Predatorgate Scandal Spreads

The New York Times promotes the Predatorgate cover-up to a full page one scandal.

Glenn Greenwald has excellent play-by-play of the more recent developments.

One unanswered question: What On Earth were these people thinking? When they decided to take the cover-up option rather than investigate, were they really so arrogant as to think they could sweep it all under the rug? So uncaring as to the possible consequences for Senate pages that they didn’t even want to find out if there was a serious problem? Or so clubby and confident in each other that they believed their colleague’s assurances that there was nothing to worry about?

Maybe. Then again, remember this important rule about the modern GOP: Even when you factor in that they are much worse than you think, they’re still much worse than you think.

In that spirit, I bring you this commentary from a shrewd if also cynical e-mail correspondent:

I think that the reason that the GOP leadership allowed Foley to hang around knowing that he was a sexual predator will soon become clear: in machine politics you have to know who to trust and the only people who you can put a great deal of trust in are people who you can blackmail.

Its not a coincidence that Foley, Ney, Cunningham have been convicted, DeLay is indicted and Doolittle and Burns are facing imminent indictments. Thats the way machine politics works, the only people who can be allowed into the inner circle are people who they have the goods on.

RICO claims could be built on less.

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14 Responses to Predatorgate Scandal Spreads

  1. Brett Bellmore says:

    Don’t get too giddy, there are Democratic machines, too. Personally, I’m delighted by this, the only way the GOP is going to be cleaned up is endure the mess while these boils are lanced. The party will be stronger in the end for it.

    Gonna lance your own, or just pretend they don’t exist?

  2. Michael says:

    Well, sure, but I doubt that (m)any of them shield child predators. It’s usually just about money.

  3. Thomas says:

    Actually, Michael, my understanding is that when Democrats had a child molester in their ranks–former Representative Gerry Studds–they didn’t do anything to him at all. Democrats elected the man until he retired in 1996. He never lost seniority and was never denied his position as committee chair.

    But of course that was different. I mean, Gerry Studds is a Democrat.

    Another example of your principles at work.

  4. Buce says:

    What were these people thinking? Here is a snarkly but non frivolous suggestion: this is the way they did things in Denny Hastert’s junior high school all the time. Never occurred to him to do otherwise.

  5. Michael says:

    I don’t see the similarity: Studds was censured by the entire House; hardly comparable to the GOP’s warning GOP pages to avoid Foley but not telling the Democratic pages. And I do not recall any allegations then or now as to Democratic leadership cooperation in years (we’re now hearing as much as five years?) of cover-up. I’ve certainly never heard it suggested that Studds was able to buy the silence and complicity of the leadership by directing campaign contributions ($100,000 per year? more?) to their coffers.

    I think it’s true that when Studds got re-elected it all died down; but that would hardly be surprising: that’s traditional in the House — the tradition has been that if your constituents forgive you in an election, it’s water under the bridge.

    I also think it’s sort of amazing that the best that GOP defenders can do in this scandal is revive memories of something that happened a third of century ago.

    Incidentally, if Wikipedia is to be believed, Studds was not a “child molester” as the page at issue in Studds’s case was 17 — over the age of consent at the time of the relationship and — when it all came out ten years later — appeared at a press conference to say it had all been consensual and was none of the world’s business.

  6. Thomas says:

    Michael, are you saying that Studds’s relection somehow protected pages? Because that’s transparently ridiculous. Was Studds pointed out to future pages–were they warned about him? If not, the House Democrats were obviously so uncaring as to the possible consequences for future pages.

    1996 was ten years ago.

    Would you like me to make the allegations against Studds? You apparently are eager to believe thinly sourced and incredible accusations.

    The Wikipedia entry says “The relationship was consensual, but violated age of consent laws and presented ethical concerns relating to working relationships with subordinates.” The point of age of consent laws, of course, is avoided when perpetrators and their allies insist on describing violative relationships as consensual.

  7. Michael says:

    I am saying that the immediate PUBLICITY about Studds did protect pages to a much greater degree than did the COVER-UP of Foley for 1-5 years did. Once the story was in the open, everyone was warned. That is not what happened here. What makes this case so different is the COVER-UP for political gain (holding a seat) and/or money (Foley’s campaign donations).

    The Crane and Studds scandal was in 1983 — 33 years ago — and in Studd’s case (I read, I don’t personally recall) concerned actions from 10 years prior to that. Age of consent in DC is 16 now; I suppose it could have been higher then. But really, the relevance of this ancient history to the present is — what precisely?

    For the record: I don’t condone Studds’s (or Crane’s) actions: pages are subordinates to Congresspersons in the House, and thus even if age were not an issue, their actions were wrong. Preying on children makes it worse.

    Members preying on Congressional pages was wrong then, and it is wrong now. Do you disagree with this statement?

    And shielding a child predator from exposure is itself wrong. Do you disagree with this statement?

    And people who do wrong should be held accountable. Do you disagree with this statement?

    Now tell me how to apply your views to the present situation, since neither of us can turn back the clock. What should be done and by whom?

  8. Thomas says:

    Michael, I’m confused. You again bring up the age of consent issue, but I’m not sure how it is relevant to the discussion. Were Studds’s actions less wrong than Foley’s, even though Foley apparently never had sexual relations with any page while Studds did?

    I’m not sure how much protection a page–typically a 16 or 17 year-old high schooler–would get from a disclosure made years before. For Studds’s last term, 1995-1996, those high schoolers would have been 4 and 5 years old when the public disclosure was made. Is there any suggestion on the record that the House Democratic leadership ever took any steps to protect new pages from predation by Studds? There is none. So, what were they thinking?

