Wednesday, October 04, 2006
Responding to some of the comments in the first Foley post.
((There were several other adults who knew about Foley's sexually explicit emails and other communication since Fall 2005.)))
Again, the emails weren't sexually explicit. You can read them by clicking right here.
They were a little weird and asked for a picture of the kid, but they weren't particularly over any line. That's the problem with Foley's behavior. It was a little TOO friendly, but never over the line in a public way.
(E.g. The Washington Post today writes: Another page had won a lunch with the congressman that year at the annual page auction. When he asked to go to Morton's steakhouse, Foley said on the House floor that the two of them "proceeded to cruise down in my BMW to Morton's. And all of this story is meant to make you all feel jealous that you were not the high bidders." Yeah, that sounds ominious now. But two weeks ago would any of us looked at that and gone "Gee, Foley's a sexual abuser?" I think we would have said "OK, Foley's kind of an obnoxious goofball. Oh well." The Post story is full of things that we wouldn't think much of if we didn't know Foley was really after these kids. Their whole article is like "He liked to TAKE THE PAGES OUT FOR ICE CREAM!" Cue scary music...)
The IM transcripts were the ones that were sexually explicit and so far NOBODY has shown any proof that the Republican leadership knew about them before somebody gave them to ABC news a week ago.
Think about it like you're a member of the Republican house leadership:
Last spring you found out about emails where Foley says things like "How are you weathering the hurricaines...are you safe?....send me a pic of you as well..." and those emails were all you knew about, you would probably say to yourself "I'm not THRILLED that a congressman, especially a gay one, is sending emails to a high school boy, but if this comes to light, it all looks explainable enough. We will just call anyone who is suspicious on the matter a homophobe."
But what if you did know about the IMs? You would also know that:
a. It's very unlikely that a sex scandal will stay under wraps for very long, especially one involving a kid, and when it comes out Foley will have to quit.
b. Foley's district is heavily Republican and would happily elect a decent other Republican in Foley's place if given the chance. Foley would be easily replaced.
So what would you do? You'd find a nice young Palm Beach lawyer or businessman, a little more conservative than Foley while you're at it, then take the leadership in to meet with Foley. You would hand Foley the IM transcripts and tell him that his doctor has told him that he's sick and all the stress of being a congressman is making him sicker. And he's an alcoholic.
Foley holds a press conference and resigns in April or so, perhaps even introducing his replacement. Governor Bush shows up to wish Foley the best and say nice things about Foley's replacement.
Foley goes to rehab.
Now if the chat transcipts ever do come out, the party leadership can say "We made him quit, but we wanted to let him keep his dignity." New Palm Beach candidate is shocked and saddened by the whole thing, and probably easily elected.
Looking at it from this way, I think there's just about no way the R's knew about the more explicit stuff. The way to damage control to make it go away, and the potential for what is happening now to happen, is just too obvious.
(((Regarding Steve's quote of AA, there's been a long standing practice of rolling older gays. A younger kid used a bait, the guy propositions him, and then a crowd of guys surround the gay demanding money or they'll call the cops...Foley is a predator but it's a jungle out there and he may have preyed on a kid who was looking for prey too.))))
I do agree that this sounds like blaming the victim. Judging by the gay kids I knew in high school and how they regarded their relationships with older men, the kid in the IM transcripts either thought he was in love, or knew the older guy would eventually get rid of him in the end and was along for the ride. (I had one very cynical gay friend in high school who viewed his older dates this second way. As far as they ever said to me, the other gay kids felt, well, like I did at sixteen when an older, more powerful man paid attention to me.)
I don't doubt that rolling happens. But this doesn't sound like it to me.
Though I don't recall being a poor innocent lamb at sixteen, I do believe that adults should basically stay away from teenagers sexually because the potential for abuse is very much there.