Foley in the Henhouse

Quick: See if you can guess what caucus Rep. Mark Foley led before today's news that he would resign from Congress after being exposed for e-flirting with young boys?

Give up? Come on, it's easy. The Missing and Exploited Children Caucus.

The story's obviously going to get more and more interesting as details come out. For years, rumors swirled around Foley's secret sexual life, and they were enough to scuttle his speculative Senate bids in 2004 and 2006. The Hotline predicts that the first aftershock of the scandal will be the Democratic pick-up of his seat in eastern Florida.

UPDATE: It looks like it's getting scrubbed, but Foley had set up that essential tool in the pedo toolbox: A MySpace page. You can find the page by searching for maf54@aol.com's profile - maf54 is Foley's IM name. There's no information in the profile, apart from Foley's age (52) and Zodiac sign (Virgo; he was born on September 8, 1954). This is common for stalkers and sexual predators - you need to set up a MySpace account to view profiles, but you don't need to add more info about yourself.

"I don't want kids"? Oh, I beg to differ.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • ||

    outrageous!

  • Stephen Macklin||

    Who does he think he is Bill Clinton?

  • ||

    "...the first aftershock of the scandal will be the Democratic pick-up of his seat in eastern Florida."

    That's assuming the Democrats don't beat themselves.

  • ||

    Why did he resign? He just needs to come out as being gay, go on Oprah and claim he is being persecuted because he is gay person every time someone mentions that he is an old pervert who was caught trolling for young men.

  • ||

    To quote Nelson Muntz

    HA HA.

  • ||

    The exchange outlined in the AP story is fairly tame, although a bit creepy. I'll wait for something involving loufas or cigars comes out before declaring the story amusing.

  • ||

    Somehow, I thought something this embarassing could only happend to Senator George Allen. What's next? Will the GOP break out a "Contract With America" that is against apple pie and in favor of kitten-kicking?

  • ||

    Is it wrong for me to want this to be true? In all honesty I will be disappointed if the boy was of legal age, or the communication is found to be innocuous. I just love good irony. Now I feel shitty. Oh well.

  • ||

    Who does he think he is Bill Clinton?

    Wow, Bill Clinton made sexual advances to minors? I mean, I know he let Osama bin Laden bomb the WTC and that he murdered Vince Foster, but I had NO idea!

  • ||

    He just needs to come out as being gay, go on Oprah and claim he is being persecuted because he is gay person every time someone mentions that he is an old pervert who was caught trolling for young men.

    Except that he was trolling for kids, not "young men." There is a difference.

  • ||

    Why did he resign?

    Because the page was 16. Trolling for young men is not the same thing as trolling for underage boys.

  • ||

    Scandals are typically fascinating to partisans, I'm sure.

  • ||

    I'll wait for something involving loufas or cigars comes out before declaring the story amusing.

    I think it's officially amusing. From ABC News:

    Hours earlier, ABC News had read excerpts of instant messages provided by former male pages who said the congressman, under the AOL Instant Messenger screen name Maf54, made repeated references to sexual organs and acts.

  • ||

    Wow, Bill Clinton made sexual advances to minors?

    Several women accused him of rape or sexual assault... although they were all over the age of 18. And he certainly had sex with women who were under his authority (which is sexual exploitation, according to NOW). Which makes it ironic when Bill Clinton received the endorcement of feminists and NOW.

    But, back to the topic on hand... this just reinforced the belief that I have had for a while that the people in rabid hysterics about child molestors and child pornographers are people who have some sort of wierd child sexual thing going on themselves. A thief, of course, tends to irrationally suspect other people of stealing. Since the thief is a thief, it is very easy for them to believe someone else is also a thief. A child molester, of course, sees child molesters at every corner. It is very hard to imagine that there are that many adults out there who would want to exploit children, but I guess if you are exploiting children, then it is easy to get the idea that children are under constant threat.

    I haven't thought what implications this has towards libertarians. Libertarians are fearful of the government... does that mean we are all closet Stalins?

  • Jim Murphy||

    This scandal is rather pedestrian, but very neatly shows the complete disconnect between how politicians live their lives one way while trying to tell others to do the opposite. Of course hypocrisy knows no ideological or party lines, but Foley's involvement in so many "children's welfare" issues makes this a very neat and obvious example. Worth reading before they pull it down is the now unintentionally hilarious page on his website about all of the children's welfare issues he was behind:

    "He authored legislation that became law -- the Volunteers for Children Act -- that gives volunteer organizations that work with children, such as scouting and sports groups, access to FBI fingerprint-based background checks to ensure that they are not inadvertently hiring child molesters." (unfortunately, the voters of Florida didn't have access to that same information before *they* 'inadvertently hired' a (alleged) child molester....)

    and this one, which almost writes its own punch line:

    "As technology rapidly advances, Mark feels that students should have the ability to integrate the use of computer software into their daily learning regimen." (as long as all the cute young boys keep sending him pictures)

    Anyway, despite what his PR flack said this isn't an attempt at a "partisan smear"--its just a particularly clear cut case of the hypocricy that is all too commmon in our elected officials.

    Check out the full "issues" page before Foley's people take it down:

    http://www.house.gov/foley/issues/children.htm

  • Jim Murphy||

    >>>That's assuming the Democrats don't beat themselves.

  • ||

    Libertarians are fearful of the government... does that mean we are all closet Stalins?

    I don't know about "all," but the vocabulary and tone of some of the exchanges here can put one in mind of http://holyjoe.net/poetry/McGin3.htm

    Hurt me now. I know I deserve it.

  • ||

    Stephen, that should be:

    "Who does he think he is, Gerry Studds?!"

    Except Studds refused to resign after actually boinking his page, and continued to get reelected.

    Kevin

  • ||

    Was the Congressman hoping to get a little behind in his workload? Dare we call this Tailgate?

  • ||

    Yawn, yet another pedophile.

    The real story here is that party sheep continue to neurotically yell (or write) "Bill Clinton!" every time a Republican is mentioned in a sex scandal, or any scandal whatsoever. It's as if the man's name was the natural response to partisan cognitive dissonance -- it's like nervous laughter.

