At least liberals are finally exhibiting a moral compass about something. I am sure
that they'd be equally outraged if Rep. Mark Foley were a Democrat.
The object lesson of Foley's inappropriate e-mails to male pages is that when a
Republican congressman is caught in a sex scandal, he immediately resigns and
crawls off into a hole in abject embarrassment. Democrats get snippy.
Foley didn't claim he was the victim of a "witch-hunt." He didn't whine that he was
a put-upon "gay American." He didn't stay in Congress and haughtily rebuke his
critics. He didn't run for re-election. He certainly didn't claim he was "saving
the Constitution." (Although his recent discovery that he has a drinking problem
has a certain Democratic ring to it.)
In 1983, Democratic congressman Gerry Studds was found to have sexually
propositioned House pages and actually buggered a 17-year-old male page whom he
took on a trip to Portugal. The 46-year-old Studds indignantly attacked those who
criticized him for what he called a "mutually voluntary, private relationship
When the House censured Studds for his sex romp with a male page, Studds not one
to be shy about presenting his backside to a large group of men defiantly turned
his back on the House during the vote. He ran for re-election and was happily
returned to office five more times by liberal Democratic voters in his Martha's
Vineyard district. (They really liked his campaign slogan: "It's the outfit,
Washington Post columnist Colman McCarthy referred to Studds' affair with a teenage
page as "a brief consenting homosexual relationship" and denounced Studds'
detractors for engaging in a "witch-hunt" against gays: "New England witch trials
belong to the past, or so it is thought. This summer on Cape Cod, the reputation of
Rep. Gerry Studds was burned at the stake by a large number of his constituents
determined to torch the congressman for his private life."
Meanwhile, Foley is hiding in a hole someplace.
No one demanded to know why the Democratic speaker of the House, Thomas "Tip"
O'Neill, took one full decade to figure out that Studds was propositioning male
But now, the same Democrats who are incensed that Bush's National Security Agency
was listening in on al-Qaida phone calls are incensed that Republicans were not
reading a gay congressman's instant messages.
Let's run this past the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals: The suspect sent an
inappropriately friendly e-mail to a teenager oh also, we think he's gay. Can we
spy on his instant messages? On a scale of 1 to 10, what are the odds that any
court in the nation would have said: YOU BET! Put a tail on that guy and a
credit check, too!
When Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee found unprotected e-mails from
the Democrats about their plan to oppose Miguel Estrada's judicial nomination
because he was Hispanic, Democrats erupted in rage that their e-mails were being
read. The Republican staffer responsible was forced to resign.
But Democrats are on their high horses because Republicans in the House did not
immediately wiretap Foley's phones when they found out he was engaging in e-mail
chitchat with a former page about what the kid wanted for his birthday.
The Democrats say the Republicans should have done all the things Democrats won't
let us do to al-Qaida solely because Foley was rumored to be gay. Maybe we could
get Democrats to support the NSA wiretapping program if we tell them the terrorists
On Fox News' "Hannity and Colmes" Monday night, Democrat Bob Beckel said a gay man
should be kept away from male pages the same way Willie Sutton should have been
kept away from banks. "If Willie Sutton is around some place where a bank is
robbed," Beckel said, "then you're probably going to say, 'Willie, stay away from
Hmmmm, let's search the memory bank. In July 2000, the New York Times "ethicist"
Randy Cohen advised a reader that pulling her son out of the Cub Scouts because
they exclude gay scoutmasters was "the ethical thing to do." The "ethicist"
explained: "Just as one is honor bound to quit an organization that excludes
African-Americans, so you should withdraw from scouting as long as it rejects
We need to get a rulebook from the Democrats:
Boy Scouts: As gay as you want to be.
Priests: No gays!
Democratic politicians: Proud gay Americans.
Republican politicians: Presumed guilty.
White House press corps: No gays, unless they hate Bush.
Active-duty U.S. military: As gay as possible.
Men who date Liza Minelli: Do I have to draw you a picture, Miss Thing?
This is the very definition of political opportunism. If Republicans had decided to
spy on Foley for sending overly friendly e-mails to pages, Democrats would have
been screaming about a Republican witch-hunt against gays. But if they don't,
they're enabling a sexual predator.
Talk to us Monday. Either we'll be furious that Republicans violated the man's
civil rights, or we'll be furious that they didn't.