There’s nothing like a good old-fashioned sex scandal to liven up the upcoming U.S. congressional elections. Representative Mark “Too Friendly” Foley, a 3-term Congressman from Florida, is under investigation for sending e-mails and sexually explicit instant messages to underage teenage male Congressional pages. It seems that his House colleagues knew of his actvities but looked the other way. Foley was the chair of the Congressional Committee on Missing and Exploited Children, which pursued legislation dealing with sexual predators. It certainly takes one to know one.
When news of his cybersex activities broke, Foley resigned from Congress and checked himself into an rehabilitation facility for alcoholics. In typical American fashion, the perpetrator, once caught, does the following: a) confides to a drug or alcohol abuse problem; b) enters rehab; c) contritely admits to certain disturbing proclivities; d) claims to have been victimized as a child too. For Americans, the road to redemption is paved with public confessions. Next stop for Foley: a guest appearance on Oprah.
Coming five weeks before the midterm elections, the timing of the Foley revelations is particulalry worrisome to Republicans, who are struggling to retain control of Congress in the face of a spirited challenge from the Democrats. Of course, the biggest issue hounding the Republican Party is the increasingly unpopular war in Iraq. Disapproval of the Bush administration’s handling of the Iraq conflict is now at 61% of likely voters, per the latest survey. Such displeasure will be felt at the November polls.
As for Foley, his acts constitute soliciting underage children for sex, according to legal experts, and amounts to grave violations of state and federal laws. He now faces the grim and ironic prospect of being prosecuted under some of the very laws he helped legislate.
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