MoonDawg's Den: Foley a fool, but not a Studd

MoonDawg's Den

Monday, October 02, 2006

Foley a fool, but not a Studd

What kind of fool in a high profile position leaves a digital paper trail of his lewd behavior? Forget about Rep. Mark Foley being a perv, anyone dumb enough to not know that his emails and instant messages would someday see the light of day has no business being in high public office.

At least Foley did the right thing and resigned in disgrace, even though he had not actually committed any sexual acts with congressional pages - he only talked dirty to them, and only did so after they had already left the page program. He's certainly no Gerry Studds, a former Democratic congressman who had an affair with a 17 year-old page. Studds did commit sexual acts with a minor during the time the minor was serving as a page (Studds also provided alcohol to the youth, a crime in itself).

Instead of resigning, Studds had the gall to claim that the relationship he had with the 17 year-old was a private matter and none of the Congressional leadership's business, using the homosexual nature of the relationship as cover. He stayed in the House and his liberal Democratic district in Mass. elected him five more times to office (a Republican congressman who was exposed at the same time as Studds and found to have had an affair with a 17 year-old female page, Dan Crane, was rightly voted out of office by his Illinois district - I guess, as Jeff Jacoby has said, "in Massachusetts, where standards are lower, sleaziness is a bar to nothing").

It's just a little something to remember as we watch Democrats rant on in faux outrage over Foley - when it was one of their liberal brethern poaching the page pool in a far worse manner, they had no problem with it.


  • Studd's affair with page occurred in 1973 (according to the wikipedia article you linked to). How many of the current dems were around then? You might as well talk about Ted Kennedy's vehicular (sp?) homicide as well.

    The point is that congressmen of either party are not held to the same standard as regular people. That's wrong. It was wrong when Patrick Kennedy received leniency for his DUI earlier this year as well.

    Whoever knew about Foley's behavior and allowed it to continue should be held responsible. Those who condoned Studd's actions should be as well (and Ted Kennedy should be in jail as far as I'm concerned).

    Why is this a political issue, Garry? Why do you need to go 30 years into the past to find an example of a dem who did a similar thing? Why can't we just be outraged that an elected public official would do something so incredibly wrong? Have we fallen so far that everything is a political issue? Why is outrage from the left always "faux" outrage to you? Don't liberals have a right to be upset at something like this? Everyone should be upset, not trying to spin the issue politically.

    (Yes, I do know that dems are politicizing this as well, and they are wrong in my book too.)

    By Blogger Jeff, At 8:14 PM, October 02, 2006  

  • Welcome back, Jeff! Well, Studds served till 1996, and had a chairmanship in the House (the Dems gave him a subcommittee chair less than two years after his censure in 1983) - so yes, there are loads of Dems in the House today who were around while Studds was in a leadership role in the party, and nary a whisper was made about his behavior by his peers.

    As to the issue being a political one - are you kidding me? The Dems made it a political issue when they began to cynically conflate the Foley emails with the Foley instant messages, knowing full well that most people aren't informed enough on the situation to know the difference.

    You yourself admit that the Dems are politicizing this issue - are Repubs supposed to sit back and do nothing in response, letting Dems have the final (and false) word on what transpired? I think not.

    PS - I have no love for Hastert by the way; he's been a mediocre Speaker at best. If he gets thrown under the bus for this it would be unfair, but I wouldn't be sorry to see him go...

    By Blogger Garry, At 11:00 AM, October 03, 2006  

  • Sorry to get back to this so late.

    Maybe I should rephrase my objection. This is an issue with huge political ramifications, and, maybe, those need to be talked about. However, what is being lost in the spin is that Foley did something terrible. He committed a crime. And, what's worse, is he committed a crime against a child (a teenager) that was in his care to some degree.

    That being the case, is it really relevent that Democrats "conflate[d] the Foley emails with the Foley instant messages"? Is it really relevent that you perceive that the Democrats "have the final (and false) word on what transpired"? Is it really relevent that a Democratic congressman had sex with a page 33 years ago?

    The thing that I see going on in the news and on the blogs is a concerted effort from the right to exonerate Foley somewhat for what he did. It seems like protecting the party is more important than protecting children.

