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10.18.2006 | POLITICS

Just in the nick of time, Sean Hannity, Ann Coulter, Rush Limbaugh, G. Gordon Liddy and a host of other right-wing shills have put forth their assessment of the Mark Foley matter, and here it is -- the Mark Foley affair is one of the biggest Democratic scandals in memory and is sure to hurt the Party of Jefferson at the polls next month. Their reasoning, which is surprisingly convincing, goes a little something like this.

First, Foley is merely the casualty of a great culture war. Clearly, the Foley affair is the fault of the Democrats for their long-term efforts on behalf of gay rights, which helped foster a cultural environment where a sick man like Mark Foley felt more comfortable perpetrating these indiscretions than handling his feelings the old-fashioned way -- by committing suicide. Instead of persecuting hard-working public servants like Mark Foley, how about taking a good long look at the clothing designers -- mostly Democrats -- responsible for a wide array of tight-fitting, posterior-hugging jeans and slacks?

Next, it becomes more obvious with each passing day that the seeds of this scandal were actually sown long ago, during the Clinton administration. It was former President Bill Clinton’s fully consensual relationship with an adult woman that opened the door to this sort of marginally gratuitous behavior by well-meaning, God-fearing Republicans who would otherwise be at the Rotary Club playing mahjong. Not to mention that it was the Clinton administration which provided not only a rough prototype for this sort of trespass, but also the means to achieve it. It is precisely the invention and proliferation of the internet that has facilitated such ills. This means you, Al Gore.

In leaking sordid information of this nature -- previously available only to generations of congressional pages, aides, Beltway insiders, journalists, correspondents, and casual observers -- the Democrats have compromised the welfare of our sons and daughters. Common sense dictates that any such controversial disclosure should have been put off at least until Representative Foley had completed several more successful terms as co-chairman of the House Caucus of Missing and Exploited Children. And it should not go without saying that while many, many congressional pages have indeed been exploited, very few are actually missing.

The truth is, Mark Foley is not a predator. Mark Foley is a victim. The point is not that Mark Foley was sexually abused as a child. The point is that he was sexually abused by a Democrat. Cutting short Foley’s noble career was an injustice to decent and indecent Americans everywhere. Representative Foley was well aware of the temptations that come with power and was in the process of authoring groundbreaking legislation to see that this sort of thing never happened again except sometimes.

To name a few, there was "Just say no to pages." There was "No page left behind." There was a plan to replace the current batch of pages with the Hell’s Angels. There was a new bill in the planning stages called the "Proposition Proposition." What we need is a war on sex with pages. And who better to bring you that war than the people who brought you the war on terror, the war on drugs, and the war on New Orleans? A job as important as this one could never safely be left to the Democrats, as Democrats and Republicans are generally not on the same page.

While much of this is common knowledge, fewer people may be aware that the country has the Democrats to blame for pulling the plug prematurely on Representative Foley’s admirable one-man research effort into the evils of sexual deviancy and abuse of power on Capitol Hill. Precisely what this research might have yielded, sadly, we may never know. Thanks to all the self-serving Democrats in office, Mark Foley will now be unable to find the real perverts out there. And perhaps the greatest of all injustices concerns the speed with which Representative Foley was tried and convicted in the court of public opinion. This is a nation of laws. Our tradition is well established -- innocent until featured on MSNBC’s "To Catch a Predator."

Perhaps even more noxious than the Democrats' responsibility for bringing down Mark Foley is their culpability in the cover-up. The Democrats are to blame for endlessly bogging down House Speaker Dennis Hastert with their constant nagging over Abu-Ghraib, oil prices, Tom DeLay, Randy Cunningham, and Jack Abramoff. With all that on your plate, ask yourself -- would you have time to track the whereabouts of a bunch of promiscuous, thrill-seeking Lolitas and boy toys running wild, free, and semi-naked in the halls of Congress?

Finally, the Foley affair is only the latest in a long series of attempts by the Democrats to undermine the war on terror. Put yourself in the place of our fighting men and women. How would it feel to know the folks at home were more concerned with a few minor indiscretions on Capitol Hill than in creating a global environment hospitable to the torture of prisoners? You have to ask yourself, where are our priorities?

The Democrats can cut and run only so many times. There can be no more hiding from the fact that they have faintly criticized, weakly scolded, and sometimes merely stood by and watched as Republicans ran this country into the ground. On November 7, a great national referendum is coming to a polling place near you. And when Democrats allow yet another election to be mis-tallied, miscounted, distorted, strong-armed, electronically usurped, and ultimately stolen by the Republicans, the people will have truly spoken.

About the Author
Rich Herschlag is the author of a new book, Before the Glory: 20 Baseball Heroes Talk About Growing Up and Turning Hard Times Into Home Runs (HCI, 2007). His other books include Lay Low and Don't Make the Big Mistake (Simon & Schuster, 1997) and Women Are From Manhattan, Men Are From Brooklyn (Black Maverick, 2002).

Also an engineer, he runs a consulting business, Turnkey Structural, that specializes in the rehabilitation of residential and commercial buildings. Also a radio commentator, he can be visited at

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