The Democrats finally have their issue. Rep. Mark Foley (R-FL) resigned his seat in the House of Representatives on Friday, September 29, after news leaked that he had sexually harassed an underage male Congressional page. Foley repeatedly e-mailed and instant messaged the page, revoltingly asking him to undress, to measure his genitals with a ruler, to list details regarding frequency and method of masturbation, and to tell Foley when he was aroused. "[I'd] love to slip [your shorts] off you and [grab] the one-eyed snake," Foley messaged the teen.
Why repeat these perverse details? To demonstrate that House Republicans were not simply negligent in failing to investigate allegations regarding Foley's pedophilia -- they were downright malfeasant. When a 16-year-old page informed top House Republicans that Foley had e-mailed him and asked for a picture, the Republicans did nothing. When Republican officials confronted Foley over the e-mails, Foley explained that they were innocent mentoring -- and Republicans did nothing.
Trusting Foley at his word was inexcusable. If Foley had contacted a female page asking for her picture, there is no doubt he would have been grilled. House Republicans should have known better than to trust Foley here. Foley has been accused of closet homosexuality since his entry into politics; studies show that homosexuals are disproportionately prone to pedophilia. The fact that Foley had contacted a male page for his photograph should have set warning bells ringing across Capitol Hill.
But Republicans did nothing. Perhaps it was out of a sincere hope that Foley was not a closet homosexual; perhaps it was out of a disreputable hope that Foley's sickening behavior would go unnoticed until after the 2006 midterm elections. In either case, this information should have been investigated months ago -- and Foley should already be sitting in a jail cell.
Democrats are surely correct to bludgeon House Republicans with the Foley scandal. Nonetheless, their outrage seems somewhat incongruous when we take into account their moral belief system. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), who labeled House Republicans' behavior here "abhorrent," is a vocal opponent of parental consent laws with regard to abortions for underage girls. This is the same Democratic Party that repeatedly endorsed homosexual page-molester Rep. Gerry Studds (D-MA), even after his affair with a 17-year-old male page had been revealed. This is the same party that consistently defended Bill Clinton, calling his affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky a private matter.