Investor’s Business Daily asks “what did Democrats know, and when did they know it?” Today IBD looks at the Democrats’ hypocrisy and sleaziness in trying to use Foley’s sick behavior to their political advantage:
It’s of course clear that Foley, a Republican representative from Florida, resigned for good cause. We don’t defend him or his inexcusable behavior — good riddance.
But it didn’t take long at all after Foley’s resignation for the Democrats to call for an investigation of the entire Republican leadership in the House, charging that GOP stalwarts knew early on that Foley, as they like to say in the rehab business, had a “problem.”
Democrats have begun losing their once-significant lead in the polls, and a mere five weeks remain until the midterm elections. Is this scandal the Democrats’ own “October Surprise,” meant to throw the GOP into a tailspin shortly before the vote?
Recent polls show Democrats aren’t doing very well on several key issues. What better way than a good, old-fashioned sex scandal to get people’s minds off such things as the importance of winning the war in Iraq, our ongoing vulnerability to terrorist attack and the necessity of keeping the Bush economic boom going?
As it is, Republicans deny knowing about the explicit text messages that Foley sent to a 16-year-old congressional page back in 2003. In repudiating Foley, House Speaker Dennis Hastert called the messages “vile and repulsive.”
Despite this, the immediate take by Democrats and much of the mainstream media was that this was a classic example of Republican hypocrisy — talking “morals” and “values” while all the time shielding a child predator. But it was nothing of the kind.
If anything, the episode reveals the Democrats’ hypocrisy about their own behavior. The fact that Foley resigned virtually within minutes of being told that ABC News had copies of his salacious e-mails and text messages indicates he at least felt shame for his actions. Can the same be said for Democrats?
Sadly, it doesn’t seem so. How else can you explain the following?
• In 1983, then-Democratic Rep. Gerry Studds of Massachusetts was caught in a similar situation. In his case, Studds had sex with a male teenage page — something Foley hasn’t been charged with.
Did Studds express contrition? Resign? Quite the contrary. He rejected Congress’ censure of him and continued to represent his district until his retirement in 1996.
• In 1989, Rep. Barney Frank, also of Massachusetts, admitted he’d lived with Steve Gobie, a male prostitute who ran a gay sex-for-hire ring out of Frank’s apartment. Frank, it was later discovered, used his position to fix 33 parking tickets for Gobie.
What happened to Frank? The House voted 408-18 to reprimand him — a slap on the wrist. Today he’s an honored Democratic member of Congress, much in demand as a speaker and “conscience of the party.”
• In 2001, President Clinton, who had his own intern problem, commuted the prison sentence of Illinois Rep. Mel Reynolds, who had sex with a 16-year-old campaign volunteer and pressured her to lie about it. (Reynolds also was convicted of campaign spending violations.)
Political parties that reside in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. Read the rest of the editorial.
Update: Noel Sheppard at Newsbusters links to a Washington Post article that actually acknowledges and details the double-standard between Democrats, who get away with their scandals, and Republicans, who pay serious consequences for theirs.