  • ||

    From his house.gov issues page recommended by Jim Murphy above:

    Mark also is a firm believer in finding and supporting innovative ways to encourage our children's educational horizons

    Um, yeah. Firm believer in innovative ways to to encourage, blah, blah, blah...

  • ||

    Several women accused him of rape or sexual assault... although they were all over the age of 18. And he certainly had sex with women who were under his authority (which is sexual exploitation, according to NOW). Which makes it ironic when Bill Clinton received the endorcement of feminists and NOW.

    Actually, there's nothing I disagree with there. Chris S above, however, explains better than I could my motivation for responding the way I did to the eternally predictable Stephen Malkin.

  • ||

    Sorry, I meant the eternally predictable Stephen Macklin, not Malkin. I was probably thinking of the equally predictable Michelle.

  • ||

    So, Mr. Weigel, all closeted homosexuals will from now on be termed breathlessly as having a "secret sexual life," correct?

    My guess is that he did nothing wrong in this circumstance (re:the page), but combined with the gay rumors he knew that his political career was over. Here in NE Ohio, we had a similar case with a retired newsman named Joel Rose who got the same treatment in the Cleveland newspaper for allegedly sending pornographic letters and undies to local women, committed suicide (denying everything in the note he left), and to this day there has been not one shred of evidence that he was guilty (DNA from the saliva on the envelopes did not match Rose).

  • ||

    2 things:
    -Age of consent is 16 in DC (with some stipulations). So this is creepy as hell, but not "pedophilia".
    -The e-mails were a bit creepy also, but nothing to resign over. Apparantly another page came forward with a trail of IMs that left no doubt that he was trolling teenage boys working for him.

  • ||

    "The e-mails were a bit creepy also, but nothing to resign over. Apparantly another page came forward with a trail of IMs that left no doubt that he was trolling teenage boys working for him."

    Did the Congressman say he regretted the innuendos hinted at in the e-mails? Mighty cheeky of him!

  • ||

    -Age of consent is 16 in DC (with some stipulations). So this is creepy as hell, but not "pedophilia".

    I think that means that it's not illegal, not that it's not "pedophilia." Eighteen is still the age of majority in DC, even if sixteen is the age of consent. Thus, a sixteen year old is still a "child." Yeah, I'm splitting hairs for no good reason, but boredom does that to people...

  • ||

    One thing about picking up previously "safe" seats from other parties, you generally tend to lose them back two years later. When the Republicans managed to beat Rostenkowski in an election (Rostenkowski was mere months away from prison) 54 to 46, they lost the seat back two years later by 28 points and certainly not because of anything Mike Flanagan did or didn't do while in office. Rod Blagojevich and Rahm Emanuel have since held the seat.

    That's the kicker with gerrymandering, they aren't designed to protect particular politicians, but particular politicians plus anybody else in the future like him.

  • Stephen Macklin||

    Note to self:

    Making a joke at Hit & Run just isn't worth it.

  • ||

    Note to Stephen:

    Jokes are generally supposed to be funny.

  • Stephen Macklin||

    P.S.

    Some times it's redundant.

  • Ron Hardin||

    Psychiatrist Adolf Guggenbuhl-Craig says that borderline pedophiles make good teachers, as they're able to sustain an interest in what the child says, where normal adults zone out.

    So there's a career move.

  • ||

    So is that why when I Googled Mark Foley (http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=Mark+Foley&btnG=Google+Search) the "sponsored link" had link text "Block Sexual Predators"?

  • ||

    Ron,

    May all of our children's teachers not give two shits about what they say then.

  • ||

    Is it my imagination or is this actually true?

    Republican scandals tend to involve some sort of sexual component (Lingstone, Packwood, for example).

    Democratic scandals tend to involve some kind of financial misdeed (Rostenkowski, Wright, for example.

    I know it doesn't always break down that way, but it sure seems like the "family values" party has sexual issues, whereas the "workingman's party" apparently just needs more money.

  • ||

    I don't know if that holds up to scrutiny. Bill Clinton, Gary Condit, Gerry Studds, Wilbur Mills, Wayne Hays, Gus Savage, and Mel Reynolds were Democrats, while Tom Delay, Bob Ney, and Duke Cunningham were Republicans. On the other hand, six of the seven Abscam convictees were Democrats, as was most House bank overdrafters and Jim Traficant, while John Tower was a Republican and allegations of hooker use have been floating around the edge of the Cunningham case.

  • ||

    Who'd he pay to get the Google cache of his Congressional webpage scrubbed so damn fast?

  • ||

    If only I could find some reason to think this is important. Politician. Scandal. Excess. Hypocrisy.

    This may inch America another tick towards a paradigm shift; but the problem is, America only knows two paradigms, and it calls them political parties. Unlike science, where paradigm shifts lead to progress, in American politics they're more like a game of tennis. We just go back and forth, back and forth, back and forth... like a teenage boy sitting on Mark Foley's throbbing cock, according to sexual fantasies allegedly attributed to former Rep. Mark Foley.

  • ||

    Does anybody know if Mr. Foley supports treating persons under the age of 18 as adults in criminal proceedings? If so, he is merely being consistent.
    Wait, I forgot, now SEX is involved and the guy is "creepy". That changes everything, natch, the children must be protected and being a pedo suspect is so serious that prejudgement is mandatory. It's all for the children.
    I can't figure out who is hypocritical any more.

  • ||

    Why did he resign?

    According to APL, "Because the page was 16. Trolling for young men is not the same thing as trolling for underage boys."

    I believe the age of consent in Washington DC is 16.

  • ||

    has the young man on the receiving end of these e-mails claimed any inappropriate or untowards behavior?

  • thoreau||

    Scandals are always fun when there's some irony.

    A couple months ago I read a biography of James Madison. Madison was searching high and low for a Supreme Court nominee who could satisfy a whole bunch of very stringent political and geographical criteria. He was excited when the Attorney General of Massachusettes seemed to fit the criteria. He was about to extend an offer...and then the AG fled to Canada to escape charges of embezzlement.

