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Can the GOP survive a homosexual pedophilia scandal?

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October 4, 2006

As revelations over former Republican Rep. Mark Foley’s bizarre behavior gets more and more lurid, the pressure on Speaker of the House Dennis J. Hastert to resign increases. In addition, Republicans say more disclosures involving other members of Congress may be coming.

Even Hastert’s staunchest supporters say the embattled Speaker mishandled the Foley affair and Republicans scramble to distance themselves from their leader with the same determination they use to avoid their unpopular President.

The Speaker tells different stories at different times. On Rush Limbaugh’s radion show, he claimed the told Foley to resign. He later told a reporter he didn’t. GOP strategists say Hastert’s growing credibility problems may be the final nail in the GOP’s political coffin with just 34 days to go until the critical November elections.

Writes Carolyn Lochhead of The San Francisco Chronicle:

Five weeks before a midterm election, when Republicans are already on the ropes, the last thing the GOP needed was a homosexual pedophilia scandal.

Former Rep. Mark Foley’s salacious correspondence with teenage boys working as congressional pages is the kind of story that not only obliterates interest in whatever bills Congress passed before leaving town but promises to hit a much rawer public nerve than the corruption scandals that have already removed three Republicans from office this year.

It strikes especially hard at "values voters," the conservative Christians who make up the core of the Republican Party.

"This kind of thing just should not happen, and there is no excuse to justify it in any way," said Rev. Bob Schenck, president of the National Clergy Council, a politically active group of conservative church leaders.

"A big deal should be made of it, and we intend to make a big deal of it," he said. "We plan to address it in pulpits across the country, that this is an egregious moral violation, and we all will be held accountable."

The Associated Press reports:

The House page scandal engulfing former Rep. Mark Foley and House Republican leaders enters its sixth day with Speaker Dennis Hastert working to hold onto his job and the GOP rank and file worried that the pre-election drip, drip of damaging political news isn’t over yet.

The daily disclosures about Foley’s salacious Internet exchanges with former teenage congressional pages has GOP lawmakers and conservative activists fearing the foibles of other politicians may be exposed.

"People are very, very concerned," Rep. Ray LaHood, R-Ill., said Tuesday night. "I think there are going to be more disclosures."

"We have heard rumors that other, similar activity has occurred involving additional congressmen and will be released prior to the November elections," said the Arlington Group, a coalition of 70 pro-family conservative groups.

Republicans are increasingly nervous about their November midterm election prospects and Hastert, R-Ill., is working to contain the fallout and retain his job as the scandal dominates the 24-hour news media and the Internet blogosphere.

"I’m not going to do that," Hastert said when asked Tuesday by conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh whether he would quit his post.

President Bush, speaking at a Stockton, Calif., elementary school on Tuesday, said he was disgusted by the Foley revelations and voiced support for Hastert.

"I know that he wants all the facts to come out," the president said.

Conservatives debated whether Hastert should resign over his handling of the controversy.

Activist Richard A. Viguerie called for Hastert to step down. "The fact that they just walked away from this, it sounds like they were trying to protect one of their own members rather than these young boys," Viguerie said on Fox News.

Yet the Christian Coalition said it was standing behind Hastert, and Arizona Republican Rep. John Shadegg circulated a "Dear Colleague" letter in support of Hastert, saying calls for the speaker to resign were "unwarranted and fundamentally unfair."

Hastert says he first heard details of the Foley matter last Friday when the story was breaking. The No. 2 House Republican, Rep. John Boehner of Ohio, and House GOP campaign chair Rep. Tom Reynolds of New York said they had spoken with Hastert about a complaint concerning a former page from Louisiana last spring after being told about it by Rep. Rodney Alexander, R-La., who had sponsored the teen.

Hastert sought to blame Democrats for leaking sexually explicit computer instant messages between Foley and former pages from 2003.

"Democrats have … put this thing forward to try to block us," Hastert told Limbaugh.

"It’s absolutely not true," countered House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.

ABC News, which first reported on initial online exchanges from Foley that were questionable but not graphic, says sexually explicit messages reported last Friday were provided by former pages after its initial report Thursday.

ABC News said Tuesday it had obtained additional instant messages.

