is exactly why Dennis Hastert shouldn't resign. First, it looks like a guilty plea when he's not guilty and second, it won't stop the attacks from people who only care about exploiting this scandal to return the Democratic majorities in Congress.
It's a favorite political tactic to start investigations and hold hearings which keep scandals in the public eye, regardless of whether they uncover anything or not. Sometimes, as in the Iran-Contra scandal the congressional rush for hearings results in prosecutions being short-circuited. To get their testimony, the Congress granted immunity to a number of witnesses.
Harold Meyerson in the linked column singles out one particularly foolish statement by Representative Ray LaHood of Illinois that the entire page program be scrapped. So Meyerson takes it as an admission that they can't protect the pages put in their trust and proceeds to pummel Republicans with it. The real reason for this situation isn't the weakness of the leadership, but the power of the gay rights movement, which would raise hell if they started checking up on every member or aide rumored to be gay. Foley was not IMing with current pages, but with boys who had moved on. The one with whom he famously had "internet sex," which isn't really sex, but team masturbation, was over twenty. Why the Gay community isn't screaming about a Constitutional right to have internet sex, is probably because they haven't realized that is was between consenting adults
. Who once were gay teens, are now gay men, so there's no statutory internet rape.
The Washington Post also features a remembrance by Joe Califano which it links to with the title "When the House Was Clean" which is misleading. The actual title of Califano's piece is "When the House could clean itself"
and it is much fairer than the link title suggests:
what the response of the leadership reveals about the rancid state of partisanship and the consequent decline of the House of Representatives. Speaker Dennis Hastert presides over a legislative body so infested with mistrust that it doesn't even have a functioning ethics committee. Since the House is incapable of washing its own dirty laundry and policing itself, the speaker has to turn over that responsibility to the attorney general and the executive branch of government.
He describes how Tip O'Neill was able to deal with a similar scandal by publicizing it and turning it over to the ethics committee because the Minority Leader Robert Micheal joined with him in doing so.
Assistant Deputy Attorney General Rudolph Giuliani was the point man for the Justice Department and its grand jury investigation of the charges. We agreed to exchange all relevant information and that there would be no leaks. Allegations of sexual misconduct and drug use were raw meat for a voracious, scandal-hungry Washington press corps, and Giuliani and I came across rumors and fragments of information about many members of Congress. We shared them all with each other, and there were no leaks from him or me.
The leaking has become so routine that not even a Grand Jury investigation can be kept secret, and it would be ridiculous to ask Nancy Pelosi to join in a call for a bipartisan investigation without either side trying to gain political advantage from it, especially when Hastert had nothing more to go on than a few unseemly emails asking for photos and birthdays. It's a sad measure of the acceptance of deviant sexual interests and practices that such inquiries now are considered creepy. Every child growing up in the past 20 years has been carefully taught not to talk to strangers and to be suspicious of any grownup acting too friendly.
Even as they belittle the calls from the religious right to return to the days when you didn't see sex acts depicted on prime time programs like Law and Order, Criminal Intent
and seduction and adultery in Desperate Housewives
. The Democrats have embraced hostility toward religious sensitivities, gay rights, abortions, etc. and broadcast television is being prodded all the time to become more like HBO with its popular R and X rated programming.
That's why it's so disgusting to see these people who have helped make any questions about a person's sexuality as unacceptable as taping his telephone calls, now pretending to be such straitlaced opponents of the slightest sexual irregularity, particularly the Minority Leader who points out that she is a "mother and grandmother" as if she were representing a district from Iowa instead of the San Francisco area.