Mark Foley vs. Bill Clinton

Yesterday I posted about Congressman Mark Foley's IM and email indiscretions. I'm not an investigative reporter, so I didn't have any new facts to add to the case, and I'm not a pundit, so I didn't spin much in the way of analysis or horse-race political speculation.

Really, I just wanted to ask – how do these sorts of scandals, large, unnerving hypocrisies, come to pass, and what brings someone to that point? I was interested to see any comments that came in, and one very interesting comment did come in from Steve:

“He didn’t lie under oath like Bill Clinton did, and the boy was NOT underage according to the laws of the District of Columbia, where age of consent is 16. So everybody calm down and relax.�

Todd was kind enough to add a bit about the possible applications of the law in this case – it's not as simple as subtracting the age of consent in DC from the boys' ages and coming up with a positive for Foley.

The comment is interesting because although virtually every voter polled says they value “values,� everyone's moral calculus is just a little bit different. Heck, fill a room with 20 people who guide their life strictly by the literal truth of the Bible and you'll end up with two fistfights before the end of the evening. It is important to note that mathematical calculus does not suffer from this problem.

So for Steve, the worse moral failing is lying under oath, which is definitely a crime. In the Clinton - Lewinski case, the first moral issue I would bring up is the possibility that Clinton took advantage of his position to coerce sex from his intern. From the testimony and Linda Tripp's tapes, that didn't seem to be the case after all. Still, there was the lying.

Mark Foley has not lied under oath in the same way that Bill Clinton did. But two things are clear. First, Foley did campaign vociferously against child porn and made it his public mission to deter and punish those who would use the Internet as a tool to exploit the underage, all the while pursuing sexual relationships with 16-year-olds.

The second thing that is clear is that Foley was a creepy lecher whose attempts to influence and persuade this kid should make your skin crawl. The Opie and Anthony radio show illustrated this very effectively today. They read the IM transcripts over the air, with comedian Jim Norton providing the voice for the teenager. Just listen, starting about 78 minutes in.

As more IM conversations come out, I am less and less impressed with the argument that since Bill Clinton, a Democrat, did something bad once, a man pressuring a boy for sex he clearly isn't ready for is no big deal, so “everybody calm down and relax.�

Take a look:


  1. This is why people hat conservatives and their hipocracy. They make a huge deal about Bill Clinton and his affair with a consenting adult and try and get him impeached. But when a Republican congressman tries and solicits sex from an underage teenage boy they say its no big deal. Are you fucking kidding me? An older man in a position of [politcal power is trying to sexual coerce one of his young pages. How is this not a big deal? He is a predator and is preying on young men. Just because he didnt have sex with them doesn’t mean he didnt want to. Read the transcripts he obviously wanted to meet for sex, and that is completely inappropriate. The fact that conservatives are trying to spin this as no big deal is greatly distrubing. I mean common sense should tell you that this is wrong. And just because he didnt have sex with this one boy doesnt meant hat he hasnt with others. There is no way that this is his first time seeking sex from a young boy. Pedofiles are predators and are habitual with their behavior. He just got caught with his preverbial hand in the cookie jar and now hes sorry. How can you be a propent for anti-pedofile laws and be one yourself. He knew what he did was wrong but did nothing to stop it until he got caught and had to. And any other congressmen that had even and inkling of what was going on and did not try and stop it should resign also. But hey if you think its okay for a 50year man ato solict sex from a 16 page of his then your a sick fuck and should shoot yourself

    D Wallz
    October 4th, 2006 at 11:52 am
  2. Clinton lied under oath, and he abused the power of his office to obtain sex. I have a problem with both of those actions, and I never defended him except to say “the big deal about sex is not a big deal.”

    Foley actively campaigned to criminalize the very thing he was doing himself, and was abusing the power of his office to obtain sex. He was also engaged in soliciting homosexual sex, which he is on record as opposing. Furthermore, while the teen in question was of legal age under DC law, he was underage under the Federal law that FOLEY HIMSELF HELPED TO WRITE.

    Again, I do not have a problem with politicians having or wanting sex. I have a problem with how they go about it and how their actions jibe with their stated policies. Clinton never tried to push a morality law through Congress. Foley did, and succeeded. Foley’s hypocrisy reaches levels that Clinton never came in sight of.

    October 4th, 2006 at 12:15 pm
  3. D Wallz, see my new post, you “rank homophobe.” :)

    October 4th, 2006 at 6:17 pm

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