As a gay man, I have no interest whatsoever in young boys nor do most gay men. Rep. Foley is neither gay nor straight, he is a pederast. Gay or straight, Democrat or Republican, it is completely inexcusable for an adult to have this kind of communication with a minor.’
— Marc Krasnow
New York, New York
I’m not exactly sure where it is that Ben Stein gets his gay friends, but he obviously manages to select only pedophiles as friends. As a conservative and a gay man, I feel horrible for Rep. Foley. The anger among the religious right towards any gay or lesbian forced him into a closet. But at the same time I also consider him an absolute beast and totally despicable for using his position of authority to attempt to find an adolescent male for sexual gratification of any kind, even if it was only in his fantasies.
I can very safely say that the last time I was attracted to someone of that age, was when I was that age myself! My partner of 10 years feels the same way. Any attempt by an adult to use a minor sexually is simply abhorrent and deserves the condemnation of our entire society. There are no ifs, ands, or buts about it. I cannot think of any circumstances in which pedophilia should be tolerated. Oh, and Mr. Stein, having an affair with a consenting adult is wrong, but it is in no way the moral equivalent of pedophilia. And if it were, then try taking a look at the many Republicans on their 3rd and 4th wife, many of whom did commit adultery.
The true hypocrisy is in a Republican party which has forgotten that it is the party of small government, state’s rights, and minimal interference on people’s rights. Instead, the party I once proudly supported has become even worse than tax and spend Democrats. At least the Democrats paid for their pork and their overspending honestly by taxing the very people who elected them. The current Republican leadership has decided to spend like a drunken sailor on shore leave using borrowed money forcing the bill on today’s children. Oh wait, now I understand, Hastert and the House Leadership have gotten so used to raping our children financially that they didn’t see any problem with a fellow Republican trying to do it physically.
The GOP has decided that holding power is an end unto itself and so hid the probably criminal acts of a fellow Republican just to hold on to another seat in Congress.
I’m conservative in the old sense. I believe in limited government, only as much taxation as is absolutely necessary, state’s rights, and the absolute imperative to preserve all of our citizens’ rights. It is because I am a true conservative that I can no longer vote for the Republican candidates and not because of my sexuality. And the blind allegiance of so many conservative commentators is a truly sad comment on the state of conservatism today.
— Phillip McKee
Ben Stein’s article on Foley is excellent.
While in poor judgment, I don’t believe there is a law against consensual emails …and if this young man was truly offended by the Foley’s comments, why did this young page continue their dialogue via email and to go on, in great detail, in their email conversation, explaining to Rep. Foley exactly how he masturbated himself? A male version of Lolita can hardly be considered a “victim.”
The real issue that Ben clearly exposes (pardon the pun) is how the Democrats falsely champion themselves as the party of diversity, equal rights, and the gay agenda, but only if you do it their way. If you dare to be out of step with their Machine, the rabid dogs gnarling their teeth will come after you. Some tolerance.
Ben has always been a champion of the gay community and equal rights (for gay people of BOTH parties) and was probably one of the few straight people ever to win the gay mecca of West Hollywood’s “Citizen of the Year” in 2005.
— Elihu Yale
West Hollywood, California
… Why does Stein insist that the Democrats are coming down on Foley because he is gay, and not because he’s a pedophile? Seriously, what Democrat has even suggested such a ridiculous thing?
— Rian Amiton
After reading Ben Stein’s special report published Oct 2, 2006, I cannot believe that I once trusted this man. To defend a pedophile, to compare a 22-year-old intern to a sixteen year old boy is despicable. Just as I find Ben Stein to be now.
— Nancy Cardoso
At first, I assumed this piece was written before any real information about Mark Foley was really known. I have a huge amount of respect for Ben Stein, so I waited patiently all day Monday for it to be withdrawn or retracted. It’s Tuesday and it hasn’t been, so I have to assume that these are Ben Stein’s real feelings on the matter. I still have a huge amount of respect for Ben Stein, but sometimes wrong is wrong….
