Congressman Mark Foley once commented that he was dismayed and disheartened by the tainting of the Presidency by Bill Clinton’s “sexual addiction problem.” What comes around. . .
I have not commented much on the blog about this growing scandal about who knew what when in the Mark Foley/Congressional page imbroglio.
But Hastert needs to be pursued more vigorously by the press. He keeps stating that he “never read” the emails or instant message chains.
According to this report:
[Louisiana GOP Congressman Rodney] Alexander said he twice reported the e-mails to the boy’s parents and to House leaders, including Speaker Dennis Hastert, which Hastert confirmed.
“My first job was protecting the innocence of that young man and his family,” Alexander said. “When I informed the family, they said they were aware of the situation and told me that they weren’t going to pursue it because of the harm that it could do to their son.”
Hastert said he didn’t pursue the matter at the parents’ request, which Alexander confirmed. Hastert also said he never saw the contents of the e-mail.
“Nobody ever asked. . .to see the e-mail,” Alexander said.
In the e-mails, Foley asked the page how he was doing after Hurricane Katrina and what he wanted for his birthday. The congressman also asked the boy to send a photo of himself.
Alexander said the e-mails, though not expressly sexual, “made me feel uneasy.”
“It wasn’t normal for (Foley) to be sending those e-mails to a 16-year-old, which is why I informed the House leadership,” he said. “The young man clearly felt that the e-mails were creepy, which is why he notified our office.”
Our highest political chambers and office-holders have become world class experts in manufacturing deniability.
Hastert did not want to read the emails — even though he had a responsibility to do so — because he did not know how this affair would tilt politically.
He failed to make himself aware — hoping this would blow over. He failed to lead at a time when his leadership was what the child, his family and the nation would have expected.
It is not during easy times when one’s character and norms come into view, it is during times of stress.
And at this key challenge to the “values” promulgated by both parties, Speaker Hastert chose to read no evil and see no evil.
Journalists need to pose the question, “WHY DIDN’T YOU FEEL THAT IT WAS YOUR SOLEMN RESPONSIBILITY TO INVESTIGATE THE EVIDENCE AND TO READ THE IMs AND EMAIL?”
— Steve Clemons
Update: This right-wing blog, Passionate America, has outed the under age page whose name has not been disclosed by the major press. The post has now been removed, but it has been up much of the day.