Political blame game a bust

Ryan Houk

I fancy myself an intelligent man. But there is one thing I just don’t understand. Why is it that when Republicans screw up, they blame everyone on the planet but themselves?

Rep. Mark Foley of Florida was a very bad boy. For those of you smart enough to intentionally avoid the debacle of daily news, allow me to summarize the situation.

Foley recently resigned from Congress amid claims he allegedly engaged in sexually inappropriate communication with a former congressional page. The page was in high school at the time. And Republicans can’t seem to agree if Foley was actually responsible for his actions.

House Speaker Dennis Hastert referred to Foley’s actions as “vile,” saying he deceived his fellow Republicans. But multiple members of the GOP said they informed Hastert of Foley’s behavior early last year. Hastert retorted, saying if he was told, it must have been part of “a whole stack of things” which were brought to his attention.

Whatever those “things” were, they were obviously dire enough to overshadow news of in-house sexual advances toward minors. Hastert’s official statement is that he doesn’t remember being informed of Foley’s behavior, but doesn’t deny that he might have been.

Meanwhile, attorney David Roth blames mental illness for Foley’s behavior. He described his client as “completely devastated” over failing his party following his admission to an alcohol treatment center. Roth also said Foley was molested by a clergyman as a teenager, and it partially led to the representative’s inappropriate behavior. Apparently, if it hadn’t been for alcohol and predatory church officials, Foley would have been a better congressman.

Other Republicans are taking the blame game even farther. On the “CBS Evening News,” Gloria Borger said, “One senior House Republican says there is a lot of anger at a network of gay staffers who protect each other and do (other Republicans) disservice.” And Pat Buchanan said the scandal will “boomerang on Democrats” because the age of consent in D.C. is 16 largely due to the gay rights movement, “which is wholly inside the Democratic Party.”

So now it’s the homosexual’s fault for being gay, and the page’s fault for being “legally” old enough to consent. All this in addition to the claim that the true fault lies with Democrats who withheld the information from the press until it was strategically beneficial to them. Now because of Florida law, voters will still find Foley’s name on the ballot even though he’s been replaced by Joe Negron.

I have only two things to say to that. First, I wonder how it’s possible that the Democrats knew more about Foley’s behavior than his own boss did. Second, let’s hear it for the Democrats finally playing ball like their opponents do. After all, I didn’t see the Republicans calling “foul” when they stole the election in 2000.

To conclude: Being gay does not make you a pedophile, being Republican doesn’t make you always right, and, now and then, everybody has to face the music. If the Republicans had any self respect at all, they’d stop passing the buck and start accepting responsibility for their actions.

Happy voting.

Ryan Houk is a junior English major and a columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].