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Friday, October 06, 2006

I can't stand to listen to people attempting to minimize Foley's conduct. Whether these kids were 16, 17, 18, 20, 22 -- doesn't matter. The issue is not what is legal and what is illegal. The issue is what is right and what is wrong. Contacting pages after they leave the program to ask them questions about their johnsons is just plain wrong.

But the kids were messing with him in some of these instances! Doesn't matter. Still wrong.
But he never touched them! Doesn't matter. Still wrong.
But if he did touch them they were legal age! Doesn't matter. Still wrong.

Foley's a predator. Clinton's behavior is irrelevant. Calling the Democrats on their inaction on Studds is fair game, but where it crosses the line to imply that we are making too big a deal about Foley. This is a big deal and it should be.

I don't want Republicans to adopt the low ethical standards set by Democrat majorities. Neither should you.

Here's an example: when Susan John, the Democrat state legislator who was chair of the state legislature's committee on alcohol abuse was arrested for a DWI, she wasn't asked to step down. No Democrat called for her head. Hell, I think she even kept her committee chair! A few months later a Republican county legislator was arrested for DWI and the majority leader of the Republican County Legislature came out the next day and said: "if he's guilty, he should resign."

That's how it should work. Right is right. Wrong is wrong. We shouldn't want Republicans to get a pass for bad behavior. I sure don't.

Do we pay a political price for it? Yep.

But the right thing to do when a sex scandal breaks is not to circle the wagons and think about how to attack the messenger or ruin the reputation of the victims by describing them as unstable or worse.

Now here's the good news: we have a new standard on the Hill when it comes to predatory sexual behavior. That's a good thing. The next time this behavior comes out, that member will be expelled (and rightly so) regardless of party.

Higher standards for Congress = common sense in most of America = Good thing.

Lower standards for them = lower standards for us = Bad thing.

Admittedly, I have a hard time believing that leadership swept this under the rug last year, if only for the fact that the political downside so outweighs the political upside of keeping Foley around. I also know some of these people and they are people who wouldn't look the other way, in my opinion.

Unfortunately, the Speaker's behavior makes me more suspicious every day. Hastert's done. He's stood by while the Republican leadership squandered the conservative agenda for campaign cash and incumbency protection. He's finished, whether now or in January... regardless of who is in the majority.

Good riddance.

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