Friday, December 08, 2006

Ethics committee rebukes GOP over Foley

That's a sexy headline, but for the most part there's nothing here we didn't already know. The GOP leadership knew about the relatively tame e-mails, and evinced roughly zero curiosity over them. A failing, to be sure, but an understandable one. When you hear about a friend of yours being friendly with the kids, your first thought generally isn't "I wonder if he's a pedophile?"

This is not to let them off the hook. As the full report (pdf) states, on Page 74:

The Investigative Subcommittee does not conclude, however, that the e-mails sent to the former Alexander page were merely "overly friendly", as they have often been described... When read carefully and in context, the e-mails reflect inappropriate communications... (the committee) finds no merit to any of hte suggested justifications by Rep. Foley or anyone on his staff for the tone or content of the e-mails....

The emails clearly provided sufficient basis to at the very least confront Rep. Foley.

So while resignations aren't in order, severe shaming and political beatings are.

There is, however, the matter of the far-more-lurid instant messages. The IMs were highly incriminating. If anyone knew about them and did nothing, they should be sanctioned.

But on page 75 the report flatly states that there is no evidence anyone in the House knew of the IMs prior to their publication by ABC.

Finally, who provided the e-mails and IMs to ABC? The e-mails are easy; they had been circulating among media outlets for nearly a year, to the poitn that by this summer Foley's office assumed that every reporter they talked to knew about the e-mails. It was only a matter of time before someone -- in this case, ABC -- published them.

And the IMs? There was a lot of speculation that they were released by Democratic sources. but it turns out it was simply a former page (see page 62 of the report). The IMs had been circulating among the pages for years, but none of them thought to send them to the media until the e-mail story broke.

And so the story ends. The GOP leadership gets slapped around, but they already received most of their comeuppance at the polls. And all the Republican conspiracy theories about a Democratic "October surprise" prove false.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

It was all pretty ridiculous and overblown by the liberal media who was trying hard to help out the Dems just before an election.

I read the e-mails and I didn't see anything of a sexual nature in them. If the Republicans were supposed to have "assumed" this gay man was hitting on these Pages, then I guess the Democrat staff of Bill Clinton should have "assumed" early on he was having a sexual affair with Monica Lewinsky when she was in and out of his office several times. So, why didn't they do something about it? Bill Clinton goes on about his life and is surprisingly still respected by many. However, Monica's life was ruined. At least Foley knew he had done wrong and immediately resigned.


12/13/2006 6:52 PM  
Blogger Sean Aqui said...

Are you suggesting the media would have ignored such a juicy scandal if the perps were Democrats?

The Clinton analogy really doesn't work, because Monica was an adult. What should Dems have confronted Clinton about? Cheating on his wife? While reprehensible, that's not illegal.

Monica's life isn't exactly ruined. The notoriety landed her some television gigs, and now she's pursuing a master's degree in London.

12/13/2006 9:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

IMHO, the Clinton analogy DOES work. It's about protecting the Page and Intern program, isn't it? It's about being able to send our young people to Washington D.C. to learn about government; not to learn about how to carry on with married men or sexual predators. Elected official like Clinton and Foley makes it difficult for others who may be trying to legitimately help an Intern or Page. And that's a real shame.


12/15/2006 5:11 PM  

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