"We should not subject young men and women to this kind of activity, this kind of vulnerability." So said Illinois Congressman Ray LaHood, who is recommending that the congressional page program be suspended at least temporarily.
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, you cannot trust members of the United States Congress with your teenage children. And you cannot trust them with your money either.
These titillations, er, scandals have developed a predictable choreography. High-ranking official, Hollywood star, business executive, you fill in the blank, is caught in flagrante, and what does he or she do? He attempts to frame himself as the victim -- of abuse, of alcoholism, of drugs, and often of all three. A fly on the wall of these treatment centers would doubtless discover that some of their celebrity clients are not alcoholics at all, but simply charlatans anointing themselves with alcoholism to wring sympathy from an infinitely forgiving public. There was a time, children, when public figures did not write tell-all "confessions" about their sexual lives. They were uptight and unliberated. James McGreevey is the model now. Former governor of New Jersey, former husband, former father (?), he includes lurid passages in his new book about discovering his homosexuality with an aide while his wife was at the hospital giving birth.
Former Rep. Mark Foley has set some kind of land-speed record in framing himself as a victim. His seat in the House was barely cold before he let it be known that a) he was checking himself into rehab for alcoholism, and b) he was himself molested as a youth by a "clergyman." A two-fer! Book this man on "Oprah" now.
Perhaps with Foley, America will finally reach the point of gagging on victimhood. Obviously Foley was the perpetrator, not the victim. He was a powerful man preying upon kids away from home for the first time, abusing his prestige and power, betraying the public trust, and in a particularly sour twist, sponsoring legislation to shield kids from Internet predators. And now he asks us to spare some sympathy for him?
It's probably true that the Republican leadership should have done more with the early warnings they received. Memo to file: Any number of e-mails above one from a grown man to a teenage boy or girl is too many. Full stop.