    I believe that members preying on pages is wrong. I believe that shielding predators from exposure is wrong. I believe that giving admitted predators continued access to pages is wrong–there, I think, we likely differ. I believe that those who do wrong should be held accountable.

    I think that any Democrats who were aware of Studds’s predation and who allowed him to have continued access to pages after 1983 should be chased out of public life. Many of those members are still in Congress. Let’s work our way through that scandal, then we can chew through the more recent one. But first things first. The need for justice has been delayed, but it shouldn’t be denied.

    More than that, I’d be careful about making ridiculous statements about a coverup, etc. It’s quite clear that there isn’t a coverup by the GOP leadership, and that if anyone delayed exposing Foley, it was Democrat-affiliated groups who were willing to risk further predation to better subvert the democratic election process in FL. Now that’s high minded principle–I’m sure, given your record, that’d you’d approve.

  9. Michael says:

    You are quoting outdated GOP spin points. They’ve been seriously overrun by events.

    ITEM: the only outside group that I know of which had access to the emails, CREW, sent them to the FBI right away. The FBI did nothing. CREW isn’t happy about the FBI’s inaction

    ITEM: the fact of the coverup is now indisputable

    Republican Leadership Scandal: The Cover-Up Continues?; Republican Page Board Member Confirms: No Investigation Happened and several others at dailykos.com … or your favorite newspaper.

    And see all the coverage at Talkingpoingtsmemo.com too.

    Foley has quit. I think that the only interesting question going forward is what should be done about the people who knew — heck, let’s not even say “should have known” let’s stick to knew — about him and didn’t act. Or, as seems increasingly to be the case, acted only to protect partisan interests.

  10. Thomas says:

    Michael, CREW didn’t have provide the FBI access to the relevant emails. You and your partisan allies seem unable to recognize the difference between obviously inappropriate emails and emails which in addition to being inappropriate are strongly suggestive of criminal wrongdoing. Two–2–two different things. The emails CREW describe are not sexually suggestive; they don’t have any sexual content at all. They are surely inappropriate, but what would the FBI be expected to do with them? No, what I’m referring to are the IMs, transcripts of which have been published by, among others, ABCNews.com. The transcript of one of the IM chats (are there others? I don’t know.) has strong sexual content, and given the relationship/identity of the two individuals, is suggestive of criminal wrongdoing. Someone in your party, I’m saying, had those, and waited to reveal them until immediately before the election. What do you have to say about that? Well, nothing at all, because you don’t care about sexual predators. You don’t care about any of this–it’s phony outrage to gin up a controversy. If it were otherwise, you wouldn’t let your political allies off so easily. But, again and again, you demonstrate that there is no principle higher than partisan principle for you.

    You say things like “the fact of the coverup is now indisputable” and then link to things that don’t even begin to demonstrate that. No wonder your party can never win an election. You can’t make an argument. You can’t even partake in genuine human outrage of criminal and immoral exploitation of children. You’re simply monstrous.

  11. Michael says:

    You know, both Drudge and Hastert tried this “blame the vicitm” stuff today. It won’t wash.

    As far as I know, the people who had the IM transcripts were the participants. And they are the pages — the victims. I know of no other parties who had the text other than ABC — which most certainly is anything but Democratic. But if you have someone specific to name, go ahead and name a name. Otherwise, it’s just smoke and spin. (And it’s quite striking that Hastert’s call for an investigation seems more directed at the sources of the news story than the parties to the coverup.)

    I note, for the last time — I’m giving up on this debate with you — that in the process of blaming the victims, calling me names, and (by misdirection) defending the predator’s protectors and enablers, you have again refused to say if the protectors and enablers in Congress deserve to be sanctioned in any way. Like, maybe, losing their leadership posts?

    By all means feel free to the last word, but I give up.

  12. Thomas says:

    Michael, isn’t it enough that I made an accusation? You’re not going to insist on proof now, after throwing completely unsubstantiated or baseless charges around, are you? Talk about smoke and spin! Or do you now acknowledge that your supposed outrage about a coverup is either a case of your misreading the facts or your incomprehension of rather elementary differences between documents? I mean, if you’re now going to, you know, actually reason about these things, then a conversation about what the record actually shows might be possible. But you haven’t shown any inclination to do that.

    I’m not blaming the victim. In fact, you were the only here who blamed the victim–in your case, you insisted that sexual activity with a minor incapable of consent could still be “consensual”.

    You don’t find anything suspicious about this set of circumstances? The timing doesn’t strike you as odd?

    The news reports this evening say that, in addition to CREW, the FBI, and ABC, the St. Petersburg Times and the Miami Herald knew of the email correspondence (not the IM messages–though I don’t know why I bother to distinguish them, since you refuse to acknowledge any difference). Someone was shopping the story, apparently. And none of these people–which, notably–includes law enforcement, took any action to stop Mark Foley. (The STP Times even described the emails as “friendly chit-chat”.)

    But someone else did know more. Someone allied with you politically. Someone with deep pockets. And they sat on the story, and sat. The story is developing, but will be clear enough. Your party sat on the story, and then fed it to the media, and when the MSM didn’t bite, they fed it out to an anonymous internet site, and then fed it to Kos, and then it percolated up. (You don’t need a source for that; naked supposition works for you, remember.) And you now have the gall to pretend that your political opponents aren’t serious about this matter. Even now it’s clear that your outrage is phony. After all, why not find out who knew about this and didn’t report it? If a Democrat group knew about it, then shouldn’t they be held accountable? Shouldn’t we push hard to find out exactly what happened? Follow the evidence where it leads? I know why we shouldn’t–because it might not be politically convenient. Your principles at work again.

  13. Wendy says:

    Excellent work… much respect dudes…

  14. Wendy says:

    Excellent work… much respect dudes…

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