Saturday, September 30, 2006

Disgusting. Disgraceful.

MAF54: did any girl give you a haand job this weekend
Xxxxxxxxx: lol no
Xxxxxxxxx: im single right now
Xxxxxxxxx: my last gf and I broke up a few weeks agi
MAF54: are you
MAF54: good so your getting horny

This is an exchange between Rep. Mark Foley (R-FL 16) and a sixteen year-old congressional page.

There’s a level of depravity that goes beyond the obvious. Gay, straight, or all of the above, sixteen year-olds should obviously be off limits, and it’s a disgrace that Mark Foley was walking the hallowed halls of Congress.

No, the greatest depravity was not even his--- Dennis Hastert has known about this for eleven months, which makes him the Cardinal Law of Capitol Hill.

Eleven months is half a lifetime to men who live and die in two-year campaign cycles. Just think about how long that is--- If you got pregnant the day Hastert found out about this, you would have a two-month-old child by now. Rescue workers were still digging New Orleans out from under cascades of mud while this was going on. This is three marriages ago for some movie stars.

What exactly did the Republican House leadership do? They advised pages to not socialize with Mark Foley. In the meantime, Foley co-chaired the Congressional Caucus on Missing and Exploited Children (And also the Congressional Beef Caucus, which now takes on a whole different subtext).

The voters deserve to know, and they deserve to know before they decide whether or not to send Dennis Hastert, Rodney Alexander, Thomas Reynolds (Head of the National Republican Congressional Committee), and John Shimkus back to Congress. Each of these men were promptly notified of this problem and took no action against a cohort of theirs that was preying on sixteen-year-old children.

What did they know, and when did they know it?
Who else did they tell?
Did it occur to anyone to try and remove him?
If an average person solicits sex with a minor, they go to jail. Why has it taken almost a year (It would have been longer if not for external pressure) to do so much as refer this to the Ethics Committee?
How far did this go at the NRCC? How many people involved in that organization were knowingly shoveling campaign money into the coffers of someone they knew to be a pedophile?

We deserve answers, and we deserve them almost a year ago.

12 comments:

Jim Maynard said...

I have mixed feelings about the Foley situation...
While I think it is appropriate to condemn anti-gay Republicans who turn out to be closeted/repressed "homosexuals", I don't think having or feeling romantic or "sexual" relations with a 16 year old makes one a "pedophile," and I do not agree with are archais "age of consent laws." On the other hand, i agree that it is inappropriate for a Cognress member to have such relations with a page, especially if it is not consensual...
I feel some sympathy for Foley because (a) he was a "moderate" Republican, not a raging anti-gay right winger and (b) he obviously has had a difficult time dealing with his own sexual identity and has "forced" himself to repress and hide it. I guess he is partly to blame, but there are some oppressive political and societal forces at work here too. So this one is s little comlicated, and I don't think progressives and the left should be so quick to label Foley a "pedophile," I don't think he is and it is unfair to accuse him of being one.

who's that girl? said...

Pardon me Jim but a 16 year old is not considered an adult under the law and therefore is a minor child. An adult who engages in explicit cyber chat with a minor is in violation of the law. An adult who has sex with a child, consensual or not, is a rapist/child molester. If children are Foley's preferred sexual objects then he is a pedophile.

bob said...

The medical definition of pedophilia seems to includes people primarily or exclusively to prepubescent or peripubescent children. Adolescent attraction would be known medically as ephebophilia or hebephilia. There is also a medical word to cover the more specific case of homesexual attraction.

On the other hand, "pedophilia" in popular usage probably covers attraction to any age less than the legal age of consent. A of C is of course arbitrary and varies from state to state. In TN, for example, it is 18 but 16-17 is a different crime than <16.

Freedonian was not incorrect to say pedophilia, but it was medically imprecise and perhaps a bit inflammatory to do so. (Then again, what is political blogging if not intended to inflame? ;-)

To me, the crime was a complex one: Using a position of authority to sexually harrass someone under age who had been entrusted to their care and custody. Pretty damn bad, no matter what the age.

