By Jeffrey Lord on 10.9.09 @ 6:09AM
Will Pelosi, Jennings backers in media apologize to ousted GOP Congressman?
The magic number is 16.
Just last night, on Sean Hannity’s Fox Show, ABC’s George Stephanopoulos said in defense of the liberal media’s non-coverage of Kevin Jennings, that a person’s entire career should be taken into consideration before they are sent packing from public service.
So let’s talk what Democrats call “sex crimes,” shall we? What the media, Nancy Pelosi were about on this issue back in the fall of 2006.
And what Kevin Jennings considers to be a real “threat to children.”
Let’s talk about gays, gay bashing, anti-gay bigotry, sexual predators, Kevin Jennings, Harry Hay, Nancy Pelosi, Mark Foley — and a liberal double standard that is bigger than the Grand Canyon.
First, the scorecard (so to speak.) The players.
• Kevin Jennings — Mr. Jennings is the Obama administration’s Assistant Deputy Secretary of the Office of Safe and Drug Free Schools, or, if you like, in the political vernacular of the moment, the “Safe Schools Czar.” Mr. Jennings is a gay activist of considerable reputation in the gay community, as one can learn from his own website.
• Harry Hay — Mr. Hay, who died in 2002, was a famous and long-time gay rights activist. He was also a notable supporter of “man-boy love,” a hero of the North American Man Boy Love Association (NAMBLA). Among his views on the subject was this famous quote, made at a 1983 New York University forum: “Because if the parents and friends of gays are truly friends of gays, they would know from their gay kids that the relationship with an older man is precisely what thirteen-, fourteen-, and fifteen-year-old kids need more than anything else in the world.”
• Nancy Pelosi — Congresswoman Pelosi, a Democrat, represents San Francisco, a city with a considerable gay population and culture. In 2001 she marched in the annual San Francisco Gay Pride parade, an event that drew the cream of the San Francisco Democratic Party political establishment, including soon-to-be mayor Gavin Newsom, now running for Governor of California. The honoree of the parade was Harry Hay. Ms. Pelosi became Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives when her party captured control of the House from Republicans in November of 2006.
• Mark Foley — Mr. Foley, a Republican, served as the Congressman from Florida’s 16th district from his election in 1994 until his resignation from the House on September 29, 2006. His resignation was the result of an ABC News investigation that discovered Mr. Foley, a closeted gay man, had sent sexually explicit and solicitous e-mails to male House pages for approximately ten years. News accounts reported the pages were as young as 16 years of age.
Mr. Jennings is under fire for his actions as a teacher when he advised a boy he claimed was 15-years-old on what to do about an older man whom the boy said he had met in a bathroom of a bus station. A man who had made sexual advances to a boy in the style advocated by Harry Hay. Jennings’ now infamous advice was to wear a condom. By Jennings’ own account, the boy was 15, although the boy in question has now stepped forward to say he was in fact 16, the age of consent in Massachusetts, the state where the episode took place.
It has now surfaced that Jennings has also expressed his expressed admiration for Harry Hay, he who was an advocate of sex between older men and young boys as young as 13. Said Jennings: “One of the people that always inspired me is Harry Hay.” Paired with Jennings’ writings and the activities of organizations in which he has played a key role, the demand is on for Jennings to go.
This demand from many conservatives, notably Fox’s Sean Hannity, has been met with accusations of “gay-bashing” “anti-gay-bigotry” and “witch hunt.” Among those hurling these accusations or supporting Jennings are:
• Media Matters president Eric Burns, who has accused Fox of “anti-gay bigotry.”
• Media Matters writers Eric Boehlert and Karl Frisch have labeled the push for Jennings’ resignation a “witch hunt.” Pointedly they have made the point that, in Boehlert’ s words, the boy in the Jennings case “was not 15 years old. Period. He was 16, which was the legal age of consent in Massachusetts.”
• The Washington Monthly’s Steve Benen, who says Jennings’ critics are a “lynch mob” and the student “was of the age of consent in Massachusetts, and there was nothing inappropriate about Jennings’ conduct.”
• Politics Daily has liberal commentator David Corn saying Jennings’ critics are “blood thirsty hound dogs” in search of “red meat.”
• Obama Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has defended Jennings, saying: “Kevin Jennings has dedicated his professional career to promoting school safety. He is uniquely qualified for his job and I’m honored to have him on our team.”
• White House press secretary Robert Gibbs says: “I think it’s a shame to watch what they do — I think it’s a shame — I hope that as people watch, they’ll match up some of the actual truth to what is being said on some of these occasions and start to provide a little reality check to some of what’s going on.”
And so on and so and so, through Obamaworld and liberal-land.
So the point is made, don’t you think?
