Hypothetical question: What if some investigators were casting a net for local pedophiles, or even had a specific trenchcoated creep they wanted to sting? Instead of waiting for a young boy (or girl) to contact the perp, and then swoop in on the tryst, they create a fake identity and have SeriouslyImAHotYoungStud89 do the flirting. The pervert was fooled into describing "what I'd like to do to you" to a snickering PI.
Obviously, I just described what happens in NBC's million-part To Catch a Predator exposes. It also sounds a lot like what the Drudge Report is plugging right now, complete with a flashing siren on the home page.
According to two people close to former congressional page Jordan Edmund, the now famous lurid AOL Instant Message exchanges that led to the resignation of Mark Foley were part of an online prank that by mistake got into the hands of enemy political operatives, the DRUDGE REPORT can reveal.
According to one Oklahoma source who knows the former page very well, Edmund, a conservative Republican, goaded Foley to type embarrassing comments that were then shared with a small group of young Hill politicos. The prank went awry when the saved IM sessions got into the hands of political operatives favorable to Democrats. This source, an ally of Edmund, also adamantly proclaims that the former page is not a homosexual. The prank scenario was confirmed by a second associate of Edmund.
There are two ways to read that. One is the way I just heard it on Rush Limbaugh's and Sean Hannity's shows, that this is a shocking twist that turns the spotlight on Democrat perfidy. The other is that Mark Foley was a closeted predator who was known to lust after pages, so much so that the pages could Ashton Kutcher him over IM.
Do GOP defenders actually think this spin (and it's from Drudge, who's been wrong once today) does anything but heat up the scandal? This scandal cuts like the previous year's scandals didn't because parents are primed (by NBC, by Nancy Grace, by grandstanding politicians like Mark Foley) to fear older men hunting for sex with young kids. If Drudge is right, Foley was conducting one-handed IM conversations for years and people on the Hill knew it.
When the majority party can't even spin a sex scandal without making it worse, they're probably due for two years in the cheap seats.
UPDATE: John Tabin agrees, in the much more GOP-friendly climes of the American Spectator.