Thomas Lifson, writing in The American Thinker, has the comparison of the two narratives that are shaping up in the Foley matter. The first is the one being pushed rather hard by the drive-by media and a lot of the left side of the blogosphere. The other is much more interesting.
The target of this narrative is the House leadership for its “failure” to “protect” the pages from a presumed sexual predator. As Clarice Feldman has explained, this “blame the leadership” narrative rests on the public conflating the early emails, which were merely inappropriate (“overly friendly”) with salacious IM texts, which the leadership only learned of from the press.
Of course, it is risible that a party which harbored Gerry Studds, and still boasts Barney Frank as a senior and respected Member of Congress would point a finger at Republicans, who demanded and got Foley’s resignation from the House as soon as conclusive evidence surfaced of genuine misconduct (albeit misconduct milder than that of Studds, who engaged in sex with a male page who was a minor, or Frank, whose apartment was used as HQ of a male escort service run by his boyfriend).
But the hypocritical posturing of the Democrats could still work for them. The targeted GOP voters don’t care if Democrats have engaged in worse conduct and lived to cast votes in Congress. They expect nothing at all from Democrats, but demand much more from their own leadership. There are few issues as potent as protecting teens from sexual predators, hetero- or homosexual. The issue hits even lower than the gut.
How about the interesting question of whether or not a warning was issued to pages in 2001 or 2002, as ABC posted to its website:
Republican staff member warned congressional pages five years ago to watch out for Congressman Mark Foley, according to a former page.
Matthew Loraditch, a page in the 2001-2002 class, told ABC News he and other pages were warned about Foley by a supervisor in the House Clerk’s office.
Loraditch, the president of the Page Alumni Association, said the pages were told “don’t get too wrapped up in him being too nice to you and all that kind of stuff.”
Yet this morning’s New York Times carries a different account:
Matthew Loraditch, who worked as a page with Ms. Gallo and Mr. McDonald in 2001 and 2002, said a supervisor had once casually mentioned that Mr. Foley “was odd” and that he later saw sexually explicit text messages that Mr. Foley had sent to two former pages after they left the program.
But Mr. Loraditch said he was never warned by program supervisors to stay away from him. “He was friendly,” said Mr. Loraditch, who maintains a Web site for alumni and attends Towson University in Maryland. “He would talk to us more than some other members would.”
The Times article takes a far softer tone than what was heard elsewhere in the liberal media. The headline reads “Former Pages Describe Foley as Caring Ally” and contains sympathetic information.
Lifson points out that this odd approach by no less than the New York Times may signal that there is some extreme discomfort in the obviously homophobic attacks coming from the left. Many people have pointed out the blatant anti-semitism among many of the far left. The Democrats should be very, very cautious about this kind of attack. With the all out assault from the left on a sitting Democratic Senator in Connecticut who also happens to be a Jew and now this latest assault which appears to have overtly homophobic overtones (completely aside from the obvious heinous behavior of Foley – which everyone can agree on), there is an extreme danger of alienating some crucial core constituencies in the Democratic party.
I mentioned the presidential election in Brazil earlier today where an attempt at a smear backfired very badly on the party that tried it. Almost every, single weapon the Democrats have tried to swing this cycle has ended up being a double edged one that hurt them almost as much as it hurt the Republicans.
It would be a good idea to keep that in mind with this latest scandal.