Tuesday, October 03, 2006

The deep scandal regarding Rep. Foley

Although I've been having some fun at Rep. Foley's expense, I think it's worth pausing to note and appreciate the many layers of scandal swirling around the GOP presently.

At its most superficial level, you have Foley himself, apparently a fan of IMing male "pages" ages 16 through 18 and engaging in awkward sexual banter. To be honest, like many Democrats, I could care less about the "gay" angle. And, to be really honest, I'm not overly worried about the age either. Not only are males of that age, gay or straight, absurdly horny, from all accounts the bizarre sex banter over IM was voluntary.

At layer two, you have the House leadership reaction, or lack thereof, to information about Foley's prediliction for pages. This is the scandal that threatens to bring down Speaker Fatty Hastert, and if we're lucky the entire Republican political apparatus. But even though I want the Dems to skewer, skewer, skewer the Republicans on this issue, the truth (again) is that, since I'm not all that bothered by Foley's behavior, I'm not really all that bothered by the failure of Hastert et al. to "take action." Should they have done more to protect the pages from this weirdo? Sure, I guess -- although that's much easier to say now, and much easier to say with access to the full range of creepy IMs they didn't have six months ago (despite what you may have read).

But then we get to layer three of the scandal -- the layer no one is really talking about. This is what really bothers me: I think most of the House leadership knew Foley was gay, even knew he had a fondness for young boys, but they didn't really care. Why? Because Foley was a Republican, an elected Republican, and a reliable Republican vote. This is pretty common in DC -- many Republicans are gay and closeted, and everyone knows it, and -- this is the key -- everyone treats them decently. Yet, when it comes time to vote on outlawing gay marriage, or stripping civil union rights, or otherwise ostracizing this poor, pilloried minority, the same House leadership can't stop itself from going on the attack. Hypocrisy and hate, wrapped together in one vomitous mass. This is the real scandal of Rep. Foley. And it's the real scandal of what the Republican Party has become.


Blogger Johnbai3030 said...

I partially agree with you. The gay thing is a non-issue. The hypocrisy that the repubs show in bashing gay culture isn't a real issue either (other than being kinda pathetic.) A man sleeping with a 16 year old boy is a bit creepy (but not scandal-worthy.) The issue, I think, is how power creeps in to the equation. The reason a male highschool teacher isn't allowed to sleep with students is because it's an abuse of power. Foley has demonstrated that he cannot resist the temptation to abuse his power for his own sexual pleasure. This makes him unfit for public service (and hopefully will bar him from ever working at a highschool.)

11:25 AM  
Blogger Johnbai3030 said...

You're mysteriously silent on the real issue going on in the world this week. The Hawks got destroyed by the Bears! WTF?! I figured the Hawks could lose this game and be okay (they don't have to be much better than the Bears to secure homefield advantage--since they should go 8-0 in their division--and beat them at Qwest in the playoffs.) But they looked worse than the Giants did a week ago.

What happened? And what does it mean?

11:29 AM  
Blogger Robert Boyd said...

"they didn't really care. Why? Because Foley was a Republican, an elected Republican, and a reliable Republican vote."

He was an even MORE reliable vote after the Republican leadership found him out. Remember, Tom Delay's big achievement was to enforce hardcore party discipline on important votes, usually by bribing of threatening to withhold money to Congressmen. But in Foley's case, that wasn't even necessary. Foley's fear of being outed would force him to vote reliably for whatever the leadership wanted whether he wanted to or not.

4:03 PM  
Blogger Johnbai3030 said...

Robert Boyd, I agree.
Wow, that's coldblooded, calculated evil. Even Hardball's blowhard Chris Matthews (on Leno recently) is asking for Dems to win the house so that someone can put a check on the abuses of power that are happening in a single party controlled government.

8:53 PM  

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