Moral Clarity And Mark Foley
Like the great white shark, a
scandal must be fed, or it sinks to the bottom and dies.
Mark Foley-congressional page scandal has not had a
good feeding in 72 hours.
On Saturday, The Washington Post
revealed that Kirk Fordham, Foley`s top aide in 2003,
concerned about Foley`s fixation with pages, went to see
Scott Palmer, chief of staff to Speaker Hastert.
According to Fordham, and another
source, Palmer, alerted to the Foley problem, confronted
him. As Palmer shares an apartment with the speaker, it
seems impossible that he and Hastert would not have
discussed so volatile an issue.
Cites Earlier Role by Hastert`s Office, By
Thus we have a credibility
For Palmer denies he had any 2003
meeting with Fordham to discuss Foley, or that he held
any meeting with Foley himself.
The speaker says that not until
2005, when the issue of the "overly friendly"
e-mail to a 16-year-old page came up, was he made aware
of a Foley problem, and not until the day Foley departed
did he know of the salacious instant messages. Yet
Majority Leader John Boehner and Rep. Thomas Reynolds
have said they alerted Hastert to the gravity of the
situation months ago.
Clearly, there is either a serious
outbreak of Attention Deficit Disorder in the GOP
caucus, or someone is lying. Fordham or Palmer, or
Palmer and the speaker. While lying to the public is
not unusual for politicians,
lying to the FBI can get you a
reservation at Allenwood.
On Sunday, The New York Times
Fordham is gay. [Foley
Case Upsets Balance of Gay Republicans, By Mark
Leibovich] On Saturday, the Post reported that the
House clerk who oversaw the page program and was sent by
the speaker`s office to admonish Foley in 2005 was also
gay. Fordham, Foley and the clerk are now gone. We may
be looking at the Little Big Horn of the
Log Cabin Club.
What, then, are the elements of
this multiplex scandal?
First, there is the deplorable
instant messages of Foley, which all have condemned. Yet
if Foley had had sex with pages, rather than write them
lurid IMs, he would have violated no law. For under D.C.
law, the age of consent has been dropped to 16. And
there is no evidence Foley violated that law or had a
sexual encounter with a teenage page.
How can Democrats credibly denounce
a 52-year-old gay man for sending dirty instant messages
to a 16-year-old, when Democrats have
legalized sex with 16-year-olds in D.C.? Isn`t that
a mite hypocritical?
There are questions as well for the
If ABC was concerned about the
Foley threat to the pages, why did ABC hold up the story
until October? And if the St. Petersburg Times
and Miami Herald
knew of the first e-mail, and chose not to out
Foley, why is Hastert condemned for reaching the same
In the Baltimore Catechism,
listed as a sin against the Eighth Commandment,
"Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy
neighbor." Detraction does not mean lying about
one`s neighbor, it means revealing a truth ruinous to
reputation that the listener has no right to
hear—i.e., if a woman has had an abortion years ago, one
cannot, in good conscience, broadcast that to the public
without committing a grave sin.
The problem with Washington is that
detraction is what modern campaigns are all about:
digging up dirt on one`s opponent, and feeding it to a
Yet if Hastert and those two
newspapers declined to destroy Foley for one indiscreet
e-mail, did they not do the better thing?
Would it not have caused a storm of
outrage against the GOP and speaker if, after one
e-mail, they had outed and ruined Foley? Would not the
GOP have been fairly charged with a cruel act of
homophobia over a single "over-friendly"
There are other questions. As it
was a Democrat front group,
sent the instant messages to the FBI in July, were
not Democrats aware Foley was prowling the page dorm,
and did they not remain silent, preferring to await the
politically propitious moment to release the IMs?
Is the Democratic concern for the
"children" genuine, or did they leave the pages
vulnerable until they could drop their stink bomb on
Foley and the House Republicans, five weeks before the
As of today, this is a Republican
scandal. A GOP congressman was responsible for the
sordid messages to pages. The House GOP leadership
failed to investigate rigorously. And some GOP staff and
members may have lied and may have covered up. Any
Republican who is proven to have done so should be
removed from any position of power.
But to have the party of gay
rights, many of whose
leaders have marched in
gay pride parades alongside the
pedophiles of NAMBLA, acting "shocked, shocked"
at GOP torpor in outing and ousting its flaming gay
member is, to put it mildly, unconvincing.
CREATORS SYNDICATE, INC.
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