GOP mismanagement of Foley affair

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This is from commenter Moderate 5-19:


Supposedly (and I admit this is still media reports) the leadership of the GOP learned of IMs last June that Foley sent to Congressional a Page. The were said to be "overly friendly". It has now come to light that he sent other e-mails and IMs to other pages that were flat out sexual in nature. Asking questions like "do I make you a little horney?"

My issues is that the GOP leadership left Foley in place as Chairperson of the Committee of Missing and Exploited Children, they did not ask for a ethical probe, (even one that would have been internal), and in fact did nothing but simply tell Foley to cease contact with the young man.

If they believed anything was the least bit inappropriate they should have done some kind of internal investigation or something. To do nothing and allow Foley to resign on the last say of the session is flat out wrong.

If the GOP leadership remains in place, the Republican Party can NEVER AGAIN claim the high moral ground on any issue.

These are our children, we must protect them!


I can't give an informed comment because I am totally wrapped up in other things and have had to be extremely selective with my news reading all weekend. High moral ground is a tenuous concept when we speak of politicians, and the notion of "never again" claiming it because of an instance of poor judgment is interesting in two senses.

One, both parties would have been excluded long ago if that maxim applied, and two, we should all be skeptical anyway when we hear anyone actually claiming that ground.

If it weren't for the fact that the GOP losing the House would mean opening our southern border permanently and losing the battle against illegal immigration, there are probably a few Republicans I'd already have been saying need to go.

If it's as bad as Mod says it is, I'm sure I'll be doing so in this case.

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37 Comments

Jack said:

It all goes back to what did they know and when did they know it. The Democrats will claim that the Republicans knew everything and are covering it up, and the Republicans will claim they knew little or nothing.

The only thing we can be sure of is that both sides are lying.

charles said:

If the republicans had any inkling of what was in the "other" IM messages, Foley would have been gone a year ago.

At the moment, there are no IMs or e-mails SINCE Foley was told to knock it off over the first "odd" e-mail. There is no indication that Foley has harrased, come on to, or otherwise sent salacious e-mails to any current or former page since that day.

If we have nothing but the first e-mail that was "odd", there'd be no reason to take any further action.

Note that being on the committee about exploited children is not the same as being put in charge of exploited children.

Within 2 hours of the revelation of the 2003 IM messages, Foley was gone gone gone. We don't countenance that kind of thing in our party.

In fact, of the 4 republicans most noted as having "ethical problems", all 4 are GONE. Of the 5 democrats most noted as having ethical problems, all 5 are still in office, some still in their leadership positions.

Maybe the republican leadership should have used their magic "look-into-the-future" powers. But given that multiple news organizations, having in their posession the first set of e-mails from Foley, ALL decided not to run a story, it seems that there was no "there" there until ABC was fed the additional e-mails.

Which makes you wonder -- Who had all those other IM messages, and why did they wait until a month before the election to leak them to ABC? Those IMs were from 2003, so somebody has been hiding bad behavior about Foley for a LONG TIME, with no concern for what he might to do others, waiting for the perfect time to release them for political effect.

It wasn't the REPUBLICANS holding those e-mails, we would have dropped Foley like a rock -- he's in a solidly republican district, and releasing them NOW was the ONLY POSSIBLE WAY the republicans could lose that seat.

zimzo said:

You guys have zero credibility:

Joe's argument: I'm too busy to read the news but on the only issue I'm obsessed with I've already decided the DEMOCRATS ARE SATAN so even if all the Republicans were members of Al Qaeda I would still prefer them over the Democrats.

Jack's argument: Both sides are equally wrong on any issue where it seems the Republicans are wrong and since the DEMOCRATS ARE SATAN I would have to say vote for Republicans anyway no matter what they did.

Charles' argument: Democrats deliberately hid information that the Republicans did something terrible until right before the election because the DEMOCRATS ARE SATAN therefore the Democrats are worse than the Republicans no matter what the Republicans did.

