Just a few semi-random thoughts on the Representative Foley/congressional page scandal:
1) There needs to be a full criminal investigation into Foley’s conduct. If he violated any laws, then he needs to spend some serious time behind bars. If he skirted right up to the edge of them but never quite went across them, then he deserves to spend the rest of his life under intense scrutiny to make sure he never gets that close again without being observed.
2) His latest batch of excuses are, in brief, a crock of bullshit. Alcohol doesn’t create anything, it only intensifies feelings already present. In Mel Gibson’s case, I suspect it was general rage that was evoked, and chose anti-Semitism as its form to express. In Foley’s case, the booze did not turn him into a pedophile. If that was the case, there would be laws against places serving or selling liquor within a mile or so of schools.
As far as the “abused by a member of the clergy” story, I call bullshit on that one, too. If that was the case, then Massachusetts — the “ground zero” for the Pedophile Priest scandal that rocked the Catholic Church — would be filled with deviants, pedophiles, and other miscreants, and… um… I might have to reconsider that one.
(I see that Foley was born in Newton, Massachusetts. Dang, I’m really going to have to rethink this.)
OK, obligatory Massachusetts-bashing aside, I am STILL not buying that one. If you have a deep, dark secret that drives you to shameful acts, the only way you’re going to get ANY credit and credibility with me is if you confess them BEFORE you’re caught. Otherwise, it looks like you’re just trying to cover your ass — and most likely are.
3) I don’t give a rat’s ass about the inner politics of Congress in general. I don’t care who holds what position in which house, for the most part. If Hastert has to resign as speaker, the most reaction I’ll have is “oh, whatever.” If he doesn’t, I won’t care, either. I don’t belong to either party, not about to sign up for either, and find most of their partisan squabbling and internecine struggles entertaining at best, but far more often simply dull.
4) IF all the Republican leadership had to go on was some rather odd e-mails, then they really had nothing they could do. Those who say that Foley’s e-mails were grounds for further investigation are engaging in exactly the kind of gay-bashing they denounce when the issue is gay Scout leaders, gay teachers, gay coaches, any time gay people might be put in a position of overseeing younger people. The ACLU, with the backing of a LOT of the left, fought that position all the way to the Supreme Court.
5) If the Republican leadership had access to not just Foley’s E-mails, but his Instant Message conversations with pages, THEN they ought to not just resign their leadership position, but their office as well. As the old saying goes, it’s not the crime that gets you, it’s the coverup, and there was absolutely NO way this was going to say quiet until 2008 (the next time someone could run to replace Foley). For all my contempt for most politicians, I respect the basic political savvy it takes to get elected to national office and rise to a position of leadership, and I find it difficult that they could make sugh a grotesque error in judgment.
Then again, Gerry Studds was reprimanded by the House for flying a page to Portugal where he could boink the boy without breaking US laws. Studds turned his back on the House while the reprimand was read and was STILL not only re-elected another 5 times, but kept his seniority and privileges, even heading up (um… poor word choice there) a major committee — appointed to that post by the Democratic leadership.
So, anyway, as I was saying, I doubt that the Republican leadership knew the full details of Foley’s Folly — but if they did, they gotta go, too.
6) There appears to be evidence that the exposure of Foley was not some fortunate discovery, but a carefully-planned “hit” that was prepared and saved up for just before the election. That in no way mitigates anything I say above, but merely adds to the list of people who need some serious investigation. If — IF — there were people who knew about Foley, and had the goods on him, but sat on that information until the opportune political moment to release it as a sort-of “October Surprise,” then they need to be charged with accessory before and after the fact in any criminal charges filed against Foley. If that isn’t feasible or legal, then they at least need to be unmasked as the sort of scum who have no problems concealing a predatory pedophile until it suits their agenda to expose him — putting who knows how many more teenagers at risk for their own benefit.
So, to sum up:
Foley: Rot in hell, you sick bastard. I don’t care if you actually broke the letter of the law or not.
Hastert and the rest of the House leadership: Shame on you for not keeping a closer eye on him. But if you had access to the Instant Messages, then to hell with you, too.
The “get Hastert” people: Unless you have solid evidence that they knew about the Instant Messages, shut your pieholes, you partisan hacks.
The people who exposed Foley: You have our thanks. But if you sat on that information for one minute longer than necessary, just to further your own political ends, then you’re almost as guilty as Foley, and ought to rot in hell, too.