausible. If the Republican leadership really had reason to think Foley was dangerous, I have to believe they would have taken action to get him to quietly retire early and not wait for this story to blow up a month before elections. But as implausible as it is, I think the story has legs because its a sex scandal and everyone loves a sex scandal and because its got lots of juicy bits of irony like Foley's moralizing criticism of Clinton's intern scandal, Foley's role as chair of the House Caucus on Missing and Exploited Children, Foley's statements and legislative work on internet child sex predators. On the merits, the story should not hurt the GOP leadership, but its just too good a story for partisan Democrats not to exploit and for the public not to eat up.

Sloanasaurus said...

...as vividly illustrated by their covering for Foley as he served as co-chairman of the Committee on Missing and Exploited Children!

I guess I don't really get the Hastert/Republican leadership conspiracy. Should the house leadership have published the emails? Who owned the emails? Could the parents of the 17 year old prohibit their publication? Should they have turned the emails over to Pelosi?

What Congressman on the Hill will ever even directly talk to a page again? I sure wouldn't - in case you would be accused of impropriety. An unfounded accusation is enough to cause trouble.

The Congress should abandon the page program. It does more damage than good. Hastert should announce this tomorrow.

The MinuteMan said...

FWIW, the Times quote from former page Matthew Loraditch is much less incendiary that the ABC News treatment of their chat with Loraditch.

ABC News:

GOP Staff Warned Pages About Foley in 2001
...

A Republican staff member warned congressional pages five years ago to watch out for Congressman Mark Foley, according to a former page.

Matthew Loraditch, a page in the 2001-2002 class, told ABC News he and other pages were warned about Foley by a supervisor in the House Clerk's office.

NY Times:

Matthew Loraditch, who worked as a page with Ms. Gallo and Mr. McDonald in 2001 and 2002, said a supervisor had once casually mentioned that Mr. Foley “was odd” and that he later saw sexually explicit text messages that Mr. Foley had sent to two former pages after they left the program.

But Mr. Loraditch said he was never warned by program supervisors to stay away from him. “He was friendly,” said Mr. Loraditch, who maintains a Web site for alumni and attends Towson University in Maryland. “He would talk to us more than some other members would.”


Maybe a third news service can talk to him for a best twoout of three.

Tom Maguire

Doyle said...

On the merits, the story should not hurt the GOP leadership

What about them knowing Foley went after pages and not doing anything about it?

I mean how far into the sand do your collective bulletheads go?

PatCA said...

As for the emails, bloggers are now speculating (and demonstrating) how some of them are altered.

http://passionateamerica.blogspot.com/

thought said...

It's ridiculous to assert that Hastert or any Republicans in leadership knew about this a long time ago, as early as 2005.

First, if so, they would have gotten rid of him last year, where there would have been no impact on the elections.

Second, look at it from Hastert's point of view. All he hears is that Foley sent an overly friendly email to a page. Now consider that in Wash DC there's always rumors and accusations flying, most of a ridiculous nature. Probably moreso with Foley and all of the rumors about him being gay.

Plus, there's the fact that the parents don't seem to have an issue, and ask not to have the matter pursued further.

So for someone like Hastert, it's easy to not get overly reactive about it. It's easy to chalk it up to the highly charged atmosphere in DC.

Paul Zrimsek said...

Thank you for laying out Hastert's case. That is indeed the crucial distinction made in his request for an investigation, and his attempt to make it an issue of the explicit IMs (which the leadership can plausibly deny knowledge of) rather than the "over friendly" emails (which they can't).

Number of previous messages from Doyle about this "easy-to-understand" issue: 9.

Number of previous messages from Doyle in which the crucial distinction is mentioned: 0.

Doyle said...

It's ridiculous to assert that Hastert or any Republicans in leadership knew about this a long time ago, as early as 2005.

Boehner (Majority Leader), Reynolds (NRCC), Shimkus, Alexander, and about a half-dozen others have acknowledged they knew in 2005 that Foley had sent inappropriate emails to pages.

Given that, how ridiculous can it be to assert as much?

It's easy to chalk it up to the highly charged atmosphere in DC.

You folks are priceless!

Joseph Hovsep said...

Doyle, Why be such a jerk? Bulletheads?

I'm personally all for the Dems taking control of the House and if that comes from making hay out of a sex scandal, so be it. I just don't see from the evidence presented so far that the GOP leadership clearly did anything wrong given that there was never any sexual contact and that the earlier communications they knew of were ambiguous. Especially now that so much of our informal communication is recorded electronically in perpetuity, I don't think a vaguely suggestive email written by a congressman to a page is grounds for cracking down on him. And I think they had every political motivation to deal swiftly with that kind of thing so as to avoid scandal, so I don't understand why they would not take action if they had the slightest indication that he was dangerous.

Doyle said...

Do your own homework, Paul.

John in Nashville said...

Republicans all over the country have scored political points by exploiting the antipathy that many people hold toward homosexuality. They are now justly reaping the whirlwind. Live by pandering to homophobia; die therefrom.

BTW, Foley has now checked into an alcohol treatment facility. Folks like that Gross Old Pervert give strong drink a bad name.

If I were a Republican, I would be very unhappy that the Republican leadership did not strongarm Foley to retire rather than seek re-election or, failing that, recruit and support a primary opponent. The Republican leadership is clearly complicit in his inappropriate behavior.

MadisonMan said...

sloan, if I were a parent of a page who was improperly contacted by a Congresscritter, and parents of a previous page knew of the Congresscritter's activity, I'd certainly be wondering why they didn't try to shield others' children.

From what the NYTimes article said, Foley was one of the few who were nice to Pages, who apparently are all but invisible to other members -- although I can't believe the Wisconsin Reps aren't at least polite to them. So I doubt Congressmen/women will change their behavior over this.

Joe Baby said...

Wouldn't surprise me if larger fish than Foley were caught up in this.

But excuse me if I don't leap to convict someone (i.e. Hastert) b/c of early reports and NYTimes articles.(remember their Iraq coverage?)

As the cries from the left shriek ever louder -- "They knew! They knew!" -- I recall the old phrase "what did they know and when did they know it."

With politics having so much in common with poker, it's unfortunate that Democrats always overplay their hand. See Alec Baldwin's entry at HuffPo.

thought said...

The assertion of this coverup is ridiculous, because there was no reason for such a coverup.

If the GOP leadership in 2005 knew of Foley's problem, why not get rid of him then, when it would cause no lasting political damage, and before the 2006 election season?

In short, there was no reason to try to hide Foley's sins in 2005. They could have gotten rid of him then with zero lasting political cost.

If anyone had a reason to delay introducing this information, it was the Democrats and their allies.

Joe Baby said...

And John in Nashville has a point -- silly of Foley to try the ol' alcoholic, finally-getting-help ploy. That only works for Hollywood and the Kennedy family.

Unless Foley is going to go the whole "I'm a Gay American" route and now campaign for gay marriage, he's toast.

Sloanasaurus said...

Boehner (Majority Leader), Reynolds (NRCC), Shimkus, Alexander, and about a half-dozen others have acknowledged they knew in 2005 that Foley had sent inappropriate emails to pages.

The emails only appear inappropriate now after we have seen them in the context of the IMs. A request for a picture, does seem odd, however, it is not on its face inappropriate.

If you were Denny Hastert should you assume that Foley is gay and was requesting the picture because he wanted to have sexual relations with the page? Maybe so - its good to be safe. Should we assume that gay scout leaders will make sexual advances towards their scouts - maybe so. Its good to be safe.

altoids1306 said...

Foley is fair game. Republicans bombed Clinton for all he was worth, now it's the Democrat's turn. The irony is particularly sweet, since Clinton's actions were particularly damaging vis-a-vis Democratic advocacy of feminism, and Foley vis-a-vis gay rights.

Any investigations that come out of this mess will force more government transparency. Just as media prosecution the Valerie Plame leaks led to the criminalization of leakers, this will lead to less privacy protections for Congressmen.

Both developments, I believe, are good for the national interest, and should be encouraged.

Sloanasaurus said...

So I doubt Congressmen/women will change their behavior over this.

You have to be joking. This will send a chill through Congress. Congress should end the program. It's too easy now to make an accusation. Besides, why not hire real employees for these jobs. When I worked on the hill, the pages seemed from a by-gone era. A bunch of stuckup pimply kids. Its a worthless program and should be shut down.

Doyle said...

The emails only appear inappropriate now after we have seen them in the context of the IMs.

False. The kid complained that they were "sick sick sick" and they interviewed Foley about them and told him to cut off contact.

buck turgidson said...

Let's remember what the pedophile Catholic priest scandal was all about--it was not just about a number (and a very large number at that!) of priests who serially buggered kids (mostly boys) for generations. It was about a complete and thorough breakdown of the supervisory capacity of the Church.

The Foley scandal is similar, even if he is the lone representative of this particular problem. There is already evidence cited of pages at least as far back as 2001 knowing about Foley and other pages hearing warning from Republican staff in 2003 to stay away from Foley. It is simply implausible to accept any claim that dismisses broad-based suspicions that existed prior to the 2005 incident, and if everyone knew about Foley's problems with reality this far back, the question absolutely must be asked, "What were they thinking?"

We know what they were thinking--they wanted to protect a seat in the House for the GOP. They tried to do the same for Duke Cunningham, for Bob Ney, for Tom Delay. Now they are still trying to do the same for Lewis, Doolittle and Pombo, despite plentiful and convincing evidence of their thorough corruption. So what's one pedophile in this protectionist scheme?

Well, it means a lot. Let's remember something that some pages forget:

“You didn’t have a lot of interaction with the members because most of them treated you like a kid, but he was pretty friendly,” said Ms. Gallo, who served as a page in 2001.

This sounds really stupid, because, well, pages are children! And, as children, they should be protected from creeps like Foley by those who should know better--Shimkus, Reynolds, Hastert, Boehner. They failed in this simple task. They failed because this is not something that they care about--they have other concerns with higher priority.

This is really sad. We should realize that the pages represent rather vulnerable population--they are away from home for 18 months, some finding themselves in that position for the first time. And, irrespectively of their legal status as non-consenting or consenting minors or legal adults, they are, after all children.

So Foley is not a scandal--Foley is a problem and now he's a Justice Department headache. The scandal is the Republican leadership, who pragmatically chose to do the same thing as Cardinal Law--sweep a sex offender under the rug.

If Hastert does not loose his leadership post of this, it's a crime. Of course, this may not matter--Foley story alone may be worth two-three Congressional seats across the country, which just might hand the House to Democrats. Come to think of it, Hastert's lead in his own district is rather tenuous, thanks to a graft scandal of his own.

With three former White House aides now in jail, Scooter Libby up on charges, two Congressmen now in jail, with at least a half-dozen (including a Senator and a now-former Majority Leader) under investigation, with Abramoff, MZM, and, finally, Foley, one begins to wonder if there are any Republicans who are neither corrupt nor criminally inclined.

chuck b. said...

