10.05.2006

Keep the Foley Scandal in Context

Recent press releases by Governor Doyle's campaign and the Democratic Party of Wisconsin have been attacking Congressman Green over the Foley/Page scandal. Although what Foley did was inexcusable and despicable, the idea of blaming Green and Speaker Hastert for what he did is absolutely pathetic.

First, the Democrats wanted to lay blame on Green because he is part of the House leadership. However, that doesn't stick because no one has ever mentioned Green as one of the House Republicans who new about the e-mails between Foley and the page. These e-mails were not only known by Hastert, but by newspapers in Foley's home state of Florida. Although the e-mails were considered overly friendly, neither the papers, Hastert, or the page's family saw any need to pursue the situation, other than to ask Foley not to contact the page any more. It was not until after an ABC news story that the more explicit and vulgar Instant Messages came to light.

Now, it seems that because Hastert knew the e-mails existed, Green must return any and all money he received from the Speaker because it is now "tainted."

Let's look at that money for a second; the last time Green accepted PAC money from Hastert was in 2001, well before he ever learned of the e-mails between Foley and the page. So money that Green received long before anything bad or improper even could have happened must now be returned. That doesn't make a lot of sense to me.

To the larger point though, why should Hastert resign? So far, what he has admitted knowing about, the e-mails not the IMs, was not enough for him to move to have Foley expelled from Congress. Newspapers in Florida knew of the same e-mails that the Speaker did, and they too concluded that there wasn't enough there to do anything with.

Also, this notion that Green donated Foley PAC money to charity only after "mounting criticism" is absurd. Green announced he would divest the money yesterday. Foley only resigned on Friday of last week. If you ask me that is fairly fast in the political world.

So, why pin all this on Mark Green's shoulders? Simple really. Governor Doyle is not interested in a debate about taxes, jobs, tuition, health care or anything else that actually matters in a Governor's race. No, instead Doyle is trying to run against the failings of others in Congress or the White House in the hopes that he can tie Green to them.

In this most recent attempt, let's all remember who the villain is: Mark Foley. Not Mark Green.