The American left and the Obama administration believe criticizing a gay man for supporting a gay boy seeking sex with a gay man, is gay bashing. Demanding his removal from his job is anti-gay bigotry. Repeated calls to leave his job are a witch hunt. And Jennings’ record here, in which he advised a boy who was in reality 16, not, as Jennings has said, 15, is nothing to be ashamed of. Jennings did nothing wrong, the boy was not being victimized, the man who approached the boy for sex was not a child predator but simply a gay man doing what comes naturally to gay men. And Jennings, for seeing nothing wrong with this, is the target of a witch hunt.
OK. Message delivered.
So this would mean that the American left owes one pretty big apology to former Congressman Mark Foley, right? After all, they effectively drummed him out of Congress and used his resignation as a cornerstone of their campaign to take back control of the House and make Nancy Pelosi Speaker of the House. In fact, they wanted then-GOP House Speaker Denny Hastert politically drawn and quartered because he had, allegedly, known about Foley’s deeds and done nothing.
Now, how does one deal with something like this? Mr. Foley, while back in the news as a radio talk show host in Florida, had his reputation and career ruined — destroyed — by the same people who are now insisting sex between older males and 16-year old boys is just peachy.
In another words, to use their standards, these people — who parade around as great promoters of gay rights — gay-bashed their way to control of Congress in an explosive display of anti-gay bigotry.
Perhaps a way to begin would be for Speaker Pelosi and her liberal friends to pass a House Resolution apologizing to Mr. Foley. To help them along, here’s a draft resolution, written in the style suggested by the House itself, that the Speaker and her liberal friends in the media can use to get down to their mea culpa:
Whereas on September 29, 2006, Republican Congressman Mark Adam Foley of the 16th District of Florida tendered his resignation as a Member of the House of Representatives in response to the revelation by ABC News that Congressman Foley had sent repeated e-mails and text messages of a sexually explicit nature to male House pages.
Whereas Congressman Foley was charged with inappropriate sexual communications with House pages 16-years of age and older, the same age as the boy at the center of the Kevin Jennings scandal.
Whereas the legal age of consent for sexual activity in the District of Columbia is 16 years of age.
Whereas no indictment much less conviction of former Congressman Foley was ever obtained by any prosecutor anywhere.
Whereas then-House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi issued a statement in October of 2006 during a congressional election calling Mr. Foley’s behavior “abhorrent” and said his behavior was a violation of the House’s duty to “protect the children.”
Whereas the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee engaged in gay-bashing by accusing Mr. Foley of “sex crimes,” a flagrant display of anti-gay bigotry.
Whereas the liberal media gay bashed Mr. Foley for his conduct repeatedly.
Whereas these examples of anti-gay bigotry include:
* Media Matters, an active participant in one of the worst anti-gay witch hunts in American history, posted a story from the Los Angeles Times to highlight that a “psychiatry expert” confirmed Foley’s actions “do in fact raise a red flag.” Media Matters not only impugned Foley in doing so but allowed this posting to suggest that sexual contact between a 16-year old and an older man, which is legal in the District of Columbia, was cause for the attention of “experts in psychiatry and sexual misconduct.”
* MSNBC’S Keith Olbermann saying on October 20, 2006 that Foley’s actions with 16 year old boys were “giving all of us a kind of sick feeling.” And that Congress needed to “protect the pages” from gay men exhibiting the behavior of Mr. Foley. Olbermann was joined in his disgust by MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, who labeled Mr. Foley’s lust for 16-year old boys, as the new face of pathetic, closeted, American lechery” and asked over at the Huffington Post, with obvious glee, “is he ultimately going to jail?” Ms. Maddow, it should be noted, makes no secret that she herself is gay.
* CBS Anchor Katie Couric described Foley’s private sexual behavior as “tawdry.”
* Boston Globe liberal columnist Ellen Goodman disdainfully saying: “Maybe nobody knows what to think about solving the problem of Iraq, but they know what to think about the Florida congressman instant-messaging a teenage page: ‘how’s my favorite young stud doing?”’
* ABC, CBS and NBC, networks which collectively ran over 150 stories in the first 13 days after Foley’s announcement, all saying or implying Foley had done something wrong and that because what he did was wrong Republicans were in danger of losing the congressional elections. ABC referred to Foley’s e-mails as “X-rated.”
* The New York Times, which insisted in a December 9, 2006 editorial that Mr. Foley’s behavior as a gay man with 16-year-old boys was “wildly inappropriate, sexually predatory behavior.”
* New York Times columnist Frank Rich, who labeled Mr. Foley’s attraction for 16-year old boys “not representative of gay men” and a “useful creep.”
* Newsweek magazine, which in a story by Evan Thomas described Foley’s interest in 16 year olds as “outrageously” bad behavior. The magazine used an e-mail from a page sought out by Foley, using it to describe Foley’s sexual inclinations as “sick sick sick sick sick sick sick sick sick sick sick sick sick,” a description which is now explicitly rejected by liberals defending Jennings’ actions and his admiration of Harry Hay.
* Over at the Daily Kos, Foley’s activities were described as “evidence of child sex predation”
Whereas, Kevin Jennings himself, as reported on the Sean Hannity show, has termed this type of behavior by straight, white liberals to be a “threat to children.”
