The Spectacle Blog
Whether or not the page was 18 or 17, while obviously important for legal reasons, does not change anything ethically. As far as I'm concerned, Foley's actions were disgusting because they were about abusing power and taking advantage of his position as a congressman.
Be careful of making too much of Drudge's reporting today. One of the lurid IM exchanges took place after the page was over 18. But another one clearly didn't (there is, in fact, a line where the page warns Foley that he's not 18 yet, and Foley responds that he's "just dreaming"). As NewsBusters notes, ABC has changed the wording of its story to reflect this (it now says the IMs that it has were with "two different boys who began their exchanges with Foley at the age of 16 and 17, and continued through the age of 18").
Since Glenn Reynolds seems to think that Drudge's story says all of the IMs took place when the page was 18, I guess this needs clarifying. (UPDATE: Unsurprisingly, Glenn's already amended that post.)
The AP reports:
— The United States passed a warning to WASHINGTON not to conduct a nuclear test, the chief North Korea envoy to stalled disarmament talks with the communist country said Wednesday. "We are not going to live with a nuclear U.S. ," he said. North Korea
Boy, that's a huge relief. I was under the mistaken impression that we were living with a nuclear North Korea.
Jonah Goldberg has a long, must-read post putting the Foley matter into perspective. The insight that Americans, gays included, have moved significantly to the right strikes me as especially important. I would take it further and say that shifting attitudes about homosexuality have civilized homosexuals. The prevailing attitude when Gerry Studds was elected was that, whether you thought homosexuals should be shunned or accepted, homosexuality was entirely different from heterosexuality and would naturally operated under a seperate set of rules. The acceptance in gay culture of "man-boy love" would seem to fit well into that paradigm, which helps explain the thinking of old-school gay activists like Harry Hay. These were the people who thought closing the bathhouses in response to the AIDS epidemic was somehow a step backward for gays.
As a homeschooling father, this paragraph from Cal Thomas's column today on the Amish killings resonated with me:
The AP reports:
A senior congressional aide said Wednesday that he alerted House Speaker Dennis Hastert's office two years ago about worrisome conduct by former Rep. Mark Foley with teenage pages.
Kirk Fordham told The Associated Press that when he was told about Foley's inappropriate behavior toward pages, he had "more than one conversation with senior staff at the highest level of the House of Representatives asking them to intervene."
I typically try to err on the cynical side. It prevents disappointment. Sometimes I go out on a limb, like I did on Alan Keyes*, and get knocked dramatically back to earth, but generally I look for worst case scenarios.
Strangely enough, I'm feeling fairly Pollyanna in the midst of all the gloom and doom over Rep. Foley's moral malfunction. The Dems released this one way too early to be decisive. We're still a month away from the election. The news cycle has time for about five to ten good turns before then.
The idea of an October surprise is passe'. It's so seventies. The Foley thing is not a deathstrike. It's just a shot by the Dem fundraisers to keep the donors in the game and cut down the GOP advantage.
I'd be looking for something bigger from either Team GOP or Team Dem a few days after Halloween. There's an eternity to go. The fourth quarter has just started.