The latest scandal, involving former Rep. Mark Foley and Congressional pages, is an exception because a minor is involved, but surprisingly, it is not the first. Correction: CNN says that both prior instances involved Congressmen with teens "over the legal age of consent."
In 1983, Reps. Daniel B. Crane (R-IL) and Gerry Studds (D-MA) were outed in a Congressional investigation of sexual impropriety involving pages. Crane had repeated sexual relations with a 17-year-old female page, reportedly consensual. He was censured by the House and lost his reelection bid in 1984. Studds had an extended relationship with a 16- or 17-year-old male page. He, too, was censured but survived the scandal.
Nothing that has been revealed about Foley's behavior so far suggests consent. And Foley's lawyer provides soundbites about alcoholism and childhood abuse -- both reasonable explanations for irrational behavior. Still, one has to believe that his resignation suggests there is more than smoke in this story.
This Is Not A Family Value
One of the problems facing the GOP is that is has spent the past two decades positioning itself as the party of "family values." That just doesn't jibe with Foley's e-mails, Foley's IM sessions, or the blind eye turned by not just the Republican leadership but also a Republican-run FBI. Hear-see-speak no evil when it's our party?
US Liberals Guide Deborah White accurately deflects one "frame" for the Foley story ... that it's no different from Clinton's affair with Monica Lewinsky. Given that one relationship was heterosexual consenting adults ... and the other is homosexual child predation ... it seems to me the only thing "alike" in these two examples is that they involve sex. Besides, Clinton has been out of office for six years. For the life of me, I don't understand why his name continues to be taken, if not in vain, at least in tempest.
And US Government Information Guide Robert Longley wonders if Congress can police itself. Should the task be up to an independent commission?
Given the scandals facing the GOP this year -- Abramoff, Cunningham, Libby, DeLay, Ney, Foley -- perhaps the answer is "yes."
Correction at 9.55 pm Eastern