  • ||

    the only reason i have a my space page is because a link on reason.com sent me there and to see what it was i had to enroll.
    since then i have done nothing with my page short of deleting my "my space tom" from my friends.

    does that make me a predatory pedophile?

    aren't we setting the bar pretty low for a bunch of freedom lovers?

  • ||

    Robert,
    Yes!

    You will soon be registered as a sex offender.

  • ||

    Why did he resign? He just needs to come out as being gay, go on Oprah and claim he is being persecuted because he is gay person every time someone mentions that he is an old pervert who was caught trolling for young men.

    Yes, because all gay men troll for young boys on the internet and shout persecution when apprehended. Gay men are all pedophiles. Good one. Don't you have a minuteman rally to go to?

  • ||

    When the Google cache gets scrubbed, there's always the Wayback Machine.

    Kevin

  • MediaOutsider||

    As a good friend reminded me, there used to be a term called "jailbait." There also used to be a fairly strict definition of "pedophile." No longer. Now a pedophile is what you are if you look at a 14-year-old for longer than a few seconds.

  • ||

    This scandal is rather pedestrian

    Jim Murphy, don't you mean that this scandal is rather pederastian?

  • ||

    This scandal is rather pedestrian



    Jim Murphy, don't you mean that this scandal is rather pederastian?

  • ||

    16 seems a bit on that edge of pedophilia...I was a House Page myself (though Foley made no advances on me...shucks, woulda been funny to bust a hypocrite like that), and regardless of whatever the ages and laws might be, pages are high school juniors, very much sexually active and aware.

    During my year there, most of the female pages were obsessed with a handfull of the "cute" congressmen, and a couple of the congressmen would definately flirt, on the house floor, with the receptive pages. There was even one page who was actively trying to sleep with a congressman.

    Needless to say, mixing some attractive young people in with congressmen and you're going to have issues, and always have...Although most of the age-questionable affairs tend to happen with the less image-concious college-aged interns.

  • ||

    Somehow I knew there was a double standard.

    If this had been a woman? ? ? ? ? ?

  • ||

    He just needs to come out as being gay, go on Oprah and claim he is being persecuted because he is gay person every time someone mentions that he is an old pervert who was caught trolling for young men.

    As with the homosexual Catholic priests, it's important for PC people to mis-describe young men (sexual people who are old enough to drive and have jobs, etc) as "young boys," as Weigel did, because to tell the truth accurately makes homosexuals look bad, and we all know, or we're supposed to know, that homosexuals are special and have no negative characteristics.

  • ||

    one of the reasons why foley resigned is that no matter what happens to him by resigning he KEEPS ALL OF HIS CONGRESSIONAL BENEFITS for the rest of his life!

  • ||

    The moral issue aside, you just gotta love it when the right-wingers twist and turn to put a spin on it when one of theirs digs himself a deep hole.
    The Instapundit uncharacteristically only posts a terse notice, no comment, and his link leads here:
    http://gaypatriot.net/2006/09/29/us-rep-mark-foley-resigning

    Worth reading the comments.

  • ||

    Psychiatrist Adolf Guggenbuhl-Craig says that borderline pedophiles make good teachers, as they're able to sustain an interest in what the child says, where normal adults zone out.

    Right, just like horny men actually pay attention to what the women they're trying to pick up are saying. Also, if "normal" adults don't pay attention to what children are saying, doesn't that imply that anyone who pays attention is a pedophile?

    But that's the great thing about psychology; since hypotheses can never be tested, at least not ethically, you can talk out of your ass to your heart's content without fear of being proven wrong.

  • ||

    "But that's the great thing about psychology; since hypotheses can never be tested, at least not ethically, you can talk out of your ass to your heart's content without fear of being proven wrong."

    Not saying Adolf wasn't talking out his ass, but so are you if you think hypotheses can never be ethically tested in psychology.

  • ||

    Of course hypocrisy knows no ideological or party lines...

    True...but if you're iedologically rigid or focus on sticking to the party line, it sure as hell makes it a lot easier to be a hypocrite.

  • ||

    Rex Rino is exactly right. Whenever someone has a fetish about this or that crime and is convinced half the world is committing it, there is a good chance they themselves are guilty of it. I wouldn't be surprised if most of the rapid child explotation advocates, sans the ones who joined the cause because their own child was exploited, are perverts themselves. Never were truer words spoken than "You doth protest too much"

  • ||

    MainstreamMan,

    Right, my statement was overbroad. Behavioral psychology, in particular, does lend itself toward testable hypotheses. However, this psychiatrist's theory is not only untestable but leads to absurd conclusions.

  • ||

    I think it is more a sign of dysfunction for an adult male NOT to have an attraction to high school boy or girl (given his particular preference) than it is for that attraction to exist. Biology trumps laws and social convention. Men love fresh flesh.

    Foley is guilty of poor judgment and gross hypocrisy (and of course the crime of simply being a pandering politician), but he is not a monster. How many straight men would be hitting on and bedding high school junior and senior girls if they had the opportunity? HUGE hypocrisy there - even though young males are much better equipped to deal with sexual advances from older men than are young women.

    From the text of the instant message exchanges, this kid was very much aware of what was going on, was playing along, was likely "playing" Foley (wonk-in-training + sitting politician = true love 4 ever), and certainly knew what his boner was about and how to use it. No victim = no crime.

    Let the moral outrage begin.

  • ||

    ...because to tell the truth accurately makes homosexuals look bad, and we all know, or we're supposed to know, that homosexuals are special and have no negative characteristics.

    Le Mur. I expected more from you. No one has suggested or even hinted that "homosexuals are special and have no negative characteristics."

    How one defines "young boys" may be some what fluid for the purposes of this thread. But your assertion that Weigel at al are trying to make him look worse as a child molester so they can further a PC plot to keep homosexuals pristine in the public eye is shockingly bizarre.

