The Last Ditch -- DOUGLAS OLSON -- Sex and the stupid Republicans

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The Olson file
 

Sex and the stupid Republicans

By DOUGLAS OLSON
 

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"The only way I can lose this election is if I'm caught in bed with a dead girl or a live boy."

       — Gov. Edwin Edwards (D-La.)

 
For the third time in two years, a Republican candidate has dropped out of a pending election because of a "sex scandal" that involves no sex at all! Not only has Rep. Mark Foley (R-Fla.) quit in panic and fled to the relative safety of an alcohol-rehab program, but the GOP seems determined to sacrifice Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) and its own chances of retaining control of the House as deliberate collateral damage, a gratuitous gift to salivating Democrats, whose hypocrisy on sexual matters literally knows no bounds.

After Bill Clinton provided a detailed blueprint for successfully defending against accusations of sexual improprieties, only a party of morons could possibly allow its entire membership to run screaming from such charges as if they were pre-teen girls fleeing a particularly shlocky horror movie.

In the Clinton affair, legions of his toadies aggressively and unabashedly defended the indefensible every day and night for months, with one Democratic operative actually having the brass to assert, "Just because his semen was on her dress doesn't mean they had sex." But the GOP is so fearful on this front that not a single Republican dares stand his ground and observe for publication that just talking about sex — even with a 16-year-old — is not a crime, no matter how untoward it might be. In fact, the age of consent in both the District of Columbia and Arkansas, where the young man received the messages, is 16 — so even having actual sex with such an individual is perfectly legal in both jurisdictions.

And the Speaker is under concentrated fire for not stopping Foley's perfectly legal actions. If Hastert or any other political leader were actually responsible for correcting and disciplining every member of his party who engaged in "inappropriate behavior" — not to mention actual crimes — he would have no time even to go the bathroom.

After interviewing 40 former pages, the FBI admits that it has found no evidence of any crime. Undeterred, the Justice Department now intends to continue the witch-hunt by contacting every male page who participated in the program during Foley's entire twelve years in Congress. If these people were even vaguely serious about stopping sexual misconduct between politicians and pages, they would interview not just the boys but also the girls — and ask about Ted Kennedy, Christopher Dodd, Barbara Mikulski, Hillary Clinton ...
 

Again and again and again

In the summer of 2004, Republican Senate candidate Jack Ryan of Illinois was driven from the race when it was revealed that he had once expressed a desire to have sex with his trophy wife, a TV star, in front of other rutters at a European sex club. The wife refused, and candidate Ryan was actually cut off at the knees by the blue-nosed idiots of his own party for talking about having sex with his own wife. True, that talk revealed some pretty disgusting exhibitionistic urges; but in any case one can only imagine how Bill Clinton chortled over the spectacle. The primary beneficiary of this foolishness was Democrat Barack Obama, elected without a serious challenge from the GOP after Ryan's departure and widely touted today as America's next Negro savior.

In late August 2004, Rep. Ed Schrock (R-Va.) suddenly declared that he was no longer a candidate for the November election — the result of being exposed on a Website featuring a purported recording of him soliciting sex from another (adult) man over a homosexual "chat line." (Recall how tenaciously and repeatedly the Clintonistas defended against similar proof by insisting — knowing all the while their claim was a lie — that Linda Tripp's recordings of Monica Lewinsky were "illegal.") Again, a Republican candidate was downed and shunned by his own party just for talking about sex. And now Mark Foley, after surviving an attempt to "out" him as a homosexual two years ago, is gone, gone, gone for exactly the same reason.

Contrast this ludicrous Victorianism with the homosexual peccadilloes of congressional Democrats over the past thirty years, every one of whom at least managed to consummate his vice, all of whom expressed nothing but anger and outrage over being caught, and all of whose political careers survived — and even prospered — after their exposure. (If we strayed into the heterosexual arena of congressional misbehavior, this column would have to be a book.)
 

A cavalcade of congressional queerdom

In a bizarre coincidence of names, one of the most successful congressional sex criminals of recent years has to be former Speaker of the House Tom Foley (D-Wash.), who occupied that post from 1989 to 1995 and recently got himself named to the Department of Homeland Security's advisory council. Although the fact has seldom appeared in print, it was never a secret in Washington that while he stood second in line for succession to the presidency Foley was actively purchasing sex with male prostitutes — a crime, both then and now, even in the hopelessly degenerate District of Columbia.

Contrast that with the travails of Rep. Robert Bauman, R-Md., who was arrested just before the 1980 election for buying sex from a 16-year-old boy in D.C. — arrested, that is, not because the boy was 16 but because it was prostitution and then-illegal sodomy. How the Democrat Foley must have laughed at that, especially if, as is likely, his party had something to do with the timing of the bust.

While Tom Foley was Speaker, someone made an incredibly vague and oblique reference to Foley and homosexuality in the same breath. Democrats screamed so vehemently about "gutter politics" and "sleaze" that they confirmed beyond any doubt that the Speaker was a certified twistee — and that party insiders were well aware of it.

First elected in 1974, Rep. Fred Richmond (D-N.Y.) was charged in 1978 with soliciting sex from a 16-year-old Negro male and an undercover policeman. Charges were dropped when he apologized, admitted "bad judgment," and agreed to undergo counseling, and Richmond was returned by his New York City district in both 1978 and 1980. One of the wealthiest members of the House, he was accused in 1982 of tax evasion, possession of marijuana, and making an illegal payment to a federal employee. He arrogantly claimed to be innocent: "I don't feel one ounce embarrassed. I'm not ashamed of anything I've done. I've done nothing wrong." Nevertheless, he resigned as part of a plea bargain, serving a year and a day in prison and paying a $20,000 fine. That also ended a probe into his alleged efforts to obtain cocaine through his congressional staff.

