Mark Foley is a sick sexual predator who has spent his six terms in Congress practicing his predation techniques on Congressional pages. This is much like the school teacher who had a baby with her 13 year-old student. The more political fact, though, is that the Republican leadership of the House has pretty clearly had strong indications of the extent of his behavior since at least 2000 and done nothing about it.
Dennis Hastert has been the Speaker of the House and ultimate leader of the Republicans in the House for all this time, and he either knew about it and did nothing (the most likely case) or he should have known about it and failed to run an institution in which such threats were routinely indentified, reported, and dealt with.
This was first and foremost a failure of Mark Foley. But protecting him and concealing his behavior from scrutiney and corrective action is a clear failure of both the Republican Party in Congress (the Republicans who knew of this carefully concealed it from Democrats in Congress, a fact which makes the Republicans even more guilty and knowledgeable of their own guilt) and it is an absolute failure of the Speaker, Dennis Hastert and the leadership of the House Republican Party.
Chalk up another total failure in governance to the Republican Party, this time in their own self-selected arena as Masters of Moral Proptiety and well as failure in leadership.
The Foley matter has really hurt the House Republicans. The LA Times points out that they have determined what their strategy for the last 30 days before the November election has to be:
...in recent days, Republicans have tried to rally around Hastert as well as coalesce around a double-barreled message of demanding GOP accountability and blaming Democrats.That seems to me to be a self-defeating message. How can they credibly demand GOP accountability and simultaneously try to blame the Democrats who are not in the positions of power in the House?
This message is itself another admimission of defeat by the House Republican party and House Leadership.
The fact is that the Republican Party has failed the Pages in the Page program, it has failed the voters, and it has failed America overall. So they attempt to demand an accountability of their own leaders that they only talk about when badly threatened politically and simultaneously try to blame the Democrats for their own failures, thereby nullifying any talk of holding leaders accountable.
Amazing, isn't it? Sick, but still amazing.