It is beyond easy -- it is mandatory -- to denounce Rep. Mark Foley for his sexually charged electronic mail and Internet messages to teenage males who worked as pages in the House of Representatives. He was right to resign. I hope he's prosecuted.
It is also beyond easy to recognize how the Democrats have decided to make national political hay out of this ugly sex scandal -- as far as we know, a sex talk scandal. On Monday morning, the network news shows were predicting excitedly that this could be a killer issue for Democrats.
"But this is more than just one man's downfall," insisted Matt Lauer on NBC. "It could be a major blow to the Republican Party, desperately trying to hold on to control of Congress in the coming midterm elections." NBC's story then carried angry soundbites from outraged Democrats.
"Any legislative leader that knew ahead of time and did nothing should resign," thundered Rep. Sherrod Brown of Ohio. Then came Illinois' Sen. Dick Durbin pointing the accusatory finger at the GOP leaders: "The fact that they didn't stop him, the fact that they didn't bring in law enforcement -- I think they have to be held accountable." Both ABC and CBS asked Tony Snow on Monday morning whether Republican House leaders should resign.
Stop. Since when have the Democrats ever insisted a politician be held accountable for a sex scandal involving a staffer, let alone the politician's party leaders? Take Durbin. Did he vote on any impeachment counts against President Clinton for perjury or obstruction of justice over Clinton's sexual relations with intern Monica Lewinsky?
Did Democrats -- the party of feminism, the party that hates sexual harassers -- demand accountability when President Clinton was accused of putting Kathleen Willey's hand on his crotch as she asked for a job? Or demand accountability when President Clinton was accused of dropping his pants in front of Paula Jones and asking that state employee to kiss his genitalia?
You know the answers. Let's continue.
Did Democrats -- who must have chortled at the 1996 GOP convention when NBC anchor Tom Brokaw suggested the Republicans don't think much about "women's issues" like rape -- demand answers from President Clinton when Juanita Broaddrick tearfully recounted to NBC in 1999 how Bill Clinton raped and brutalized her in a Little Rock hotel in the late 1970s?
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