In 1989, Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) professed total ignorance and innocence when live-in boyfriend Steve Gobie, whom the congressman had paid for sex at the beginning of their relationship, was revealed to still be a prostitute and to be actually running a homosexual brothel out of Frank's Capitol Hill home. Reprimanded by the House, one of the mildest punishments available, Frank was not arrested or prosecuted, as Bauman had been. Frank has not only continued to be re-elected every two years by his constituents but has even grown in respect and power in the Democratic party. He will head the financial services committee if Democrats win control of the House.
 

Covering up the page scandal

In a 1978 book, former 1973-74 House page Steven Valentine asserted that he knew a member of Congress who "actively sought out and apparently still seeks out homosexual relationships with minor male pages." He cited an alleged 1973 trip of a House page to Europe with a congressman, an apparent reference to the Studds matter (see below). The book was ignored on publication, but in 1982 the New York Times cited Valentine in writing, "Friends told him that two congressmen had engaged in homosexual relations with pages. One congressman [is] still serving in the House ... the other was defeated for re-election." Yet another member was said to have offered male pages use of an apartment in exchange for sexual favors.

Also in 1982, ex-page Leroy Williams of Arkansas admitted to CBS News that he had had homosexual relations with several members and had procured male prostitutes for others. A third page acknowledged "that he had knowledge of, but had not participated in, parties with members of Congress involving sex and cocaine."

Although he had ignored the specific charges made by Valentine five years earlier, the big-media revelations backed House Speaker Thomas P. "Tip" O'Neill (D-Mass.) into a corner. Desperate to contain the burgeoning scandal, he quickly moved to hide the truth by ordering an "ethics" committee inquiry into the sex charges and into allegations of rampant drug use by pages and members who supposedly procured their supplies through the youngsters. The committee hired an outside investigator — reliable Democratic "fixer" Joseph Califano, who had been Jimmy Carter's secretary of health, education, and welfare as well as a top aide to Lyndon Johnson. The statements of Williams were immediately branded as lies and dismissed; the male prostitutes he named were claimed to have actually been employed by Williams for his own pleasure.

Despite the number of homosexual predators noted above, O'Neill's tame investigators were able to uncover only two sacrificial lambs, just coincidentally — of course (wink!) — one from each party: Rep. Dan Crane (R-Ill., a brother of long-serving Rep. Phil Crane), who acknowledged a 1980 affair with a 17-year-old female page; and Rep. Gerry Studds (D-Mass.), who admitted having sex with a male page ten years earlier, when the boy was either 16 or 17. The young man confessed to having sex on numerous occasions with Studds, and two other pages "stated under oath that Rep. Studds made sexual advances to them."

The "ethics" committee recommended only reprimands, a suggestion eagerly accepted by O'Neill, who pontificated: "A member of Congress is ... not elected to be a judge of his peers." (Are you listening, Mr. Hastert? — or is this being drowned out by calls for your resignation because you failed to stop Foley from talking about sex?)

But Republicans, led by Newt Gingrich, demanded the expulsion of both Crane and Studds. ("If we required the resignation of all congressmen who slept with young ladies ... we wouldn't have a Congress," protested Crane's press secretary, truthfully.)

The two were censured, a stronger rebuke than a reprimand, but still only a slap on the wrist. Some of the 79 Democrats and eight Republicans who voted against upgrading Studds's punishment from reprimand to censure are still in Congress today: John Conyers (D-Mich.), Barney Frank, Tom Lantos (D-Calif.), George Miller (D-Calif.), Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), Steny Hoyer (D-Md., now the House Democratic Whip), and Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y., now head of the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee).

The contrast between the behavior of Crane and Studds was instructive.

Crane cried on the floor of the House; whined apologies to his family, colleagues, and constituents; and begged forgiveness for "the shame I have brought down on this institution." Studds coldly refused to acknowledge that he had done anything wrong. Both Studds and the page (then in his 20s) claimed the sex was consensual, although the latter admitted their first tryst occurred when the congressman got him drunk — a crime even in the District of Columbia. Studds denounced the investigation as an invasion of his privacy and actually turned his back on the House to express contempt for the proceeding as he was formally censured. Several colleagues shook his hand in support afterward, and the Washington Post commented that many saw "something noble in Rep. Studds' public admission" of homosexuality.

And the results? Crane's district ousted him at the first opportunity. Studds not only was re-elected six more times, until he chose to retire, but also remained a Democrat in good standing and became chairman of the Committee on Merchant Marine and Fisheries. When he died, just days after the Foley scandal erupted, Studds was lionized as "a congressional pioneer" by National Public Radio, and a fighter for "human rights."

"Gerry's leadership changed Massachusetts forever, and we'll never forget him," gushed Ten Kennedy (D-Mass.), certainly no stranger to sexual scandals. Studds's "husband," Dean Hara, whom he "married" in 2004, declared: "He gave people of his generation, of my generation, of future generations, the courage to do whatever they wanted to do."

Well, certainly nobody can disagree with that! But does anybody want to bet that Mark Foley, who remains a literal paragon of virtue in comparison with Studds, will be remembered so reverently in his obituaries?

November 4, 2006

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