Jack said:

Considering how many times you've been caught in lies here, Zimzo, I doubt anyone really cares what you think.

charles said:

zimzo, I didn't say democrats hid the information.

I said that the IMs were written in 2003, and they didn't make it to ABC until last friday. Someone had the IM messages, someone who doesn't like republicans since they leaked them.

A well known "republican gay outer" is known to have been involved (Mark Rogers -- he's the guy that outed the guy in VA-02 a couple of years ago that lead to Thelma Drake's being the republican there).

There is no evidence at this time that the house leadership knew ANYTHING about the salacious details. All we know they knew was the original set of e-mails -- these were e-mails that several news organizations did not find newsworthy LAST YEAR, and which the DailyKos people scoffed at when they were revealed in mid-september.

It wasn't until the IM messages came out on friday that anybody really got worked up -- and Foley was GONE within 2 hours of the revelation.

If we want to discuss whether the original e-mails should have gotten more scrutiny, I'm hesitant because everybody is confusing the two issues and will claim I'm defending the indefensible, an old man trying to recruit young men to have sex with him.

charles said:

I missed this before, and it's part of the confusion. From m5-19:

"Supposedly (and I admit this is still media reports) the leadership of the GOP learned of IMs last June that Foley sent to Congressional a Page."

It isn't the IMs that the leadership knew about, it was the e-mails. The e-mails were suggestive enough to raise eyebrows, because it looked like an older man was being too cozy with young men. It creeped out the boy and his parents, but they simply wanted Foley to stop. There was no indication that anything untoward had happened.

BTW, there was an inaccurate report that a page in 2001 said he was "warned" about Foley. But that page has since said ABC misunderstood his remarks, and that he was just told in an offhand way that Foley was a "bit odd", and that the male pages should be "wary of him".

Which, if not for the Friday IMs showing perverted suggestions of a sexual nature, would be dismissed as homophobic fear.

Moderate 5-19 said:

Charles,

I know you are to the right of me on almost all issues, and although I don’t always agree with you, I have always respected and appreciated your views and thoughts. (That goes for you too Jack). But you two are about to lose all credibility on this one.

Charles you say:

It isn't the IMs that the leadership knew about, it was the e-mails. The e-mails were suggestive enough to raise eyebrows, because it looked like an older man was being too cozy with young men. It creeped out the boy and his parents, but they simply wanted Foley to stop. There was no indication that anything untoward had happened

You have got to be kidding. Look rather their was anything overtly sexual or not, anytime a grown man is asking a 16yo kid for a picture, what he wants for his birthday etc. bells should ring. Foley communication with this kid was after he (the kid) returned home from the Page program. Please tell me why he would even need to be having these types of interactions with this child. It’s not as if Foley was asking him about his education or college choices. Foley’s behaviors were textbook. What sexual predators do is try to draw in their victims with complements gifts etc.

At the very least these early contacts deserved some further investigation from the GOP leadership. The minimum the GOP leadership is guilty of is willful ignorance. It is their own version of, don’t ask don’t tell, and it is inexcusable.

And let’s think about this, if The GOP leadership did not think Foley’s “overly friendly” contact with the boy was not a problem, why did they instruct him to cease further contact with him. (And it does not matter if the were IMs, e-mails or smoke signals).
They knew something smelled bad and they did nothing to protect these children.

And BTW this is not about rather Foley is homosexual, this would be as wrong if he was having this inappropriate contact with female pages.

Don’t protect your party on this one. Wrong is wrong no matter party affiliation. And I just don’t think if this was the Dems you would be making excuses, Shame on you Charles.

These are our children, they deserve our protection.

OUTRAGIOUS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Jack said:

So what did I say that would lose credibility? I only said both sides would be lying. They are, after all, politicians.

Moderate 5-19 said:

Sorry Jack,

My bad,I guess I was just caught up in my outrage.

LOL,

I'll try to contain myself next time.

charles said:

M 5-19 --

It was normal for congressmen to ask former pages for pictures, something about keeping a record of their service.