For your retro pleasure: remember Bob Bauman? Same scandal, different time. No e-mail in 1980. Maybe Foley can find work as an offshore money manager like Bauman did.

Too Many Jims said...

"A request for a picture, does seem odd, however, it is not on its face inappropriate." Then why did the kid think it was a "sick" request? Should Shimkus (at least) have investigated why the kid thought it was sick rather than just taking Foley's word that it was harmless?

thought said...

The only thing that any Republicans knew about in 2005 were some very vague allegations about Foley's emails being overly friendly.

Now keep in mind that this is in the town where some make the assertion that 9-11 was the product of a govt. conspiracy and an inside job.

All political leaders hear on a constant basis all sorts of ridiculous rumors going around.

Add to this the fact that the page's parents instructed them to go no further. That's huge. If the parents tell you that there's nothing wrong, what can you do?

So in this context, these GOP leaders have to make a judgement call. In hindsight, their judgement was wrong, but there clearly was no coverup.

buck turgidson said...

I should also add that it is only fitting that we now get a pre-election sex scandal, since sex is the Republicans' favorite topic.

Of course, it is only too easy to see how the moralizing Christo-fasists will try to turn it to their advantage--see, you just can't trust gays!

First, it seems that whoever outed Foley as homosexual during his abortive Senate run was mistaken. Foley is not homosexual, nor is he technically a pedophile. His attraction seems to be to post-pubescent teenage boys, which, like almost every paraphiliac condition, must have a special name.

In Ancient Greece--another favorite reference of conservative intellectuals--this would have been considered normal behavior. Man-on-boy sex was considered to be a part of the mentorship process in this cradle of Western Civilization. So that must be it! Foley is a defender of Western Civilization against the heathens of multiculturalism!

But whatever he is, he's not gay.

Fritz said...

Sloan,
...but not for terrorists. Foley should have been water-boarded to get to the truth. The Party of Smut, that only yesterday called girls "young women" having the right to abortion without parental notification and turned a blind eye to a sexual abuser in a civil rights case, giving us another example of 20/20 hindsite, Six Sigma righteousness!

Paul Zrimsek said...

Do your own homework, Paul.

Sound advice for all of us. If you don't do your homework, you won't know what facts Doyle is conveniently leaving out.

Pogo said...

When My Side can't keep his fly zipped, He's Only Human.

When the Other Side is caught with his pants down, it's evidence They Are Pure Evil.

Meh.

Clinton, Kennedy, Studds, Frank. All were treated differently than Foley, though all misused their office for sex with subordinates.

I am heartened, nevertheless, that hypocricy is still the homage that vice pays to virtue. People are still shamed by this behavior, and it speaks of cultural norms that I feared were long extinct. Maybe standards persist after all.

So the Democrats can enjoy while Foley crawls away. The crisis of Inappropriate Sex will come around to them soon enough.

I'm just glad this still bothers people.

Doyle said...

Paul-

Do you know the distinction between a fact and a distinction?

Only in Bushworld could the later discovery of separate, and horrifyingly explicit messages between Foley and teenage boys be taken as a positive sign for the guys who kept his problem quiet.

Henry said...

I figured the Catholic Priest parallel would come up.

Until we learn otherwise, there's no evidence that Foley buggered anyone. He appears guilty of hypocrisy, moral folly, and possibly some kind of harrassment. He's a disgrace. The Republican leadership should take a hit for this -- he was on their team; he was their responsibility.

But keep some context. As Buck pointed out, he is not a pedophile -- pedophiles are aroused by prepubuscent children. (Buck -- the term you want is hebephile.) As far as we know, he is not a rapist or even a molester.

He's no worse than Kevin Spacey's character in American Beauty. Anyone consider Lester a sympathetic guy? Why?

Anyway, good riddance to the creep.

Sloanasaurus said...

It's obvious Foley is gay. Perhaps he and Barney Frank had a liason... oh wait, Barney was busy paying a prostitute for that....Maybe he was using the cash he had hidden in his refrigerator... oh wait that is Cong. Jefferson, now running for re-election in Louisana.

pettyfog said...

I just love the Dem-sided comments on this...

Selective memory at it's finest. But if you call them on a specific, they'll claim "That's different... that was a consenting adult homosexual pimp he had in his house".. or something else for someone else.

Ask the next righteous Dem if he's willing to face up to a full investigation on just WHO might have had the facts and damning evidence 9 months ago... and who waited till now to release them?

And why.. if he's a danger and embarrassment to the office, why wait to fill the papers?

vnjagvet said...

If I were Hastert, I would hire Gary Studds as an advisor. He sure knew how to stay elected despite having sex with pages of the same sex.

Eli Blake said...

Unfriendly is the norm, so you should assume a friendly adult wants sex.

I don't know if I would go that far. For one thing it could discourage people from talking to a member of the clergy (who, despite a handful of well publicized cases, are in general very good about helping young people.) Also, in my own job (which is the same as yours, Ann) I meet a lot of young people who are very bright and who I am happy to help out-- but that doesn't mean I am interested in anything other than helping them out. I take it from what you wrote that you are unfriendly and aloof then from your students (I'm pretty sure you're not the other end of what you wrote).

Paul Zrimsek said...

Have it your own way, Doyle. You didn't omit to mention a crucial fact because you're a mendacious hack; you omitted to mention a crucial distinction because you're a mendacious hack.

Doyle said...

I didn't mention the distinction because it's BOGUS!

It's just Hastert's Hail Mary to try to justify not doing anything about Foley.

I wouldn't lie to you, Paul.

Ann Althouse said...

"People are cold, and anyone who isn't is out to take advantage of you. Unfriendly is the norm, so you should assume a friendly adult wants sex." That's intended to be read in context as the sad message Ashley Gallo was left to perceive, not a big generalization of mine. Though I do note that adults might feel compelled to be aloof and cold to the young out of fear that friendliness is suspect.

Doyle said...

At a minimum, adults would do well not to ask kids to "measure it."

Eli Blake said...

Also, it appears from your post that you believe that the Democrats are picking on 'poor Denny Hastert' for political gain.

Well, the problem is that Hastert himself has pulled the grandmother of all flip-flops, when in the space of a few hours he went from ignoring this problem to trying to take the lead in the righteous crusade, insisting on criminal charges in a futile attempt to get it under control by heading it off.

As I wrote in my own blog post on this linked here,

I fear for the speaker's health. Within a few hours he has gone from not thinking this was a serious problem to calling it 'an obscene breach of trust' and demanding a criminal probe. With a flip-flop that fast, it would be like throwing a car that is going sixty miles an hour into reverse gear. Aside from risking the destruction of his vehicle (in this case any credibility the House Republican leadership has left post-DeLay), Hastert risks a severe case of whiplash.

Republicans can complain all you want about Democrats wanting to score political points on this, but coming from a party that only a few years ago tried to impeach the President of the United States for lying about sex with a consenting adult, this is like a juvenile delinquent who has been out tagging the neighborhood with grafitti complaining because his car got a parking lot ding.

And let's not forget either that it was Mark Foley's decision to resign. Had he wanted to fight it, most likely he would have gotten a censure, as was the case with Dan Crane (R-IL) and Gerry Studds (D-MA) who were both censured in 1983 for having sexual relations with underage Congressional pages.

Ron said...

Solution: Say that Foley was very Clintonian except that he knew enough to resign.

demosophist said...

Was there actually any sex involved? At this point it appears that there wasn't, just the suggestion or description. Unlike, well... you know who, who "didn't have sex with that woman" because he didn't fellacio a sexual act.

And why is it that a lot of the people talking about this don't seem to know the difference between emails and instant messages? Is it possible their knowledge is a bit limitted in other areas as well?

Let's wait and see. If it turns out that there was no actual sexual activity, and not even any suggestive messages until after the pages were no longer in Washington, this might be a tempest in a teacup.

Not that there's nothing wrong with that. But if the Dems overplay in they'll not only fail to capitalize, but might even cause a backlash.

MadisonMan said...

pettyfog, I don't know if I'm a righteous Democrat, but I'd be happy to see the investigation you suggest. Clarity in government is important.

johnstodderinexile said...

Watching the above debate, I conclude:

-- The potential political impact of this scandal will be the supression of votes from Republican family-values voters who will see Hastert and the leadership as massive hypocrites. You could make the case that Hastert was "condoning" precisely the kind of gay behavior that homophobes fear most -- that gay men are looking to exploit and convert confused teenage boys. That can't be very comforting to the type of voter who worries about gays more than Islamo-fascists.

-- A secondary impact will be to suppress the votes of pro-business and pro-military Republicans who think the GOP leadership exemplifies the kind of hard-headed, no-nonsense management style they favor. Clearly Hastert is a terrible manager. This case is only the latest manifestation of incompetence by a leader who is swayed by a misplaced compassion for his charges. The reaction to the Jefferson search warrant, his resistance to any efforts to constrain pork-barrel spending are of a piece with his response to this scandal. An intelligent manager would have seen instantly the human as well as political implications of having a guy like Foley at large in a sea of teenage boys, and would have laid down the hammer. (Speaking of hammers, where was Tom DeLay in all this?)

-- This issue won't make a difference to issue-oriented voters. If your big fear is that the Democrats will take over Congress and then tie up the GWOT in knots of Church-Committee style "oversight," then this scandal won't speak to you.

-- This issue is also dangerous for Democrats, in two ways. First, it gives them a jolt of completely unearned confidence. The 2006 campaign is failing, and they need to do a lot more than dance around this scandal to reverse the slide. Secondly, as many have pointed out, there are lots of examples of Democratic leadership also condoning outrageous behavior. Monica Lewinsky, though legally an adult, was powerless compared with the man who took her as his concubine, and then when he belatedly became afraid of getting caught, showed her the way of the world by orchestrating a cover up in the classic way -- leaning on a rich friend to find her a new job in another city, and uh, please don't call me anymore. There is surely a treasure trove of quotes defining this behavior as "private," and therefore completely beyond the reach of anyone's judgment but Hillary's and God's.

After this scandal, nobody in Washington looks good. But wait. They didn't look good before it either.

Eli Blake said...

OK, Ann. Sorry to have questioned that. I know better, if you were that aloof you wouldn't have this blog (which I see a number of people on who identify themselves as UW students).

Joe Baby said...

Eli,

Democrats always telling me they're taking the high road, but it sure looks like the same road w/ a lot of smokin' going on.

And was the Clinton thing just about lying re: consentual sex w/ an adult? Susan Webber Wright (Clinton appointee) would likely disagree.

Eli Blake said...

john stodder in exile:

I don't see where it is failing. People want a change and Democrats are ready to offer it. And if the charge being made in districts in 'red' states is that a vote for the Democrat is a vote to make 'San Francisco liberal Nancy Pelosi speaker,' Democrats now have the same argument they can make in competitive 'blue' districts (such as Connecticut, where traditional Democrats who may be voting for popular Republican Jodi Rell for governor and independent Joe Lieberman for the Senate but don't want to be perceived as supporting George Bush by voting this way all the way across the top of the ticket are already threatening the states' three GOP Congresspersons. Now Democrats can add to that the claim that a vote for Rob Simmons, Chris Shays or Nancy Johnson is 'a vote for Denny Hastert for speaker.' This cuts both ways.

