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October 04, 2006

A Pox on Both Their Houses, Yes, But Look Closer, Too

So says Benjamin Shapiro.

On what moral basis do Democrats condemn Foley? They have no basis for moral outrage, since they have championed the destruction of traditional morality for decades. Instead, they condemn Foley and the Republicans for hypocrisy. Foley, when he wasn't spending his time chasing teenage boys, pushed for legislation to crack down on child pornography. House Republicans, when they weren't busy ignoring Foley's scummy behavior, pushed for legislation to uphold traditional values. The big sin here, according to the social left, is that Foley and the Republicans tried to bolster antiquated sexual mores while simultaneously bucking them in personal life. Were Mark Foley a liberal Democrat from San Francisco, liberals would be hard-pressed to spot a problem with his behavior.

But Republicans should not have been. The Republican Party is the party supposedly dedicated to those antiquated value systems that made this country great. It should not have been difficult for Republicans to identify the problems with Foley's behavior: pedophilia, exploitation, and yes, homosexuality. And yet, because the Republican Party has become infected with either the unchecked will to wield power or the milquetoast tolerance of the social left, House Republicans did nothing. Shame on them.

Shapiro goes down the list of Democrats that the Left either made excuses for or simply slapped on the wrist--Studds, Clinton--and also adds Pelosi, who opposes parental consent laws regarding underage abortions. While moral outrage is well-placed on Foley's head, I find Shapiro's contention that Democrats are not taking that tack, rather using the "hypocrite" bludgeon.

News flash: Human beings are flawed and hypocritical. Politicians, with all the power and money flowing around them, will be put in more situations than the average person that will tempt them to abandon their principals. This is not news.

What is, or should be, news is how each political party deals with its problems. Regardless of possible hushing in the past, Foley did the right thing once the truth came out. One wishes that this would have been caught and dealt with earlier, but Foley is gone. Not censured, not reprimanded; gone.

Here's another example: Want to know why you've never heard of "Speaker of the House Bob Livingston"? Because he did the right thing.

In a speech on the House floor during the impeachment of Bill Clinton, he first called on Clinton to resign.

But to the president, I would say, sir you have done great damage to this nation over this past year and while your defenders are contending that further impeachment proceedings would only protract and exacerbate the damage to this country, I say that you have the power to terminate that damage and heal the wounds that you have created.

You sir, may resign your post.

I listened to this speech live on the radio. During this portion of the speech, Democrats could be heard yelling out, "You resign!". The clamor got louder and louder, and peaked while Livingston spoke that last line. But then, from his already-prepared speech, he continued speaking and set the example.
I can only challenge you in such fashion that I am willing to heed my own words. To my colleagues, my friends and most especially my wife and family, I have hurt you all deeply and I beg your forgiveness.

I was prepared to lead our narrow majority as speaker, and I believe I had it in me to do a fine job. But I cannot do that job or be the kind of leader that I would like to be under current circumstances.

So I must set the example that I hope President Clinton will follow. I will not stand for speaker of the House on January 6th, but rather I shall remain as a backbencher in this Congress that I so dearly love for approximately six months into the 106th Congress, whereupon I shall vacate my seat and ask my governor to call a special election to take my place.

All of a sudden, the Democrats realized they'd been put to shame by a man willing to lead by actions, not just words. Now, a cry of "No, no!" went up from the House. But whether this was Republicans, shamed Democrats, or both, Livingston's mind had already been made up. This Republican led by example, ending his own political career on the cusp of being chosen for one of the highest posts in the land. He wasn't censured, he was gone.

Yes there's hypocrisy, on both sides. Yes there are cover-ups, on both sides. Yes, there are actions to be condemned, on both sides. But overall, I believe Republicans have done the right thing more often and at higher costs. And as Shapiro notes, in the Republican party, even the hypocrites can be found to be pushing traditional values, while many true-blue Democrats are trying to make it easier for sexual predators to cover up their statutory rape of 14-year-olds.