Other pages have said that Foley was nice to them and gave them gifts, and it didn't see odd to them at the time.

It would be interesting to ask Vincent if he got a parting gift from the congressman he worked for, or if they have kept in touch.

This is a hard argument. I'm not saying they couldn't have justified launching a larger investigation. I'm saying that I don't think it is rediculous that they didn't, given the circumstances and the political fallout which would come from an overt pursuit of seemingly benign communication from a gay congressman. Maybe they were too politically correct, maybe they were worried about looking insensitive. With the parent and child saying they didn't want anything more than to be left alone, that they didn't want a public spectacle, with Foley saying nothing was amiss, with everybody saying there was nothing sexual, with several major newspapers all rejecting the story because there wasn't any real evidence of a problem, I don't see this as a major failure.

Further, given there is no report of any e-mails or IMs after the intervention, nor is there currently any evidence of any direct sexual encounters (either before OR after the intervention), there is no real proof that the lack of action a year ago or 3 months ago caused any additional suffering.

The one person or people who could most be blamed for any harm after 2003 are those persons or people who had those IMs in 2003 and chose not to make them available until last week.

The republican party acted quickly, decisively, and correctly in getting Foley to resign and launching both an ethics investigation and a criminal probe. It's easy with the IMs in our hands to look back and think someone should have seen something earlier, but we don't have time machines.

Same thing with Columbine, and 9/11, and so many other things. We look back and see the signs we missed, but we don't learn the real lesson, which is that there are thousands of signs, and most are meaningless, and we don't know which ones are real until it is too late.

I'm reminded of the subplot in "Under Seige -Dark Terrority", where there are 50 fake satellites and they are trying to eliminate them. They never make it, and with 8 or so left they make the peon pick one. he does, but it's the wrong one.

Later, Seagal shoots the computer, all the fake satellites dissappear, and the guy, with great deductive reasoning, shouts out "It was Kappa" (I don't remember which one it was, so play along please).

It was easy to know which one after the fact.

meanwhile, the democrats cheered when Jerry Studds (Democrat) was defiant after having sex with a page.

Charles, you have made some tour de force comments here before, and that ranks with the best of them.

Mod, I'll be following the news on this. Where I'm at it's not as easy as back home.

Zimzo, The lasting effects of hangover can be obviated by ibuprofin and soda water throughout the day, I've found, but it is also important not to neglect food not matter how distasteful it may seem at the time.

Moderate 5-19 said:

Charles,

Answer this, why did the GOP leadership tell Foley to cease contact with this 16yo boy if they did not think it was a problem. They knew something smelled and they did not seek out the reason for the stench.

Consider this:

1. This was not Foley’s Page, he did not work for Foley
2. Usually if a congressperson gets a picture for the record it is most certainly a formal picture that the Page takes as part of the program orientation, not a picture that a page will IM or e-mail to a congressperson after the child has left the program.
3. There does not have to be sexual contact for it to be inappropriate behavior
4. The Democrats were told nothing about this. Why was it kept from them?
5. I don’t think “The republican party acted quickly, decisively, and correctly in getting Foley to resign and launching both an ethics investigation and a criminal probe”. I think they were caught by the media thus Foley had to resign. Hastert himself said yesterday that Foley rightly choose to resign, he went on to say that if Foley has not resigned he would have ask him for his resignation, but please let’s not act like the leadership drove this car, this was media sunlight that forced this resignation.
6.Finally if as you say:

The democrats cheered when Jerry Studds (Democrat) was defiant after having sex with a page.

When the hack did two wrongs start making a right? If that is true (and I don’t know that it is), should both parties not have learned form that experience? That may be one of the more ridiculous excuses I’ve heard anyone make, and having blogged with you before I know you are smarter them that.

You have no credibility on this one Charles.


