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Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Just a Reminder, Mark Foley's an Internet Predator and it's not Illegal to be Gay

The Foley scandal is really inspiring the right to new heights of creativity in spin. The political right have been trying to cast Foley as a victim of gay bashing, but this leaves the gay bashers on the right out in the cold. Seeking a message of their own, they blame gays and the media.

Cliff Kincaid, Accuracy in Media:

It's one of the worst congressional scandals ever. A top House Republican who denounced sex predators as "animals" stands accused of acting like one. Mark Foley had served as a Deputy Majority Whip in the House and co-chair of the House Caucus on Missing and Exploited Children. His forced resignation, after being exposed as a homosexual pervert who talked dirty to young boys, has done more damage to the GOP than George Soros could ever think of doing. But it remains to be seen whether the liberal media and the Democrats can successfully exploit this scandal.

Nice how he works in a dig at George Soros, who has absolutely nothing to do with any of this, isn't it? But that's just the obligatory 'look over there!' paragraph. Kincaid's argument develops pretty early in the piece. Emphasis mine:

The failure to use the word "homosexual" in describing Foley's dirty talk is likely due to fear over being labeled "homophobic" or biased by the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), which exists to make sure that only positive portrayals of homosexuality are permitted in the media. Plus, the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association previously warned the media, in connection with sexual abuse by Catholic Priests, to avoid linking homosexuality to pedophilia.

The questionable line we already see emerging in the media is that Foley is guilty of inappropriate behavior toward young people but that it has nothing to do with his "sexual orientation."

The thing is, I haven't heard anyone say that -- although a lot of people should start. Besides, what is the logic here -- that it's only unacceptable because it was a sixteen year old boy? I suppose that if Foley had been sexually harrassing teenage girls, Kincaid would applaud. But the truth is, it really doesn't have anything to with his orientation. It's not the fact that he's hitting on male pages that's the problem, it's that he's hitting on pages at all. But again, Kincaid pretty much asserts that there's nothing wrong with sexually harrassing teenage girls by excluding the age of the victims from the discussion.

In fact, the entire scandal might have been avoided if Foley's homosexuality had been exposed and confronted, rather than protected, over the last several years. Top Republicans and the media were part of this cover-up.

Yesterday, I wrote that people on the right -- Ben Stein, Newt Gingrich, and John Hinderaker -- were defending Foley by emphasizing the fact that he's gay. Now the religious right is demonizing him for the fact that he's gay.

What both groups are ignoring is the fact that he's an internet predator -- that's what got him in hot water, remember? If it had turned out that Foley had a forty year old boyfriend, the only people who would get bent out of shape over it would be on the right. Being gay isn't illegal -- using the internet to solicit sex with underage pages is.

Glenn Greenwald points us to a bit of irony -- from Unclaimed Territory:

...under the so-called "Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006" (of which Foley was a co-sponsor), along with 18 U.S.C. 2251, discussion or solicitation of sexual acts between Foley and any "minor" under the age of 18 would appear to be a criminal offense (see Adam Walsh Act, Sec. 111(14) ("MINOR.--The term 'minor' means an individual who has not attained the age of 18 years") and 18 U.S.C. Sec. 2256 (1) (“'minor' means any person under the age of eighteen years").

As the saying goes, ignorance of the law is no excuse. In Foley's case, ignorance of the law is an unbelievable excuse -- since he helped write the law. That's the deal here. Foley broke the law and the law he broke wasn't a law against being gay. It was a law against being a child predator.

The political right are defending him as a typical gay, the religious right is damning him as a typical gay. But the truth is that Foley's not a typical gay and that's why he's in trouble.

In the end, it really doesn't have anything to do with his sexual orientation -- it has to do with his crime.


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Anonymous said...

It's a combo lynching. The right wants to lynch him because he's gay and the left wants to lynch him because he's a republican.

Keep in mind that he didn't lie under oath about it 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 what's the fuss all about?

Wisco said...

Mark, Mark, Mark...

It's over.

Did you even read the article? It's illegal and you wrote the law making it illegal.

My best advice is to try to keep your legs crossed in the crowbar hotel.