This photo of Foley is from 1999.[via Karena]
Yes, he does look like a patronizing dork in the picture, laughing it up regarding how he has his hand on the hat of one of those anonymous little people who exist to serve their betters. But what if he's just a patronizing dork?
Avedon has a brave and decent post up about Mark Foley. I tried to leave part of this as a comment, but had difficulty. It's not clear to me what he did that actually qualifies as pedophilia either, in terms I've what I've heard thus far. I left a comment at Karena's, to the effect that I felt that he might be being railroaded, and one of the other commenters replied that if that was the case, why did he immediately resign when this broke?
I'll admit that gave me pause--I reflected on it. It occurs to me that Foley knew his goose was cooked, and there was no other way out. Consider:
1.the specifics of what you are accused of is never revealed because it's considered too sensitive to reveal because we're talking about minors. This allows people's imaginations to run wild. Did he actually proposition for sexual favors? From what I've heard, apparently not.
2.He's a gay republican being accused of these things, in the height of an election widely described as particularly desperate for his party. The dynamic is different for republicans. There's the theocratic base to contend with, should he be foolish enough to run again in '08(or even a recall election in '07) if he somehow won with this breaking in late September. Then there's the party higher ups. Bigshots demanding their contributions back and making him lose face, and maybe a blog led hate email campaign and astroturfing newspaper op-ed pages with strangely-similar-in-wording demands for his dropping out of the race.
2b.Some conservos are treating this as an opportunity to suggest all gays are pedophiles, or latent pedophiles who would act on their presumptive pedophilia if they had half a chance. If Foley's sense of identity as a closeted republican all these years has been bolstered and developed by peers and supporters whom he perceived as regarding gays this way, this may make being outed like this particularly trying on his psyche. And consequently make him fold as he did. Besides, do we know that he first heard about this on 9.28 or 9.29? Maybe he was threatened with being outed for weeks or even months now, and what seemed sudden to the rest of us may have seemed to him like a relief.
3. Absolutely nobody has been discussing whether or not the IM messages have been authenticated. I'm not recommending it, but if you know the user name and password, you can pretend to IM as Mark Foley or Paris Hilton or Condi Rice or whoever.(Maybe most US teevee reporters, at the national level, are too stupid to know what an IP address is. I believe that text messages from mobile phones also have what are called ESN signatures*(unless they're from really old analog-only cell phones from the 90s.) And some of the IMs are over a year old. Would the ISP or telecom providers have kept the data?)
3b. This provides a neat(too neat) segue for the GOP to say
"telecoms need to hold on to more of their data for longer for future law enforcement consideration! Have we learned nothing from that unfortunate business with Mark Foley?"
It will be demagogued into the pending "Screw Net Neutrality Act of 2006", and used to broadly suggest persons who object to the anti-NN parts of the overall bill as people who want to enable child molestation on the net. What? You don't think the loudmouths on TV would do this?
4. This broke just in time to distract people from the Military Tribunals Act of 2006, signed by the senate the night before. How about that.
Wikipedia'a article on net neutrality,
Microsoft proxy can omit neutrality issue -- US SEC - Reuters India - Oct 3, 2006
"Why capitol hill pages fear retaliation"[via Avedon.]
*oops. when I originally posted this, I wrote "ISN". Here's a brief explanation.
cross-posted at HZ.