Topic: Democrat Watch
Democrats are currently trying to milk the Mark Foley congressional page scandal to regain Congress in the upcoming elections and to destroy Speaker Dennis Hastert.
But in 1983, there were two sister scandals that did not cause Dems so much concern. Gerry Studds (D-Mass) and Dan Crane (R-Ill) had been found to have had consentual sex with 17-year-old congressional pages. Though neither instance was technically illegal, they were egregious in regard to relations between authority figures and subordinates (now well known as sexual harassment) and of course sex with a minor.
Newt Gingrich urged the expulsion of both members, but the Democrat-controlled House voted instead to just censure them. Crane showed remorse but was defeated in his next re-election bid. Studds, however, was unapologetic and turned his back during the censure. He continued to be re-elected to office until his retirement in 1996. One might assume that voters in Massachusetts were less concerned than those in Illinois.
The Foley scandal is not fundamentally different from Bill Clinton's relationship with Monica Lewinsky, except that she was not a minor, though she was a subordinate. Note that Foley did not actually have sexual relations with the page. In Clinton's case, Democrats managed to turn the scandal into a negative for Republicans by engaging public sentiment.
Copyright 2006 Paul A. Hughes