Need another Foley fix?
Vanity Fair has a huge piece on the ups and downs of Foleymania by Gail Sheey and Judy Bachrach, Don’t Ask, Don’t Email. The article covers the not-so-secret knowledge of his sexual orientation as far back as the mid-eighties. What’s clear from the outset is that Foley’s political ambitions guided every move he made, including switching parties (he was a Dem) and deciding that being in the professional closet was worth the access to power. At one Palm Beach party in the late eighties, he actually told a Dem party activist:
“I wish I could be out like you are and [still] involved in politics. But I can’t because I’m a Republican.” Hoch told him that of course he could come out, but Hoch himself didn’t believe it. “Palm Beach is somewhat accepting of alternative lifestyles, but you don’t talk about the gay elephant in the room,” he says.
He loved taking out socialites on his arm to create the illusion of a debonair ladies man, and put on a great show.
Petra Levin, like many others who spoke for this article, says she never raised the issue with Foley of whether he was gay, “but I knew it right away. He was very flirtatious. If people watched me with Mark—we’d hug each other, he’d give me a kiss and hold me—they’d never think he was gay.”
He learned to love the professional closet, a coward willing to toss gays and lesbians under the bus when it benefited him.
Foley also resisted repeated exhortations from his gay political friends to declare himself honestly. Fordham explains, “He was always concerned about being referred to as ‘Mark Foley, comma, openly gay Republican congressman,’ much like he perceived [Massachusetts congressman] Barney Frank and Jim Kolbe as being identified first as being gay rather than by what issues they were advancing.” Voters and colleagues have long since seen beyond Frank’s sexual orientation, but Foley’s folly was to hide his sympathies by voting for the Defense of Marriage Act in 1996. Perhaps cowed by threats from some in the gay community to expose his hypocrisy, Foley went on to support various pro-gay measures, voting to expand health benefits for homosexual couples and include gays in federal hate-crime legislation, among others. “It became a love-hate relationship between Mark and the local [Palm Beach] gay community,” says Hoch.
And we all know how this story ends (well, at least until he gets out of rehab). It’s all worth the read.
Here’s a classic Foley pick-up line to leave you with.
“You could always stay at my place. I’m always here, I’m always lonely, and I’m always up for oral sex.”
— more smooth moves from GOPerv Mark Foley in 2002 to a former page who was simply asking for the then-congressman’s advice on area hotels