Then it was compounded by the Republican leadership -- an even greater crime, IMO. Had they actually bothered to investigate -- i.e. ask some of the pages if they had been approached by a congressperson or staff member -- I am pretty sure other kids might have come forward 11 months ago with their IM transcripts. We don't yet know the extent of the anguish Foley has caused and the leadership has knowingly or unknowingly covered up.

Anonymous said...

Well, Jim's comment is why he's problematic as a candidate and as a spokesman. His being gay is no problem, but his approval of Foley's potential fling with a 16-year-old just won't do. Next thing, he'll be approving the Man-Boy Love Association. You're a good man, Jim, but don't stray off message that far.

Freedonian said...

Anon,

In defense of Jim, I had a straight guy tell me the same thing earlier today. Of course, I responded by telling him "If I ever try to bang a sixteen-year-old girl, please do me and the rest of the human race a favor by killing me."

Bob,
Thank you. I've always thought of anyone who wants to have sex with underage children as a pedophile. I had no idea the other two words existed. But he'll always be a pedophile to me. Hell, I can't even get behind the idea of a guy my age (34 last month) getting with an 18 year old. Who in their right mind could talk to an 18 year old girl long enough to get laid?

Who's That Girl,
I'm with you.

Jim,
This is one of those areas where we'll have to disagree. I think the age of consent laws are fine where they are. I only wish they were enforced more often. I doubt every 25 year old redneck with a 15 year old gf is being prosecuted, and I damn well think they should be.

nut-meg said...

I agree with Jim only in his assertion that it is complicated, and that it probably is the result of Foley's repression of his sexuality. But that is no excuse. If this were my kid, I swear I'd beat the snot out of the guy. Then I'd go looking for Cardinal Hastert.

I have a sixteen year old nephew, and I am a teacher of kids this age. They are in a vulnerable position. They are often confused about their sexuality and even if they are not gay, a man coming on to them could lead them to think they are. A boy in this position will think "Gee, he came on to me and I didn't like it but I didn't fight him off, therefore I might be gay". It sounds crazy to us as adults, but this thinking is common among the victims of predators, especially boys.

But even if this boy was gay, in fact, even if he INITIATED the interaction (looks like he didn't, but just hypothetically) it doesn't matter. I suppose it might not technically be pedophelia, but it indicates that this man can't control himself. All of us have probably seen teenagers that we thought were physically attractive but, even putting aside the maturity factor, we don't consider flirting with them, attempting to contact them inappropriately, or anything worse. This is why it is apparent Foley has a problem.

I feel terrible for this kid. His identity hasn't been released but his friends have likely figured it out. The Repug attack dog media are likely to be smearing him by Monday. I would not be at all suprised if they leak the kids name. I only hope he has a few good friends and a strong supportive family. I know what this would do to my nephew, who is already teetering on the edge of teen insanity, and it is an extremely painful and confusing situation even for the most well adjusted kid.

The only solution is to continue to move towards making "gay ok". If there was no shame in it, there would be no reason to repress ones self. This won't stop all pedophelia. That problem, unfortunately, will always be with us. But maybe if people can feel free about their sexuality there will be less of this kind of thing. Who knows, if Foley had felt okay to be himself, maybe he could have had a good partner and a happy life where he'd never think of coming on to a kid.

But that didn't happen and because of what he did, Foley belongs in jail. He's an adult. He knew it was wrong. He did it anyway. Those are the three determinging factors.

who's that girl? said...

The DK diarist happens to be a gay male.

Mark Foley is not a pedophile, period

who's that girl? said...

Valid points nut-meg.

Jim Maynard said...

Well, forget everything I said about having some sympathey for Foley. At first I thought maybe he was a a moderate repressed homosexual Republican, and a victim of a homophobic "double standard," but after reading his moralizing against Bill Clinton and other issues, and seeing the sleezy emails, changed my mind. He is a pervert...If he had just asked for the pages picture. I don't think it is pedophilia for an adult to be attracted to OLDER (16-18) teenagers, but certainly in these situations it is inappropriate for "superioriors" to take adavantage of them. And he is obviously a hypocrite...

Jim Maynard said...
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Jim Maynard said...

And before anyone (else) accuses ME of being a "pedophile," I am 42 and am in a happy monogamous relationship with a 36 year old MAN, clearly abvove the legal age of consent ! :)

Jim Maynard said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.