Friday, October 06, 2006

Mark Foley and Pots Calling Kettles Black

That's right, sportsfans: I see a lot of pots calling one or two kettles black.

If anyone has any reason to condemn former Representative Mark Foley (R-Florida), it would be someone like myself. And yes, I think he is better out of the House simply by reason of what he has acknowledged doing, either directly or indirectly. And what is that? Striking up a friendship with a page when such a friendship would be inappropriate is not his sin. Suggesting that a page take off his clothes is. That is what the infamous AOL Instant Messenger (AIM) logs show--and if, as some have suggested in public (and to yours truly in private), they were forged, then Foley's resignation begs explanation.

Four issues present themselves at the time of this writing. First, the e-mails. They were all that Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL) knew about. The family of the page involved wanted the friendship to stop, and Hastert did all that a reasonable and prudent senior officer would or even could have done: told him to stop. The only thing he might have failed to do was to follow up on it--but such follow-up might have laid him open to criticism for trying to invite a homosexual person out of the Party merely for being a homosexual.

Second is the content of the AIM logs, and particularly words attributed to Foley. They are as disgusting as anyone has so far claimed. I will not link to them here; their content would have to carry the NC-17 (formerly X) rating from the MPAA. No matter what the circumstance or the provocation (of which more next), an adult does not talk that way even to another adult, particularly someone younger, more particularly not a subordinate in one's workplace. Now I say another adult because some doubt now exists as to whether the page involved was a Constitutional adult at the time of the AIM interaction, and not a minor as originally claimed.

Which brings me to the third issue: the circumstances under which the AIM logs came to be. We now learn that the page involved might have deliberately egged Foley on in order to tease or haze him, and that he and his buddies foolishly saved their AIM logs--which House Democratic campaign aide Rahm Emmanuel or someone close to him later stole. If so, then the page is guilty of his own particular sin. That does not excuse Foley. But it does support Hastert's contention that he knew nothing of the AIM logs or their salacious content until the story broke a week ago.

And finally we have the disgraceful spectacle of a bunch of Democrats calling for Hastert to resign, and then suggesting that if they were elected, the pages would be safe. That is a filthy lie. The history of Representative Gerry Studds (D-MA) belies that sentiment. (And to make matters worse, Representative Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco, voted numerous times, during five terms of Congress, to make Gerry Studds a committee chairman once again even after he turned his back on the House on the occasion of his censure.) The further spectacles of Representative Barney Frank (D-MA) and, of course, President Clinton (D) render the Democrats utterly unqualified to judge either Mark Foley's case or Dennis Hastert's handling of it.

And now, my recommendations:

  1. Any Democrat who dares suggest that Dennis Hastert ought to lay down his speakership over this or any other issue should just shut up--unless said Democrat is ready to condemn Gerry Studds, Barney Frank, and Bill Clinton for their behavior, and the rest of their caucus for supporting these men.
  2. Any Republican who thinks Dennis Hastert ought to go must either (a) be able to replace him as Speaker, or (b) know someone who is. I can understand suggesting that someone else might serve the Party better as Speaker than Dennis Hastert has done, or can in future. But if one is going to carp against him, fine--tell me the name of his suggested replacement.
As to Mark Foley, he's out of Congress, and his conduct ought now to be a non-issue. The real issue is what a prospective Speaker Pelosi would do. That ought to scare any thinking and loyal American.
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