""I know one thing: that e-mail they call an 'overly friendly e-mail' -- that had predator stamped all over it." -- Bay Buchanan, The Situation Room, October 2
It is not often that I agree with anything coming out of Bay Buchanan's mouth. But Bay is dead right on the Mark Foley e-mail -- the 'overly friendly e-mail' e-mail had predator written all over it.
Almost everyone who understands how efebophiles "work" their victims saw that immediately. The e-mail had the marks on it, and the e-mail should have triggered immediate and careful digging into Mark Foley's relationship with the page program, particularly in light of the fact that his "overly friendly" attitude to pages appears to have been an open secret on the Hill.
As the Foley story developed over the last few days, I've watched the Republican leadership fall all over themselves trying to distance themselves from that simple fact. I've watched Dennis Hastert stumble around trying to distinguish between the e-mails and the IM's, on the basis that the former were not "sexually explicit" and the latter were, and lamely indicate that he had discussed so many things with Republicans who brought the e-mails to his attention that he doesn't remember discussing the e-mails. I've watched House leadership play the game of "I didn't know ..." I've watched Tony Snow first dismiss the e-mail and IM exchanges as "naughty" and then turn 180 degrees and distance the White House while still diminishing the impact: ""The House has to clean up the mess, to the extent there is a mess.
" And I've watched Fox News, the Republican network, trying to downplay the story by running commentaries comparing the pages to Monica Lewinsky, stories of past sexual misbehavior in Congress, and so on. I've watched the Christian Right turn itself inside out distinquishing between legal and illegal behavior on technicalities.
As I've watched the story develop, I've been reminded on the scandal that rocked the Catholic Church in recent years, the scandal of efebophile priests hitting on teenage parishoners. The Republican leadership, in a word, is acting like the Bishops acted -- denying, diminishing, dismissing.
None of it has damped voter anger, and it won't.
The reason? The raw fact of the matter is that Bay Buchanan is right: ""I know one thing: that e-mail they call an 'overly friendly e-mail' -- that had predator stamped all over it.
" And the raw fact of the matter is that the Republican leadership acted like the Bishops, and failed, utterly failed, to protect the pages when the parents of the pages trusted them to do so. Denying, diminishing, dismissing won't help; it makes matters worse, not better.
The pages were sent to the Hill by parents who trusted
the leadership to keep them safe, and the parents, like the pages, were betrayed. If the predator had been anyone other than Mark Foley, a member of the Republican leadership and the man who made it his crusade to "protect the children" -- if the predator had been anyone else -- the story might not have the legs it has developed.
But Mark Foley
, the leadership-designated protector of teens, was the predator, the fox in the hen house. When the "overly-friendly" e-mail came to light, the Republican leadership played the "old boy network" game, circling the wagons and protecting their own. Anyone who doesn't see the similarities between the Foley story and the scandal in the Catholic Church isn't Catholic. Catholics have been there and done that, and now it is the Christian right's turn.
The story is cut of the the same cloth as the scandal that rocked the Catholic Church, and worse, like the Bishops, Republican leadership doesn't get it. By the time they do, it will be too late. Nobody will trust them.
I wasn't going to comment on the Foley story -- I'm a survivor of sexual abuse, and not unbiased -- but Matt Drudge put me over the edge.
Drudge, yesterday, had this to say:
"And if anything, these kids are less innocent -- these 16 and 17 year-old beasts...and I've seen what they're doing on YouTube and I've seen what they're doing all over the internet -- oh yeah -- you just have to tune into any part of their pop culture. You're not going to tell me these are innocent babies. Have you read the transcripts that ABC posted going into the weekend of these instant messages, back and forth? The kids are egging the Congressman on! The kids are trying to get this out of him. We haven't got the whole story on this.
And later: "You could say "well Drudge, it's abuse of power, a congressman abusing these impressionable, young 17 year-old beasts, talking about their sex lives with a grown man, on the internet." Because you have to remember, those of us who have seen some of the transcripts of these nasty instant messages. This was two ways, ladies and gentlemen. These kids were playing Foley for everything he was worth. Oh yeah. Oh, I haven't...they were talking about how many times they'd masturbated, how many times they'd done it with their girlfriends this weekend...all these things and these "innocent children." And this poor congressman sitting there typing, "oh am I going to get any," you know?
I've heard that before, too. And I'm disgusted beyond disgust.
