October 4, 2006


Foley scandal is the nail in the GOP coffin (Dick Morris, 10/04/06, The Hill)

In a curious way, the former Rep. Mark Foley (R-Fla.) scandal will be to the Republican congressional leadership what the Monica Lewinsky imbroglio was to the Clinton presidency.

After all the boring scandals — Whitewater, Hillary’s investments, Paula Jones, Travelgate, the FBI files, the Rose Law Firm’s billing records — the Lewinsky scandal seared into everyone’s consciousness. Those who failed to read the many volumes of Whitewater documents published by The Wall Street Journal or who despaired of following the paper trail that led to the Travel Office firings could easily grasp the simple facts of Clinton’s dalliance with Monica. Nothing complicated. Nothing subtle. Easy to understand. And so the Clintonian penchant for scandal became universally known and has been an enduring part of his legacy.

How'd Democrats do in the '98 midterm, with a sex scandal ongoing but the economy booming?

Posted by Orrin Judd at October 4, 2006 11:04 AM

Pretty well, IIRC. However, OJ, do you get the feeling that as this little kerfuffle burns out, that the Dems may try to concoct some tale of some GOP congresscritter having some inconvenient "truth teller" murdered? Or that some rather frisky bunch of Dem operative may try to incite Actual Physical Violence against GOP campaigners?

The Dems (thru MN's Patty Wetterling) have already ran a TV ad accusing Mark Foley of actual child sexual abuse, and the GOP of covering up the "sexual abuse." So I'm not too sure I can put ANYTHING past them.

Posted by: Brad S at October 4, 2006 11:25 AM

Unless Democrats can get George Soros to bid the price of oil back up, nothing they do can change the election. Parties generally do poorly in their president's sixth year, but the economy is good enough to counteract some of that. The storyline is unchanged.

Posted by: oj at October 4, 2006 11:54 AM

Slight difference in character between the 2 scandals. Clinton had consensual sex, of a sort, with a full-grown woman, albeit an intern nominally under his supervision. Most fellow Democrats were willing to look past it, or apologize for it, and thus were complicit in the misbehavior to that degree. Foley propositioned minors for gay sex, which isn't just immoral, but also criminal. Fellow Republicans, aware of the situation as far back as the age of the Clinton scandal, let it continue rather than move in any way to so much as shield the (continuing supply of) minors in question.

You're probably right in outline - cheap gas will trump a corrupt Congressional leadership. But there's at least some chance that this scandal might be stickier than the Democrat version 8 years ago.

Posted by: M. at October 4, 2006 3:49 PM

"Fellow Republicans, aware of the situation as far back as the age of the Clinton scandal, let it continue"

Who "knew" this that long ago.

Posted by: h-man at October 4, 2006 4:43 PM

M. Did I miss part of the story? Age of consent in DC is 16, thanks to the Democrats, so no minors were involved(unless I missed something). In both cases the legal wrongness was a Superior making use of some one in his care. Would you care to expand your comment?

Posted by: Robert Mitchell Jr. at October 4, 2006 6:12 PM

Yes, no one's ever heard of the single Foley who didn't have sex, as opposed to the married POTUS who did in the Oval Office.

Posted by: oj at October 4, 2006 6:26 PM


""Almost the first day I got there I was warned," said Mark Beck-Heyman, a San Diego native who served as a page in the House of Representatives in the summer of 1995. "It was no secret that Foley had a special interest in male pages," said Beck-Heyman, adding that Foley, who is now 52, on several occasions asked him out for ice cream."

There are other accounts like this coming out now. The question, of course, is warned by who?

Robert Mitchell Jr.:

"Federal law makes it a crime to use the Internet to solicit sex from anyone under 18 years of age. Offenders can be fined and imprisoned for up to 30 years with a minimum sentence of five years in prison."

This would seem to trump the age of consent in DC.


They've heard of him now. And the scandal just gets juicier. Beyond that, the really fun parts don't even involve Foley; they involve the House Republicans who dealt with the problem by sweeping it under the carpet.

And of course, how do you know he had no sex at all? Seems you're willing to give all sorts of hearsay infinite credence when it comes to Clinton. At least be consistent.

This may not amount to anything. Should be fun to watch if it does, though.

Posted by: M. at October 4, 2006 8:39 PM

No, they haven't. Partisans are bickering about him. Americans could care less.

No one has even accused him of having sex with them, have they? The Clinton Monica story began with the revelation they'd had sex.

What normal young man doesn't know exactly which teachers, scout masters, counselors, etc. are the gay ones? We always knew.

Posted by: oj at October 4, 2006 8:51 PM

These days, Americans are partisans.

Monica was of legal age. Americans are more disgusted by attempted pedophilia than by actual adultery.

Which Republican Congressmen didn't know that Foley was gay? Which didn't know he had a letch for underage pages?

Posted by: M. at October 4, 2006 9:19 PM

So, a gay group had this info for a year and sat on it until mid-terms?

Posted by: Sandy P at October 4, 2006 9:20 PM


Only partisans think so.

Posted by: oj at October 4, 2006 10:10 PM

There is a bit of a difference -- in 1998, we couldn't help but know about the booming economy, because the big media outlets trumpeted the news and played up claims that the boom-bust business cycle had been ended under the Clinton administration's watch. With the current economy, you get a very fast 10 second menton of the latest numbers or simply a scroll at the bottom of the screen, and if there is any extnded reporting, it's of the "yes, but..." variety.

It does serve to hold down any irrational exhuberence and prevent the manic pre-March 2000 claims that caused prices to soar well above their proper levels, but it's not as if the media is doing it because they want Americans to be cautious and careful investors so they'll have money safely put away for their future retirements. On the other hand, all the playing down of the current economic numbers will be mostly offset if too many Americans are seeing "$1.xx.x" as the price of regular gasoline by the end of the month. You can not cover or underplay any story you want if your the big news outlets, but you can't keep people from driving their cars and seeing the falling prices at the gas pump.

Posted by: John at October 4, 2006 10:45 PM

Even though the IM messages were pretty bad, just what is the mechanism for charging a congressman with a crime? If the Republicans did it, it would be gay bashing. Democrats would be "defining the territory of diversity".

Hassert may have known some of what was sent, but I'm sure he wasn't aware of anything overty sexual early on, or he would have done something about it. It's not necessary to compare Republican respons with Democrat response. It's about winning elections, and if either party could win by bragging about buggering boys, they'd both do it!

Posted by: Chuck at October 4, 2006 11:38 PM

M - Drudge and others are beginning to report that the page at the center of the scandal is 21 now, 18 at the time of the emails. This means a) he was not a teen, and b) this activity was several years old which raises the issue as to why it is coming out now.

I agree Foley should be gone and the GOP should have paid closer attention. That said this is beginning to smell like a typical just before the election smear job that may actually backfire on the Dems. The Dems want to talk about Foley the GOP can talk about Franks and Studds.

Posted by: AWW at October 5, 2006 12:12 AM

As described by you the Republicans acted prudently every step of the way. "Suspicion" of homo hanging with teenagers results in appropriate warnings. "Knowledge" of explicit sexual talk results in getting the SOB out of congress. (thank goodness there is no evidence of anything more)

So the result is that Republicans think it is unacceptable for Mark Foley to be a congressman, and Democrats think it is important that he be allowed to be a scoutmaster.

Posted by: h-man at October 5, 2006 4:15 AM