— Ross Glenn
He’s not doing the GOP any favors, that’s for sure. With regards to the Foley scandal — is “Bill Clinton did it, too” the absolute best you folks can come up with? Is it really the talking point you want to go with? Are you sure? Because all that tells me is, The Republican Party, apparently, can’t tell the difference between consenting adult sex, and pedophilia.
Well, that certainly explains some things, right there. Maybe that’s why they can’t tell the difference between Iraq and Al Qaeda. Maybe that’s why they can’t tell the difference between a stem cell and a baby. Between valid science and religious propaganda. Between a surplus and a deficit. Maybe that’s why they can’t tell the difference between the United States Constitution, and a roll of toilet paper.
Let me say that again, very slowly, Mr. Stein: It would seem that you can’t tell the difference between consenting adult sex, and pedophilia. To you, they are one and the same. So either you think that everyone who has sex outside of marriage ought to be sent to prison as a sex offender, or you think all the pedophiles should be let out of jail.
And maybe that explains why your religious right goons at the GOP have this need to impose their own personal obsessions onto the rest of us. They can’t be content with thinking the birth control pill or emergency contraception are morally wrong for themselves. They need to try to criminalize, ban, or restrict access to them for everyone else. They can’t be content with personal opposition to abortion- they need to throw women in jail for making choices about their own bodies.
Now, excuse me while I go propagate this latest talking point about Bill Clinton and the Foley Scandal from our friends in the Republican Punditry, like Mr. Stein. In case you missed it, let me repeat it one more time: The Republican Party sees absolutely no difference — NONE, WHATSOEVER– between consenting adult sex and child molestation.
Go ahead and vote for ’em, now.
— Hart Crane
Ben is very interested in what are perceived to be private sex acts between adults (Clinton/Monica), as opposed to adults who are pursuing illegal desires with underage kids (Foley), whose parents have entrusted in the care of Congress? What kind of equation is that? Off kilter. Ben is obviously having a real sarcastic time of it. LOL. Too bad he is part of the most corrupt tide in political history. We won’t forget, Ben.
New York, New York
That is the most insane thing I have seen in quite some time.
— Derek Smith
Director of Administration
Derby Recreation Commission
Ben Stein has reached a new low in gay-bashing. Give me a break Ben, and millions of others that are gays and lesbians. Jim Foley may have come close or committed pedophilia, a crime and if so, should be punished. Jim Foley may have broken a federal law on internet contact with children that he authored, a crime and if so, should be punished. Jim Foley may be gay, if so that is an orientation, just the way he was made.
As a father of two children, I have had it with those who choose to lump pedophilia with sexual orientation. It is disgusting, insulting and hurtful. Stein’s quote here is totally out of line, “I hope it won’t come as a surprise to anyone that a big part of male homosexual behavior is interest in young boys.” Your article talks about Democratic hypocrisy, but let’s talk about Stein’s, he bashes gays while claiming some of his best friends are, give me a break.
Enough of your hypocrisy and misinformation, Mr. Stein.
— Mark Usry
Ben Stein’s article on democratic hypocrisy leaves out a few key points. First off, many of the loudest voices calling for the resignation of the House Republican leadership are diehard conservatives. Secondly, the Republicans certainly partook in their own share of hypocrisy by keeping this all under wraps despite their self-proclaimed status as the party of family values.
The lengths to which right-wing apologists like Mr. Stein go to in their attempts to demonize the left is absolutely amazing.
Mr. Stein tries to compare Mark Foley’s attempted seduction of an underage person with Bill Clinton’s sexual escapade. How convenient for Mr. Stein to have forgotten that Clinton’s actions were completely legal: Ms. Lewinsky was a consenting adult; further, she initiated the affair. On the other hand, Mr. Foley’s actions were illegal; his prey was underage.
If Mr. Stein really believes that the constituency of the Democrats is primarily gays, lesbians, and the teachers’ unions, he simply out of touch with reality. I doubt that he believes it, though; he merely ignores truth and facts in order to inflame.
And no, Mr. Stein, it does not come as a surprise to me that you promulgate the lie that a big part of male homosexual behavior is interest in young boys; you have demonstrated more than once that you care not one whit for honest exposition.
