Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Foleygate

Sobek posting at Ace notes the shifting definition of sex for use in the Foleygate scandal. Whereas the definition of sex was parsed like you couldn't believe in the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal to define oral sex as not being sex, we now find a misleading headline Hastert Won't Resign Over Sex Scandal, where thus far we know of no actual sexual contact between Foley and any of the pages other than the sexually explicit emails. The media, and blogs, love salacious headlines, and that's quite a headturner, but the headline is misleading since Hastert himself is not implicated in a sex scandal, but the coverup.

It's always about the coverup, or the incomplete investigations, isn't it.

Hastert says he wont resign from his leadership post. That may change after the election, when the leadership posts are decided. The GOP will certainly look to fresh blood to reinvigorate the party's leadership, and to remove the stigma of the Foley scandal.

AJ Strata notes a different kind of coverup, this time involving ABC News and Brian Ross, which sat on the allegations of child abuse dating from 2003. The media outlets themselves are using the same excuse as Hastert, which should be troubling to anyone covering the story. If it is good or not good for Hastert, then it should be the same for the very media outlets that had similar or additional information. No double standards here. Various media outlets knew of the emails and did nothing. Either they didn't think that there was anything there there, or they were waiting for some major break in the story to run with it. It appears that the break was the release of the IMs.

AJ is still questioning the timing. So is Macranger, who has been adamant from the get-go about the timing of this mess.

I think Hastert has not distinguished himself with his actions here, though I thought he should have been canned over his claims of Congressional immunity applicable to the Rep. William Jefferson (D-LA) case, and the search of his Congressional offices. That incident suggested that Hastert was more concerned with preserving Legislative power vis-a-vis the other branches of government and not serious rooting out the corrupt members in its midst.

LaShawn Barber doesn't think the current scandal will have as far reaching effects as some folks imagine. Foley's scandal isn't likely to affect races elsewhere in the country, despite people being fed up with Congress.

My decision on who to vote for in New Jersey will be made based on which candidates are the least ethically challenged (a tough job indeed). Thus far, that puts Kean Jr., ahead of the Democrat incumbent Bob Mendendez. I don't even think that my Congressional representative is facing a serious challenger in my district, so I doubt that there will be any fallout there either.

UPDATE:
Roger L Simon hits the right note in saying that it doesn't matter what this or that politician across the aisle did and the respective lack of punishment. This incident stands on its own. And both parties need to recognize that email and other electronic communications never completely disappear. They'll be sure to resurface at the most [in]opportune moments.

The plot sickens. [Via Michelle Malkin and Ramesh Ponnuru]

UPDATE:
Hastert wants the DoJ and FBI to investigate the situation further. That's not only a smart move, but it's the only one he can make. But here's the rub. He would be among those investigated by the FBI, and his stance on DoJ/FBI investigations of House members is one that claims the inviolable nature of the offices of the members. Sure, it is entirely possible that members on both sides of the aisle would be swept up in the investigation as to who knew what and when. Byron York wonders just how much Hastert will cooperate with the very investigation he called for. It's a good question, and I think it stands as yet another reason that Hastert should step down. This is, after all, a criminal investigation, and who knows where it may lead.

UPDATE:
Foley had a presser today, and let's add the revelation that he was molested as a child by a clergyman to the mix. As if that excuses any of his behavior? Sorry, that doesn't cut it for me. Take responsibility for your own actions. He also states through his lawyer that he engaged in no sexual conduct with any minor, ever.

Democrats are coming out of the woodwork demanding investigations. Pajamas Media has more, though I wonder where all those Democrats were when Rep. William Jefferson was busy packing away the cold cash in his freezer. Oh yes, that was when Hastert and Pelosi stood shoulder to shoulder asserting congressional immunity against any such investigation because it amounted to an infringement of the separation of powers.

No More Mister Nice Blog thinks that there is a difference between the Clinton-Lewinsky mess and the current Foleygate, but I'm not persuaded.

Mark Foley having IM sex with a high school student? Not a private matter. Bill Clinton having sex with a person legally able to vote, drink, and own property? Icky, but, purely as a moral matter, not really our damn business.


Macranger, Tom Mcguire, AJ Strata, Hugh Hewitt, and Mark Levin among others are calling on Hastert and the GOP to push back. I don't particularly agree, especially if Hastert is in charge of this pushback. I think his handling of the situation has been quite poor, and while the prior conduct of Democrats in the area of holding leadership accountable for the criminal acts of other members is poor (no one forced Tip O Neill to step down over the Barney Frank situation or various other scandals - ABSCAM comes to mind), i

Levin also raises an interesting point, which is that one of the families clearly wanted to keep this issue private. Yet someone acted on their own initiative to release this information, and then the more salacious and overtly sexual bits to the media. Who was behind that information release, and if they knew about this improper sexual advances and other interactions between Foley and pages, why did they put those pages, and other people at risk by not reporting Foley to the authorities.

Hewitt also notes that there are now questions about how the Democrats are pushing this matter to the point where it may backfire.

Frankly, this entire matter is sickening in any number of respects. Foley needs to be investigated thorough, as does who else knew about this and did nothing to inform the authorities (though they didn't exactly distinguish themselves in the initial investigation of Foley's email - no one thought to check for IMs?)

Others blogging: Confederate Yankee who offers some perspective on the Foley scandal and what the nation faces, The Anchoress hits 2 million visitors and provides some additional insights into the Foley Mess, Don Surber, Outside the Beltway, and Big Lizards.

Prior coverage: The Foley Scandal Grows, Has Foley Scandal Gotten Worse?, Rep. Mark Foley Resigns Over Sexually Explicit Emails

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