Dispatches from the Creation Wars

Why Don’t Congressmen Use Bookmarks?

Raw Story reports that Rep. Mark Foley has been caught sending suggestive emails to a 16 year old congressional page. Foley is one of the many “family values” Republican legislators who is secretly gay (though not so secret anymore, he was outed publicly a couple years ago). I don’t care that they’re gay, of course, only that they vote against gay rights issues to hide the fact that they are (yes, I’m talking to you David Dreier, and Ed Shrock, and many others). The news outlet also talked with several sources on the Hill who “confirmed that they felt Foley was unusually friendly with young Hill pages.” Which brings us to the punchline to the above joke: Congressmen don’t use bookmarks because they like their pages bent over.

Comments

  1. #1 SLC
    September 30, 2006

    FYI Ed Shrock is no longer in Congress.

  2. #2 dogscratcher
    September 30, 2006

    Good one, a wonderful example of the humorous uses of equivocation.

  3. #3 James Allen
    September 30, 2006

    This stroy should be getting alot bigger. The congressman from Louisiana that the page worked for informed House Republican leaders 11 months ago that this had happened and nothing was done. Conveniently, it comes out the day after the Torture Bill is passed. The Republican leadership protected a pedophile for 11 months and then tossed him out to cover there tracks when they needed him.

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060929/ap_on_go_co/congressman_e_mails

    “The page worked for Rep. Rodney Alexander, R-La., who said Friday that when he learned of the e-mail exchanges 10 to 11 months ago, he called the teen’s parents. Alexander told the Ruston Daily Leader, “We also notified the House leadership that there might be a potential problem,” a reference to the House’s Republican leaders.”

  4. #4 SLC
    September 30, 2006

    Re Dreier and Shrock.

    How about Republican National Chairman Ken Mehlman?

  5. #5 Howard
    September 30, 2006

    Ah, ah, ah … let’s not forget all the Dem’s that need to be mentioned on the wall-of-shame. In fact, based on the following links, it seems you are required to be a hypocrite in order to get elected as one of our nations lawmakers. Foley is one of the worst, if not the worst, but he’s in good company. And at least he resigned ….

    http://www.wwco.com/~dda/criminals.php http://www.larryelder.com/congress/congresscrooks.htm

  6. #6 John McKay
    September 30, 2006

    If what Foley did was a crime (and it might, under laws he sponsored), then the cover-up might rise to the level of criminal conspiracy. So far, we know of five Republican congressmen who knew about this and kept it quiet. Who else in congress knew? Who knew in the national Republican party and in the Florida party? Did Ken Mehlman? Did Jeb Bush? This cannot be allowed to disappear into a do-nothing ethics committee run by other Republican congressmen. It need to be investigated by law enforcement and the the press.

    When rep. Alexander found out that Foley was hitting on one of his pages, his action was to notify the head of the House Republican reelction committee, not the ethics committee. That should tell you all you need to know about the party of values.

  7. #7 Ed Brayton
    September 30, 2006

    I agree John. And I think the excuse being offered is interesting. Hastert is claiming that the kid’s parents didn’t want it to be pursued, but that’s not really their call. They’ve got a congressman engaging in this kind of appalling behavior, whether illegal or not, and it is their duty, regardless of party considerations, to do something about it. They made a huge deal out of Clinton and Monica and accused him of sexual harrassment even though she was an adult and consented to what happened, simply because of the power imbalance. Clearly there is a far stronger case here, where the victim is 16. The fact that they ignored it speaks volumes about the party of “family values”.

  8. #8 Prup aka Jim Benton
    October 1, 2006

    Ed:
    Several comments. First, I entirely condemn Foley’s hypocrisy, his sponsorship of anti-gay legislation. And I equally condemn the actions of Hastert and others in covering up something which they made — which, I believe Foley was instrumental in making — a crime.

    What bothers me about the comments here and on other blogs about this was the action of liberal Democrats — such as myself — and small-l libertarians in being so shocked about the age of the other people. They were SIXteen. Not 12 or ten. They were above the ‘age of consent’ in most of the states of the country — including Michigan. More importantly, they were sixteen, and maybe some of you will at least remember what you were like at that age, and probably a couple of years earlier. (I’ll accept condemnation from anyone who will make the following statements:
    a: that they were in fact a virgin at that age
    b: that this virginity was deliberate, arther than simply a result of being unable to find a willing partner
    OR c: that they will state now that they regret having lost their virginity earlier and would, if given the chance, choose to keep it.)

    The IMs that were published show that the boy was fully aware of who he was talking to, and was as obviously interested in the conversation as was Foley. They were fully consensual, Foley was not, in this case at least, using his position to influence them — unless they were simply flattered by a Representative being turned on by them — he was not pretending to be a young boy himself, he was not even, apparently, trying to set up a meeting. Even if he had actually had sex with the boys — I have just learned about the story today and haven’t read all the ramifications — I have seen no suggestion that it would have been anything but consensual — and I am very strict in my use of that term, since i consider lying, unwanted use of alcohol, or any other factor that involves deceit or the like to be the ethical equivalent of rape.
    The reaction of some of you might not be bad, if it weren’t the same neo-puritanism that leads to the idea of ‘abstinence-only’ sex education, who treats teenagers having sex the way blacks voting was treated during the civil rights era “It wouldn’t happen if it weren’t for all these damned outside agitators, they’d never want it for themselves.”
    Condemn Foley for hypocrisy, for fostering homophobia, for playing into the hands of the radical religious groups, and I’ll join you. Question his taste and the boy’s and I can’t argue — especially since I haven’t seen a picture of Foley.
    But if you play into the denial that teenagers are naturally sexual, if you ‘just say no’ to them, you abandon any possiblity of teaching them actual sexual ethics, (meaning that sex involves respect, responsibility, and honesty) and you make it impossible to even talk to them about the considerations they should keep in mind about whether they should ‘give in’ to their urges or think about them and make that decision sensibly, whichever way it goes. (And you don’t get the chance to argue that they should respect another person’s decision whether or not to have sex and with who.)