"Can I have a good kiss goodnight," Foley was said to have messaged in one. A boy responded with cyber symbols and "kiss."

In another message, Foley invited the teenager to his Capitol Hill town house "for a few drinks" even though he knew the boy was under the legal drinking age. "We may need to drink at my house so we dont get busted," Foley messaged.

Foley’s attorney, David Roth, said at a news conference in West Palm Beach, Fla., on Tuesday that he had no reason to believe that Foley "ever had teenage boys at his house to have alcohol."

Roth said Foley, 52, had himself been molested between the ages of 13 and 15 by a clergyman but added that Foley "does not blame the trauma he sustained as a young adolescent for his totally inappropriate e-mails" and instant messages. "He continues to offer no excuse whatsoever for his conduct."

Roth insisted Foley never had had sexual contact with a minor. He said the former Florida congressman, who had kept his sexual orientation private, wanted people now to know that he is gay.

The House ethics committee, meanwhile, scheduled its first meeting on Foley’s actions for Thursday, in closed session. The House voted last Friday to direct the ethics panel to inquire into the matter.

Foley resigned abruptly on Friday after being confronted with the 2003 instant message exchanges.

The FBI announced over the weekend it was opening a preliminary investigation into the matter.

Separately, Kirk Fordham, a Reynolds aide who was a longtime former aide to Foley, told The Associated Press of counseling Foley on Friday on how to deal with the developing story.

Fordham said when he learned the details of some of the instant messages, he confronted Foley.

"I said: ‘Are these authentic?’ and he said ‘probably’ and he confirmed that they were likely his instant messages," Fordham said.

Reynolds immediately said Foley had to resign and GOP campaign aides drafted a resignation letter.

28 Responses to Can the GOP survive a homosexual pedophilia scandal?

  1. J Bee

    October 5, 2006 at 12:06 am

  2. Deceived and disgraced by the GOP

    October 5, 2006 at 12:26 am

  3. Dean Livingston

    October 5, 2006 at 12:26 am

  4. Rich

    October 5, 2006 at 5:08 pm

  5. Phil

    October 5, 2006 at 7:21 pm

  6. anthny

    October 4, 2006 at 4:02 pm

    Something big is in the sea and it going to be another black opts.
    They sacraficed Floey to keep us from focusing on the Iran thing, something to do with a ship getting struck off the coast of Iran. These so called operations always happen just before election time, its a good way to say don’t pay any attention to what we are doing but what is going on is not good for life liberety or happiness.

  7. blackcat

    October 4, 2006 at 4:26 pm

    A state senator by the name of John DeCamp wrote a book in 1994 named the Franklin Cover-Up which revealed politicians and businessmen from Nebraska addressing this same problem and more.

  8. William Paul Smith

    October 4, 2006 at 4:55 pm

    The smug self-righteousness of the Republican Party has lost them a voter. I started out as a Goldwater conservative, and voted for Ronald Reagan twice. In a few weeks I’m going to vote for every Democrat or Green Party candidate on the ballot. They (the Republicans) have hitched their wagon to a lying moron (Bush, and I’m doing my utmost to make sure every voter with whom I have contact knows where I stand.

  9. John

    October 4, 2006 at 5:36 pm

    It doesn’t matter that the GOP is on the ropes, that they have a sex scandal, a failed war or a nine trillion dollar deficit.

    They have the voting machines.

  10. Judy Bodnar

    October 4, 2006 at 5:45 pm

    Foley being gay had nothing to do with his lewd & licivious illegal acts towards minors…the fact that he was living a lie as a closet gay did. It seems that he was known to be gay, but never admitted to it publicly. Millions of people try living a lie and many are successful at it for years, but eventually they are exposed, usually because of being caught. Politics automaticaly puts one under the broadest of scrutiny, thus, I expect far more exposing & finger pointing, confessions and resignations from both sides of the aisle…due to this Foley exposure and the fact that national elections are on the horizons. I do not personally care what a persons sexual preferences
    are or what or who they do sexually as long as they do not mess with minors, break the laws, or screw me as a citizen..Foley clearly broke the law and in my opinion Hastert & a host of others abetted him. While the hundreds of married congressmen who are having or have had extra marital affairs may be shaking in their boots fearing exposure, they have not broken the law of the land…and this is what matters to me a tax paying citizen.

