What can I say about the Foley scandal? What can be said except that it's clear that Foley behaved inappropriately, whether or not he actually crossed the line into actual deeds or kept it strictly on the verbal level, it's wrong.
The reaction to this story is over-the-top in its partisan fervor, with both sides resorting to knee-jerk behavior: the Democrats with their gleeful shouts of 'hypocrisy' -- how they love being able to catch a Republican in some kind of misbehavior, especially of a sexual kind, and very especially when it is 'same-sex oriented'. So they are making the utmost of this.
Here are a couple of blog comments on the story: a brief one from Clark Stooksbury
And this post from Daniel Larison .
Most of the comments I have read and heard, however, fall into the 'true believer' pattern, with few exceptions.
And while I have low expectations of Democrats, especially after their defense of Clinton's indefensible antics back in the 90s, I still perhaps foolishly expect better of the Republicans. The Republicans, it seems. are mostly falling back on the 'tu quoque' line of defense, which is very weak. But I suppose it's impossible to resist the temptation to invoke the Gerry Studds scandal, or that involving Barney Frank. But still: wrong is wrong, regardless of whether the guilty party is 'one of ours' or 'the enemy.' But for those who see the whole political arena as just a game or a blood sport, in which 'winning' is not the main thing, but the ONLY thing, I suppose it's to be expected that standards and principles will go out the window.
Another lame defense I have heard from some Republican loyalists is that Foley is not a pedophile, he is an 'ephebophile',
First of all, that is a Clintonesque attempt to obfuscate, or to create a hair-splitting distinction. Leave the sophistry and parsing of words to the Democrats; let's not emulate their less admirable practices.
Ephebophile or pedophile: either one is wrong. As I recall, the distinction between the two was also raised in defense of the molesting priests a few years back, in a misguided attempt to make their offenses less troubling: the reasoning was, they were attracted not to little children but to maturing teens. Sorry but a 16-year-old is still immature emotionally and mentally if not physically. No excuses. Ephebophiles are still exploiters and predators, given the age and power differential.
This kind of thing is exactly what alienates so many people from politics: the partisan wrangling and sniping and perpetual low-grade warfare, the finger-pointing, the childish tu-quoques and 'gotchas'. Those who are political junkies, like the 'true believers' referenced in Clark Stooksbury's blog post linked above, sometimes forget that they are something of an exception: many, if not most, Americans, are turned off by politics, and have become cynical because as they rightly surmise, too many politicians and elected officials are corrupt, self-serving, venal, and slippery. This whole sordid story reinforces that perception, and the back-and-forth reactions, between Democrats' accusations and Republican excuse-making just alienates people further.
There are some Republicans or conservatives who have not been dragged down into making excuses for 'their guy', as the Democrats habitually do. Among those who are not defending Foley and Hastert in a knee-jerk way are David Bossie, Richard Viguerie, and Michael Reagan.
Of course to the true believers, these men are traitors who are selling out the GOP.
Partisan politics are becoming more irrelevant; our country is being invaded, and our Republic possibly being replaced by some EU-like 'North American Union', or so reports say, and meanwhile Americans are squabbling amongst themselves, while the barbarians are at the gate. We just don't have the luxury, folks, of being divided amongst ourselves while we are under siege.
Sometimes it's hard not to wonder whether all this is just a diversion to keep us distracted while the really important things proceed unhindered.
We need to clean house among our elected officials and party leaders. There are too many power-hungry men and women lacking in principles and scruples. Our present set of politicians and leaders have led our country into its present precarious position, being mostly out to grab whatever power, privilege, and pleasure they can get for themselves.