Just in case you haven't read them, the following are transcripts of IM exchanges: Maf54: how my favorite young stud doing
Teen: tired and sore
Teen: i didnt no waltzing could make you sore
Maf54: from what
Teen: what do you mean from what
Teen: from waltzing ... im sore from waltzing
Maf54: tahts good
Teen: ugh tomorrow i have the first day of lacrosse practice
Maf54: love to watch that
Maf54: those great legs running
Teen: haha...they arent great
Maf54: well dont ruin my mental picture
Teen: oh lol...sorry
Maf54: youll be way hot then
Maf54: better be
Maf54: did any girl give you a haand job this weekend
Teen: lol no
Teen: im single right now
Teen: my last gf and i broke up a few weeks agi
Maf54: are you
Maf54: good so your getting horny
Teen: lol...a bit
Maf54: did you spank it this weekend yourself
Teen: been too tired and too busy
Maf54: i am never to busy haha
Maf54: or tired..helps me sleep
Teen: thats true
Teen: i dont do it very often normally though
Maf54: why not
Maf54: at your age seems like it would be daily
Teen: not me
Teen: im not a horn dog
Teen: maybe 2 or 3 times a week
Maf54: thats a good number
Maf54: in the shower
Teen: actually usually i dont do it in the shower
Teen: just cause i shower in the morning
Teen: and quickly
Maf54: in the bed
Teen: i get up at 530 and am outta the house by 610
Teen: eh ya
Maf54: on your back
Teen: no face down
Maf54: love details
Teen: i see that
Maf54: do you really do it face down
Teen: well i dont use my hand...i use the bed itself
Maf54: where do you unload it
Maf54: completely naked?
Teen: well ya
Maf54: very nice
Maf54: i always use lotion and the hand
Maf54: but who knows
Teen: i dont use lotion...takes too much time to clean up
Teen: with a towel you can just wipe off....and go
Maf54: where do you throw the towel
Teen: but you cant work it too hard....or its not good
Teen: in the laundry
Maf54: just kinda slow rubbing
Teen: or youll rub yourslef raw
Maf54: well I have aa totally stiff wood now
Teen: cause the towell isnt very soft
Maf54: i bet..taht would hurt
Teen: but you cn find something softer than a towell i guess
Maf54: but it must feel great spirting on the towel
Maf54: is your little guy limp...or growing
Teen: eh growing
Maf54: so you got a stiff one now
Teen: not that fast
Teen: ya but now im hard
Maf54: me 2
Maf54: what you wearing
Teen: normal clothes
Teen: tshirt and shorts
Maf54: um so a big buldge
Maf54: love to slip them off of you
Maf54: and gram the one eyed snake
Teen: not tonight...dont get to excited
Maf54: well your hard
Teen: that is true
Maf54: and a little horny
Teen: and also tru
Maf54: get a ruler and measure it for me
Teen: ive already told you that
Maf54: tell me again
Teen: 7 and 1/2
Maf54: thats a great size
Teen: thank you
Maf54: still stiff
Maf54: take it out
Maf54: I miss you lots since san diego.
Teen: ya I cant wait til dc
Teen: did you pick a night for dinner
Maf54: not yet…but likely Friday
Teen: ok…ill plan for Friday then
Maf54: that will be fun
Maf54: I want to see you
Teen: Like I said not til feb … then we will go to dinner
Maf54: and then what happens
Teen: we eat…we drink … who knows … hang out … late into the night
Teen: I dunno
Maf54: dunno what
Teen: hmmm I have the feeling that you are fishing here … im not sure what I would be comfortable with … well see
Foley is clearly leading the exchanges, and the teenager is practically squirming in that last exchange.
Drudge has no limits to his indecency. But blaming the victims isn't going to work. All it will do is dig the hole deeper.
Druge, like the Republican leadership, just doesn't get it.
Bay Buchanan, bless her heart, does. And, as the story develops, I'll bet that Bay won't be alone.
The Washington Times called for Haster's resignation this morning:
"House Speaker Dennis Hastert must do the only right thing, and resign his speakership at once. Either he was grossly negligent for not taking the red flags fully into account and ordering a swift investigation, for not even remembering the order of events leading up to last week's revelations -- or he deliberately looked the other way in hopes that a brewing scandal would simply blow away. He gave phony answers Friday to the old and ever-relevant questions of what did he know and when did he know it? Mr. Hastert has forfeited the confidence of the public and his party, and he cannot preside over the necessary coming investigation, an investigation that must examine his own inept performance.
The Times, like Bay Buchanan, got it right.