Jack said:

I'd like to know where these IM's have been for three freaking years. Who knew about them, and why weren't they released earlier?

zimzo said:

Joe, Charles and Jack, you guys are amazing. For months you guys have ranted about how children need to be protected from the so-called "homosexual agenda." But your initial reaction to this scandal is to protect...the Republicans. Hmm, what is that terrible smell I'm getting a whiff of? Could it be the odor of hypocrisy?

Jack said:

How am I protecting ANY Congresscritter, Republican or Democrat? By wanting to know why these IM's weren't released earlier? By saying that our Congresscritters are a bunch of liars?

I'm the one who put up this post, sparky - what's that odor, could it be the scent of Ritalin?

charles said:

zimzo, we are all happy, pleased, and quite in agreement that FOLEY had to go. Which he did.

We are debating whether the republican leadership should have recognized earlier there was a real problem, and I'm saying I understand why they didn't, and don't believe it was because they were afraid of losing Foley's seat (which he won handily, and is a quite republican district).

Moderate: The reason they told him not to send e-mails to the kid is that the PARENTS ASKED THEM to tell him to stop sending e-mails.

Look, the e-mails were a little creepy. I've been asked to re-word things I've written in my blog before because they came out wrong, and I've been asked by one person's wife not to e-mail them any more.

It doesn't mean what I did was "wrong", but I respect those who don't want to hear from me.

Lastly: I made an error in a post above. When I said "the person most to blame", the answer to that is FOLEY, not the person with the IMs. I meant of the people who are NOT FOLEY.

Jack said:

You're right, Charles; I want everyone who knew about those IM's for the last three years expelled from Congress.

Moderate 5-19 said:

Charles,

I think you are minimizing the role of the GOP leadership in all this. The parents never talked with Foley, they told their Congressman (Alexander) about this, he took it to the GOP leadership and the GOP leadership told Foley to cease all contact with the boy.

They told him this because they knew something was amiss. I know they did not know the full scale of it, but they also made not efforts investigate it.

If I open my refrigerator and something smells bad, I won’t simply close it and tell my family members not to open it. I’m going to seek out and find the reason for the smell.

This smelled bad, the GOP leadership knew it yet they just closed the fridge and told Foley not to re-open it. They never looked for the reason for the stench.

Shame on them,

Stop it Charles, I know you know better


Jack said:

Mod 5-19:

The scenario you describe was last year. The disgusting IM's go back to 2003. Who knew about them, and when?

Moderate 5-19 said:

Hay Jack,

I’m not sure what details they knew or who knew them, however it is said that as far back as 2003 pages report that they knew Foley was “kind of strange” and were warned to stay away form him.

Again I say just reading the “overly friendly” exchanges any reasonable adult would know they just sound off. Foley should not have even been in contact with this child, let alone asking him if he wanted gifts and asking for a picture. Even the 16yo knew enough to tell his parents, and his parents knew enough to call their Rep. Yet no-one in the leadership thought these “overly friendly” communications inappropriate.

The GOP is losing credibility by the day on this one.


Jack said:

I agree, but I'll bet it comes out that the dems have had these IMs for a while now.

zimzo said:

Of course, it's always the Democrats' fault.

Moderate 5-19 said:

Sorry Jack,

This is a GOP issues just as much as Clinton was a DEMS issues, just can't spin this, no matter hard you try.

Or perhaps I'm wrong. Maybe it’s a Nations tragedy when our children can't be safe in the halls of Congress

Jack said:

Corruption and arrogance are bi-partisan problems in Congress. This particular one is, for now, a Republican problem. Should it be revealed that the Dems knew about this all along, it will be a Dem problem, too. Everyone, Republican or Democrat, who knew about the emails and IM's, should resign.

However, after the Torricelli/Lautenberg switch, all Democrats should at least agree that the new Republican candidate for FL-16 should have his name on the ballot, not Foley's.

Moderate 5-19 said:

Jack,

How the ballots are decided are a state not national issue, talk to Jeb Bush about that one.

