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| Guest Columnist | Harry M. Covert | Hayden Duke | Jason Miller | Ken Kellar | Patricia A. Kelly | Edward Lulie III | Cindy A. Rose | Richard B. Weldon Jr. | Brooke Winn |


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October 9, 2006

The View from The Bowl!

Richard B. Weldon Jr.

Former Florida Congressman Mark Foley is a pervert, probable pedophile, and undoubtedly an immoral man. He deserves our scorn, revulsion, and disgust.

He prayed on young House pages, using techniques that build a false friendship to facilitate a sexual encounter. To make matters even worse, he acted as a sort of moral defender, serving in his capacity as chairman of the House Caucus on Missing and Exploited Children.

His high-profile position put him on a platform next to John Walsh, the father of a sexually abused and murdered child. He sounded both passionate and knowledgeable in numerous interviews about the dangers of allowing our children unfettered access to the Internet, a breeding ground for sexual predators.

No wonder he sounded so passionate and knowledgeable! He was secretly practicing the very techniques about which he was warning parents. His knowledge derived from his own experimentation; and from all accounts, he appears to be have been both prolific and productive.

His resignation from the House of Representatives seems to have been prompted by the planned disclosure of his secret email lifestyle by ABC News. Certainly, he would have been forced to resign had he not chosen to leave first.

The fallout from the scandal now turns to the traditional finger pointing and blame shifting indicative of the U.S. Congress. Sitting members, worried about an impending election, fall all over themselves to create that desired 'distance' from the story.

This time the game playing isn't limited to the other party. The Democrats are involved in their form of hyperbole and hypocrisy, but more on that later.

GOP House members, especially those facing tough re-election challenges, are abandoning the Republican Caucus in alarming numbers. Several House Republicans sought an investigation into whether House Speaker Denny Hastert - or his staff - was aware that Representative Foley had been "fishing" for a male page several years ago.

Assuming they had knowledge of Mr. Foley's emails, presumably those same members would be calling for Speaker Hastert's head.

One side observation: Reporters and pundits keep referring to the "overly friendly" emails that Mr. Foley sent to pages. These emails included requests for personal photos, oddly romantic references, and other language clearly inappropriate for a communication between a grown man and a young boy. Let's drop the friendly appellation, let's call them what they are: predatory!

So, now the Republicans, especially those fearing for their own future, have turned on the leadership in an attempt to demonstrate independence, bravery, and most importantly, separation.

This gang of bottom-feeders represents the worst kind of political opportunism. Sensing weakness, they circle the blood in the water like a pack of tiger sharks. Each one darts in and takes a bite, using Chris Matthews (MSNBC's Hardball), Fox News host Bill O'Reilly, even talk radio's king, Rush Limbaugh, to tear off a chunk or two.

If squeamish Republicans look like tiger sharks, then the Democrat leaders in the House and Senate are the great whites.

Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D., CA), the current House minority leader, hoping to become the first female speaker in the history of Congress, can't pass up this chance to bear her own razor-sharp teeth on Capitol Hill.

She and her Senate minority-leader colleague Harry Reid (D., NV) have become the most shrill and persistent voices for both investigation and punitive action against not just Mr. Foley, but every Republican in sight.

In Ms. Pelosi's world, House pages are in real danger, at least as long as the Republicans are in charge. Her press release of October 6 mentioned the need for voters to "drain the swamp" of GOP corruption and mismanagement, in order to adequately protect these young people.

This moral high ground must seem very new and unfamiliar territory to both Ms. Pelosi and Mr. Reid. This is not their normal stomping ground, and their own party's past performance suggests serious credibility problems for them.

More than 20 years ago, Rep. Gerry Studds (D., MA) was involved in his own brand of sexual predation; in fact Representative Studds was so involved with his own young page that the two of them flew to the Caribbean for a romantic get-away romp.

Unlike Mr. Foley, whose sick and perverted communication indicates an attempt to arrange a future sexual relationship, Mr. Studds actually consummated his relationship, and professed his love for his intern/partner.

So, you're guessing that Ms. Pelosi, Mr. Reid, and all of the other "new moralists" in the Democratic Party fought for Mr. Studds immediate dismissal from Congress, right?

Weeellll, not so fast. They did support a congressional censure for his actions, which is a far cry from a dismissal; but they also celebrated his long and successful tenure as one the most progressive members of Congress; and many Democrats accused Republicans of trying to score political points in calling for his removal from Congress.

Representative Studds served several more terms in Congress, and his own senator, Edward Moore Kennedy hailed his service on behalf of the citizens of Massachusetts.

Senator Kennedy knows a thing or two about morality himself. His own family life reads like an entry in How to Raise a Severely Dysfunctional Brood Monthly. And who could forget his little late night drive/swim in the waters off Chappaquiddick?

Clearly, Senator Kennedy doesn't deserve to be the point man in a morals contest, and even Representative Pelosi and Senator Reid are more than a little hypocritical in finger-pointing at Republicans when they have excused improper conduct, notably workplace sexual harassment between a powerful employer and a subordinate. Can you say Monica Lewinsky?

Nothing herein is intended to legitimize Mr. Foley's behavior. There is no defense for the indefensible.

The point is that one should be wary of a moralist, regardless of party or message. Mark Foley claimed to be a defender of children, all the while laying the groundwork to defile them.

Democrats who seize this chance to attack him for his obvious lack of morality demonstrate a frightening hypocrisy by their past actions defending their own defilers.

The United States Congress, envisioned by our founding fathers to be the foundation of our constitutional republic, has instead become its toilet.

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