Saturday, September 30, 2006
Dead Girl or Live Boy
I see that Rep. Mark Foley (R-FL) has resigned from the House of Representatives over sexually suggestive e-mails and instant messages sent to a 16-year-old page.
Let's get a couple of things out of the way right now. The issue is not Rep. Foley's sexuality; rumors have been ongoing that Rep. Foley was a closet homosexual, but homosexuality and pedophilia/ephebophilia are not the same thing. The issue is that Rep. Foley was sending these IMs and e-mails to someone who was (possibly - I've not been able to confirm what the law is in DC) under the age of consent, and that Rep. Foley was the co-chair of the House Missing and Exploited Children Caucus. Hypocrisy, if you will.
(As an aside, how come no one can spell "hypocrisy" anymore?)
He did the right thing by resigning - I will give him that.
Politically (less than 2 months to the mid-terms; of course we have to discuss the politics of the situtation), the Florida Republican Party can name someone to take his place, but his name will still appear on the ballot. Given the circumstances, the Democrats might be able to swing another pickup in this formerly safe GOP district. Tim Mahoney is the Democratic candidate, and yet another example of why we need to challenge every race.
It's also telling that several members of the House GOP leadership knew about this several months ago and did nothing.
I can hear the Clinton Haters Chorale warming up, so let's refer to point one: Monica Lewinsky, young as she was, was still an ADULT. The victim here was SIXTEEN YEARS OLD. There's a difference between an affair between consenting adults (wrong as it was) and sending dirty messages to a CHILD. My nieces and nephews range in age from six to nearly 19; once they're adults, they're capable of making decisions (erroneous or otherwise), but before that, they're not in a position to give consent. If indeed between seven and nine members of the House GOP leadership knew one of their members was sending dirty messages to a sixteen-year-old, and did nothing about it until their hand was forced by the media, that borders on harboring a fugitive. Making it even more fascinating is the fact that the lone Democrat on the committee that oversees the pages, Rep. Dale Kildee (D-MI), was not notified by the chairman of the committee, Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL). They tried to keep it in house and out of the media, and there were no reprimands or other actions against Rep. Foley EVEN AFTER THEY HAD THE EVIDENCE.