I agree with you if anyone to include the Dems knew about this they should also go. But I don't think that would prove to be the case. Why is the world would the Dems keep this one under wrap if they knew, they had nothing to gain by keeping this quiet. The GOP leadership had all the reason in the world to sit on this.

Turn off the spin cycle on this one, it just won’t fly.

Jack said:

Having this come out just before an election is just lucky timing for the Democrats, I suppose?

Moderate 5-19 said:

I don't think this is "lucky" for anyone.

My guess is if anything the GOP did not want this out before the end of the session because they wanted the media to focus on other things. Foley resigns on the last day of the session and then disappears; again I don't think this is how the Dems would have played if they knew in advance.

No spin on this, just a bad situation that the GOP leadership may have made worse by not being on top of this.

Jack said:

If you do not think the timing lucky for the Democrats, and you don't think the timing was engineered by the Democrats, do you think that this will have no bearing on the elections?

Moderate 5-19 said:

Jack,

I don't think this is “lucky” for anyone, at all, on either side period. This is bad for our country and worse that even our congress does not protect children.

It could have a bearing on the election if for no other reason that Foley's seat could become a Dems seat.

I don't know how much further the fall out will be for the GOP. But I don't really care one way or the other. It is as you said; who ever knew, or even had an idea and did not further investigate this should be gone. I think the Dems knew nothing and the house GOP leadership were willfully ignorant.

It is much, much more likely GOP leaders knew vs., any Dems. It just is illogical that the Dems would sit on this for all this time. If they had an idea of this they would have brought it out in 2004 so as to impact the Presidential election.

This came to light because of the media, not because the GOP was cleaning house or Dems were trying to make a case out of it.

No spin Jack, no spin

Jack said:

Mod:

I'm not spinning anything. Get off it.

I'm just willing to bet that the Dems knew about this, too. If they had known in 2004, it would have come out in October of 2004. But that does not mean they didn't know about it in 2005, when the Republicans did.

Moderate 5-19 said:

Jack,

How would it have benefited the Dems to sit on this at all? It makes no sense. If I’m wrong I’ll print all our blogs and eat them, with a nice chianti and some fava beans, but I don’t think I am.

I'm not saying you're spinning, but the GOP spin cycle is revving up to full speed on this one.

Moderate 5-19 said:

Jack,

How would it have benefited the Dems to sit on this at all? It makes no sense. If I’m wrong I’ll print all our blogs and eat them, with a nice chianti and some fava beans, but I don’t think I am.

I'm not saying you're spinning, but the GOP spin cycle is revving up to full speed on this one.

Moderate 5-19 said:

sorry posted twice

Moderate 5-19 said:

Okay Jack,

Lest assume I’m a House Democrat and I find out about Foley and this communication with a 16yo child.

I think I would first gather evidence, make sure I have facts straight including times, dates and even the IM transcripts if possible. I would then call a news conference and say that we (the Dems) learned of this information and were so worried about the children, blah,blah ,blah, thus we felt it incumbent on us to bring it to the public’s attention.

In other words if the Dems knew this in advance they could control the story, be the first to call for investigations, use it their advantage and really get off with the righteous indignation thing. Instead the story hit everyone like a bomb shell Foley resigns and disappears without answering one question.

I just don't see it

Jack said:

The hypothetical scenario is that the Dems found out about all this when the Republicans did. They could not legally do the investigation quietly -- Congress does not work like that. A quiet investigation would require a news outlet or the FBI to conduct it. So the Dems leak it to the news outlet of their choice, which finds the IM's and breaks the story at the appointed time -- just before the election.

Moderate 5-19 said:

Jack,

Assuming your scenario is even possibly true, why would the Dems leak this so far before the election. Why not wait until about two weeks before the election. In politics five weeks is a lifetime, anything could happen between now and Nov 7th. Because Americans can have a pretty short memory, it would have been a better political move to leak this why Foley is headed to a re-election and on the campaign trail. He could not have disappeared so quickly and may have been forced to answer some question.

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