[UPDATE: I responded to a commenter on the “taking the high road” strategy in a post update.]
Since we were out at NCPride today, I wasn’t in the loop on any additional news on Mark Foley and the GOP litany of lies, coverup and general stupidity in allowing the former Congressman free rein to harass 16-year-old pages.
* DNC: Why did GOP House leader cover up sex crimes (via Raw Story)?
According to the Associated Press, Congressman Reynolds’ spokesman confirmed that Reynolds had been informed by another Congressman that the boy had complained about Foley’s inappropriate communications “months ago.” According to the report, the allegations first came to light in late 2005. [AP, 9/30/06] It appears that Reynolds did not tell authorities about the emails or take any step to discipline Foley, apparently choosing instead to sweep the matter under the rug to protect the Republican party’s dwindling chances of retaining control of the House of Representatives this November.
* In the NYT piece, Republican Chris Shays smacks the GOP leadership down.
Representative Christopher Shays, Republican of Connecticut, said any leader who had been aware of Mr. Foley’s behavior and failed to take action should step down. “If they knew or should have known the extent of this problem, they should not serve in leadership,” Mr. Shays said.
“He was a homophobe who needed to be exposed,” said journalist Michael Rogers, whose website, http://www.blogactive.com/, reported on Rep. Mark Foley of West Palm Beach for three years.
“I first started to report on Foley in March 2003,” said Rogers, who is gay. ‘The reason why — he’s antigay. He voted for the Defense of Marriage Act and has not renounced that vote. He refused to acknowledge that he supported the repeal of `don’t ask, don’t tell.’ He would not sign on as a co-sponsor. He should be held accountable for not supporting that or co-sponsoring.
“No community is expected to harbor their own enemies from within. He is an enemy of our community, yet he wants to step into our community and put us at risk. He puts every one of us in a bad light.”
…Rogers said Foley’s problems come from being in the closet.
“I do believe that he had unhealthy sexual advances to these guys because he was living his life as a closeted gay man,” Rogers said. “Healthy gay men who are mature and dealing with their sexuality in a mature way don’t hit on kids who are 16 years old. What’s his signature issue? You don’t know whether to laugh or cry.”
Sully weighs in with the same sentiment we’ve also discussed many times here about the corruption that comes when power hungry-pols protect their closets. I, however, have no patience with people who attempt to govern from the closet. The McGreeveys, Schrocks, and now Foley watched their political careers go up in smoke over their pathologies.
I don’t know Foley, although, like any other gay man in D.C., I was told he was gay, closeted, afraid and therefore also screwed up. What the closet does to people – the hypocrisies it fosters, the pathologies it breeds – is brutal. There are many still-closeted gay men in D.C., many of them working for a Republican party that has sadly deeply hostile to gay dignity. How they live with themselves I do not fully understand. But I have learned you cannot judge someone’s soul from outside. That I leave to them and their God, and some I count as good friends and good people.
What I do know is that the closet corrupts. The lies it requires and the compartmentalization it demands can lead people to places they never truly wanted to go, and for which they have to take ultimate responsibility. From what I’ve read, Foley is another example of this destructive and self-destructive pattern for which the only cure is courage and honesty. While gays were fighting for thir basic equality, Foley voted for the “Defense of Marriage Act”. If his resignation means the end of the closet for him, and if there is no more to this than we now know, then it may even be for the good. Better to find integrity and lose a Congressional seat than never live with integrity at all.
Amen. What I don’t understand, however, is his need to forgive those who remain closeted. These folks need to be outed, because their pathologies (and ability to pass legislation) affect my life.
Feel free to add you own links in the comments about more updates on this GOP meltdown! 🙂
UPDATE: I was going to respond to Anonymous (the first commenter) in the comments, but I decided to post it here. He/she insists:
I’m wary of making this “about the GOP.” This is a whole other subject, but sometimes I wonder if a good way to stop the demonizing of gay people, would be to take the first, courageous volleys and curtail the demonizing, overgeneralizing, us-them-ing on our own part.
Foley only moderated his voting patterns after he was outed in gay media, and he continued to evade the media on his orientation — as opposed to Kolbe.
I have no sympathy for Foley or the current makeup of the GOP.
Yes, this is all about the oh-so-pious GOP leadership and their hypocrisy. I’m tired of being on the receiving end of this Party’s vitriol as a whipping boy whenever they want to stir up their sheeple Base, and when they are caught off guard in an indefensible position like this, particularly a “values voter” issue (isn’t it all about saving and protecting the children?); they deserve all the attention they can get when things blow up in their face.
It is us against the AmTaliban, and the fact that the GOP has been taken over by the Right wing nutcases is not my problem. I’d welcome a return to a moderate Republican party, but it isn’t happening any time soon. In fact, we have to be wary of a Democratic party that spends any time courting the fundie vote.
And it cuts off thinking, it cuts off creativity, it cuts off possible creative solutions. It’s intellectual short-cutting.
This almost sounds like astroturfing. The GOP and Faux News would pound this story into the ground if the sides were reversed. Look at what taking the high road (Swift Boat) results in. Am I sorry that American politics has fallen to this level. Absolutely. Is being “nice” the way to victory? Ask Karl Rove. He’s a master tactician, and he preys upon Dems inherent desire to play fair. And we lose because he is right. Sorry, but true.
This GOP leadership has rubber-stamped this president and has nearly destroyed the principles upon which this country was founded. They aren’t going to get away with this one.
Note folks — HRC supported Foley because of his improved record on gay issues, and now the org
doesn’t feel it can call him out for the perv he is:
“Luis Vizcaino, a spokesperson for the Human Rights Campaign, the nationâ€™s largest gay political group, said HRC had no comment on Foleyâ€™s resignation and the allegations against him. He said the group was not likely to discuss the development any time soon.“
That’s ball-less. Come on people, Foley’s behavior isn’t defensible and HRC can’t even COMMENT? If anything the group should be out there educating people about how the closet is responsible for this in Foley’s case and clarifying that orientation does not equal pedophile.
This is the same problem with HRC that we see over and over, “self-protection” instead of truly getting at the heart of what the issues are. It’s the same pathetic logic for continuing to support Holy Joe because of his incumbency instead of Ned Lamont (who is more vocally pro-gay).
We don’t need our advocates to clam up as well.
If folks allegedly on our side can’t see the larger picture of Republican corruption on the Hill that “Foleygate” represents (just to back someone who began to vote our way only after being outed), it’s a sad state of affairs.
Paul had his own poetic commentary on Foleygate, which you should definitely check out.
* Foley blasted ‘vile’ Clinton in 1998 for his ‘sad sexual addiction’
* Resolution for ethics probe over Foley passes 410-0
* Denny Hastert must resign for doing nothing about Foley
* Foley drops out of re-election campaign
* What the heck was Mark Foley thinking?