    For example, Shaun Hannity tried to compare this incident to the Lewinsky/Clinton affair. That's just stupid. There is a glaring difference between the two: Monica was 22, not 16. While Clinton's actions were immoral, they were not illegal. When he perjured himself later, that was illegal.

    Furthermore, just because someone else did it, doesn't make it right. Let's not forget that Foley spent much of his time in congress trying to protect kids from internet predators. It turns out that he was one.

    You can say what you want about the dems reaction. You can call it overly political. You can call it "faux outrage." You can call it cynical conflation of facts. You can call it trying to have the last (and false) word. But, you can never say that the dems are the party, that in 2006, defended the actions of an internet predator for political gain.

    You can say that you're not defending him or his actions--or even that repubs in general aren't, but do your words support that theory? I'm not sure.

    Again, all I can say is that I wish this was about right and wrong, not right and left.


    By Blogger Jeff, At 1:32 AM, October 06, 2006  

  • BTW, in Hannity's rant about Clinton and Monica, he falsely claimed that Monica was 19. She wasn't. Gee, I'm glad everyone's being honest about this.

    By Blogger Jeff, At 1:35 AM, October 06, 2006  

  • I didn't see what Hannity said so I can't comment on it; if he said 19 than he was mistaken.

    But no, nobody I have seen on the Repub side has defended Foley - he's a scum perv and the House is well rid of him. There is no effort to "exonerate" him - the guy resigned and nobody is trying to bring him back. All I'm saying is there's a double standard at play here:

    Dem representative has sex with a 17 year-old SERVING page: keeps his House seat and is given a subcommitte chair by his party.

    Repub representative talks sex with a 17 year-old FORMER page: forced to resign in disgrace and is a pariah to his party.

    By the way, just what "crime" are you saying that Foley committed?

    By Blogger Garry, At 5:30 PM, October 06, 2006  

  • "By the way, just what "crime" are you saying that Foley committed?"

    Are you kidding? How about sexual solicitation of a minor? It's been reported that Foley tried to arrange meetings with his victims. Even if he didn't, engaging in sexual congress with a minor on the internet is illegal.

    That's exactly what I mean, however. You're trying to downplay the scandal to make it politically palatable. In one breath you say, "There is no effort to 'exonerate' him," and in the very next breath you accuse democrats of doing worse, and then you somehow come up with the idea that Foley didn't commit a crime. You might not be trying to exonerate him, but you're sure trying to make him look better.

    Why can't you just say, "What Foley did is wrong, he should be punished, and anyone who helped to cover-up his behavior should be punished as well"? Is that so difficult? Instead, it becomes this convoluted, overly spun garbage that no one can make heads or tails of, and I would suggest that it is more politically damaging to the right to take this stand. Damage control in a case like this is more damaging than just letting it go.

    By Blogger Jeff, At 1:14 AM, October 07, 2006  

  • "engaging in sexual congress with a minor on the internet is illegal" - I presume you are referring to the Mann Act, and under the relevant statute it's only illegal if the sexual act being solicited is also illegal. In other words, if Foley was soliciting someone in a state where the age of consent was under 18 (are there any?), then Foley would be in legal trouble. Given that these were internet conversations, I'm not sure which state would have jurisdiction (I believe Foley was in Florida at the time of the IM conversations).

    So I would hardly describe my unwillingness to declare that Foley has committed a crime as "downplaying" his conduct. But if you know of statutes or case law that indicates otherwise, please share it.

    You ask that I say "What Foley did is wrong, he should be punished, and anyone who helped to cover-up his behavior should be punished as well"? Fine, here is what I say:

    - What Foley did was absolutely wrong, sleazy, perverse, disgusting. But does it rise to the level of criminality? I doubt it.
    - He has been punished; he was forced to resign from Congress in disgrace.
    - If anyone helped Foley cover up criminal acts, they should face appropriate consequences. But so far I know of no criminal acts having been committed based on what we have seen so far.

    Having said that, I don't believe we have seen everything yet, and it could well be that the FBI investigation turns up criminal wrongdoing - if so, Foley should be indicted and tried. But at this point in time it's just flat wrong for you to say that "he committed a crime against a child".

    By Blogger Garry, At 11:15 AM, October 08, 2006  

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