    Weigel and most of the rest of us have proven many times over that we're more inclined to ferret out and mock a PC plot than fall in line with one.

  • ||

    The age of consent may be a social and legal convention, and arguments could be made that the age in any state (or in D.C., in this case) could be changed, but it's ridiculous to think we shouldn't have one. As long as we do, I'd expect an elected official to honor it. I may be disappointed in that expectation, but the people who make the laws ought not be breaking them, civil disobedience aside. I may find a younger girl attractive, but not if she looks as if she's underage. That'd just be creepy. If I knew she was underage, that'd just be pervy. Would I feel differently if I lived in a time and place when a 50-year-old man could marry a 13-year-old and raise a family with her? Undoubtedly, but I live in the here-and-now, where sub-18ers having babies is considered a bad social outcome that hurts the prospects of the teen Moms and Dads and their kids, and the rest of us money. So I have internalized the mores of my age, in this regard. I was going to have to internalize some rule on the matter, or else be considered a sociopath.

    Even if the young man in question was of age, how would Foley's behavior not be an abuse of authority? Senior public employees should not be using the entry-level types as a dating pool.

    And, I say, I say boy, shouldn't that hed refer to a "chicken coop"?

    Kevin

  • ||

    "I think it is more a sign of dysfunction for an adult male NOT to have an attraction to high school boy or girl (given his particular preference) than it is for that attraction to exist."

    Having worked as a HS teacher for many years, I can say without a doubt that, despite what the porn websites lead you to believe, this is not the case. There is very little attractive to an adult heterosexual male about an actual, in the flesh 16 year old, no matter her looks. There are certainly some men for whom this is not the case, but they stand out in the crowd as kinda creepy.

  • ||

    The term chickenhawk has recently been used in reference to Rethuglicans who support the Iraq war despite having avoided military service or duty themselves, e.g., George W. AWOL, Cheney, DeLay, Frist, etc. Will it now revert to its more taditional, pejorative meaning?

  • ||

    It looks like our good friends over at freerepublic have been mixing it up over this.

    First, one of them mistakenly identified Foley as a Democrat, so much festivity ensues... until someone actually bothers to check the congressional homepage and discovers he's a Republican.

    Cue the wagons circling and firing inward.

    Chaos ensues, with lots of gay-bashing, kick the log cabins out, we lost another fucking seat, run Rush, run Ann Coulter, run Anybody, no wait his name stays on the ballot, we're so fucked, etc.

    Then one of the freepers discovers that ABC forgot to redact the victim's email handle in one of the document dumps. The handle is very long and unique.

    Ding! Ding! Ding!

    The freeper finds the MySpace page, but it is locked. Ah, then the freeper finds a cached copy of the MySpace and posts the link.

    long silence...

    He's from Louisana! Is he a Democratic plant? Who ever heard of a Mormon Emo Kid? What self-respecting conservative would listen to blink-182? The kid wants highlites? That's so gay! Are you sure he didn't come on to Foley? Blah Blah Blah

    At which point I get bored. Go check it out for yourself, it's good for a few laughs.

  • ||

    I was under the impression that the whole point of being a Congressional page was to get boned by somebody really really important.

  • ||

    Nick,

    Thanks for the heads up. That was hilarious.

  • ||

    "There is very little attractive to an adult heterosexual male about an actual, in the flesh 16 year old, no matter her looks."

    I doubt seriously many adult men would want to have a serious relationship with a 16 year old girl (my god the phone calls would be enoughto put you in a home), but in terms of sexual attractiveness? Let's not be naiive here. In any event, can we at least agree that calling lust for a 8 year old 'pedophilia' and lust for a 16 year old 'pedophilia', is being way too kind to the former and (by association) way too harsh on the latter?

    Most states should go to a sliding scale on the stauatory rape laws. Assuming consent: 13 or younger? Always. 14? Anyone 21 or older. 15 or 16? Only in cases where the older person is an authority figure to the minor (teacher, police, priest, boss, uncle, etc.). 17? Bone away.

    As far as solicitation? I think maybe only 13 or younger should be criminal, though certainly the other cases should be more than sufficient grounds for an order of protection.

  • ||

    For those thinking the e-mails weren't that bad... Note that there's two pages (so far) who've come forward. One seems not to have been into it, and the e-mails to him were pretty tentative. Then there's the other: http://abcnews.go.com/images/WNT/02-02-03b.pdf

    Now, this is obviously consenting conversation, and age of consent is 16. But it's still with a sixteen-year-old of the same, ahem, gender, not to mention a page, so... Yeah, it's still pretty unpleasant (and if you didn't approve of Lewinsky, you've gotta do quite the triple-gainer to justify this).

  • Mona||

    Oddly, age of consent here does not matter, because the Adam Walsh Act that Foley shepherded through Congress this year, makes IMing minors and talking sex to them a crime -- the statute defines minor as under 18.

    So, Foley could legally have a face-to-face tryst with the 16-yr-old page and be within DC law, but IMing him stuff about boners & etc, is a federal crime. Very peculiar legal situation, but it is one that Foley himself created.

    BTW, Foley is not a pedophile. He is not attracted, by any reports I am aware of, to pre-pubescent boys.

  • ||

    There's a specific term, ephebophilia, for the attraction of the adult to a post-pubescent adolescent. Acting on it can still be pedophilia in law, depending on the age of consent in a jurisdiction.

    Kevin

  • Mona||

    kevrob, well, I don't think any jurisdiction defines having sex with a post-pubescent person as "pedophilia." The statutes may define "child" or "minor" to be below 16, or 18, or whatever. Heck, for some purposes in contract law all under 18 (or, it might be 16) are "infants." But nobody seriously or literally thinks a 15-year-old is a baby.

  • ||

    Somebody once said political figures could get past anything but a dead girl or a live boy.

    Hmmm.

  • ||

    Mona:

    If a jurisdiction doesn't come down as hard on someone over the age-of-consent who is close to the age of his/her underage partner, then it would on an an adult, or an older adult, then I agree with you. However, I live in a state with a consent age of 18, and teenage adults have been charged for having sex with a 17-year-old partner. I'm working from memory, and can't find documentation for a particularly egregious example of this, but give me some time and I'll find one.

