"Who Knew?" "Who Benefited?" These are the only important questions in the Foley scandal. While accusations, counter-accusations, lies, witch-hunting and general hysteria abound, these two questions remain central. "Someone" knew the whole story since 2003, and sat on it. That same "someone" held on to that information, leaving many children at risk, only to release it weeks before an important election.
"Who Knew?" "Who Benefited?" These are the only important questions in the Foley scandal. While accusations, counter-accusations, lies, witch-hunting and general hysteria abound, these two questions remain central. "Someone" knew the whole story since 2003, and sat on it. That same "someone" held on to that information, leaving many children at risk, only to release it weeks before an important election. Why would they do such a terrible thing? Clearly because it would benefit their political party.
We will probably never know the name of the person (or persons) who knew just how serious former Congressman Mark Foley's transgressions were. "Someone" didn't care that hiding Foley's sins endangered other children. He only cared about how the information could be used to his political advantage. But the identity of this vile person is not as important as knowing which political party benefited from the curious timing of the release of the information.
Before we explore that, let's review the facts of the case for anyone who hasn't been near a TV, radio or newspaper in the last two weeks. Mark Foley, a homosexual Republican, corresponded by email with former Congressional pages. The emails were inappropriate, but not sexual in nature. The Republican leadership was notified, and ordered Foley to stop the correspondence.
I do not condone what Foley did. Anyone who read last week's article, "Righteous Men" (Righteous Men), knows that I feel the Republican Party should rid itself of all perverts, homosexual or heterosexual. And even though Foley stayed "in the closet" (he never admitted that he was homosexual until after he was forced to resign), those who worked closely with him should have seen the signs. I fault the Republican leadership for that. I do not fault them for Foley's actions. These were his sins alone.
Neither can I fault the Republican leadership for their handling of the correspondence mentioned above. If they had had the information that was kept secret by "someone", they would have forced him to resign. In fact, that's exactly what they did when "someone" released the truly damning information about Foley's actions that had been concealed for three years.
That information was not the emails which had been provided to the Republican leadership. That information consisted of "instant messages" in which Foley engaged in very graphic online "conversations" with former pages.
For those who are not familiar with instant messaging, it is not email. Email is similar to postal mail, in that the sender composes it and sends it electronically to the recipients email box. The recipient then opens and reads it, and responds if he wishes. Instant messages (also known as IM's) are more like a telephone call. One person initiates a "conversation" by typing a short message. When it "pops up" on the screen of the recipient, they type a message in return. Then the messages fly back and forth in split seconds.
The reason the distinction between the two types of messaging matters here, is that emails are commonly saved. Thus, Foley was more circumspect in his email message. Although it is possible to copy IM's and save them, this is rarely done. So Foley undoubtedly thought his IM's disappeared when he and the page finished their session, just as phone calls disappear (unless someone records them).
The point is that the Republican leadership only had the innocuous emails. "Someone" had the filthy instant messages and held on to them until his masters ordered their release at a time that would most benefit them.
So we know "Who knew?" and who didn't. Now to the question, "Who benefited?"
Keep in mind that the person who knew the whole story also controlled the release of that information. Also, remember that one party benefited from that release, and one was hurt by the release. It is logical to assume that the party who controlled and released the information was the party that benefited from that release. Otherwise, they would have continued to hide it.
Let's see. With the control of Congress hanging on the election a few weeks from now, which party would benefit from a Republican scandal? Obviously the Democrats.
Which party has had to scramble to field a candidate for an important seat? Which party will not have time to mount an effective campaign for that seat? Which party's candidate for that seat will not have his own name, but rather the name of a disgraced homosexual, on the ballot? The answer to all of those questions is, the Republicans. And who benefits from this sorry state of affairs? Again, the Democrats.
Which party would have been far better off getting rid of Foley years ago, when "someone" obtained the secret instant messages? Obviously the Republicans. So, which party benefited by hiding the instant messages for three years. We're batting 1000 here. The Democrats benefited.
Anyone with a lick of sense can see that the "someone" who for three years held on to information that would destroy Foley had to work for the Democratic Party leadership. I am sure that they covered their tracks well. They probably had several go-betweens to insulate themselves and provide "plausible deniability". But no one except the Democrats benefited from concealing the information until just before one of the most critical elections in recent history.
It would have been suicidal of the Republicans to hide such explosive information, because nothing remains secret forever in Washington. They would have been far better off if this had all come out years, or even weeks, ago. That would have given them time to find a viable candidate, promote him or her, and get their name on the ballot! This scandal will almost certainly cost the Republican Party a critical Florida seat. Who benefits from that?
The Democrats have been trying to milk this for all it is worth, engaging in a witch-hunt of Speaker of the House Denny Hastert. It's funny that when one of their homosexual members (MA Rep. Gerry Studds) was actually caught having sex with an underage page in the House gym, they swept it under the rug. He was censured, not forced to resign (as the Republicans did with Foley). All Foley did was talk about it, which was bad enough; their guy did it!
And the Democrats certainly didn't try to pin the blame for their colleague on the Speaker of the House. The Republicans, including the Speaker, did the right thing by kicking Foley out. But since the Democrats can't get any more political advantage from Foley, since he has resigned, they have sunk so low as to try to blame an honorable man like Denny Hastert, for Foley's sins.
They claim, "The Speaker knew!" Well, Hastert was very up front from the beginning about knowing about the emails. The Democrats are trying to confuse the public by making it appear that knowing about the emails is the same as knowing about the IM's. Nothing could be further from the truth. I have seen the text of both. They are worlds apart. If Hastert had seen the IM's three years ago when "someone" got control of them, without a doubt Foley would have been gone three years ago.
I hope all of my readers had the opportunity to see Speaker Hastert's news conference. If you did, it was obvious that this is a man who doesn't know how to lie. He is known in Congress as one of the most honorable and truthful men there. Even the Democrats like and respect him, which makes this attack on him so vile and hypocritical.
"Who knew?" "Who benefited?" The party that knew benefited. If you want a party in power that would hide such a terrible thing and endanger children to gain a political advantage, vote Democrat.
As for me, I am proud that the Republican leadership threw Foley out the very day they discovered what he had done. I will vote for the party that has dealt with this situation in an honorable way, they party that took action instead of trying to play politics.
Dr. Tom Barrett has been an ordained minister for 30 years. He has written for local and national publications for most of his life, and has authored several non-fiction books. He has been interviewed on many TV and radio programs, and speaks at seminars nationwide. Tom is the editor and publisher of Conservative Truth, an email newsletter read by over fifty thousand weekly which focuses on moral and political issues from a Biblical viewpoint.