“Don’t get me wrong. My very best friend is gay.” I believe that the original is, “Don’t get me wrong. Some of my best friends are Jewish.” Gag! Pfui!
The issue, Mr. Stein, is not whether Mr. Foley is gay. The issue is that Mr. Foley, who supposedly championed against sexual exploitation of children, is in actuality the very kind of exploiter that he is on record as abhorring. But right-wing hypocrites such as yourself refuse to acknowledge that fact.
As for George Allen, his possession of a Confederate flag is not the issue; the issue is his racist words and actions. To present the objections to him as being about that flag is ingenuous, but that is to be expected of you.
No, Mr. Stein; for sheer hypocrisy, the winner is not the Democratic Party; is you.
— Michelle Steiner
You fool no one, Mr. Stein.
— Brad David
Ben Stein is a true Republican party hack, but I guess that’s to be expected given his long history of defending the indefensible.
— Scott Brown
How irresponsible to allow Mr. Stein to make the inaccurate statement, “I hope it won’t come as a surprise to anyone that a big part of male homosexual behavior is interest in young boys.”
That is completely false and perpetuates the negative stereotypes and creates fear mongering.
As a gay man, big parts of my behavior include working as a school principal, going to doctoral classes in the evening, volunteering for local organizations, playing softball, visiting family members, cooking, and walking the dog.
You should be ashamed of yourself for letting Mr. Stein’s bigotry appear on your website.
— Mark French
Golden Valley, Minnesota
The Democratic Party is not comprised of only members of the teachers union or homosexuals. We are a party of a spectrum of view points from the conservative to the liberal. When Mr. Stein makes this statement I can only assume he is part of the religious right wing ultra conservative Republican party. Is Mr. Stein saying our political parties have succumbed to the extreme and moderates no longer have a place or a voice?
What I see happening is our political system has lost all civility and respect for opposing viewpoints. Each party vilifies the other in media advertisement or public pronouncement. What’s worse, political parties seem to be using their famous friends to do their dirty work for them. Mr. Stein’s column is an example of this. I admit the Democrats aren’t much better, I just happen to believe in their party platform so I support them.
I know Mr. Stein is a satirist and he professes to have gay friends. I wonder if he still does? He should stick to his Comedy Central TV show and leave the job of political commentary to more thoughtful learned people.
— Jay Oppenheimer
“Democratic party that worships (not likes, WORSHIPS) a man named Bill Clinton who did not send suggestive e-mails as far as we know, but who had a barely legal intern give him oral sex kneeling under his desk in the Oval Office.”
THIS is why your “paper” isn’t fit to wrap fish….If Stein would do his homework instead of blathering on and on, he would see that, by far, heterosexual males (which I assume he is part of) are the majority of pedophiles. No one with a single cell of a brain would state that this is indicative of the male, heterosexual community. And he can’t possibly be serious when he says his best friend is gay and that he has many gay friends and at the same time state that they are pedophiles. If he had gay friends, he has them no longer. It is a shame that the Spectator has published this piece of junk that masquerades as journalism.
— Dr. Kevin Kaatz
…GOP = Grand Old Pedophiles. And you defend it? Sick, just … pathetic and Sick
In regards to Ben Stein’s “report,” let me point out the common lie that neocons such as himself like to depict. That as a homosexual, you like men, so therefore you must like all males, thus making all homosexuals pedophiles. Of course, we all know this is not true. I did fairly well with the analogy section of the SAT, so I know that one doesn’t float.
Pedophilia is a sickness. It is a sickness that does not discriminate between heterosexuals and homosexuals, males or females. As we all know, there are plenty of adult males in this world who molest little girls, just as much as they molest little boys. And a lot of them have been Republican office holders. (If you do not believe me, read the website www.armchairsubversive.com. There is a nice compilation)
There is no hypocrisy in Democrats standing up to point out the failed “family values” policy of the Republicans. The only hypocrisy is the GOP allowing a member of the House, who already was under suspicion of liking underage boys, to co-chair the Missing and Exploited Children Caucus.
Ben Stein should stick to what he knows best: Game shows and cult classic movies. Reality is clearly no longer his strong suit.
