Voter cynicism: ask a page boy
Stories about hypocrites in Washington are hardly news, but this one rises above the slime average a bit. Apparently 52-year-old Mark Foley, the congressman from Florida’s 16th district, wrote sexually predatory email messages to a 17-year-old page boy, whose parents found out and turned over to the House ethics committee. Foley resigned after the predatory emails were made public.
In itself that doesn’t strike me as unusual – public virtue often masks private corruption. There is even an old joke about the reason Congressmen don’t use bookmarks, because they like to bend the pages. But it also transpires that the GOP leaders knew of Foley’s messages for several months and failed to do anything about it.
Keeping a hold on legislative power is apparently so important to the GOP that they failed to do the obvious thing, rather than risk losing a seat. There was not even any need to make it public – the boy’s parents had asked them not to make a big deal. All they had to do was get Mark Foley in a room and say; “You’re done. Resign now. Say it’s for your health, or to spend more time with your family, whatever, but go.”
Of course, that would be the “B” answer. The “A” answer would be: handing all the evidence over to the police immediately. Because – you know if you or I did something like that, there’d be hell to pay. This wasn’t exactly an office affair between consenting adults.
Failure to act wasn’t even good strategy. Now Dennis Hastert and the whole ethics committee are on the hook. They let a sexual predator go on as chairman of the Missing and Exploited Children’s Caucus.
And some people have the nerve to blame voter cynicism on The Daily Show… as if it were possible to parody the likes of Mark Foley.