Monday, October 09, 2006

Who they're not talking about

The Foley scandal continues to dominate the media. The right-wing response has been simultaneously dismissive of it and misleading about it, as expected. All facilitated by the "liberal media." Matt Drudge and the revolting Michael Savage have started the meme that the sexually charged IMs were a "prank" perpetrated by these boys. It's now being repeated by none other than James Dobson. Hastert and the White House are pushing the idea that Hastert forced Foley to resign, which is a flat-out lie. Foley resigned before the IMs were made public, and Hastert has said he found out about them was in the press. Truly laughable is the idea being put forth by many Republicans that there was a Democratic plot to hold the information back until it was convenient to release it. Yeah, that's why CREW sent the emails to the FBI in July.

There's a more disturbing trend, as well. Since Foley sent the emails and IMs to young men, his behavior is being blamed on the fact that Foley is gay, and that's what queers do. Predictable for the Right, it's still despicable.

Lou Shelden of the Traditional Values Coalition:

To understand Rep. Mark Foley's attraction to teenage boys, one must realize that pederasty, the act of a homosexual to engage in sex with a teenage male is part of the overall homosexual lifestyle... Foley's attraction to teenage boys is not considered abnormal within the homosexual activist community.

Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council:

it appears clear that Foley is a homosexual with a particular attraction to underage boys. While pro-homosexual activists like to claim that pedophilia is a completely distinct orientation from homosexuality, evidence shows a disproportionate overlap between the two.

I will assume that it is unnecessary for me to find the citations on the web that show Perkins' statements aren't based in fact, just his own bigotry. (Why is it that any organization with "family" in its name is so disgusting?)

Porno Pete of American for Truth (now there's irony):

[B]ut even his homosexuality, as we know Martha -- we want these guys to get out of this lifestyle. It's not a healthy lifestyle. It does tend toward promiscuity. There is a higher element of this...the word is "pederasty," which is adult...ah...sexual contact, or wanting of these...ah...adolescent male boys. We've...we've seen this throughout the world of homosexuality

But I'm getting off-topic, the whole point of this post is that numerous people are talking about the Foley scandal, and citing the Gerry Studds scandal from 1983 to show how out of control these evil homosexuals are and how they can't be trusted around young boys. Ann Coulter did it on Bill O'Reilly's show last week, and again in her column last week, and Charles Krauthammer did it in a column this week. Both Coulter and Krauthammer say that the fact that Foley (Republican) resigned and Studds (Democrat) didn't is proof that Republicans are honorable and do the right thing, and Democrats don't. But there's something that they're both not saying, and it's significant because they both leave it out.

Yes, in 1983 Gerry Studds was censured by Congress because he had had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old male page ten years earlier. Studds was about 35 during the relationship. (Mind you, having sex with anyone 16 years or older was legal in D.C. then and remains legal to this day.)

What both Coulter and Krauthammer don't mention is that on the very same day that Studds was censured for his relationship with a male page, Dan Crane, a Republican, was censured for having sex with a female 17-year-old page. Not only was Crane having sex with this 17-year-old, he was having adulterous sex with the 17-year-old, since he had a wife. (Studds was unmarried.) Yet Coulter and Krauthammer both say that this shows the hypocrisy of the "left." Crane did not resign, but did not win reelection the following year.

I suspect that they are both ignoring the Crane affair largely because it was (a) heterosexual and (b) because it involved a Republican and so wouldn't allow them to sound quite as holier-than-thou. But it is disturbing that two different right-wing columnists are able to distort the situation without any response from anyone. (Other than over at, of course.)

Some other Republican sex scandals that did not result in the resignation of the Republican:

  • Don Sherwood is accused of trying to strangle his mistress. He has since been reelected.
  • Henry Hyde carries on a four-year, adulterous affair. He dismissed the affair, which began when he was 41, as a "youthful indiscretion." Hyde is currently chairman of the House International Relations Committee
  • Newt Gingrich carries on an adulterous, three-to-five year affair with a House aide twenty-three years younger than himself. He was cheating on his second wife.

For some reason I don't understand, both Coulter and Krauthammer also make the claim that Studds "turned his back" on the other House members when the censure was read. This is also false. Studds walked to the front of the room and faced the Speaker who was reading the censure resolution. See "House censures Crane and Studds for sexual relations with pages." New York Times. July 21, 1983.

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