The U.S. House has approved "improvements" to the Congressional Page program that are designed to prevent a Congressional pederast like Mark Foley from conducting his personal page penis census. Their solution? Put more people on the oversight board for the program and require them to have meetings.
Yeah, that was the problem, there weren't enough people on the board and they didn't meet enough. If you have ever wanted to see the Potomac Two-Step, you have just had a front row seat.
Let's recap, shall we?
1) Foley gets caught soliciting male pages for cyber-sex.
2) It turns out he has been doing it for years.
3) It is further discovered that Republican congressmen and their staffers knew about it.
4) They choose to do nothing about it to help keep his seat on their side of the aisle.
And now the good part...
5) NOBODY TELLS THE PAGE BOARD.
From today's AP article: "Shimkus had learned of Foley's e-mails in November 2005. While he went with the House clerk to confront Foley, Shimkus never convened a page board meeting and Foley failed to stop his messages to male former pages." Source: House approves page program reforms
Can someone please explain to me how adding a few seats to the Board is going to prevent unethical Congresspeople and staffers from doing the exact same thing again? It isn't, and you know why? Because the problem wasn't the Page Board, it was the Republican leadership.
The House Ethics Committee investigated this matter and found that people acted improperly, but refused to dole out punishments. Why? Republican Congressman and staffers knew what was going on and didn't report it. They put their political futures ahead of the well-being of the teenagers for whom they were supposed to be caring. They were co-conspirators in Foley's actions and they deserve to be punished.
That is how you solve the problem. Hold the people who protected Foley accountable. Let the world see that this type of political cover-up will not be tolerated. Make the men and women we elected understand what we expect of them and show them the consequences of failing to uphold that standard.
But that isn't how the Potomac Two-Step goes. Instead they sell America a reform that has a great beat and is easy to dance to but doesn't do a damn thing to correct the original problem: the Congressmen themselves.
Personally Mr. Clark, I give it a two. It is hard to dance to and mostly just makes me want to scream.
For a more complete history of the Foley scandal, check out the posts in The T-Dude October Archive