    Kevin

  • ||

    -Age of consent is 16 in DC (with some stipulations). So this is creepy as hell, but not "pedophilia".

    Yeah, it's a bit nutty the way people throw the word "pedophilia" around where it doesn't apply.

    A pedophile is someone who preys on prepubescent children, not someone who's attracted to 16 and 17 year olds. It's normal for males to be attracted to teenagers, though this obviously doesn't mean they should be acting on it, and of course what Foley, specifically, was up to with pages was extremely unethical.

    I've never heard of this Foley jack-ass before, and I'm glad this came out and he has resigned.
    And I'm rather disturbed by the rumors that others may have known about this for awhile and covered it up.

    It's also nice of the media to have disclosed this in time for the GOP to find a new candidate for that seat.

    Oh, and you don't need a profile on MySpace to view profiles. You need one to view pics and to contact people.

  • ||

    "It looks like our good friends over at freerepublic have been mixing it up over this."

    Which thread are you referencing? That place is a frikkin unnavigable labyrinth. Possibly the worst-designed, worst-structured major-traffic site on the Web.

    So if you have a link to the thread you've referenced, that would be helpful. I'm astonished "Chris S." ("that was hilarious") found it so quickly.

  • ||

    Whether it's pedophilia or statutory rape often makes little difference in the final outcome.

    The current legal climate makes little distinction 'twixt one sex crime and another involving someone under the age of consent.

    Depending on the as-written-statutes in a given jurisdiction and the aggressiveness of the D.A. prosecuting the case, both crimes can get you labelled a sexual predator. And that's a label that sticks with you.

    I doubt it'll go that far for Foley but it's gone that far for other guys.

    Just to throw my 2 cents in on this one, Jefferson said, "those who seek the public trust become public property."

    If you're a 52 year old homosexual cruising after 16 year old boys, you're pathetic but the world will most likely pretty much pass you over.

    If you're a 52-year-old republican politician who's authored legislation to protect children from predators and defined an age of consent of 18 and you're going after 16 year old boys, you're asking to get hammered.

    Still, I don't think this will blow up all that bad. Conservatives won't make that much of it and depending on what facts come out, I suspect the Democrats will only push it so far.

    I'm thinking even in the short run, Foley will come out as more a sorrowful figure with bad judgement than some monster.

    'course I'm making assumptions...I could be way wrong.

  • ||

    To second what others here have said, the term pedophilia is getting tossed around a lot here without much consideration for what the term actually means. Pedophilia is attraction to children who are not sexually mature. The DSM-IV, for the sake of convenience, sets the age as 12 years or younger for which attraction to, or engaging in sexual behavior with, qualifies as pedophilia. Engaging in sexual behavior with those 16-18 may or may not be illegal depending on state laws, but it definitely is not pedophilia.

    As for Again's sliding scale, I like that idea just fine, but it could get sticky legally. Why can a 16 year old be deemed competent in her decision-making faculties when she jumps into bed with a 50 year old, but incompetent when she decides to smoke a cigarette, drink alcohol, buy a lottery ticket, or vote? It seems like we can't quite make up our minds about what to do with adolescents legally. Are they innocents that must be protected from themselves and the big scary world until the age of 18, or are they beings able to make important decisions regarding health, sexuality, and political affiliation? Or is the question itself incoherent because variation between individuals is so great that you simply cannot make a broad statement about an age at which adolescents are ready to make serious decisions? Further, why is 18 such a magic number when it comes to legal rights?

    I made the argument many years ago when I was in high school that paying taxes, not an age, should be the requirement for full legal rights. I got my first job at 14, and paid taxes on my income. For the next four years I was taxed without representation, an offense which led our forefathers to start a war with England. At 16 you are considered legally responsible enough that if you fail to file a 1040 on your income, you could get in real trouble, but if you want to decide for yourself whether or not to fuck a 25 year old or smoke a cigar, fuck you kid, you're not ready to make that decision. Likewise, at 18 you can be drafted and sent to kill or be killed in a (usually unnecessary) war, but you cannot legally drink alcohol. It seems our government has a marvelous ability to see our capabilities as either greater or lesser depending on whether it wants something from us or we want something from it. As far as I'm concerned, if a 16 year old is bringing in income and paying taxes on that income, they should have the right to tell the government to get the hell off their backs when they want a beer or a scratch ticket or a 22 year old lover.

  • Thomas Paine's Goiter||

    The real story here is that party sheep continue to neurotically yell (or write) "Bill Clinton!" every time a Republican is mentioned in a sex scandal, or any scandal whatsoever. It's as if the man's name was the natural response to partisan cognitive dissonance -- it's like nervous laughter.

    Yes. THAT is the real story here.

    Bravo. You've managed to turn yet another story into a pissing match. THAT is what's real here.

  • ||

    Clinton had some stress-relieving sex with a grown woman and then lied about it to save face. Foley was trolling for underaged BOYS. (Read Foey's IM's. They are very explicit and sick.)

    The two do not even compare.

  • ||

    "The term chickenhawk has recently been used in reference to Rethuglicans who support the Iraq war despite having avoided military service or duty themselves, e.g., George W. AWOL, Cheney, DeLay, Frist, etc."

    Oh, this drivel again. Am I to assume that you hold that Bill Clinton, who served as President for eight years, and who successfully avoided service in a war where he could have conveniently served, should have been unable to exercise ANY of his capacities as Commander In Chief, although American voters (well-apprised of the details) selected him for the job anyway?

    Did our Founding Fathers err? Should a constitutional requirement for elected office be, that anyone who avoided military service during their prime be debarred?

    I could probably live with that - who's game?

  • ||

    Me,

    There were a couple of threads when I checked yesterday, but I don't know which, if any, remain there today. Just go to the main page and use your browser to search for "Foley."

  • ||

    Thomas Paine's Goiter,

    Many of the first posts were, in fact, Bill Clinton themed, with no mention of the actual controversy in question. Please read the entire thread.