Now therefore be it
Resolved, That the House of Representatives —
Calls on Speaker Pelosi to apologize for her description of appropriate and legalized behavior between former Congressman Mark Foley as “abhorrent.” That the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee apologize for describing the normal and legal behavior of former Congressman Mark Foley as “sex crimes.” And that the media outlets Media Matters, MSNBC, ABC, CBS, NBC, Newsweek, the New York Times, and the Daily Kos — all of which aired or printed the descriptions described above, be cited for “gay-bashing” and “anti-gay bigotry.”
That ought to do it, don’t you think? A good place to start if one is interested in really defending Kevin Jennings.
Think about this. All these prominent members of the American left and the media (but I repeat myself) who are out there defending Kevin Jennings’ casual dealing with a 15-year-old — oops, sorry, 16-year-old — boy couldn’t get out there fast enough to wreak utter havoc in the life of Mark Foley. For doing what they insist is no big deal in the Jennings case, these people were out there a mere three years ago saying Foley’s yen for 16-year old boys made him “abhorrent” (Pelosi), guilty of “sex crimes” (the DNCC), exhibited a need for “psychiatry” because of “sexual misconduct” (Media Matters and the Los Angeles Times). The Jennings and Harry Hay-approved idea of what’s proper contact between 16 year old boys and older men, when acted out by Mark Foley, gave Keith Olbermann “a kind of sick feeling,” while the openly gay Rachel Maddow plumped for Foley to do jail time. And Mr. Gay Rights at the Times, Frank Rich, insisted that sex between an older man and 16 year old boys “was not representative of gay men,” while the editorial writers at his own paper convicted Foley of “sexually predatory behavior.”
It’s way too easy to simply dismiss all of this as hypocrisy. And this time, not acceptable.
The American left and its state run media has two choices here.
1. To admit that what they did to Foley, all accompanied by endless amounts of viciously negative air time, ink and blogging space, was nothing less than gay bashing and anti-gay bigotry in service of gaining political power — re-gaining the control of Congress they lost in 1994 after 40 years. As suggested by this draft House resolution, they can perform a mea culpa and in the interest of saving Kevin Jennings’ job, admit that they were wrong to do what they did to Mark Foley in one of the most cynical and self-serving acts of bigotry in American political and media history.
2. They can admit that just as they insisted Mark Foley should forfeit his seat in Congress, so too should the Obama administration dismiss Mr. Jennings. Why? Because he signed on to behavior that, in the words of the New York Times — when the subject was Mark Foley — was described as “sexually predatory behavior.” In short, they can admit that they agree with Sean Hannity.
They’d rather take poison while jumping off a cliff. Into a vat of boiling oil. With a false bottom that leads straight to hell. Forever.
In this space? Like a lot of conservatives, many of whom believe that behavior between two consenting adults is indeed private, it was clear as day that Foley had done something wrong — very wrong. Sufficiently so that he indeed did the right thing by resigning instantly. These same standards, the very same, are being applied by conservatives to Mr. Jennings, who is believed to be a spectacularly bad choice for his job as, of all things, a “Safe Schools Czar.”
But if in fact the left continues to defend Jennings — and the Obama administration continues to keep him in his post — then it is time to open this conversation to a whole new level. To bring back Mark Foley. To walk him to the well of the House of Representatives.
It is time to have the Speaker of the House read a version of the resolution drafted above — having the guts to apologize to Mark Foley’s face.
Media Matters can reprint it, MSNBC’s Olbermann and Maddow can repent on-air, with Maddow specifically apologizing for her suggestion that a gay man should go to jail for expressing sexual desires to those of the legal age of consent. ABC, CBS and NBC can spend another 13 days doing 150 plus stories saying they were wrong in saying Mr. Foley was wrong. Mr. Rich of the Times can explain that, yes indeed, Mr. Foley is in fact really representative of gay men and that his paper’s editorial board was horribly wrong to label Mr. Foley a sexual predator. Mr. Stephanopoulos can admit that Foley’s entire career was not fairly considered. And last but certainly not least, Newsweek’s Evan Thomas can do a whole other piece apologizing for suggesting that what Mr. Jennings condoned is “sick sick sick sick sick sick sick sick sick sick sick sick sick.”
Every last one of them can admit that Mr. Jennings is right. They, as, in Mr. Jennings own words as run in a video on the Hannity show, are “largely guilty, white, liberal straight people.”
There were no “sex crimes” committed by Mr. Foley as alleged by the Democratic National Congressional Committee. He had an entire career that was dismissed out of hand by biased, guilty, hate-mongering white liberals. And it is they, not Mr. Jennings or Mr. Foley, who are in fact, again in Mr. Jennings words, the real “threat to children.”
As is said somewhere on the cable dial:
We report. You decide.
Jeffrey Lord is a former Reagan White House political director and author. He writes from Pennsylvania at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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