Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Let's Recap

Here's some things to keep in mind the next time a member of the Democratic Party claims some imagined moral high ground because Mark Foley turned out to be a sleazy pervert.

In 1983, then-Democratic Rep. Gerry Studds of Massachusetts was caught in a similar situation. In his case, Studds had sex with a male teenage page -- something Foley hasn't been charged with.

Did Studds express contrition? Resign? Quite the contrary. He rejected Congress' censure of him and continued to represent his district until his retirement in 1996.

In 1989, Rep. Barney Frank, also of Massachusetts, admitted he'd lived with Steve Gobie, a male prostitute who ran a gay sex-for-hire ring out of Frank's apartment. Frank, it was later discovered, used his position to fix 33 parking tickets for Gobie.

What happened to Frank? The House voted 408-18 to reprimand him -- a slap on the wrist. Today he's an honored Democratic member of Congress, much in demand as a speaker and "conscience of the party."

In 2001, President Clinton, who had his own intern problem, commuted the prison sentence of Illinois Rep. Mel Reynolds, who had sex with a 16-year-old campaign volunteer and pressured her to lie about it. (Reynolds also was convicted of campaign spending violations.)

Saying Mark Foley makes Republicans hypocrites is like saying one anti-war activist who went to jail for aiding terrorists makes all anti-war activists terrorists. Like saying one popular liberal rapist makes all liberals rapists. Like saying one environmentalist with a lear jet makes all environmentalists hypocrites.

It is the last bastion of the simple mind.

Dennis Hastert explains exactly what was known and not known at what time.

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