    After reading the thread, if you still take exception to my use of the phrase "The real story here...," then I apologize. Hyperbole is a frequently used literary device, but perhaps I should avoid it for the benefits of H&R's more sensitive readers.

    If you take exception to my annoyance at the constant Bill Clinton-related diversions, what can I say? The Bill-Clinton-diversion is a frequently employed and extremely annoying rhetorical technique, and yes, it appears to indicate that some people cannot internalize the failings of members of their favored party. It�s a noteworthy phenomenon and a comment on this thread was fully apropos given the first group of posts.

    If you're upset about "pissing matches," I can't take you seriously: your only post on this thread is plainly an invitation to a pissing match. Yes, mine was too, or at least I decided to enter an ongoing Bill Clinton-themed pissing match, but I don't feign disgust at such matches � I�m a frequent participant.

  • ||

    You know....about the Bill Clinton thing...

    Anyone who says his impeachment "wasn't about sex or trying to embarass a president (we happen to despise)...it was about lying to congress" has mental problems.

    The Clinton impeachment was a long, miserable slog that, in the end, was waged largely by sactimonious hypocrites - many of them doing much the same thing themselves.

    It was a sideshow, plain and simple...like a lot of other sideshows put on by the politicians.

    I'm no fan of Clinton but I don't carry around this seething hatred of the man either. And as far as pointing fingers and yelling "Bill Clinton," from my perspective, if anybody has it coming, it's a bunch of fake moralist martinets.

  • ||

    madpad: I agree that a major blowup over the sex scandal would be unlikely. Apparently, insiders in DC have been going around doing the "I'm shocked...SHOCKED..." routine. This guy had a reputation among the pages; it would be surprising if reporters, other congressmen, and their staffs knew nothing about it. It's Foley's apparent obsession with "protecting the children" that makes the thing such a delight.

    On the other hand, the political scandal is another matter. Everyone on the House Page Board, plus the GOP leadership in the House, officially knew about this a year ago EXCEPT the lone Democrat on the board, who was deliberately kept out of the loop. If you've been following the story (and I recommend TalkingPointsMemo.com for scandal-junkies) you can thrill to the sight of the entire GOP leadership running around in circles in full-blown self-destruct mode.

    Apparently, they huddled together for several hours yesterday to get their stories straight...then marched out to the cameras and issued conflicting statements about who knew what and did the other thing. This becomes a story about the Republicans' unwillingness to discipline their own and the general ethical decline in the House (if such a thing were even possible) under their majority.

    For a conservative voter, it becomes further proof that the Republicans simply don't share your values in a meaningful way. They protected a gay cradle-robber, for God's sake. What more do you need, a photo op with Satan?

  • ||

    Andrew,

    " Am I to assume that you hold that Bill Clinton, who served as President for eight years, and who successfully avoided service in a war where he could have conveniently served, should have been unable to exercise ANY of his capacities as Commander In Chief, although American voters (well-apprised of the details) selected him for the job anyway?"

    Actually, since Clinton opposed and protested, rather than supported and urged on, the war he avoided serving in, he escapes the label "chicken hawk.

    To be a chicken hawk, you need to have both the chicken's heart AND the hawk's screeching beak. You need to 1. take active steps to avoid serving in 2. a war you actively support. Think of Delay and Cheney, who vocally supported having other people go die in Vietnam, even as they themselves actively scrambled to avoid doing so.

  • ||

    But if we're talking about Iraq, it's not inherently inconsistent for someone who avoided one war to promote a later, unrelated war.

  • Robert||

    This whole business I'm afraid mainly has the effect of feeding the paranoia that the people you'd least suspect are pederasts, so they must be everywhere and everone.

    But as to the phenomenon in general, yesterday 52 YO I found myself very much attracted to the leader of a high school band I was watching. I was disappointed to learn from students that she was a student there rather than faculty as I'd guessed. I couldn't take my eyes off her. She just looked more mature, plus I'd pegged her as a music teacher who dressed in costume with the student performers. It was Floral Park, Long Is., HS, and they dressed like hippies -- flower power, get it?

  • ||

    They protected a gay cradle-robber, for God's sake. What more do you need, a photo op with Satan? - James

    Right you are, James. I wouldn't recommend Marshall's site, though. The WaPo has been all over this. Here's my POV: This is a libertarian site. I don't understand those who would carry partisan water for the Dems OR the Reps, unless they are conservatives or "liberals" trying to woo us to their respective wings of the Government Party.

    There is the annoying fact that when Republicans get caught at this stuff they are forced by their reliance on their social conservative constituency to resign, or be defeated. Gerry Studds survived his page scandal, while Dan Crane lost his seat. Barney Frank stubbornly stuck to his seat through the Gobie flap. Gingrich resigned, Livingston resigned, Packwood resigned, etc.

    The righties hypocrisy is of the "adultery is wrong but I get to do it anyway" variety, while the lefties trumpet the evil of those in power using their offices to compel sex from underlings or create a "hostile working environment" while recapitulating the behavior of Ted Kennedy. They are both a bunch of power-drunk assholes, blinded by their own self-importance, and incapable of living by the rubrics they perhaps only pretend to believe in. Bastards, the lot of them.

    Kevin

  • ||

    kevrob,

    I've taken the liberty of shortening your posting for better effect:

    Nancy Pelosi got a speeding ticket once. Both she and Hitler broke the law. Therefore, she and Hitler are just as bad.

  • ||

    I've taken the liberty of shortening your posting for better effect...

    No, you said something kevrob didn't say, which is rather dishonest. And even if kevrob is mistaken (which I don't necessarily think he is), it's better to be mistaken than dishonest.

  • ||

    But if we're talking about Iraq, it's not inherently inconsistent for someone who avoided one war to promote a later, unrelated war.

    When the 2 wars are 30 years apart and involve very different motives, populations and political situations as well as different threats...

    ...AND...

    ...the fellow(s) in question is(are) now 30 years older with a more mature outlook on things (having gone from punk college wonk to commander in chief) where does "inherent inconsistency" even come into it?