And here is how it really hurts the Republicans. We now have 36 days left before the election. Before this broke, we had forty. Republicans have to seize the news agenda and make up some serious ground in a hurry if they don't want to lose a bunch of seats (with losing control a possibility) and the news being dominated by a scandal involving a Congressman has just cost them 10% of the time they had to do it.

MadisonMan said...

After this scandal, nobody in Washington looks good. But wait. They didn't look good before it either.

(laughing). You got that right. Republicans claim they are for fighting the GWOT -- but behavior in this case suggests they're more interested in fighting to keep their jobs. Democrats do the exact same thing.

Eli Blake said...

joe baby:

The law defines an adult as 18. That may or may not be the best age-- I've known 14 year olds who were mature enough to know exactly what they were doing and I've known 30 year olds who were completely naive about anything relating to sex.

However, the fact of the matter is that Monica Lewinsky was 22. The last time I checked,

22 > 18.

Hence she was an adult.

She also was consenting. There is no allegation that whatever happened happened by force. Do I admire what the President did, or think it was appropriate? No, I don't. But it was in no way, shape or form a 'high crime or misdemeanor.' And, if you will read my post a few up from here, you will see where I wrote that Foley chose to resign, he could have fought it and probably been censured. History shows that Congressmen can in fact survive censure over this sort of thing if they have a good enough record of constituent service (Studds in particular was re-elected several times after he was censured because the fishing industry in his district knew that he delivered for them in Washington.)

Fenrisulven said...

I guess I don't really get the Hastert/Republican leadership conspiracy. Should the house leadership have published the emails?

If they had, Dolyle and his ilk would be castigating the GOP for being homophobes.

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

Doyle, check this out:
Interesting read if nothing else..

Revenge of the Interns?.

Paddy O. said...

I'm reminded with this of the flap with Governor Arnold a little while back in which he was accused of doing some rather unseemly things to and with various women.

He is currently enjoying a double digit lead and will win re-election.

Why didn't it tear him down? Because once it came to light he confronted it, apologized, said he was wrong and moved on.

The scandals like this which keep traction are those that are continually denied. Had Clinton said right off there was infidelity he wouldn't have been impeached.

It is the denial that causes the problems. The Democrats seem to have a harder time understanding this and tend to stand by those folks under suspicion. Republicans, once everything is in the open, cut their losses.

What will matter for the next month isn't what Foley or Hastert did or didn't do. It will be about what they do now. Foley resigned. The FBI is called in. There will be a criminal investigation. No one will try to defend Foley and everyone will show the appropriate outrage.

Americans are quite forgiving about personal foibles and sins. What they do not forgive is refusing to own up to personal foibles and sins.

That got Nixon and Clinton in trouble. Arnold admitted, moved on, and will continue to lead California.

If in November the Republicans show how the dealt with this thoroughly and honestly I suspect there won't be any backlash. Everyone will be watching what they do in October however.

Fenrisulven said...

She also was consenting. There is no allegation that whatever happened happened by force.

Clarify: No sexual relations by Foley.

But Monica was also a subordinate employee, like the Foley intern [if indeed he was propositioned before he left his job in DC].

Fritz said...

Eli,
You have it bad, you actually think people are going to buy your narrative. Had Foley not resigned, he would have been expelled. This is the Party of Principle not the cafeteria Constitutionalist Democratic Party.

Fenrisulven said...

coming from a party that only a few years ago tried to impeach the President of the United States for lying about sex with a consenting adult

Thats a distortion. Under the 1994 Crime Bill, victims of sexual harassment have a right to question all former employees of the perp, to determine a pattern and history of sexual predation. Monica was only relevant b/c if she [intern] had a sexual relationship with Clinton [her boss], Paula Jones had a right to discover if Lewinksy was also coerced.

Consider: Foley's intern sues. Former interns of Foley are questioned to establish any pattern of sexual predation by Foley. Foley and an 18 yr old intern lie. It would not be lying about a consensual affair, it would be obstruction of justice and perjury in a lawsuit to determine sexual harassment.

Doyle said...

Thanks George. That is interesting.

Fenris:

Newt called. He wants his ludicrous "gay bashing" defense back.

johnstodderinexile said...

Eli,

People want a change and Democrats are ready to offer it.

My concern about the 2006 Democratic campaign is that the party has been derelict in defining what that change would be. Given that we are at war, I think that's a fatally stupid omission. Bush and the GOP are known quantities, for better and for worse. The Democrats message hasn't evolved much from what Kerry offered in 2004, which I would summarize as: "I would do the same thing, but differently." To the question, "what would you do," Kerry and this year's crop of Democrats all come back with answers that start like this: "Well, I'll tell you what I wouldn't do..." followed by a litany of Bush missteps.

It didn't work in '04, and despite Bush's drop in the polls, I predict it won't work this year.

I also question the competence of a party that has made such a priority of electing Ned Lamont to replace...a Democrat! To think that helps the Democrats take the Senate is fuzzy math.

But we'll see. The 2006 campaign is a race to the bottom. Whoever gets there first, wins! God help us.

MadisonMan said...

One person that this scandal seems to help is Bush. Woodward's unflattering book is just out, and all the news on that -- for example, Condi's forgetfulness about a key meeting -- is drowned out by SexSexSex. For an administration that labels itself as useful in the GWOT, having such news of ineptitude lost in a general sex din must be good. When the Foley scandal has played out, will the Media go back to Woodward's book? No.

The question becomes: will this minor sex scandal (and let's be real -- that's what it is -- [minor not relating to the young man's age, btw]) suppress turnout in any key areas?

johnstodderinexile said...

Eli,

People want a change and Democrats are ready to offer it.

My concern about the 2006 Democratic campaign is that the party has been derelict in defining what that change would be. Given that we are at war, I think that's a fatally stupid omission. Bush and the GOP are known quantities, for better and for worse. The Democrats message hasn't evolved much from what Kerry offered in 2004, which I would summarize as: "I would do the same thing, but differently." To the question, "what would you do," Kerry and this year's crop of Democrats all come back with answers that start like this: "Well, I'll tell you what I wouldn't do..." followed by a litany of Bush missteps.

It didn't work in '04, and despite Bush's drop in the polls, I predict it won't work this year.

I also question the competence of a party that has made such a priority of electing Ned Lamont to replace...a Democrat! To think that helps the Democrats take the Senate is fuzzy math.

But we'll see. The 2006 campaign is a race to the bottom. Whoever gets there first, wins! God help us.

Michael Babin said...

Okay Doyle, you've convinced me. There's no way I'm going to vote for Dennis Hastert in November!

Oh, wait. I don't live in his district. Hmmm. Guess I'll still be voting for my original choice then. :-)

Jon Cohen said...

coming from a party that only a few years ago tried to impeach the President of the United States for lying about sex with a consenting adult

Sorry, it was for lying under oath. Doesn't matter what it was about what. And now the democratic intelligentsia wants every card-carrying GOP member to testify under oath what they knew and when they knew it. Damn civil liberties, there's a dirty IM message out there! The dem's are so upset about eavesdropping on terrorists, maybe if Bush said he was going after dirty IM messages it would be OK with the ACLU.

Yeah, this will help the dems, because they would be soooo much better at protecting us from dirty IM messages.

JM Hanes said...

Can any of the folks who are so quick to tar Hastert for not investigating Foley tell me precisely what they think such an investigation would look like? All I can picture are the howls of protest and political indignation should the Speaker start demanding access to other Congressmen's computers and personal correspondence.

buck turgidson said...

Pogo,

I know you have a problem with facts, but this??

Clinton, Kennedy, Studds, Frank. All were treated differently than Foley, though all misused their office for sex with subordinates.


Let's see. Let's ignore the fact that none were accused of inappropriate contact with minors. Studds came closest, plying alcohol to a 17 year old who clearly stated that it was he (17 yo) who initiated the encounter. But Kennedy and Frank having sex with subordinates? Where did you get that fiction?

Even in Clinton's case, where there was a clear chain of command, so to speak, the question of "misusing his office" is more of a moral judgment than a legal one. Lewinsky's subordiante position (and I am not talking about her standing on her knees) had nothing to do with the encounters, nor was the exchange sought by Clinton. So this does not even qualify as sexual harassment.

As for Studds, compare his bio to that of his pal in that fateful 1982 moment. Crane, the hypocrite, tearfully plied his family to the cameras seeking forgiveness. Both the voters and his family left him in 1984. As someone had already pointed out, Studds remained in office until 1996 and retired on his own terms. What was not mentioned is that Studds was redistricted in a far more conservative area (not just the friendly confines of the upper Cape) that included Quincy and a number of Southeastern Mass towns that usually vote Republican. Yet, they continued to reelect Studds.

Crane was a weasel. Studds stood on principle and was rewarded with reelection.

There is a world of difference between Studds and Foley. Foley sought contact with the pages and his contact certainly defied the limits of appropriateness. While the result may not have been appropriate in Studds's case, as I said, it was the page who approached him and he failed to reveal his Congressional status. If you fail to see the difference, you've got bigger problems than voting for pedophiles, traitors and thieves.

Seven Machos said...

Reading through this thread, the consensus on the left seems to be that this sex scandal involving a politician is different from all other sex scandals involving a politician.

I suggest the following rule: if you have to argue really hard to show how something is different, it probably isn't all that different.

buck turgidson said...

As for the emails, bloggers are now speculating (and demonstrating) how some of them are altered.

http://passionateamerica.blogspot.com/


Oh, my! This guy makes Kevin Barrett look like a genuine prophet!

Hey, can't blame the nut-jobs--it worked once with Rather, it might work again. Good luck, boys! You're gonna need it this time!

Too Many Jims said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Pogo said...

"Frank, one of two openly gay members of Congress, confirmed Friday that he paid Gobie for sex, hired him with personal funds as an aide and wrote letters on congressional stationery on his behalf to Virginia probation officials, but Frank said he fired Gobie when he learned that clients were visiting the apartment."
Frank paid for sex with an aide (a subordinate).

Kennedy was partying with Mary Jo Kopechne, a pretty, blond Capitol Hill secretary, just about to celebrate her 29th birthday, and one of six women known as the "Boiler Room Girls" who had worked in Bobby Kennedy's presidential campaign. She was a subordinate in his brother's campaign. Kennedy's wife Joan did not attend the Regatta weekend. Kennedy was trying to bed a subordinate.

As for "Lewinsky's subordiante position (and I am not talking about her standing on her knees) had nothing to do with the encounters, nor was the exchange sought by Clinton. So this does not even qualify as sexual harassment." Well, Ms. Althouse has already opined to the contrary on this, several tiumes. Simply put: You are wrong.

