If the page program survives the current scandal, those in charge of it might want to hire Betsy Newmark as a consultant. Drudge has a breaking story up now about the Foley IM scandal that Betsy Newmark predicted less than 48 hours ago. Here is the Drudge story:
According to two people close to former congressional page Jordan Edmund, the now famous lurid AOL Instant Message exchanges that led to the resignation of Mark Foley were part of an online prank that by mistake got into the hands of enemy political operatives, the DRUDGE REPORT can reveal.
According to one Oklahoma source who knows the former page very well, Edmund, a conservative Republican, goaded an unwitting Foley to type embarrassing comments that were then shared with a small group of young Hill politicos. The prank went awry when the saved IM sessions got into the hands of political operatives favorable to Democrats.
The primary source, an ally of Edmund, adamantly proclaims that the former page is not a homosexual. The prank scenario was confirmed by a second associate of Edmund. Both are fearful that their political careers will be affected if they are publicly brought into the matter.
The prank scenario only applies to the Edmund IM sessions and does not necessarily apply to any other exchanges between the former congressman and others.
The news come on the heels that Edmund has hired former Timothy McVeigh attorney, Stephen Jones.In a Conservatives With Attitude podcast panel discussion Tuesday night, Betsy predicted as much. I don’t have a transcript of her comments, but she talked about the possibility that the IM exchanges might have been the result of a small group of teenagers sitting in front of the computer laughing about the things they could get a congressman to say. She did not, in any way, use the possible scenario to excuse the behavior of Foley. She is a high school teacher and from experience could not help but consider the possibility. I agreed with her that the scenario seemed plausible, but never dreamed we would ever know even if it was true. I don’t know whether or not Drudge’s story will be confirmed. Even if it is it does not excuse what Foley did, but it certainly does feed the suspicions of many that some political dirty tricks were involved.
Update: Good roundup of reaction and commentary at Stop The ACLU.
Update II: ABC has released information of Mark Foley’s discussions with three additional pages that is even more disgusting than the earlier reports. Whether or not the page whose IM messages were released earlier was playing a prank, the three additional pages assure ABC that Foley’s interactions with them were no prank.
I will repeat here what I have said (and every other Republican I have heard so far has said) — Foley is a disgusting, creepy guy who should have resigned and should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law and should be subjected to personal and professional shame and shunning. No “put a little ice on that” and it will be all better, no calling his actions “reprehensible” today and then later on saying that his behavior is horrible but does not “rise to the level” of punishment. He should pay for what he has done and he should never be in a position to harass another page, or child for that matter, ever again. Thank goodness he resigned in disgrace and will be fully investigated.
Some on the right think it should not be pointed out that Democrats are trying to use a horrible situation to paint all Republicans as either child molesters or child molester defenders, I think it is entirely appropriate to call Democrats on their dispicable behavior, but frankly, if they continue, it won’t be necessary to do it. It will become evident to most that Democrat leaders desperate to regain power are practicing political opportunism of the worst kind. This is how a party seeks to win when they have no agenda to run on.
Update III: Hugh Hewitt thinks Democrats, especially Patty Wetterling, have overplayed their hand.
Update IV: Mary Katharine has a great roundup and commentary.