    Have you changed any opinions of yours over the past 30 years and does that make you inherently inconsistent?

    Lot's of worrying over an issue that is fundamentally meaningless since it hasn't stopped any of the accused from achieving their goals.

    Interestingly enough, the only guy who didn't achieve his goals is the guy who actually went to the first war AND supported the second.

    kevrob, this may be a libertarian site but as you and I already agreed in a previous thread, not everybody subscribes to the same flavor of libertarian thought.

    Some of us just like to talk politics without being in a partisan echo chamber.

    And Mr. Summary...your "shortened" post doesn't even make sense. Although comparing Pelosi to Hitler was an interesting beginning...

  • ||

    Madpad,

    Am I missing something? We agree that avoiding one war but supporting a later and totally different war is not hypocritical. Am I misreading your post?

  • ||

    Is there a Godwin rule about claiming someone else is comparing someone to Hitler?

  • ||

    Sorry Chris S. I thought you were being sarcastic.

    As for crimethink, If Mr. Summary's post is not a comparison then it's a wonder I made it out of College English.

    Apply Godwin if you must, although abiding by Godwin is pretty much up to the individual.

  • ||

    madpad, I was complaining, perhaps not directly enough, about posters who assume that if one of the H&R regulars, either the Reason bloggers or we mere commenters, take a shot at a Democrat, then that means the critic is necessarily loyal to the Republicans, and blind to their foibles and crimes. Reverse that statement if it's a GOPer taking flak. I, of course, say to hell with the lot of them, even as I realize that we have both Republican Liberty Caucus and Freedom Democrat types here, along with those dedicated to not voting at all.

    BTW, Barney Frank fixed a bunch of parking tickets for Gobie. i don't think we can hang that on Ms. Pelosi, or Hitler.

    Kevin

  • ||

    BTW, Barney Frank fixed a bunch of parking tickets for Gobie. i don't think we can hang that on Ms. Pelosi, or Hitler.

    Maybe we can't...but you know somebody, somewhere has just GOT to try...

    Yeah, I read you, kevrob. Fortunately, I think most people 'get' where folks are coming from depending on what words they use and how they qualify their statements. Still it's the wild hairs that make it interesting, sometimes.

    On the whole, any place where both joe and randian can BOTH feel comfortable posting is my kinda place.

  • ||

    "But if we're talking about Iraq, it's not inherently inconsistent for someone who avoided one war to promote a later, unrelated war."

    True enough, Chris S. Everyone's entitled to change their mind. Still, it doesn't reflect terriebly well on their character to have been such hypocrites. And what's more, I've yet to find a prominent chicken hawk who has given any indication of having changed his mind about the Vietnam War.

    The important point about being a chicken hawk is how contempible it is for such a person to accuse others of cowardice or lacking patriotism for not agreeing with them on the war. It especially rankles when they hurl such charges at those - John Murtha, John Kerry, Chuck Hegel to name a few - who were so demonstrably superior to them in bravery and patriotism when it counted.

    madpad,

    If any of the current crop of chickhawks displayed any evidence of having changed their minds about the Vietnam War, you would have a good point. But instead, they continue to assert the rightness of the Vietnam War, the unimpheachability of their own efforts to avoid it, and the goodness of the current war. That is certainly inherently inconsistent.

  • MediaOutsider||

    Oh, and why such a big deal about a MySpace page? Unless I'm missing something, you can clearly see that the last time he even logged in to his account was December of LAST YEAR. That's not the sign of a MySpace-active predator.

  • Ayn_Randian||

    The important point about being a chicken hawk is how contempible it is for such a person to accuse others of cowardice or lacking patriotism for not agreeing with them on the war.

    And just where and when did Bush, Cheney et al do this to anybody?

    You don't have to have served in the military to support or even enable a war; there's a reason there's such a thing as civilian control of the military. It's nice and I want to keep it that way thanks...the chickenhawk squawk from leftists is drivel, insipid and has no place in intelligent conversation.

  • ||

    The salient point about "chickenhawk" on this thread is how desperate the Rethuglicans are to change the subject from the Gross Old Pervert chickenhawk (or chickenhawk wannabe) former Congressman. Will the cmpaign slogan now be "No Child's Behind Left"?

    Did the kiddie diddler ever ask the objects of his affection to squeal like a pig?

  • ||

    I don't see what's wrong with chasing some boy ass, but hey--at least there's one more politician out of a job today.

  • ||

    This is a joke, but considering he's a politician, I'm surprised he didn't try something like this:

    www.BakedPenguin.com

  • DJA||

    Libertarians are fearful of the government... does that mean we are all closet Stalins?

    Hmm... Well, let's take a look at what the prominent self-declared libertarians of the blogosphere are actually willing to defend.

    Secret trials? Check.

    Suspension of Habeas Corpus? Check.

    Torture? Check.

    Unlimited domestic surveillance? Check.

    Gulag (i.e., black site prisons)? Check. Unchecked executive power? Check.

  • ||

    Well, let's take a look at what the prominent self-declared libertarians of the blogosphere are actually willing to defend.

    Could you provide some names please? Thanks!

  • ||

    Age of consent is 16 in DC (with some stipulations). So this is creepy as hell, but not "pedophilia".

    Actually, one of the stipulations is that the adult participant can't be more than 4 years older than the minor. So this is creepy as hell *and* against several laws.

  • ||

    So this is creepy as hell *and* against several laws

    But still not pedophilia. 16-year-olds are sexually mature human beings.

  • ||

    And just where and when did Bush, Cheney et al do this to anybody?

    They didn't need to. Other chickenhawks like Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Michael Reagan, Newt Gingrich, Bill O'Reilly, Michael Savage and Joe Scarborough...you know, the usual gang of idiots.

    the chickenhawk squawk from leftists is drivel, insipid and has no place in intelligent conversation.

    Not true. It's especially relevant when the non-servers are executing a war badly and over the objections and advice of people who actually have some experience doing that sort of thing.