Gerry Studds (D-MA) was censured in 1983 for having sexual relations with underage Congressional pages. What "principle" was he standing on, pray tell?

Pogo said...

And buck turgidson,
I think the words you might be struggling with are facts, subordinate and principle.

In English, my native tongue, they mean something very specific.

Too Many Jims said...

"Can any of the folks who are so quick to tar Hastert for not investigating Foley tell me precisely what they think such an investigation would look like?"

I'd like to think that I am not "quick to tar Hastert" but otherwise this is a good and fair question.

For me it comes down to this: In the "innocuous" exchange of e-mails between Foley and the kid from La, Foley asks for a picture of the kid. The kid, in correspondence with Alexander's office said the reqest was "sick". I think an investigation into what left that impression with the kid would be appropriate and could be conducted without getting into members private correspondence.

The only "investigation" about e-mails, apparently, was a conversation with Foley by Shimkus and the clerk. From that, Shimkus basically took Foley's word.

I would note that there are Republicans who think an investigation was warranted after the emails. Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va who is the third Rep on the Page board (and was also not told about the emails) said: "“I don’t think it would pass the sniff test,” she said. “Even asking those questions — that is not normal between a 52-year-old adult and a 16-year-old. It’s not like they’re family friends or anything. I think it would raise some serious questions. But I wasn’t given that opportunity.”"

Edward said...

My comments here apply to both of Ann Althouse’s main blog posts, both yesterday’s and today’s, concerning the Foley scandal.

I’m disappointed by the level of ignorance regarding homosexuality on display in many of the posts here, staring with Professor Althouse’s own comments from yesterday. Also, I’m disappointed by the disingenuousness of highly educated people who should know better about the extreme levels of homophobia that have permeated American culture for a very long time.

I’ll be the first to admit that we don’t know for sure what Foley’s sexual orientation is, but I believe the most likely scenario is that he’s a deeply closeted gay man who simply cracked under the enormous personal, political and perhaps religious pressures that he felt to stay silent about his homosexuality.

Don’t get me wrong: I’m not trying to absolve Foley of culpability. In my opinion – assuming that he is gay – he should have come out of the closet a long time ago, and lived a much more honest life. By “coming out of the closet,” I mean that he should have announced his homosexuality and begun the long process of figuring out the political and moral consequences of such an acknowledgment.

Yet the consequences of such an acknowledgment for Foley’s career would have been enormous, and many of you posting here seem oblivious to this fact. For starters, an openly gay Foley never, ever could have been elected to the U.S. House of Representatives from the state of Florida, certainly not 12 years ago when he was first elected and probably not even today.

Yes, the acceptance of gay people is higher today, but homophobia is still so pervasive in many parts of this country, especially in the Deep South, that it will be at least a decade, if not longer, before any openly gay politician can even think about being a competitive candidate for a federal race there.

Professor Althouse’s suggestion yesterday that Foley’s opposition to gay marriage was “a more legitimate position” because he himself might be gay, is just pure malarkey, because she ignores the overwhelming pressure he was under to adopt such a position. If Foley’s support of DOMA had been a free choice, made with little outside pressure, then perhaps Althouse would have a point here.

The simple fact is that Foley, as a Republican politician in the Deep South, had absolutely no choice but to support DOMA. Voting any other way would have been career suicide for him.

Fenrisulven said...

And buck turgidson,
I think the words you might be struggling with are facts, subordinate and principle


I wrongly assumed types like Buck were interested whats Right, and not simply gaining political traction. I think words like Principle are lost on them.

Si I'd like to thank them in advance for overplaying their hand. Again.

Edward said...

Professor Althouse’s suggestion yesterday that Foley would have been “oppressed” into supporting gay marriage if he had been out of the closet is equally silly. Sure, he would have been confronted with much sharper questioning over his opposition to gay marriage if he had already acknowledged his own homosexuality, but saying that he would thereby have been “oppressed” is absurd.

Gay marriage is either morally correct or it’s not. I firmly believe that it is, but requiring a politician to answer tough questions about his or her stand on such an important issue is not “oppression.” We live in a democracy, after all. No one goes to prison either for supporting or opposing gay marriage. Anyway, the much safer route for politicians today is still to oppose it, which is precisely what (cowardly) Foley did.

Professor Althouse may have been unconsciously projecting concerns she has about the growing pressure that she feels within the legal profession to support gay marriage. I’m no lawyer, much less a law professor, but my guess is that support for gay marriage within American law faculties may already be close to a majority opinion, and it may already be uncomfortable in certain faculties for someone to state strong anti-gay-marriage views.

But is discomfort the same thing as “oppression?” Puhleeze…

I’ve already written more than I expected to. In terms of explaining Foley’s twisted psychology, let me just say that I would propose a thought experiment for all those heterosexually oriented readers of this thread. Imagine living in a world where heterosexual desire was strongly stigmatized and where heterosexual intercourse itself was criminalized, as it was throughout the country when Congressman Foley was a youth. Imagine furthermore that, as a perfectly healthy and emotionally stable adolescent with raging heterosexual hormones, you made the decision early on to completely suppress and deny all that, and to live as the dominant culture and your religion demanded that you live.

What would the course of your life have been like, and might there have come a moment when you slipped up and acted out your sexuality in a way that was highly inappropriate?

Fenrisulven said...

Reading through this thread, the consensus on the left seems to be that this sex scandal involving a politician is different from all other sex scandals involving a politician.

Well, the NAMBLA wing of the Democrat party is strangely silent. Thats a plus.

Seven Machos said...

Edward -- Your argument is ridiculous. Foley appears to be a pervert. If he is hitting on 16-year-old boys then he should not a member of Congress. Whatever the case, now he is not.

That said, what do you care if he or anyone else wants to be a closet homosexual? Why do you get to choose? Why should someone's sexuality be the central fact of their existence? If someone wants to have a wife and kids and/or be a member of Congress in a very conservative district and discreetly have gay sex (with a consenting adult male) every now and again, why can't he?

Is there shame and guilt in having affairs with other women while married? Yes, and rightly so, but it is a problem of human nature. We don't really need to waste a lot of our valuable time debating it. Politics is for important issues, like wars and economies and crime problems.

A lot of men get married because they want stability and families but discreetly commit adultery. Should every man who has an affair have to "come out of the closet" and "live a much more honest life," admitting "young women are hot and I am deeply attracted to them"? Wouldn't that be ludicrous?

For many gay people, it all comes back to the what appears to be central, narcissistic fact of their lives: being gay. It's comical. It's also a political loser in every state and all but a few counties and cities. Why Edward and Andrew Sullivan and others perpetuate this dumb agenda centralizing gayness as if remotely approaches civil rights based on ethnicity or religion is stupefying.

Shanna said...

Let's see. Let's ignore the fact that none were accused of inappropriate contact with minors. Studds came closest, plying alcohol to a 17 year old who clearly stated that it was he (17 yo) who initiated the encounter.

Ok, so a) 17 isn't a minor but 16 is? and
b) How is plying someone with alcohol for sex better than having an IM conversation that got dirty? Clearly the page was in on it, he sat on IM for an hour! All he had to do was close the thing and it would stop. I'm not saying it was right, because it clearly wasn't, but how the hell is that better than getting a page drunk so you can have sex with him???

Even in Clinton's case,...the question of "misusing his office" is more of a moral judgment than a legal one. Lewinsky's subordiante position ... had nothing to do with the encounters, nor was the exchange sought by Clinton. So this does not even qualify as sexual harassment.

Quid pro quo. Monica got help getting a new job that none of the other interns got. That is textbook sexual harrassment, regardly of whether she initiated or was consenting. Because the point is that ALL THE OTHER INTERNS who DIDNT sleep with Clinton didn't get that preferential treatment.

As much as the dem's like to try to play off the Clinton scandal as Republicans being squicked out sex, it was about sexual harrasment.

As for the "what should the leadership have done" question, I asked that one back in the first 20 comments and haven't seen an answer yet. So don't hold your breath.

RogerA said...

Once again, to quote the esteemed instapundit (or somebody else)--the democratic leadership has shown its ability to go for the capillary---The main miscreant has already resigned and entered rehab; this whole thing will have blown over in two news cycles--in the interim, gas prices are falling (damn that Rove is something else, huh?, the dow is at record highs, and I suspect interest rates will start to fall--

Somehow, I dont think this thing has much traction--if anything, and the dems persist in pursuing it, one will have to ask why they didnt stand tough against the recent republican legislation that, as many of our liberal colleagues have noted, (allegedly) directly threaten our consitution, life, liberty and property!!

An instinct for the capillary indeed!

MadisonMan said...

Seven - I agree that a person should be able to live their lives as they see fit. And if this includes wedding someone who doesn't care about extramarital dalliances, and the diseases they might expose her to, well fine. That's a choice between two adults, and I don't care.

My problem with this hypothetical person starts when they legislate against the -- well, I'll call it lifestyle, even though I don't like that terminology -- lifestyle that they're clandestinely following. In effect the Legislator is saying I'm living a secret life, so you have to also, or your life will be much more difficult because of the Legislation I'm backing.

Doyle said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Revenant said...

Foley appears to be a pervert. If he is hitting on 16-year-old boys then he should not a member of Congress.

What's "perverted" about hitting on 16-year-old boys?

"Pervert" is a term applied to people with deviant sexual desires. There's nothing deviant about sexual attraction to teenagers -- hell, radio DJs announced a "countdown to legality" for the Olsen Twins and nobody demanded *they* be thrown in prison. It is just that actually acting on that desire is illegal (like hiring a call girl) and inappropriate (like boinking your secretary).

The truly unfortunate thing about this scandal is that if the Republicans DO lose the House -- which I suspect they were going to before the scandal -- it will get blamed on Foley, rather than on the Republicans' alienation of their own voter base through fecklessness on spending and illegal immigration issues. They'll probably come back twice as draconian on sex issues.

Seven Machos said...

Madison Man -- I don't know what Foley's votes are. I have always been of the opinion that a member of Congress should vote on behalf of his or her district. If it's a socially conservative district, I would expect socially conversative votes.

That said, if Foley voted in a way that would make life difficult for closet straight or gay adulterers, his life would be much more difficult by a factor of a lot by living a secret life because of the legislation he's backing. That strike me as consistency, not hypocrisy.

You and I probably differ philosophically here as well. We really shouldn't drag it out. Briefly: Absent tyrannical force, which probably doesn't work, shame and guilt and rule of law are the only three ways we have to encourage civil society. I'm all for society trying to prevent potentially damaging behavior (in this case, by facilitating STDs, ruining families, etc.) I also have no problem with people thwarting society in this circumstance, so long as they themselves actually do no harm. Adultery is different from murder of theft. A careful adulterer can hurt no one. Thieves and murderers hurt by their very acts.

Seven Machos said...

Revenant -- You are correct. "Pervert" was a poor word choice.

I do not think Republicans will lose the House.

Pogo said...

