Foley Round-Up

DNCC Chair Rahm Emanuel on This Week, debating Rep. Adam Putnam who was sent in RNCC Chair Tom Reynolds’ stead. Emanuel comes off well; Putnam looks like a jerk.

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The Foley timeline keeps getting longer.

A Republican congressman knew of disgraced former representative Mark Foley's inappropriate Internet exchanges as far back as 2000 and personally confronted Foley about his communications.

…The revelation pushes back by at least five years the date when a member of Congress has acknowledged learning of Foley's behavior with former pages. A timeline issued by House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) suggested that the first lawmakers to know, Rep. John M. Shimkus (R-Ill.), the chairman of the House Page Board, and Rep. Rodney Alexander (R-La.), became aware of "over-friendly" e-mails only last fall. It also expands the universe of players in the drama beyond members, either in leadership or on the page board.
Meanwhile, the Republicans still try to blame the Dems. Unbelievable.

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And conservative Christians blame Foley, but not the GOP.

[M]any said the episode only reinforced their reasons to vote for their two Republican incumbents in neck-and-neck re-election fights, Representative Thelma Drake and Senator George Allen.
And if that doesn’t say enough about their bigotry, this pretty much seals the deal:

“This is Foley’s lifestyle,” said Ron Gwaltney, a home builder, as he waited with his family outside a Christian rock concert last Thursday in Norfolk. “He tried to keep it quiet from his family and his voters. He is responsible for what he did. He is paying a price for what he did. I am not sure how much farther it needs to go.”

The Democratic Party is “the party that is tolerant of, maybe more so than Republicans, that lifestyle,” Mr. Gwaltney said, referring to homosexuality.

Most of the evangelical Christians interviewed said that so far they saw Mr. Foley’s behavior as a matter of personal morality, not institutional dysfunction.
Why are they so willing to hold GOP leaders unaccountable? Charles W. Dunn, dean of the school of government at the Pat Robertson-founded Regent University, explains:

House Republicans may benefit from the evangelical conception of sin. Where liberals tend to think of collective responsibility, conservative Christians focus on personal morality. “The conservative Christian audience or base has this acute moral lens through which they look at this, and it is very personal,” Mr. Dunn said. “This is Foley’s personal sin.”
Naturally, Dunn is full of shit. When you’ve got people like the good Mr. Gwaltney chalking up Foley’s sin to “a lifestyle” and blaming the Democrats for being “tolerant of…that lifestyle,” the suggestion is that Foley’s actions were inevitable, which effectively blames the LGBT community and its supporters for Foley’s “personal sin.”

On the other hand, Dunn uses liberals’ attempt to find out who among the GOP was also personally at fault for letting this happen as evidence that liberals “think of collective responsibility,” though no liberal is suggesting that Hastert et. al. caused Foley to behave that way, only that they enabled him to continue.

Dunn’s got it completely backwards. Conservative Christians who don’t give a rip about holding the GOP leadership accountable want the LGBT community and its supporters to take the fall along with Foley; that isn’t about “personal sin,” but about condemning an entire community. Conservatives love to go on about personal responsibility and individual sin and all that shit, but they’re the most egregious offenders of dismissing people’s behavior by maligning an entire community, which is what they erroneously lambaste liberals for doing when we endeavor to consider context and social influence. The problem is, they’re not looking at institutionalized homophobia, for example, and seeing that maybe it contributes to creating people with unhealthy sexual appetites; they’re looking at LGBT tolerance and using it to excuse the GOP, so they can continue to purvey homophobia, all while they turn a blind eye to the reality that it was the GOP, not the LGBT community, who created, aided, and abetted Mark Foley.

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