So I wasn't going to post anything about this, because in the current climate it seems almost hum-drum. But now we have developments that push it into the blockbuster category. It's almost a wet dream of Party over Country.
First, the Instant Messages that blew the story from "borderline inappropriate familiarity with minors" to "homosexual cybersex with minors" are from 2003. Given that it is now 2006, and pages don't serve for more than a year, that means that there are at least two boys that were targets of this predation, and something tells me it was quite a bit more widespread. I mean, do you think he took 2005 off as a vacation from the hard work of preying on minors? Right.
Next, the Republicans on the Page Board didn't inform Rep. Kildee, the only Democrat on the Board, thereby keeping a lid on the burgeoning scandal.
Finally, factor in these two bombshell facts discovered by TPM:
Finally, one detail here isn't getting enough attention. Rep. Alexander (R-LA), the first member of Congress to be alerted to the problem, says he contacted the NRCC.Add in this reporting from the Washington Post:
Rep. Shimkus (Page Board Chair) says he interviewed Rep. Foley about the page matter with the House Clerk about 10 or 11 months ago.
Boehner said he told House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.), and that Hastert assured him "we're taking care of it."These facts describe the arc of a coverup. The Republican leadership knew for 10 months, and what did they do? They ensured no Democratic member found out about it, and did not discipline Foley in the slightest. They allowed this man to continue sexually preying on minors so that they could keep his seat in the November Elections. That qualifies as outrageous, and catapults this scandal into a whole new ballpark - a ballpark so big it was built to contain other ballparks.
So, it's already clear that there was a concerted effort to put the GOP's politics above what is their sworn duty: protecting the people of the United States and upholding the honor of their institution, the Congress. If you needed more proof, they began to realize how problematic the leadership entanglements were only after Boehner made the above statement about Hastert "taking care of it." Now that they realize how much trouble they're in, you've got House Majority Leader Boehner changing his story like crazy:
GOP Uber Alles! I wish I could say I was surprised. In 2002, I would have been.
Weisman and Babbington of The Washington Post this morning:
Rep. Foley Quits In Page Scandal - washingtonpost.com: House Majority Leader John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) told The Washington Post last night that he had learned this spring of inappropriate "contact" between Foley and a 16-year-old page. Boehner said he then told House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.). Boehner later contacted The Post and said he could not remember whether he talked to Hastert. It was not immediately clear what actions Hastert took. His spokesman had said earlier that the speaker did not know of the sexually charged online exchanges between Foley and the boy...
Weisman and Babbington last night:
House Majority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) told The Washington Post last night that he had learned this spring of some "contact" between Foley and a 16-year-old page. Boehner said he told House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.), and that Hastert assured him "we're taking care of it." It was not immediately clear what actions Hastert took. His spokesman had said earlier that the speaker did not know of the sexually charged e-mails between Foley and the boy...
Boehner's scramble to get back on message sounds much more credible when Boehner's claim that Hastert told him "we're taking care of it" is removed. Had Weisman and Babbington left that "we're taking care of it" in, the story would be less friendly to Majority Leader Boehner. And the story would be much less friendly to Majority Leader Boehner had Weisman and Babbington added in the third story Boehner was telling last night--the one he was telling to Roll Call:
Boehner strongly denied media reports late Friday night that he had informed Hastert of the allegations, saying "That is not true."
Not "I don't remember." Instead: "That is not true."
The question now is how hard the Democrats are going to hit the Republicans over this coverup and scandal. Imagine the firestorm if the positions were reversed. We've got to think of a good -gate name for it, but everything I come up with doesn't quite have all the punch I'd like. Predatorgate is the best I can think of, but it doesn't convey all the many faceted nastyness of the situation. I want something that rolls the homosexual aspect as well as the legal minor aspect into one, easy to deliver shotgun blast of -Gateyness.