Re: "My problem with this hypothetical person starts when they legislate against the ...lifestyle that they're clandestinely following. "

Taking this line of reasoning to its conclusion, then, one could not simultaneously be an ordinary human and a legislator, because we are all fallible, and we would all be required at some point to legislate against behaviors we think are wrong but that we engage in anyway.

It's a mistake to think that failure to live a perfect life is hypocricy, or that perfection is required if one calls others to live lives of integrity and ethics.

You seem to counsel the prescription of immorality, or at least not rejecting it, if one cannot lead a perfectly moral life in all its aspects. But I am sure that ethical defeatism is not what you really intend.

Edward said...

Shanna: Here’s a response to your question about “what the Republican leadership should have done,” when they first learned of Foley’s “overly friendly” emails, but before they knew about his sexually explicit IMs.

The leadership had a moral obligation to conduct a much more extensive investigation than they did, and one of the first questions they should have asked Foley was whether he is gay and whether sexual attraction was what motivated the initial “overly-friendly” emails that he sent to the young pages.

Of course, the leadership couldn’t ask that most obvious of questions, because Foley himself is closeted and refuses to answer the gay question, as if he thinks the question itself were obscene, which it most definitely is not.

The institutionalized homophobia of today’s Republican Party -- the same homophobia that has forced Foley to stay in the closet throughout his entire political career – also prevented the Republican congressional leadership from conducting the thorough and honest investigation that was their moral duty.

Let me add that, while I admit there’s still a possibility Foley is a pedophile instead of being simply gay -- and there certainly is a big difference between homosexuality and pedophilia -- I’m more inclined to believe that Foley is simply a gay man who acted out his sexuality in a very inappropriate way, partly as a result of the extreme political and cultural pressures that he operated under all his life.

Seven Machos said...

Edward -- Revenant is right. There is nothing pedophilic about being attracted to a 16-year-old. Pedophilia means being attracted to people who are not yet sexual beings. Seven-year-olds.

We have legislated that the age of consent is 18 in some places, 17 or even 14 in others.

Pogo said...

Re: "I’m more inclined to believe that Foley is simply a gay man who acted out his sexuality in a very inappropriate way..."

What was inappropriate in his actions, then, and why do you say so?

MadisonMan said...

I do not think Republicans will lose the House.

I also think it unlikely. But if they do, I would expect the Leadership to resign for their handling of Foley. They let a minor scandal blow up in their face, diverting attention from where it should be, and why? I'm guessing because they either believed the creep, or because they (they = Republican Party) didn't want to sacrifice a "safe" incumbent, and they hoped the truth wouldn't come out. Horrible judgement.

Similary, if the Democrats don't take the House, I expect the Leadership to resign. An unpopular President, and unpopular war, widespread corruption and sex scandals, and they can't capitalize?

I am prepared, however, to be disappointed in the Leadership of both parties.

Edward said...

Stephen: I entirely agree with your definition of pedophilia, which is why I think Foley is an ordinary gay man who wrongly directed his sexual feelings toward a nearly adult Congressional page, simply because this was a "safer" and "more convenient" object of his affection.

For Foley to have fallen in love with a man closer to himself in age would have put his closeted status at much more risk.

Seven Machos said...

Madison Man -- This strikes me as file along with Clinton should have invaded Afghanistan. It just wasn't politically possible.

Similarly, you can't force a sitting member of Congress out if all you know is that he stupidly sent some possibly flirty emails to a teenager who may or may not have been underage depending on the jurisdiction.

I'm a Republican and I am embarrassed by this and the guy should have resigned before this ever had a chance to blow up, but I'm sure there are 20 sleazeballs each on both sides of the aisle sitting in Congress who have done worse.

Seven Machos said...

Fallen in love

Whoa, there, grasshopper. You are adding facts to the story. I don't think anyone ever fell in love here.

If every straight, gay, and bisexual man could make a dollar for every time he saw someone he wanted to have sex with, we'd all have a lot more luxury items and work substantially less. Anyone who tells you any different either is lying, is asexual, is celibate, or completely fails to understand the male psyche.

MadisonMan said...

but I'm sure there are 20 sleazeballs each on both sides of the aisle sitting in Congress who have done worse.

Total agreement. But just 20?

I think the Leadership could easily have torpedoed Foley before the Primary -- just a leak of an email. Anonymous and quick. Look how fast ABC went from the email to the IMs! Then a quick resignation, and time for a safe Republican to be chosen to replace him.

Edward said...

Seven Machos: I’m not so na├»ve as to think that Foley was “in love” with these male pages.

What I am saying is that, if Foley really is an ordinary gay man, then the best, most responsible way for him to express his sexual (and romantic) needs, would have been in a stable, long-term relationship with another man nearly his own age.

There’s another name for that kind of relationship: marriage. But, of course, the Republican Party is the most powerful institutional force opposing gay marriage today.

The fact that there was absolutely no kind of open, honest and mature gay relationship available to Foley, which would have also allowed him to continue his political career, is precisely the extreme pressure that he lived under and that probably contributed to his misdirected affections.

MadisonMan said...

By the way, Ann, I note this comment has made salon.com's war room. I'll say that I think they mischaracterize your comment when they say you're complaining. I visualize you rolling your eyes as you "say" So it seems in the run-up to the election we won't have to talk about Iraq and terrorism and detainees anymore. Let's talk about sex.

Fenrisulven said...

MadisonMan: But if they do, I would expect the Leadership to resign for their handling of Foley.

We're working on that as we speak. Many grass-roots republicans were steamed when Hastert tried to protect Jeffords from the FBI sting and search of congressional offices. He implied that their offices are beyond the reach of the law. This may be what gets the avalanche started. We're gonna push hard to have Hastert et al resign their leadership positions.

Fenrisulven said...

The fact that there was absolutely no kind of open, honest and mature gay relationship available to Foley, which would have also allowed him to continue his political career, is precisely the extreme pressure that he lived under and that probably contributed to his misdirected affections.

I see where you're going. I might agree if Foley wasn't stalking 16-yr-old interns. If he had been caught having an affair with an adult male, no more 20 years younger, I would agree with you.

Honestly, the gender of the perp and victim here don't concern me. Its that he abused his position of authority to stalk subordinate interns, and that [it appears] the House leadership covered it up.

Seven Machos said...

Edward -- You are really late to the party regarding homosexual marriage on Ann Althouse's blog. Briefly: any two gay men can enjoy virtually all of the benefits of marriage, and 100 percent of all the benefits of non-marriage.

As for a monogamous relationship with an old, gay guy: I am quite sure that Foley had no interest in any such thing, just as any old man hitting on a person half his age has no interest in settling down. Give me a break. Foley wanted what all guys want, at least some of the time: novel, hot, meaningless passion.

What have you to say about the fact that there is "absolutely no kind of open, honest and mature" relationship "available to" all the guys who want to sleep around with young hot people? How come we don't hear more about this pressing national epidemic?

mjc said...

Ann, I'm surprised. You convicted Jessica Valenti of felonious possession of nice breasts in the presence of former President Clinton, yet you dismiss the Mark Foley incident as merely "about sex." Did you overlook the power discrepancy issue? The underage issue? How can you reconcile your moral outrage about Jessica with your dismissive moral ambivalence about Foley?

Seven Machos said...

Comment #137: back to Clinton and the breast-strutting blogger.

MadisonMan said...

Edward -- You are really late to the party regarding homosexual marriage on Ann Althouse's blog. Briefly: any two gay men can enjoy virtually all of the benefits of marriage, and 100 percent of all the benefits of non-marriage.

Depending on your state, and for some definition of benefits. Here in Wisconsin, for example, if the Amendment passes in November that states A legal status identical or substantially similar to that of marriage for unmarried individuals shall not be valid or recognized in this state, who knows?

Ann Althouse said...

mjc: Did you hurt yourself stuffing that many lies into that small a space?

Seven Machos said...

Representative Foley: I see a young person I want to hit on.

Edward: What he really wants is to live with an old, gay man but he can't because old, gay men can't live together. (Except that they can, of course, but that's neither here nor there.)

Edward said...

Seven Machos: You’re being far too glib by talking simply about sexual lust. You think you’re being cool talking this way, but I think you’re just being inconsiderate.

You’re also failing to answer my main argument, which is that institutionalized homophobia, personified by today’s Republican Party, and the denial of marriage rights to gay people have much more damaging psychological consequences than most people are willing to admit.

You’re also not dealing with the fact that Foley would have had to abandon his political career entirely in order to have an honest gay relationship of any kind. In other words, Foley’s only choice was between clandestine sex or no sex at all, at least if he wanted to preserve his political career.

No heterosexual is ever confronted with such a brutal, extreme and exclusive choice. The pressures created by such a dilemma can be extraordinary, and the results of such pressure can be unexpected and highly inappropriate.

You’re also failing to take up the challenge of my earlier thought experiment. I suppose that you’re heterosexual. What if you had to spend your entire life denying and suppressing your most basic sexual and romantic feelings? Are you absolutely sure that living under such pressure you would not behave inappropriately?

Fenrisulven said...

mjc said: How can you reconcile your moral outrage about Jessica with your dismissive moral ambivalence about Foley?

[rolls eyes]

Yes Virginia, they really are this stupid. And they'll go on to prove Ann's point, oblivious to the irony, talking about sex instead of such things as Iraq, terrorism, or the detainee bill.

"Hi, I'm John Kerry, and my plan for America is not to have sex with interns. I was for it [see: Clinton impeachment] before I was against it."

buck turgidson said...

Frank paid for sex with an aide (a subordinate).

Pogo, by your logic, having sex with a prostitute already qualifies as having sex with subordinate, since you hire her to perform a service for you (his/her "boss"). Apparently, you also missed the part about Frank using "his own funds" to hire Gobie, which would mean that he was not his subordinate in government employ.

She was a subordinate in his brother's campaign. ... Kennedy was trying to bed a subordinate.

I see. She was his "side-subordinate", since she worked for his brother. As for "trying to bed", you are, at best, speculating. Which part of "facts" did you fail to comprehend?

Well, Ms. Althouse has already opined to the contrary on this, several tiumes. Simply put: You are wrong.

"Ms. Althouse" also believes that Scalia does not pen politically expedient decisions.

There are two basic ways one can end up on the wrong end of sexual harassment complaint--by being involved in conduct that directly offends or oppresses another (for sexual or potential sexual gratification) or by maintaining or helping to maintain an offensive environemnt. Maybe Clinton did the latter--we don't know. We do know that the former was not the case with Lewinsky.

Gerry Studds (D-MA) was censured in 1983 for having sexual relations with underage Congressional pages. What "principle" was he standing on, pray tell?