    As an aside, over and above any labels the real test is were they successful at it or not. Successful war wagers never get the label "chickenhawk." Bush and Cheny have yet to establish any enduring success in this particular venture.

  • ||

    "And just where and when did Bush, Cheney et al do this to anybody?"

    Bwah ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! That's comedy gold, Ayn Randian.

  • ||

    The fact that 16 year olds can be physically mature enough to be visually appealing to adults does not make it normal for a middle aged man to try to sleep with them. It's like Mainstream Man says, we're talking about giggle, sulky, awkward, cliquish kids. If you actually spend any time talking to a typical 16 year old, and had a conversation about, like, how Slipknot is, like, the best band ev-ah, or how so-and-so thinks she's so great but she's really a total slut, yadda yadda yadda - if you actually interact with a 16 year old kid (especially a boy), and your 54-year-old self still wants to go to bed with him, you are one sick bastard.

  • ||

    I enjoy all the rationalizations and defensiveness going on here. (i.e. It is creepy but not illegal. This isn't much of a scandal. Democrats do it too... etc.) All the splitting of (pubic) hairs and the nasty reBUTTals. It is amusing to see the clenis on the other foot. ...or, something like that.

  • ||

    A modest proposal: why not shut down the page program for good? The pages are just gofers and jailbait. As long as the program exists, the potential for abuse continues. We can probably save money by ditching it too.

    And how about getting rid of fed intern programs, or at least restricting internships to applicants 21 years old or older?

  • ||

    That is certainly inherently inconsistent.

    Hmmm. joe, I won't quibble with your assertion regarding the "current crop of chickenhawks." In spirit, they deserve all the thrashing anyone can give them. Have at it and save a lick or two for me.

    But, I still don't agree that it's "inherently inconsistent". It's not inconsistent to NOT want to go fight a war you otherwise support. The motivations 'twixt the two are often separate. Also I don't really care. What I do care about is the practical aspects of it all.

    The fact that their lack of experience in the military combined with their unwillingness to listen to the input of people who DO have war experience is a practical problem.

    That the situation (on many levels) has been made arguably worse because of this suggests that while they possess salesmanship, they do not possess the skills to make it work. They - most markedly - lack the capacity to quickly evaluate the problems in their plan as they develop and take effective steps to correct them. After 3 years, they are still acting like foreign policy amateurs.

    My biggest problem is that this has been evident for quite some time, yet smart people who should know better said "it doesn't matter."

    Fortunately, that very loud chorus seems to be shrinking and losing relevance. Unfortunately, it's about 3 years too late.

  • ||

    madpad,

    I suggest that a chickenhawk ignoring the informed advice of the career military - that is, insulting their knowledge and experience - is of a piece with a chickenhawk insulting the bravery and patriotism of a decorated, wounded veteran.

    They both demonstrate an arrogant certainty of one's own intellectual and moral superiorty, which elevates ideological adherence to, in this case, Iraq Hawk neoconservatism above the real-world experience, expertise, and sacrifice of those who have actually gotten their hands dirty.

    They act like amateurs because they believe their ideology is all they need to handle situations better than the professionals. It's the Defense Department weeding out Arab speakers and foreign service professional in favor of AEI interns when staffing the CPA, writ large.

  • ||

    Was Foley a "sick bastard" for going after a 16 year-old boy? In movies, in popular culture, in whatever, every 16 year-old who wants to screw an adult woman is celebrated as a rock star. We go to see these movies all the time.... Private Lessons, Porkys, Tadpole etc etc. Why is it OK for us when heterosexuals do this, but not gays? People are describing this as "sick" because they have a problem with homosexuality.

    What Foley did was wildly inappropriate, but was NOT pedophilia. Just read the IMs -- the page flirted like a little whore. He could have said his mother was calling him away to supper, which he did at the end, but didn't ... instead, he talked about how he liked to masturbate, described his penis size, and indulged Foley for quite some time. All I can say is, when I was 16, I would have f***ed anything that moved. What really horrifies me here is the GOP's attitude to gays. They have closeted congressman who wage war on homosexuals, and then the minute they are exposed, the party calls them SICK. I'm nauseous.

  • ||

    the chickenhawk squawk from leftists is drivel, insipid and has no place in intelligent conversation.

    Maybe with regards to Cheney, Rumsfeld and the other oldsters, because hey, this *is* different from Vietnam, and maybe they'd go fight this if they were younger. But from the younger supporters, those capable of fighting, it does raise an interesting question; if one truly believes Iraq is *the* war of our generation, absolutely vital to our continued existance, how selfish do you have to be to refuse to fight it when the military is begging for people?

  • ||

    Dan,

    The difference isn't between a man being attracted to a teenager of the opposite sex vs. the same sex; the difference is between feeling attraction for a young teenager, and acting on it.

    If Foley has watched "Gay Porky's," "Gay Tadpole," and "Private Gay Lessons," nobody would have a problem with it (except his homophobic partisans, that is). But he didn't just have feelings and look at stuff - he crossed the line into starting up sexual relationships with kids.

    I don't know if Republicans would have come down as hard on him if he was getting it on with female juveniles less than a third his age. I know I would have.

  • ||

    joe,

    Not gonna argue with you there. Spot on.

    Shem,

    if one truly believes Iraq is *the* war of our generation, absolutely vital to our continued existance, how selfish do you have to be to refuse to fight it when the military is begging for people?

    Why don't you ask the folks over at www.crnc.org.

    Hilariously, the "Sign-Up for Volunteer Deployment" link does NOT lead to a military recruitment site.

    The CRNCJobs link, however does offer "access to GOP-oriented internships and jobs in Washington, DC and cities around the country."

    Power-playing hypocrites gotta get started early these days.

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online

  • Progressive Puritans: From e-cigs to sex classifieds, the once transgressive left wants to criminalize fun.
  • Port Authoritarians: Chris Christie’s Bridgegate scandal
  • The Menace of Secret Government: Obama’s proposed intelligence reforms don’t safeguard civil liberties

SUBSCRIBE

advertisement