— John McClelland
…For you to print such nonsense is more evidence that you care nothing for the truth.
— Jim Johnson
If there were an Academy Award for yellow journalism, the surefire favorite for 2006 would be Ben Stein.
— Steve Salee
New York, New York
Ben Stein thinks what Foley did was okay? If not, what was the purpose of this commentary. By the way Ben Stein, I am a middle class white working soccer mom, and I’m so glad you have a gay friend. Do you have a black one also? Even in a backwards parallel universe, his logic makes no sense
— L. Glinzman
This article by Ben Stein is infuriatingly stupid and harmful….
I suppose next Stein will blame the Democrats for 9/11, since that attack was made by Islamists and the Democrats support religious freedom.
Disgusted and amazed and what passes for thoughtful journalism.
— Russ Williams
…Why hasn’t Foley been arrested?
— Millie Duke
Shame on Ben Stein, and shame on you for printing such hateful nonsense.
— Ron Wallen and Tom Carrollo
Two happily partnered gays of 54 years, who never did, never would, and certainly never would condone child molestation.
Ben Stein almost ”on the money” here. Although, some of his statements are somewhat generalized, his perspective on the Democrats’ refusal to look at themselves as a historically racist, segregationist party is right on target. Democrats have clearly been the party of entitlement programs, designed to keep minorities on the ”plantation”
of voter dependency. Republicans have, for the most part, have tried to institute ”leg-up” programs, not ”hand out” shackles. All minorities should try to look at the political landscape from another perspective. The facts are the facts.
— Dennis Gervais
One question for Mr. Stein:
Even accepting every single example of Democratic hypocrisy you cite at face value, does that really constitute more “sheer hypocrisy” than (a) writing legislation; (b) heading the House GOP caucus on the exploitation of children, and then (c) trying to exploit children …really?
You’ll need to explain that to me sometime because I don’t see it.
— Morris Berg
Just a simple question that I should like a simple answer to, “Did Mr. Foley do anything other than send e-mail to the teenager(s) in question?” Was there physical contact of any kind? If not, how does this rise to the level of hysteria that the Democrats are generating? Mind you, I hold no brief for the sexually perverted, and in fact, accept the Biblical view that they are in the process of earning themselves eternal damnation, but that said, what, precisely did Mr. Foley do? Not what did he write, think or say, what did he do?
— W. B. Heffernan, Jr.
Does not Ben Stein understand pedophilia? What a phony piece of crap writing. Hypocrisy is best explained by examining a party who preaches family values and covers up for a pedophile. Another example is pulling out a relationship between two consenting adults, regardless of their positions, and trying to equate it to a man who put children who were entrusted to him in danger. Decent conservatives are not defending pedophilia. Kick the jerk to the curb. There simply is no defense for this.
— Cynthia Carlson
I’m a gay man. I have absolutely zero interest in “young boys.” I’ve never heard of a film called Endless Summer (although I can quote pretty much all of All About Eve from memory). Furthermore, I find it very difficult to believe that Ben’s “very best friend” belongs to a community he so eagerly and casually denigrates in print.
As to his larger point, that Democrats love Bill Clinton and are therefore hypocrites for attacking Mark Foley: let’s say for a moment that he’s absolutely right and the stories are absolutely parallel and the hypocrisy that Stein perceives is absolutely real. Who cares??!! The attitude of “if they can do it, so can we” that results from such statements is sickening. Way to promote family values there, Stein.
— Eric Peterson
Has this man no sense of common decency or shame? And have you, as the editors, no sense of right and wrong, morality and immorality? Ben Stein’s hideous excuses for the heinous behavior of Rep. Foley have shown that your vaunted conservative values, your insistently touted morality, are nothing but lies, self-serving lies. Your very existence is a slap in the face of every decent Christian and American, of every real patriot and every real moral person. Dear God in Heaven, I always believed that if there were a hell, God’s mercy would make it empty. I now pray from the bottom of my soul that there is indeed a hell, and that you and your kind will know it to its depths. If you had any sense of decency, you would publish an apology to every American for Ben Stein’s grotesque scribbling, and then cease publication immediately. I am ashamed that I exist in the same nation as people like you and Ben Stein.