The same principle that distinguishes Studds from Foley--consensual relationship between two legal adults. (Yes, 17 qualifies as adult in DC as long as contact is direct--you can thank Ex-Congressman Foley for making it illegal to do the same through electronic means.) As I said, the page insisted that he initiated the encounter and Studds had no way of knowing that the guy was a Congressional page. And, unlike appearance (looking older) in statutory rape cases, lack of knowledge of being in employ of the same enterprize would be a legal defense. Hence, Studds standing on principle that he did nothing wrong--and, legally, he didn't. Censure was a "make-up call", since Republicans did not feel it would be fair to single out Crane and not implicate a Democrat, in the spirit of bipartisanship.

Foley, in contrast, weaseled his way around the whole time, because he knew that what he was doing was wrong. He approached pages immediately upon completion of their terms, he communicated indirectly, he lied about the communications when asked by others.

Then there was a certain high-flying Republican Congressman from Georgia, who always postured about morality. Yet, at the same time, he was doodling interns (and, possibly, pages) on a daily basis. When the story nearly came out, he resigned his leadership post and retired from Congress. The issue here was not so much legality, as utter hypocrisy. (Yes, that last word should be intimately familiar to you.)

In English, my native tongue, they mean something very specific.

Sometimes it takes a non-native speaker to point out native speaker's boneheadedness in uderstanding his own language.

Well, the NAMBLA wing of the Democrat party is strangely silent. Thats a plus.

That's because NAMBLA is part of the libertarian wing of the Republican Party, right next to the polygamist Mormons.

Shanna wrote,
Quid pro quo. Monica got help getting a new job that none of the other interns got.

We might suspect that the QpQ was for keeping silent, not for sex. And the sexual harassment case brought by a less promiscuous coworker is usually a loser. No dice!

Edward,
Stephen: I entirely agree with your definition of pedophilia, which is why I think Foley is an ordinary gay man who wrongly directed his sexual feelings toward a nearly adult Congressional page

Pedophilia is definitely the wrong term. Foley is guilty of a type of paraphilia--being attracted to people outside of his socially recognized group. For a 50+ year old man to be routinely attracted to high-school teenage boys appears perverted to most people, even when it may not be illegal. But, as I just mentioned, according to Foley-sponsored bill, going after under-18s electronically is a federal crime even if there is no sex act.

And we are not talking about a single encounter--as was the case, as far as we know, with Studds. Foley developed a pattern that was known to the leadership of the Republican party. Yet, they did nothing to protect the vulnerable population.

BTW, I refuse to respond to Seven Machos, whose comments are blatantly homophobic and uninformed.

Seven Machos said...

Please God, let this not become a thread about homosexual marriage or Bill Clinton and breasts. That said:

1. I'm not being glib. I'm offering some genuine insight here.

2. We've trodden the gay marriage ground here before, and reasonable minds can differ. But you can't call a society that refuses to recognize gay marriage homophobic. No one is being denied any rights. It is shrill to suggest otherwise. Gay people can have weddings, live together, own property together, adopt children together, bequeath property to each other -- the list goes on. Lack of recognition is not prohibition. Furthermore, we live in a democracy. If 70 percent of the people in a democracy don't want something to be recognized, it will not and should not be recognized.

3. Foley just wanted a blow job from a page. Sorry if that sounds glib but it's the blunt truth. If every member of Congress who has had a fling with some young person is forced to resign, then we are going to have a shell of a Congress. The only choice for every member of Congress and everyone with any responsibility who is older and wants to have a sexual fing with some young person is between clandestine sex or no sex at all. Every heterosexual is confronted with exactly such a brutal, extreme and exclusive choice.

You are shrill to try to make this minor sex scandal centered around a minor politician nobody ever heard of into some kind of crisis for gay identity politics.

Edward said...

Seven Machos: I’m not being shrill – I’m simply being perceptive, and more intelligent about this issue than yourself.

There is truly something profound (and profoundly ironic) about the deeply homophobic Republican Party being unable to conduct a thorough investigation of this scandal precisely due to its own homophobia. And this scandal, along with other huge political failures, is probably going to cost Republicans control of the House in November.

You seem to think that there are plenty of married heterosexual Congressmen who have tried to boink or who have actually boinked 16 and 17 year olds, including their own pages. I’m sorry, but I think you’re being way too cynical about this.

Your cynicism is just a pose for you, and an easy way for you to justify your own refusal to support gay rights.

Ann Althouse said...

Seven Machos said..."Representative Foley: I see a young person I want to hit on.Edward: What he really wants is to live with an old, gay man but he can't because old, gay men can't live together. (Except that they can, of course, but that's neither here nor there.)"

To be fair, the argument is that Foley was an ordinary man with homosexual impulses, and if society had fully manifested its acceptance of homosexuality by allowing gay marriage, he would have developed into a good man and formed a true partnership with an equal. Because society deprived him of full approval, his character malformed and he sought out a twisted form of sex. Of course, to embrace this argument, you have to view all homosexuals as having a tendency toward twisted, deficient minds.

reader_iam said...

That's intended to be read in context as the sad message Ashley Gallo was left to perceive, not a big generalization of mine. Though I do note that adults might feel compelled to be aloof and cold to the young out of fear that friendliness is suspect.

Latter: Interesting observation. And in some institutions, there is training that if it doesn't encourage coldness, it does seem to be prescribing a certain aloofness.

Former: Will she better or worse for that, I wonder? Strikes me as a hard call, depending on the young person.

Pogo said...

"Apparently, you also missed the part about Frank using "his own funds" to hire Gobie, which would mean that he was not his subordinate in government employ."

I can see why you like Clinton. Both of you are intellectually dishonest, twisting defintions until black means white and is means is not. Bullocks. Gobie worked for Franks as an aide. He was subordinate. You are wrong.

Re: "She was his "side-subordinate", since she worked for his brother. As for "trying to bed", you are, at best, speculating."
Speculating? You're not the brightest porch light on the block if you think Teddy was driving her to the beach just to look at the stars. And if the CEO's brother, another CEO, sleeps with his secretary, yeah, she's a subordinate in the power game. You are wrong.

But heck, you cannot even bring yourself to admit Lewinsky was a subordinate. Again, I don't think you understand what the word actually means.

Maybe you're just trying to play dumb; no one can really be this ignorant.

John in Nashville said...

Republicans have for years shamelessly exploited the antipathy that many voters feel about homosexuality. See, e.g., http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/2.../200411/green/ 3. Remember Jerry Falwell's publication suggesting that Tinky-winky is gay?

It is entirely appropriate that these Republican thugs, having sown the wind of hatemongering, are now reaping the whirlwind of disgust toward the misdeeds of their Gross Old Pervert.

These Rethuglicans will get no quarter here.

BTW, has the Cheerleader-in-chief said a word about former Congressman Chickenhawk? Or does that hit too close to home? See, http://www.washingtonmonthly.com...5_01/ 005490.php.

Rocker 419 said...

whats interesting to me is that the timing of this guarantees a Democratic seat in Florida, after the Republican was almost assured the seat in re-election. Obviously Foley is a predator and I don't believe either party is FOR sexual predators but the end result is a seat for the Democrats, so how this story pans out in the next few days (and weeks?) will be interesting, I think...

Truly said...

John in Nashville: The first link is a dud. Can you repost?

Also, "Rethuglican"? Are you kidding?

Cedarford said...

Buck Turgidson - First, it seems that whoever outed Foley as homosexual during his abortive Senate run was mistaken. Foley is not homosexual, nor is he technically a pedophile. His attraction seems to be to post-pubescent teenage boys, which, like almost every paraphiliac condition, must have a special name.

Let's see, a person that engages in homosexual acts or shows homosexual attraction might reasonably be called ....having homosexual preferences. Perhaps not 100% gay, but certainly someone with homosexual behavior...A practicing homosexual..
If you like homosexual anal or oral sex with a same-sex person of any age...chances are....you might just be a homosexual.

The special name you are looking for is the historical phenomenon of pederasty. Pederasty is the attraction displayed in all cultures by older men with homosexual preferences for a special sexual/mentoring bond with a smooth young boy, aged 12-19.

Buck - In Ancient Greece--another favorite reference of conservative intellectuals--this would have been considered normal behavior. Man-on-boy sex was considered to be a part of the mentorship process in this cradle of Western Civilization.

Pederasty is common in Muslim cultures. It was prevalent in ancient China, Japan, Mayan civilization. It was extolled by Oscar Wilde as the highest form of culture and love...somewhat tainted by revelation that Wilde frequently paid boy prostitutes 12-16 for such love and reaching his cultural pinnacle. For most of Western Civ it has been considered immoral, sinful, and in current times - very psychologically harming to a number of boys so seduced. Hence the large court awards against pederasts in the Catholic priesthood, and the widespread revulsion. Large majorities consider it perverted sexual behavior.

Revenent - "Pervert" is a term applied to people with deviant sexual desires. There's nothing deviant about sexual attraction to teenagers.

As Revenent shows up at work and introduces his "significant other", a 16-year old effeminant somphomore in HS boy, he lovingly calls "Muffy" to his co-workers? Yeah, I'm sure his co-workers would see nothing deviant in that. Or appropos to Foleys case, co-workers seeing Revenet hitting on the summer intern "lads", writing creepy "they were "sick sick sick" sexual emails to them. Knowing Revenet writes the "letters of reference" on..Deviant? Wrong? Intolerable in the workplace? You betcha!

Like it or not, society both acknowledges the lure of jailbait and sets boundaries on pursuing it because of the significant harm that can happen from such adult-minor activities. Some laws may be ill-considered, such as statutory rape laws that consider teen sex with greater than 2 years difference a major sex crime - laws normally disregarded. But still the law. And we have both laws and internal employment rules that come down hard on societies "authority figures" caught trying to use their power to seduce or even extort sex from underlings....
****************************

Seven machos - You are right, a 52-year old trying to nail a same-sex 16-year old is not pedophelia, but it is pedestary, and is unacceptable to most parents of such minors and unacceptable in society when aggravating factors of "authority figure" - boss, cop, high official, teacher - is considered.

And we know that with gay chickenhawks, the number of targets they are found to have gone after in their past is bountiful when close inquiry is made. So the odds are this kid wasn't the only one Foley sought to interact with - from his gay attraction and wanting that relationship - or for seeking uncomplicated, un-emotional gay sex..Watch for the tip of the iceberg tales with Foley....and watch for liars, as every gay prostitute in DC Metro and Foley's corner of Florida is waved a picture of Foley in from of their nose and told there may be some lawsuit money in it if Foley hit on them while they were underaged or promised Congressional favor...

Seven Machos said...

Ann Althouse: Imagine a United States in which the State endorses gay marriage, everybody thinks homosexuality is great, and all that. I contend that Foley still would have wanted to hit on young males and still would have chosen heterosexual marriage (if he is, in fact, married). Is current dogma that you a person cannot be attracted to people of both genders?

Also, the same argument obviously fails when applied to heterosexuals. John Kennedy/Bill Clinton/Insert politician here "was an ordinary man with" heterosexual "impulses, and if society had fully manifested its acceptance of" wanting to have flings with hot, young women "by allowing" philandering, "he would have developed into a good man and formed a true partnership with" a throng of equals. "Because society deprived him of full approval, his character malformed and he sought out a twisted form of sex."

