Will There Be Foley Backlash?

There was a lot of talk over the weekend about who in the Republican party knew what about the Foley emails and when they knew it. It was learned that Dennis Hastert and others in the leadership knew about the Foley emails for many months and many, quite rightly, asked what was done when the information became known and wondered why Foley continued in his position. That concern was largely a result of initial confusion between the emails and the instant messages (IMs). Just to clear up any confusion, which I had when the story first broke, the emails were odd, but not explicitly sexual in nature. The “me so horny” IMs were quite another story.

From what I now understand, Dennis Hastert says that no one in the Republican leadership knew about the IMs, but only the emails. He is asking for help from the public and the media, in identifying anyone who had knowledge of the IMs, but did not report them to anyone.

If someone knew about the IMs, but did not report them, and rather decided to hold the information for whatever reason (can’t imagaine what that could be), that person put pages on Capitol Hill in danger. Hastert has asked the Attorney General for an investigation into Mark Foley’s actions and also to address the question of who had knowledge of those IMs.

I hope there is a full investigation into Foley’s actions, as well as one into who knew what when. Anyone guilty of wrongdoing should be punished to the full extent of the law. Those wanting to expose the truth should be commended and joined, but those seeking only to make political hay out of this might just end up getting bitten if it is discovered that anyone on their side had knowledge of those instant messages. If it is learned that a Democrat has been holding those IMs for any period of time for political purposes, the backlash could be as nasty as those disgusting messages.

Update: Be sure to check out Gateway Pundit on the group that has been out to get Foley for quite some time. I scanned the post and saw some surprising information that I had not seen elsewhere, but need to go back and read more carefully later when the house is quiet. Other posts following in detail are Sister Toldjah and Flopping Aces.

Must read from Macsmind:

What we know so far is that several principals, such as CREW, and ABC knowingly withheld information about Rep. Foley and had done so for many months, if not years before this story came to light. In light of that the FBI will be investigating. While the left wants us to believe that there was some sort of conspiracy involved, where GOP leadership hid the dirty truth about Foley, that simply isn’t feasible at this point.

According to sources involved in the investigation investigators will also be looking at who had copies of the IMs and emails and purposely held them for all this time. As obtaining evidence and witholding it is a federal offense, the focus of the investigation will be to the outside.

There has been a lot of Clinton comparison in this matter. One of the liberal commenters here at Wizbang threw it out there over the weekend and many, including me, responded. I am not going to defend Foley if he did the things that have been reported. The whole things creeps me out more than I care to get into, but if someone (of either party) was sitting on this info for political reasons then that should be exposed as well.

As for those saying those on the right are trying to compare whatever Foley did to Clinton/Lewinsky, or that anyone wanting to find out who had the IMs is doing the same as those who defended Clinton during impeachment, I say they have it all wrong. First, the Lewinsky comparison is not necessarily the right one concerning the offense itself. While the intern aspect is similar, the unwanted nature of the correspondence is closer to the cases of Kathleen Willey or Juanita Broaderick — except that those two women actually had hands laid on them. How many on the left thought those women’s claims even deserved a hearing?

But the truly huge difference is this — no one on the right is defending what Foley is accused of doing. Those on the left had a word for what Clinton did with Lewinsky when it was first revealed. The word was “reprehensible.” I heard that word more times in those months than in my entire lifetime up to that point. They said that over and over, but they did not want Clinton to face any punishment. They wanted to give him a good tongue lashing, but that was it. They thought he was still fit for office, in spite of his horrible judgment, and they did not want him to face any real punishment. All those Democrats who couldn’t wait to rush to the cameras to talk about how “reprehensible” Clinton’s “affair” with Monica was are now calling it a relationship between two consenting adults.

No one I have heard has suggested that Foley should not have resigned. No one is suggesting that he should not be investigated and held to the strictest punishment the law will allow if he commited any crimes. Many of us just want to make sure the whole story is told.

Update II: See Kim’s post about the Washington Times calling for Hastert’s resignation. (Oh, and everything Kim says in that post, I second.)

Allah and I are of the same mind on the topic of holding all involved accountable and the accusations of some claiming that is equivalent to making excuses.

Update III: I just read the Washington Times editorial and I can’t help but wonder if they don’t know more than has been reported, and more than they are saying, because it seems to me that a resignation of the Speaker of the House would only inject more politics into the investigation than is already there. Unless they know something that is not being reported, then I think the call for resignation is counterproductive to the desired result, which is to take this from the political realm and into the justice system.

Update IV: Dafydd notes some intentional “confusion” and some suspicious reporting of the emails and instant messages.

Lucianne posted the following:

I just did a quick hit on the Paula Zahn show at the CNN headquaters studio here in New York and everyone from the interns to John Roberts, the temp host, were bats with joy about this story. They could hardly contain themselves with joy. That should tell you something.

Update V: Allah wrote that I was disgusted with the Washington Times. Just to be clear, my disgust is with the Washington Times for joining in the chorus of those wanting to blow Foley’s disgusting behavior into some huge GOP sex scandal led by the Speaker, all the while ignoring those on the left who, evidence suggests, had some knowledge not only of the non-sexual emails, but of the nasty IMs, and planned to use them not to warn pages, but rather for political advantage.

Outside the Beltway writes, “Lorie Byrd also thinks the email/IM thing enough for Hastert to keep his job” referring to my distinction between the emails, which contained no sexual content, and the IMs, which did. My opinion that Hastert should not be run out of the leadership based on the emails is based on what I have seen of the emails thusfar. If there is some other information that I have either not seen or that has not been reported, that shows Hastert had knowledge beyond the non-sexual emails, then obviously that changes things significantly. To compare knowledge of those emails to knowledge in the Catholic church of priests molesting little boys (as I have seen a few people doing over the past 24 hours) only serves to further confuse voters about the facts of the matter. If more was known by Hastert, I will holler as loud as anyone for his head, but based on those emails alone, I am not ready to join that chorus. As for Democrats making the argument, give me a break. Studds didn’t even resign and he actually had sexual contact with his underage victim. Furthermore, they didn’t even think Juanita Broaderick or Kathleen Willey or Paula Jones deserved to be heard.

Update VI: I have been out most all day, so I have not seen any blog coverage yet, but did hear Hastert’s interview on Rush Limbaugh. If he is telling the truth about what he knew, I do not believe he did anything wrong. Hindsight is 20/20, and looking back now it is easy to say he should have done more, but considering what he was told about the emails, if he is telling the whole story, I think he did what most in his position would have done.

John Hawkins is on the same page I am about the Washington Times editorial, and provides great commentary. He also makes a great point about the page program: “Isn’t it time to kill the page program? This is the second sex scandal related to these pages. Moreover, do we really want 16 year olds ‘learning about the real world,’ from the likes of Ted Kennedy, Barney Frank, Tom Foley, Robert Byrd, and William Jefferson? ”

Update VII: Carol Platt Liebau is asking Republicans to remain calm and points out that Democrats are doing with Foley what they did with Iraq.

Previous posts:

Foley Reaction
Rep. Mark Foley Resigns

Wizbang Podcast #40 is up
God Be With The Amish, And Grant Them Solace

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