— Brian Drake
…What should be examined here is how our culture’s oppression of non-mainstream sexuality forces individuals like Rep. Foley to deny their basic sexual orientation and act out in ways, in secret, that are harmful both to themselves and others. Former governor Jim McGreevey of NJ is another example of the corruption that comes from secret lives. Further, there’s a morality lesson in all of this for Washington — secrecy easily leads to corruption, as is all too evident in the exposure of treatment of detainees in secret CIA prisons, the Bush administration’s use of secret, unlawful wiretaps, feeding misinformation to the American public, and so on (the list is longer than this letter would allow). Mr. Stein, clean your own house before you go on about how others should clean theirs.
— Les Eversen
Skillman, New Jersey
…Since Ben Stein still doesn’t seem to get it, let me put it in simple terms he might understand. Mess with a 22-year old child of mine, you mess directly with that person. Mess with a 16-year old child of mine, you mess directly with me.
— Glen Hoffing
Shamong, New Jersey
Readers, if you have a similarly aged child, hear me out. Can you honestly say that if you found that a grown man was sending your young son or daughter sexually explicit emails or letters, that you would say to yourself, “Why, he’s just a poor misguided Republican man who had a romantic thing for young boys.”
I doubt it.
I speak only for myself, but I’m positive that some heads will be nodding when I say that my reaction would be to reach for a weapon and pray to God in heaven that the authorities arrest this man before I do something rash.
Ben Stein should be ashamed of himself. Congressman Foley should be ashamed of himself and arrested. And if anyone in Congress knew what Foley was up to, and let it continue unchecked, then they should be arrested as well, or at the very least kicked the hell out of office and run out of town on a splintery rail.
What an awful story for all involved. But the very worst thing here is that Rep. Foley engaged in this despicable activities in hiding, while publicly positioning himself as an advocate for child safety. In fact, Foley seems to have violated the very laws which he championed. He took our trust, and the trust of that young boy, and violated it all.
Call me stupid, I suffer from the notion a confederate flag is about states rights and not slavery. Come to think of it, the Constitution is about states rights, not a behemoth Federal government.
San Diego, California
Hypocrisy? How about total lunacy from the right wing apologists?
It was both shocking and vile to see you refer to Foley as a “poor misguided man” with a “romantic thing” for young boys! Did you happen to read everything he wrote while preying on these underage boys? I pity the partners you’ve had in your life if you think “measure it for me” passes as romance.
Republicans and their supporters have really surprised me in the last few days while scrambling to defend a child predator. They’ve pulled out every pathetic, desperate deflection attempt imaginable. Foley’s actions would not have turned me against Republicans I was planning on voting for in November’s elections, but this behavior from the party’s apologists have.
I’ve always been a fan of Ben Stein. He’s a fantastic actor and a funny man. Usually a prolific writer, he simply dropped below any level of acceptability in his latest column. While I’m sure the blogosphere will eat his lunch (as they should), I hope Ben Stein takes a moment to consider his “best friends are gay” cover before spouting off something so heinously inaccurate and unproven as the assertion that male homosexuality is predicated upon young male boys.
Mr. Stein, one can only assume, based on his reputation for rational argument, that if he believes male homosexuality is based largely on attraction to young boys, then he must argue the same can only be true for male heterosexuality.
I find the premise and the argument for both quite insidious and any scientist or behavioral psychologist with peer-reviewed credentials outside Colorado Springs will tell you it’s based on nothing but a tawdry hunch. But if you refuse to equivocate here, sadly it just points to something worse: One of my revered writers, voice talents and screen presence is actually a bigot who is worthy not of gay friends but pity.
— Debbie Duran
You know, I like Ben Stein. Have even recently considered subscribing to the Spectator based on that and the articles Rush has read lately. However, I have to wonder what the hell this is supposed to mean:
“I hope it won’t come as a surprise to anyone that a big part of male homosexual behavior is interest in young boys.”
Now I’m not so sure about subscribing. Please forward my question to Mr. Stein.
— Rob Schellinger
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