Not me and Antid Oto (though if it were, I think I'd be the one making the weird face), but rather one of the first Google Image results for "Mark Foley"
So it seems fitting to post an email exchange we had last night about Foley fallout now, a month after the story broke.
on the blog a couple weeks ago you wrote that "what foley did was creepy, illegal, and wrong."
i agree with creepy and wrong, but why was it illegal if the age of consent in DC is 16? because he sent obscene material online? or did you not initially realize the age of consent is so low there? i'm curious which one, because i think it's so bizarre how everyone kept referring to foley's IM-buddies as "boys" and "children," when in fact they were, legally, consenting adults. like there's this real sex-panicked post by some guy ari berman at the nation where he's like "MARK FOLEY IS A DERANGED PERVERT TALKING ABOUT MASTURBATION WITH CHILDREN." i think it's disgusting because mark foley is disgusting and hideous (and their boss), but not cuz he's a "pedophile."
also, can you think of any straight celebrities who flaunt their teenage girlfriends, such as sports stars? i mean, besides R. Kelly.
ALSO, do you think the foley effect is basically over? aside from a few house races where people helped cover him up?
To which Antid Oto replied,
The initial things I read suggested that even if the guy was over the age of consent to have physical sex in DC, it would still be illegal to solicit sex online if he was under 18, according to some weird wrinkle of the law. I've since read that that may not be true. I don't know what the answer is, actually. In any case I think it's pretty clear-cut sexual harrassment if one of the pages complained, and that is definitely illegal.
I do think it's annoying that they're continually referred to as children, pretty obviously because parents get way more freaked out by their adolescent sons having sex with men than with women. I mean, did anyone really give a shit about Debra Lafave? (She is also way hotter than Foley, of course.)
It definitely affected Tom Reynolds' race, for one. He's the NRCC chair and that race (NY-26) was pretty much considered a slam dunk for him; then he got caught covering for Foley, his chief of staff resigned, and now it's within single digits. Also Dennis Hastert is now up only 10 points--unless there's a more recent poll. It probably is also hurting Heather Wilson (NM-01). I think the fact that it's coming out that Jim Kolbe (former Arizona congressman) also may have slept with pages may have brought Pederson a little closer to Kyl in the Arizona Senate race, but that probably didn't matter much.
I do think the effect has faded. Child advocate Patty Wetterling went from behind to 8 points ahead of nutjob Michele Bachman (MN-06) right after the Foley story broke, but now Bachman is back ahead. Reynolds was double digits down in the first polls after Foley; now he's back ahead.
It certainly stopped whatever momentum the Republicans hoped to get from the Torture Bill dead in its tracks. Basically their only hope now from the news is that Saddam Hussein's sentencing is scheduled for two days before the election. Apart from that it's all money, turnout, and cheating.
To which I will only add that there might also be some actual policy effects. There was some rumbling about raising the age of consent in DC (it does seem a bit strange that it's so much lower there than in adjoining states). I don't really care about that, unless they only raise the age of consent for gay sex. Which would be an unacceptable double standard.
As I wrote in the comments somewhere, the practical age of heterosexual consent is something more like 15 or 16, at least judging from the very young teen girls in braces and slutty clothes you see at annoying upscale nightclubs in Manhattan (I don't think it's unusual to see 14-year-olds on the arms of 20somethings at Marquee). Vincent Gallo just went on record about how he has a predilection for "sexy orphaned Jew teens." Emma B., maybe if you put your hair in pigtails and pretended to have really low self esteem you could finally consummate that Buffalo '66 fantasy?