  11. John Hanks

    October 4, 2006 at 6:42 pm

    The real question is whether or not the Democrats will survive. All the dirty money will be setting them up for a big fall now.

    A crook doesn’t care about ideas, or facts, or honor. All he ever really cares about is advantage.

  12. Jackson

    October 4, 2006 at 6:54 pm

    As mentioned by Blackcat above, this is an old issue which the GOP managed to sweep under the rug back in the Reagan years. The U.S. Congress is a virtual cesspool of corruption, pedophilia, and other forms of sexual perversion. Highly respected members of congress are in reality nothing more than high class perverts to put it mildly. It’s been going on for years yet kept quiet due to a total media blackout.

    Even when John Decamp tried to warn fellow citizens of this tragic situation, few took him seriously. As usual, all the GOP and media had to do was cry: “Conspiracy theory” and that was it. How easy we make it for them, to literally get away with murder!

    Google: “The Franklin Cover-up”, to catch up on this tragedy. As long as the public maintains the childlike belief, that the U.S. mainstream media is anything more than the government’s propaganda apparatus, the lying S.O.B.’s in D.C. can just about get away with anything.

  13. Roger Perry

    October 4, 2006 at 6:56 pm

    I don’t know why the FBI doesn’t have warrants to seize all of Foley’s computers to check for child porn before he has a chance to get rid of the evidence.

  14. dumas

    October 4, 2006 at 8:15 pm

    Well… if you liberals believed in God, we may not be having this discussion right now.

  15. J Bee

    October 5, 2006 at 12:06 am

    Gee, “dum(b)as(s)”, you certainly picked out the right name for yourself.

  16. Deceived and disgraced by the GOP

    October 5, 2006 at 12:26 am

    dumbass-
    Act you age not your IQ!!!

    Liberals believe in God you moronic imbecile they just don’t happen to believe that God exists in the form of Rush Limbaugh or George W Bush as you do!!!!!!

  17. Dean Livingston

    October 5, 2006 at 12:26 am

    Acting U.S. Attorney Jeff Taylor for the District of Columbia told Hill officials in a 3-page letter to “preserve all records” related to the Foley matter.

    LOL ! That’s a code meaning to destroy all correspondence which links you with Foley!

    Foley is a pedophile. It is only incidental that he is gay. Pedophiles have a prurient attraction to underage children and youth. Gays and Lesbians have an age appropriate attraction to adults of the same sex.

    Foley’s exculpation goes like this, ‘don’t blame me–I was a victim of molestation.’ Foley should have sought treatment for the trauma he allegedly endured. But he chose not to. The prurient Republican party wants to confuse the two. The religious and political right is always eager to heap more calumny onto homosexuals even if it means sinking one of their own. This is pedophilia. Those who protected Mark Foley and prevented his removal must themselves be removed.

  18. Rich

    October 5, 2006 at 5:08 pm

    Just tuned out of Faux news after a very brief update on what the evil empire might be up to. Can’t handle more than that. Spin doctor there was at work blameing dems for setting up the repubs on the break of this scandal. No comment as to who controls congress, support of the abused, or the enforcement of law. Anything new there?

  19. Phil

    October 5, 2006 at 7:21 pm

    the kind of story that … obliterates interest in whatever bills Congress passed before leaving town

    Riiiiiiight on cue. This was, after all, the same week Dumbya officially declared the US a fascist state. Can’t have people paying attention to that or anything.

  20. anthny

    October 4, 2006 at 4:02 pm

  21. blackcat

    October 4, 2006 at 4:26 pm

  22. William Paul Smith

    October 4, 2006 at 4:55 pm

  23. John

    October 4, 2006 at 5:36 pm

  24. Judy Bodnar

    October 4, 2006 at 5:45 pm

  25. John Hanks

    October 4, 2006 at 6:42 pm

  26. Jackson

    October 4, 2006 at 6:54 pm

  27. Roger Perry

    October 4, 2006 at 6:56 pm

  28. dumas

    October 4, 2006 at 8:15 pm