I don't really get the gay angle here. It seems minor compared to the gross abuse-of-authority/possible adultery angle.

amba said...

The partisanizing of this issue just cracks me up.

Democrats are shocked, shocked, and Republicans -- Republicans, who if Foley was a Democrat woud be saying this proves gays shouldn't be scoutmasters or something -- are saying, "Aw, c'mon, it's not that bad."

EVERYTHING is seen through a partisan lens. There are two realities, two moralities, one for "us" and one for "them."

Reader, I found Ann's statement very arresting -- and very clear -- that it's terribly sad if an idealistic young person is forced to conclude that adults are only warm and interested if they want to get into your pants. That there's no such thing as a disinterested, nurturing mentor who just likes to see young people thrive.

paul a'barge said...

Edward wrote: "I believe the most likely scenario is that he’s a deeply closeted gay man who simply cracked under the enormous personal, political and perhaps religious pressures that he felt to stay silent about his homosexuality.

Geez. Could we have all the 'mo's present and accounted for (Downtownlad? Edward? Palladin?) stand and raise your hands if you believe that a 52 year old man who volunteered to run for Congress as a Republican, and then who serially sent pervo emails and IMs to 16-year-old boys is a victim?

When was it during the last 30 years when y'all met and decided to repeal the laws of personal responsibility?

"what is pedophilia?" ... "there's nothing wrong with a 52 year old man hitting on a 16 year old subordinate" ... "blame it on DAH HETERO MAN!!!"

Look, if you're gay and you don't like the closet, by all means come out ... choose to do something for a living where your gayness doesn't present huge hurdles for your life.

If you're a child-monger and can't keep your hands off the 16 year olds in the workplace, well tough titties, pal. Get yourself back in the closet. STFU. Keep your pervo -nature to yourself.

And, I agree with Doyle, although about very little. Fair is fair, and if one Republican leader knew about this guy and tolerated it, they're no better than DHIMMIcRATs and they should be on the caboose in the train on which Foley is being run out of Congress.

Edward said...

Ann wins the award for being recklessly glib today! And she wins it by a long shot!

She claims my argument that intense cultural homophobia contributed to Foley’s horrible choice of a page for a sex partner means that “all homosexuals a have a tendency towards twisted, deficient minds.”

Of course, that’s not at all what my argument means, and it really is reckless not to concede that cultural forces play some role in the life choices that we make. Certain people, including many gay people, are strong enough and sufficiently independent-minded to resist those cultural pressures that are toxic, but others are simply too confused or weak even to figure out what’s right.

Throw toxic religious teachings into the mix, teachings which claim that every one of your most basic sexual and romantic leanings is sin of the worst kind, and the likelihood of a dangerously confused person acting inappropriately on sexual urges is much greater.

Look, this is not that hard to figure out. Jim McGreevey was having anonymous sex at rest stops for most of his adult life, because any other expression of his homosexuality would have ruined his political career. A lot of McGreevey’s sexual confusion also stemmed from his homophobic Catholic faith, a faith that he has abandoned since coming out of the closet. He is now an Episcopalian.

Now that McGreevey is fully out and in a stable relationship, I don’t think he’s going to be having anonymous sex at rest stops anymore. In fact, I’m sure he won’t.

And don’t quote the sad case of George Michael back at me. George Michael is simply weird, and he never renounced promiscuity and anonymous sex, even after he came out of the closet.

Many gay men have managed to lead lives not marked by the duplicity and crises faced by McGreevey and George Michael. Many others unfortunately could not, and our intensely homophobic culture deserves at least part of the blame.

The immense promiscuity of one segment of the gay population in the 1970’s, the very promiscuity that lead to the AIDS crisis, can also be blamed in large part on the lack of any cultural support for gay relationships at the time.

One final word about Foley: I’ve said all along that my ideas concerning his motivation in trying to seduce the young men are only speculation. Nevertheless, I think my ideas are by far the most plausible explanation for the very bad choices that he made. Also, please understand that I'm not at all condoning what Foley has done. I've made my disgust very clear from the beginning.

We’re never going to know the facts about this until Foley himself agrees to a thorough interview conducted by a really smart and sensitive journalist. Such an interview may never take place. The House Republican leadership certainly never required Foley to submit to such questioning while he was still in Congress. Their intense homophobia and his own self-hatred are what prevented such a thorough investigation previously.

Seven Machos said...

Just to spell this out further: I'm trying to suggest that politicians who have gay affairs should be treated exactly like politicians who have straight affairs. There is nothing spectacularly deviant about a member of Congress hooking up or wanting to hook up with a young person. Politicians have affairs, often with substantially younger people. Anyone who thinks otherwise is naive. I feel like the people on the left want to treat this case radically differently because there is homosexuality involved. But, if you were consistent, you wouldn't do that.

Furthermore, when Bill Clinton had his affair, his supporters said: "The guy had sex (or whatever it was he did), get over it." They were right. Now they say: "There were a lot more serious problems all over the world to focus on but the Right in this country chose to have a constitutional crisis over a blow job." They are right.

Sadly, now that the left has the opportunity to score a few temporary political points against an obscure member of Congress over pretty much the same thing that they defended Clinton over, these sorry hacks pounce. (I know the feminism angle is near and dear to some hearts here, and I respect that difference, but I am trying to be brief). Well: There are a lot more serious problems all over the world to focus on.

Paddy O. said...

"Democrats are shocked, shocked, and Republicans -- Republicans, who if Foley was a Democrat woud be saying this proves gays shouldn't be scoutmasters or something -- are saying, "Aw, c'mon, it's not that bad.""

Not really. He resigned the moment this got into the news. The FBI is investigating and likely criminal charges will be filed. If Foley was a Democrat I suspect there would be lawsuits about how this information was released, obfuscation and denial by Foley, supporting remarks by the Leadership for two weeks, then remarks entirely the opposite.

Foley would eventually resign, though take no personal responsibility, claiming persecution and the story would continue on until Christmas. Next Christmas he would be on Oprah selling his new book about the whole issue.

amba said...

"There was no actual sexual activity . . . " You're saying two people have to be in the same room to have sex? Foley trying verbally to induce the kid to get sexually excited and report it for his own sexual arousal is not "sexual activity"? What kind of activity is it?

Seven Machos said...

And one more thing: this argument that gay males would be less promiscuous if only society would endorse gay marriage is quite a lark. Listen: gay males are promiscuous because they can be. A whole lot of single guys at the straight bar want to take a woman home tonight. But only some of the women do, and then usually only if the mood is right, and etc., etc.

Virtually all the single guys at the gay bar want to take a man home tonight. You do the math. Who is going to get laid more?

All the legislation endorsing homosexual marriage in the world won't affect gay promiscuity. Gay guys have more partners because they can. That's not a bug; that's a feature.

amba said...

Cedarford has it right.

Edward said...

Seven Machos: You seem to accuse people like me of hypocrisy over the Foley scandal when it is set side-by-side with the Clinton/Lewinsky scandal.

Please be aware of two things, however.

First, I speak only for myself. I don’t claim to be some spokesperson of the Democratic Party, even though I am a Democrat.

Second, I happen to be one of the few Democrats who actually thought Clinton should have resigned (yes, resigned!) soon after the revelation of his affair with Monica Lewinsky. So I’m not at all hypocritical on these issues.

I truly believed that Clinton’s affair with Lewinsky and his lying about it warranted his resignation. I know that not many other Democrats agreed with me on this – then or now.

Nevertheless, I also realize that an added bonus of Clinton’s resignation would have been that Al Gore would clearly have sailed to an easy victory in 2000!

Joe Baby said...

Edward,

Oh wow. Where to begin?

It's now become wreckless and partisan to wonder what Hastert et. al knew and when he knew it...

...but to stretch 'oppressive GOP homophobia' and 'Catholic faith' into a psychoanalysis of Foley that conveniently hits all the gay talking points and sketches a nefarious house leadership that hates gays so much they'd allow one in their midst to prey on boys-- that's somehow sensible.

I hope Tom Hanks acts in the sequel.

Was it also the Vatican's fault that McGreevey was nailing Puerto Rican (female! yicky!) prostitutes?

And how much 'oppression' causes a man to leave his wife in the hospital (difficult pregnancy and all) to go tackle his paid staff?

Come to think of it, maybe it was the oppression of immoral Democrats that forced Newt to divorce his wife while she was in the hospital.

Bout time we all put on our waders.

OhioAnne said...

There are two basic ways one can end up on the wrong end of sexual harassment complaint--by being involved in conduct that directly offends or oppresses another (for sexual or potential sexual gratification) or by maintaining or helping to maintain an offensive environemnt. Maybe Clinton did the latter--we don't know. We do know that the former was not the case with Lewinsky.


Close, but not quite.

What constitutes benefitting or being punished in a sexual harrassment case? First you have to determine what constitutes those things in the particular circumstance.

What's worth more in the White House than access to the President? What was Lewinsky's price for getting that access? Why did she get access, but others (both male and female) didn't?

When the sexual relationship became to noticable and the President needed to be protected, what happened? Lewinsky was sent to the Pentagon and her access to the President was severely limited. She did not request or consent to that transfer.

She was both rewarded and punished for having sex with the President. There's no question she was his subordinate or that the relative power between them was hugely unequal.

But ...

We might suspect that the QpQ was for keeping silent, not for sex.

... thanks for admitting that Clinton's behavior made him vulnerable to blackmail - not that I think that he was blackmailed. As Clinton himself said, he did it 'because he could'. She may have convinced herself she was in love, but he wasn't and the job search was QpQ.

And the sexual harassment case brought by a less promiscuous coworker is usually a loser. No dice!

Wasn't there a California law that said the other co-workers could sue for sexual harassment if a co-worker was rewarded by sex even if they never met the boss??

John in Nashville said...

The first link in my 5:46 post should have been http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200411/green/3. If that doesn't work, try a Google search for Rove + "University of Alabama Law School" + gay.

ChrisO said...

I swore I wasn't going to post here any more, but the spinning is making me dizzy. Instead of bending over backwards to try and rationalize this case, perhaps those of you trying to brush this off should just recognize the facts that are staring you in the face.

First, under Tom Delay, the Republican leadership made sure it knew every foible and special interest of its caucus. To think that the leadership didn't know Foley was gay is ridiculous. And while it is only a supposition that they knew about his proclivity for pages, it is certainly reasonable to think that was a strong possibility considering that pages were being warned about him as long as five years ago.

Hastert is shown an e-mail where a 52 year old Congressman with a penchant for pages is asking a 17 year old former page for a "pic." I challenge anyone on this thread who has a 17 year old to tell me they wouldn't hit the roof if they found out a 52 year old man was e-mailing them asking for a picture. But according to the apologists here, Hastert thinks "Gee, this could never blow up in our faces. I'll just ignore this because I have so many important issues to deal with." And as we all know, no Congressional investigation can go forrward if some parents from Louisiana don't want it to.

