My favorite wrinkle in Dennis Hastert's personal Vietnam has been the admonitions to stay the course on the congressional page program—a program that Americans have been made aware of exactly twice in history, both times because of sex scandals. Rep. Ray LaHood (R-Ill.) sensibly suggests that we get rid of this useless program. (Actually, it's worse than useless. If you want to lose your breakfast, read this metaphor-torturing former page talking about how the program broke the topsoil of his passion for government and turned him into what America really needs one more of—a lobbyist.) The idea of getting rid of pages—who are as vital to the functioning of government as copy boys and carrier pigeons are to modern newspapers and armies—has been shot full of pieces by sexperts like Republican Policy Committee Chairman Adam Putnam, (R-Fla.), who warns "It sends a message that Congress can't control itself and so we can't be trusted with children."
That it do. The argument that we'll lose credibility if we back down in the face of man-boy love is literally playing in Peoria, as we can see in this editorial from the Peoria Journal Star:
"This is a political problem, and we need to step up and do something dramatic," Rep. Ray LaHood, R-Ill., told The New York Times. LaHood suggested abolishing the page system, which absolutely sends the wrong message. No doubt LaHood didn't intend it, but that sounds more like punishment for the victims than for the alleged perpetrators. It sounds like our elected representatives can't handle the temptations that pages pose. This likely doesn't do Republicans any favors with the mid-term elections just five weeks away, but that ought to be secondary. Sometimes the best political strategy is to just do the right thing, regardless of the short-term consequences.
Short-term, long-term, whatever. I'm ready to cut and run. Get our young men and women out of that hellhole now!