Saturday, September 30, 2006

What if Mark Foley Were a Democrat?

By John W. Lillpop

Those who really believe there is no difference between Democrats and Republicans should consider the case of one Mark Foley.

Foley, for those who have been visiting Pluto or other distant universes the past few days, is the Republican Congressman from Florida who was caught exchanging sexually explicit instant messages with an underage page. An underage, male page, that is.

Go here:

Until his abrupt resignation, Foley was part of the Republican leadership in the U.S. House. In a bit of bitter irony, he was also chairman of the House caucus on missing and exploited children. Foley campaigned for tough laws against those who exploited children and once called such offenders “sick” people in need of mental health counseling.

Although Foley’s behavior fails to meet the normal Republican standard of traditional family values, at least he is no longer in office or tainting Congress with his presence.

If Foley were a Democrat, things would surely be different.

To begin with, Foley would have been lauded by the Democrat leadership for his courage and dignity in pursuing an “alternative lifestyle,” and for openly championing his unique sexuality in that hostile, homophobic environment otherwise known as the U.S. Congress.

Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) would abandon her full-time job as Chief Renovator of the Speaker’s office long enough to congratulate Foley for his “Special commitment to diversity and humanity in the hugely complex world of contemporary human relationships.”

Senator Harry Reid (D-Nev.) would have stopped campaigning for a terrorist bill of rights long enough to thank Foley for supporting the young male pages. “It would have been easy to abandon these young male pages when things started to unravel,” Reid would have whispered on the floor of the U.S. Senate.

“But being a good and decent Democrat, Mark Foley recognized the importance of building the confidence and self-esteem of these young men by being a credible role model for them to emulate for the rest of their lives,” Reid would have continued.

All in all, Democrat Foley would have been far more popular, influential, and powerful after his adventures with the young pages than before. In the parlance of Washington liberals, Foley would have finally “arrived.”

And who knows? Democrat Foley might have even leveraged his new fame into a run for governor of New Jersey, in the fine tradition of that great state!

John W. Lillpop is a recovering liberal.