  9. #9 Prup aka Jim Benton
    October 1, 2006

    Two more notes. I don’t think the word ‘victim’ was at all accurate. But the bookmark joke was classic.

  10. #10 Ed Brayton
    October 1, 2006

    Prup wrote:

    What bothers me about the comments here and on other blogs about this was the action of liberal Democrats — such as myself — and small-l libertarians in being so shocked about the age of the other people. They were SIXteen. Not 12 or ten. They were above the ‘age of consent’ in most of the states of the country — including Michigan. More importantly, they were sixteen, and maybe some of you will at least remember what you were like at that age, and probably a couple of years earlier.

    No, I’m gonna disagree with you here. This is not a case of a 16 year old with a 19 year old girlfriend or boyfriend. This is the case of a 16 year old being solicited for sex by a man in his 50s, a man in a position of authority over the boy, and a married man to boot. There is no way to spin this behavior as acceptable on any level. Foley is scum and deserves everything he’s getting. And so do the hypocrites who apparently helped cover it up for him.

  11. #11 MJ Memphis
    October 1, 2006

    Actually, I am pretty sure Foley is a life-long bachelor. So he is still scuzzy, but not a cheat.

    However, according to the information at http://www.ageofconsent.com, the teen in question was below the age of consent in both Louisiana (17) and in Florida (18). Florida has something like a “Romeo and Juliet” law, where the age of consent is 16 if the other partner is under 24, and 18 otherwise. So, in two of the jurisdictions in question (the third being DC, where the AoC is 16), the page was underage at the time.

  12. #12 kehrsam
    October 1, 2006

    The irony is that there is a Federal statute which was broken here which prohibits adults from soliciting children under the age of 18 using email or other electronic media. One of the prime sponsors of this law was, of course, Mark Foley. This karma thing is starting to make sense.

  13. #13 plunge
    October 1, 2006

    Ed, I don’t defend what Foley did, but I think painting him as your run of the mill conservative Republican is a bit off the mark. He’s ostensibly pro-choice, and its actually the the right wing has been hounding him for YEARS about him being a cloest homosexual, alleging that he’s soft on gay issues. For instance, he supported the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA).

    Check this out: http://www.cwfa.org/articles/4008/CFI/cfreport/

    I love the reference to the “non-homosexual newspapers.” From now on, that’s what I’m going to call the NYTimes: the non-homosexual paper of record!

  14. #14 Ed Brayton
    October 1, 2006

    Foley has a more moderate history than most. If you look at his history of votes on gay rights issues (like the HRC’s ratings), you see them bounce around a lot, presumably depending on how much he had to cover his butt in any particular term.

  15. #15 ebohlman
    October 1, 2006

    The specific problem I have with Foley’s behavior is that you have one of the parties to a sexual relationship in a position of authority over the other and the other party doesn’t have the full rights and privileges of adulthood, the use of which might be necessary for him to keep the relationship within the boundaries he wants. Those two conditions, neither of which would necessarily be dangerous by themselves, combine to create something very toxic.

    Rationally written AOC laws take this into account and require that both parties have reached the age of legal majority if there’s a relationship of trust or authority between them (and I’d argue that as a Congressman, Foley was in a position of trust and authority to every American).

  16. #16 Skemono
    October 1, 2006

    The IMs that were published show that the boy was fully aware of who he was talking to, and was as obviously interested in the conversation as was Foley. They were fully consensual, Foley was not, in this case at least, using his position to influence them — unless they were simply flattered by a Representative being turned on by them — he was not pretending to be a young boy himself, he was not even, apparently, trying to set up a meeting. Even if he had actually had sex with the boys — I have just learned about the story today and haven’t read all the ramifications — I have seen no suggestion that it would have been anything but consensual — and I am very strict in my use of that term, since i consider lying, unwanted use of alcohol, or any other factor that involves deceit or the like to be the ethical equivalent of rape.

    I don’t have all the facts on this case, of course, and I haven’t read the IMs you speak of, but you may want to check out this page.

  17. #17 MJ Memphis
    October 1, 2006

    The IMs seem to be the more interesting part of the case. Per the NYT:

    “Mr. Foley, the six-term Republican from Florida, gained slam-dunk admission Friday when he resigned from Congress and apologized to his family and the people of his state over reports that he sent sexually explicit messages to underage male pages.

    Note the inclusion of the terms “sexually explicit,” “underage,” “male” and “page,” in addition to the tidbits tidily extracted from the instant messages that ABC News reported were exchanged between Mr. Foley and his 16-year old, er, friend:

    “Do I make you a little horny?” Mr. Foley reportedly asked under the log-in name “Maf54.”

    Teen: “A little.”

    Maf54: “Cool.”

    Mr. Foley gets double bonus points for his helpful if imprudent use of electronic mail, which made it so easy to spread around the mirth and amusement and — oops, scratch that, we mean genuine sadness and compassion. This is Washington, after all.”

    Maybe he kept the emails more ambiguous (since they are easier to forward and save), and saved the more explicit conversations for instant messages?