The whole affair could have been investigated without revealing the boy's identity, thus satisfying his parents' concerns. The only defense being offered for Hastert is that if he did know about it he would have dealt with Foley a year ago, rather then letting the time bomb tick. Right, because Hastert is such a legendary mental giant that there's absolutely no possibility that he would choose the stupid option. Especially since he is running a House where any concept of oversight or accoutability has been long abandoned.

The pages are under that supervision and, hopefully, protection of the house leadership. When Shimkus, the head of the Page Board, was notified of the e-mails, which remember, were of a nature that the recipient thought they weree "sick" and caused the recipient's parent to notify their Congressman, what was the first thing Shimkus did? Did he notify the other members of the Page Board? Did he notify the leadership? No, he notified Congressman Reynolds. But wait a minute. Reynolds' only relevance is that he runs the committee working to re-elect Republicans. What an appropriate place to start for the guy in charge of the well being of the pages.

As soon as Brian Ross posted his first story on the issue, he received a bunch of incredibly sexually explicit IMs from other pages. Hastert's reaction to that? We need to investigate who outside of Congress knew about these e-mails. Right, it's the fault of the recipients, many of whom are hoping for a career in Washington, for not coming forward with them.

You guys can spin all you want and resurrect Gerry Studds or Barney Frank. The fact that I keep hearing how Republicans are different because they take responsibility for their actions is repugnant. Foley resigned of his own accord? Let's give him the Presidential Medal of Freedom. He resigned because he's caught up in a scandal people used to commit suicide over. I hardly think Republican Congessmen resigning because they've been indicted is an object lesson in accountability. And for the record, the Democratic leadership stripped Jefferson of his chairmanship. They can't kick him out of the House.

At least you all have a sense of humor. I especially like the pretzel logic that this will be bad for the Democrats. Keep spinning, folks.

Edward said...

Chriso: I agree that the Republican House leadership must have known that Foley is gay, but do you think he and they ever spoke about his orientation openly? Do you think that Foley was directly questioned about his homosexual attraction to young men at the time of the laughable “investigation” carried out internally by the Page Board when they first got hold of his “overly friendly” emails?

No, of course not. Foley’s homosexuality was what’s known as an open secret among his House colleagues. The gay open secret is a vicious, nasty device that mostly serves the forces of homophobia.

The open secret about someone’s homosexuality is also usually very, very complex, involving many layers of lies and half-truths, partial deception and partial self-deception.

That’s why I object so much to the utter lack of a rationale for Foley’s behavior provided here by Joe Baby, Ann Althouse and Seven Machos. Their posts in this thread have all the psychological subtlety of a sledgehammer. What’s worse is that they seem to be proud of their lack of psychological subtlety. To them, Foley is simply a jerk and a pig, and that’s the end of the story.

Well, I’m sorry, but that’s probably not the end of the story. One way or another, Joe Baby, Ann Althouse and Seven Machos will eventually regret such purposeful obtuseness.

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

To think that the leadership didn't know Foley was gay is ridiculous.

It's not ridiculous at all. Republicans don't believe that ANY gay people exist. They think that all gay people are just sick heterosexuals waiting to be cured. After all, it's just a choice right? So maybe they just told Foley to choose women instead. Problem solved.

downtownlad said...

Geez. Could we have all the 'mo's present and accounted for

You don't get much more bigoted that that.

Joe Baby said...

Truly in Bizarro World now.

The 'straight homophobes' are arguing that being gay does not automatically lead to sexual excess and the gay men and advocates are wondering why the GOP leadership should've suspected Foley was a pederast since they likely knew he was gay.

And I guess I could offer a psychological profile of Foley from my desk here in Phoenix. Maybe rub my paperweight for inspiration or thumb thru my Psyc textbook from community college. I can buy a Magic-8 ball tomorrow if that helps.

I don't know what compels people to run for these offices, let alone to humiliate their wives, disrespect their constituents, and harm those who they prey upon.

I do know that weaving conspiracy theories that are politically suitable for a gay agenda doesn't explain why straight politicians also burn down their reputations with such ease.

Unless that closet is going to get really metaphoric, I can't explain the similarity.

How do I know what led Foley to do it? Heck, if we're so willing to take Jim McGreevey's word, we better take Foley's word. Alcohol and emotional issues. No closet. No papist dogs. Just ripple.

/end rant

Sad event, all around. Especially for his wife and family, and anyone who was harmed by his predatory behavior.

But wrapping a political agenda within a blanket of psychological crapola demeans both fields.

downtownlad said...

Joe - Since when have gay people argued that the closet is healthy?

Having to lie about your life is bound to lead to some bad personal decisions.

Now if straight people would stop being so bigoted, the millions of gay people that are in the closet could come out - and start leading normal lives - rather than having to rely on anonymous sex.

If straight sex was deemed immoral by society and was against the law (as gay sex was in Florida until 3 years ago)- how many men would be having sex with 17 year-old prostitutes? A bunch I bet.

Not defending either. Just explaining it.

Palladian said...

Didn't we just go through this yesterday? The only thing this episode has done is to make both parties look even more repugnant than they did before. Way to go! No issues, no ideas, just a lot of prurient garbage-sniffing and the same tired meaningless moralisms dropping out of different mouths.

"Geez. Could we have all the 'mo's present and accounted for (Downtownlad? Edward? Palladin?) stand and raise your hands if you believe that a 52 year old man who volunteered to run for Congress as a Republican, and then who serially sent pervo emails and IMs to 16-year-old boys is a victim?"

Listen, you semi-literate scumbag, if you can't even spell my name right, don't refer to me, especially in a thread on which I haven't left a comment.

JM Hanes said...

Sorry, Edward, I'm just not buying what you're selling. There is nothing about the burdens of being gay and closeted that inherently leads to acting out one's sexuality inappropriately with young men in secret -- as opposed to, say, acting out one's sexuality with men of an appropriate age in secret. Indeed, if the pressures of a career in public office were the kind of compelling determinant you paint, going after pages would be the least likely result -- unless, of course, you're assuming Foley's putative self-hatred made him seek political suicide.

I, for one, don't need any thought experiments to empathize with gays. Such understanding does not make your effort to cast Foley, and in a bizarre backhanded way, the Republican leadership as well, as victims of political homophobia any more convincing. The central fact here is Foley's abrogation of his reponsibilities as a Congressman, a mentor, and a mature adult. The central issue is whether Hastert et al. deliberately gave Foley a pass for political reasons. The idea that that they might not have wanted to forfeit a Republican seat is plausible. The idea that Foley's orientation made investigation untenable in the Republican party is not.

mockmook said...

I have a few questions for those who are "outraged" by this scandal, i.e., the "cover-up":

1. Did Foley do something wrong?

If "No", then what are ya yammering about?

2. Isn't Foley just exercising a "right" that the Supreme Court hasn't recognized yet, and therefore we should be celebrating anyone who helped him exercise that right (big kudos to Hastert)?

Paul Zrimsek said...

One of the problems with Edward's theory-- apart from the need to believe in "damaging psychological consequences" that hardly any gays are psychologically damaged by-- is that it fails to reckon with the existence of moving vans. There are a number of places where being openly gay is no barrier to a political career; in fact, if we buy the assumption that homophobia is a peculiarly Republican thing, any reasonably safe Democratic district would do. They have some of those right there in Florida. Why didn't Foley simply move to one? This question doesn't arise in connection with Seven Machos' commonsense explanation; having a thing for young boys is a handicap everywhere.

woof22 said...

Foley is evil scum. Anybody who protected him is scum. Anybody who sat on memos to time this revelation for the election and potentially hurt any young impressionable person is scum.

Can we get rid of the stupid page system now? It is an anachronism and one more thing to make our political leaders think that they are somehow superior to us.

buck turgidson said...

If Foley was a Democrat ...

How can one argue with a nonsensical hypothetical? In fact, it's not even a hypothetical, but a counterfactual.

But that's almost beside the point--you have absolutely no idea how Foley would have acted. And your speculations are based on your own biases and not in the slightest on facts.

In fact, at one point in his life, Foley was a Democrat. But he thought being Republican was better for his career (just like Clarence Thomas). He was right. He forgot that being a pederast was not good for his career. OOPS!

Foley is evil scum. Anybody who protected him is scum.

The Moonies...er... Washington Times agrees with you. They demand Hastert's resignation. Chances are that this will also mean that he will lose his Congressional race, so he won't resign unless he knows that he already lost.

...the gay men and advocates are wondering why the GOP leadership should've suspected Foley was a pederast since they likely knew he was gay.

Joe Baby, you got it backwards--they knew he was a pederast and were guessing that he was gay. Makes all the difference in the world. ;-)

Revenant said...

raise your hands if you believe that a 52 year old man who [...] serially sent pervo emails and IMs to 16-year-old boys is a victim?

Given that the boys he sent "pervo" IMs to sent "pervo" IMs right back I have a hard time seeing ANY of the people involved as victims. It's certainly Jerry Springer material, but anyone who thinks Foley was warping those kids' minds needs to read those transcripts.

I'm not sure what "pervo" emails he sent, though. Maybe those were worse. The only emails I've seen are the G-rated ones he sent to the teenager in Louisiana.

Revenant said...

if we buy the assumption that homophobia is a peculiarly Republican thing, any reasonably safe Democratic district would do

Homophobia is, sadly, not even vaguely limited to the Republican Party. The most homophobic demographic group in the nation, for example, is black people. Hispanics aren't much better. Neither are the working-class people who make up most of the unions.

This is why Clinton signed the DMA, why Kerry claimed to have the same position on gay marriage as Bush, and why the only significant federal-level gains in gay rights have come via judicial fiat -- comfortably distant from anyone who actually has to run for election. Gays make up about 3% of the population. The Democrats aren't going to kiss off the racial minority vote just to win that 3% -- it is enough that Republican social conservatives, who are the *loudest* homophobes even if they aren't the worst ones, keep most gay people from voting against Democrats.

Shanna said...

She was both rewarded and punished for having sex with the President.

Thank you for pointing out what I was trying to say. It was absolutely QpQ.

In the Foley instance, I see alot of people talking about hypocracy and I just don't see it. The scandal isn't a big deal because the guy a) didn't have sex, just inappropriate IM's and emails and b) ALREADY RESIGNED!!!

I've said before that if Hastert is at fault, throw him out, and I think most Republican's feel the same way. The fact is that the democrats have ZERO credibility on this issue and that's why people are saying it's not a big deal, because it's being taken care of and they're acting like it's not.

ChrisO said...

"that's why people are saying it's not a big deal"

Yeah, that's why the story's just fading away. It's clear that only a handful of people think there's anything to it. Why, I'd be surprised if there's even anything in the paper about it today.

mjc said...

Ann Althouse said...

mjc: Did you hurt yourself stuffing that many lies into that small a space?

Your cranium? Thanks for conceding you can't reconcile your apparent hypocrisy. You hypocritical intellectual lightweights crack me up!