Rich Galen
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  • This business with Mark Foley of Florida who had a series of instant message exchanges with a male page is beyond the pale. If you haven't read the transcripts, don't. They will turn your stomach.
  • In yesterday's Washington Post I was quoted as saying:
  • "This sense of entitlement that members of Congress can do anything to anyone, or for anyone, has got to end."

  • The reporter with whom I spoke, Jonathan Weisman, makes it appear that I was speaking about Republicans only, but I had made it clear to him in the conversation I was talking about the Congress as a whole.
  • No matter. I stand by the words.
  • The notion that the Republican leadership knew about the Foley business and did nothing appears to be off the mark. From the current reporting it appears that the Congressman, a Republican from Louisiana, who had appointed the Page told the head of the Republican House campaign committee about the exchanges.
  • It appears that the response - based upon what was known at the time - was apt.
  • According to the Washington Post, "[Chairman of the Page Board, John] Shimkus (R-IL) questioned Foley, but at that time, he had seen only suspiciously friendly e-mails, not the explicit instant messages revealed recently."
  • Shimkus had a conversation with Foley and told him, in effect, to stay away from the kid and, for that matter, stay away from any of the Pages.
  • It is not in the nature of any organization to rat out a member in good standing on thin evidence. If the e-mails were only "suspiciously friendly" then a warning was probably the appropriate response. Unfortunately, the instant messages were way more than friendly in any known meaning of the word.
  • Congressional Democrats are pretending that they are outraged about the Foley-Page business, but they know perfectly well that there are Members on their side who are but one phone call to a local news bureau away from having their careers come to a screeching halt because they, too, have been "pursuing" Pages or young staffers.
  • In fact, back in 1982 there was a Republican male Member of Congress who got caught having sex with a female page. He was not re-elected. At the same time there was a Democratic male Member of Congress who got caught having sex with a male page. He was (a) from Massachusetts and therefore (b) was re-elected several times.
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    Rich Galen

    Rich Galen has been a press secretary to Dan Quayle and Newt Gingrich. Rich Galen currently works as a journalist and writes at Mullings.com.