comparative politics

By Diogenes (articles ) | Oct 04, 2006

Here's what's truly disgraceful about the behavior of former Congressman Mark Foley:

He acted like a Democrat from Massachusetts.

But which Democratic congressman from Massachusets? The one who molested a Congressional page? Or the one whose boyfriend ran a prostitution business out of his DC apartment?

And while we're thinking about it: Which of those lawmakers, after the scandal broke, was re-elected with an ample majority?

Oh, wait. Both of them. Never mind.

Afterthought: In 2002, secular journalists in Boston were horrified to learn that many Catholic priests had behaved no better than their Congressional representatives. I was horrified, too. But then I hadn't endorsed those politicians for re-election.

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  • Posted by: Sterling - Oct. 05, 2006 7:53 PM ET USA

    Francis: Their stands on SLAVERY? I thought we finally had all gotten our act together about that.

  • Posted by: - Oct. 05, 2006 4:06 AM ET USA

    Although apalled by the sexual misadventures of public figures, I try not to allow my repulsion to derail me from focussing on their actions in REALLY important areas: do they believe working Americans deserve fair wages, health care, and a decent retirement? Internationally and domestically, do they publicly support Christ's commandment to "do unto others" as we would "have others do unto us."? What are their stands on slavery and education?

  • Posted by: Vincit omnia amor - Oct. 04, 2006 8:12 PM ET USA

    frjimc-consenting to such thoughts is gravely sinful, as is masturbation, as is leading one of the little ones to sin...even if it's over the internet. and, to others who've seemed to have missed the point of the beginning of this thread: the "comparitive politics" of it doesn't seem to diminish the Foley's actions. Di seems to be pointing out that things at least as sick as this have not only been "glossed over" but even rewarded.

  • Posted by: - Oct. 04, 2006 6:36 PM ET USA

    Gosh, I can't follow all this stuff. I'm still trying to find out about Gary Condit and Sharon Levy.

  • Posted by: - Oct. 04, 2006 5:49 PM ET USA

    I'm amazed that some here appear to be more concerned that a Democrat "got away" with something "worse" a long time ago, than with Foley's actions. Studds should not have gotten away with what he did. But while it (thus far) appears that Foley never actually had sex with any of the pages, he tried! I've read the e-mails and IMs (I do not recommend reading them). They are obscene, pornographic, perverse things. And he's definitely trying to have sex with these kids. He just never succeeded.

  • Posted by: Phil - Oct. 04, 2006 5:30 PM ET USA

    frjimc, as I understand it, the purpose of "phone sex" is arousal. So it isn't just a matter of "talking about it;" this is a perverse act in itself. The fact that it's really weird doesn't make it less sinful. No argument with your main point: Studds is the worse creep. Just sayin'.

  • Posted by: - Oct. 04, 2006 5:00 PM ET USA

    esalkin - I'm not diminishing the crime of Foley, just noting that the "grave matter" of his crime was substantially less grave than that of Studds. Moral theologians have long distinguished the IDEA of doing something wrong from the ACT itself. The first is the precursor to the latter, but the latter is the more serious, because more consent of the will has to be given. Again, Foley's a creep, but Studds was worse. And Frank too. Both are "sin verguenza."

  • Posted by: - Oct. 04, 2006 3:34 PM ET USA

    frjimc, I'm no theologian but I believe that "talk(ing) about doing something immoral" falls under the title of "Near Occasion." The difference is that he is a Republican and is being held to a much higher moral standard.

  • Posted by: - Oct. 04, 2006 3:32 PM ET USA

    Look, it doesn't matter whether Democrats got away with it or not. It's still wrong. Republicans should have taken care of Foley years ago and they didn't. In this instance, all their posturing about family values, etc., is pretty lame. I'm a Republican and I'm really frosted over this.

  • Posted by: - Oct. 04, 2006 3:21 PM ET USA

    Nancy Pelosi. Okay, you got me there. Maybe I won't vote Democrat after all. Besides, here in Ohio, we have an outstanding GOP gubernatorial candidate in Ken Blackwell. He's an evangelical Protestant and totally pro-life. His Democrat opponent, Ted Strickland, says Ohio is a "backward" state because we have restrictions on abortion! Strickland claims to be a Methodist minister by the way.