Posted by Doug at October 4, 2006 02:40 PM

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"liberals would be hard-pressed to spot a problem with his behavior."

This is the sort of diabolical lies and truth-twisting that I rebuke in the name of Christ.

No "liberals" are advocating child molestation. Or, at least, no more liberals than conservatives.

You then went on to say:
"Shapiro goes down the list of Democrats that the Left either made excuses for or simply slapped on the wrist--Studds, Clinton"

Do we really want to get in a pissing match on which party/wing has the most misbehaving politicians?

(Foley, of course, and:

Dick Armey (R-Texas), former professor, has been accused by The Dallas Observer of sexually harassing female students.

Edison Misla Aldarondo, Republican legislator, was sentenced to 13 years in prison for molestation of his daughter and her friend

Randal David Ankeney, Republican activist, faces 6 charges related to getting a 13-year-old girl stoned on pot and then having sex with her.

Robert Bauman, Merrill Robert Barter, Bob Barr, Parker J. Bena, Louis Beres, Andrew Buhr, for starters - Republican/Rightwingers all, look up their charges...)

The one thing you said correctly is that politicians from both parties are going to sin, some horrendously. That, and the Dems should have demanded that Clinton step down. But let's not go casting aspersions on the Dems as the party of no values, please.

Posted by: Dan Trabue at October 4, 2006 11:02 PM

I'll take exception to that phrase from Shapiro's piece in it's more obvious meaning, but at the same time the question is one of accountability. Censure has really been no more than a slap on the wrist and has often looked to me to be a way of appearing outraged while not having to actually do anything about it. Assuming that, essentially doing nothing when given these circumstances would give one pause as to whether or not those imposing censure deep down really do spot a problem.

So again, this is not a question of who's human politicians are worse, it's a question of accountability. You may agree that Clinton should've stepped down, and yet the vast majority of Democratic leadership wanted...wait for it...censure! While, during the very same period, a Republican shoo-win for Speaker quits over similar circumstances. Where's Randy "Duke" Cunningham? Resigned. Where's former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay? Resigned.

The Dems have values, they just line up more with Hollywood's than mine.

Posted by: Doug Payton at October 5, 2006 09:48 AM

My point is that the Dems' values aren't often mine as a Christian, but neither are the Republicans. And at least many of the Dems' stated values (fiscal responsibility - ha! whodathunkit? - concern for the poor, environmental responsibilities, responsible national security) line up with my Christian values than the Republicans'.

Posted by: Dan Trabue at October 5, 2006 11:04 AM

Yeah, both parties have pretty pitiful records when it comes to sex scandals. Newt Gingrich condemned Clinton for Lewinskygate, meanwhile he was cheating on his cancer-stricken wife. Republicans have a long list of abuses against children. So do Democrats. But it *is* Republicans who claim to have moral values on their side.

Posted by: Kevin at October 6, 2006 07:14 PM

The republicans have been dishonest about themselves and their policies for a considerably long time. It doesn't matter that there are other entities that we can criticise. the republ;icans have to be analysed for what they are, not what they compare to. The republicans as a political force are bad and they are bad for us. I have been a republican for forty years, but I can't take it anymore.

Posted by: Mike at October 6, 2006 09:10 PM

But it *is* Republicans who claim to have moral values on their side.

Kevin, I find it interesting that I hear this a lot in the discussions I've read over the Foley issue. The implication is that the Democrats *don't* claim it. I know they talk about it when a Republican fouls up, but my question to you would be, if they don't claim moral values, as is the implication, are you comfortable with that? If they do claim it, then what's the difference, since they both will have people who fail to live up to those standards?

Mike, I'll reiterate what I said. Both sides have their problems. Nobody is denying that. My point is accountability. If you're waiting for the perfect human being to put forth policies about good morals, you're in for a long wait. In the meantime, I'm casting my lot with the side that, more often, removes the problem rather that slaps their offenders on the wrist, or look the other way when said offenders ignore the reprimand.

Posted by: Doug Payton at October 7, 2006 09:12 PM