  • Posted by: Ignacio177 - Oct. 04, 2006 3:12 PM ET USA

    Let us not forget that hypocricy is the cult vice renders to virtue. A hypocrite can be saved because he still believes that virtue exists. Because he believe in virtue he hides his vice. A "sin vergüenza" (very strong in Spanish) a shameless man has more difficulty is being converted because he has no shame for what he does wrong. It seems to me that the three lawmakers in question are both vicious and shameless, Even Foley is playing the gay victim card.

  • Posted by: NonSumDignus - Oct. 04, 2006 3:02 PM ET USA

    Remember the sad, sad story of Congressman Robert Bauman (R-MD) who resigned after soliciting a 16 year old male prostitute back in 1980? Yet another "alcohol made me do it" excuse made by a "family values" Republican. Sin is one thing. But when the self-righteous fall, I am reminded of the parable of the mote and beam.

  • Posted by: - Oct. 04, 2006 2:56 PM ET USA

    Studds excused his behavior by claiming that it was a “private matter” and that the page he sodomized, tho only 17 at the time, was a consenting adult (according to the District’s law). Legally and morally, Studds argued, his actions were not wrong. Now we have Foley--it can’t be shown that he had sexual relations with minors--and he’s being crucified for sending “lurid” e-mails to a page. So there are different standards for Repubs and Dems. Why? Because Dems control the MSM. Simple as that.

  • Posted by: - Oct. 04, 2006 1:40 PM ET USA

    convert1994: Nancy Pelosi

  • Posted by: - Oct. 04, 2006 12:56 PM ET USA

    In purely moral terms, there is a difference between Foley and Studds; Foley talked about doing something immoral with a minor and Studds actually did it. Foley's actions were not with someone currently in his charge, Studds' were. Foley's reaction was resignation in disgrace and apology for his behavior, while Studds' reaction was to explain away his behavior and seek acceptance for it. Forgiveness requires contrition; Studds had none and the jury's still out on Foley.

  • Posted by: - Oct. 04, 2006 12:24 PM ET USA

    I am convinced most voters elect people who most resemble their own world view, moral outlook. Hence the reason Democrats get away with immorality and republicans do not. General rule, there are probably some acceptions.

  • Posted by: - Oct. 04, 2006 11:42 AM ET USA

    The difference is hypocrisy! The republicans are constantly acting as if they own some moral high ground. Time and again we find out it isn't true. Relying on either the democrats or the republicans for moral leadership is absurd.

  • Posted by: - Oct. 04, 2006 11:30 AM ET USA

    Abraham - I will go you one further. A government in which the majority of the populace rules will always lead to corruption. The majority of people are simple minded folk who just want to go about living their lives. They are not well educated and can easily be "led around by the nose" by politicians with polished rhetorical skills. Add to that the effects of Original Sin and disaster is assured. What is needed is a return to the Catholic confessional state with constitutional protections.

  • Posted by: - Oct. 04, 2006 11:06 AM ET USA

    That Barney Frank/Gerry Studds scandal is one reason the Democrat Party left me. Rampant support for abortion is the other. Now the Republicans have a similar scandal with Mark Foley and they really, except for the ban on partial birth abortion, really not done much. Give me one good reason why I should not return to the Democratic fold.

  • Posted by: - Oct. 04, 2006 10:14 AM ET USA

    A great point & it also supports my conviction that MANY American citizens are intellectually unqualified to vote and should not. In the voting booth, intellect & reason have been hijacked by emotion & the vacuous opinions of celebrities. When a citizenry can be so easily manipulated and convinced that people as depraved as Studds, Frank, Kennedy & Marion Barry (who have also broken the law) are fit leaders it's time to seriously consider a voting test in order to preserve the republic.

  • Posted by: - Oct. 04, 2006 10:06 AM ET USA

    The difference Ratzinger is this.....get caught doing this as a republican and you are through and it becomes an issue how fast we get rid of you - do this as a Democrat and you become a hero and an encouragement to oppressed degenerates everywhere. Cook the books as a republican and you lose everything. Cook the books as a democrat and you become the junior senator from New York. Yes, sinners on both sides but its only a sin if you beleive in sin! And republican beleive in sin.

  • Posted by: - Oct. 04, 2006 9:43 AM ET USA

    Well, the Republican Party hasn't covered itself with glory, either. Foley is a degenerate. The Republicans knew about it since 1995 and have done nothing. Which is worse?