Blood in the Water

Major sex scandals always seem to start with just a faint hint of impropriety; a friendly email message, a late—night phone call, or maybe a smarmy comment and a wink in the lunchroom. If not taken seriously, it becomes openly suggestive remarks, sexual innuendo and some playful physical contact. Soon, it appears more acceptable and less suspicious; except when it happens in the political arena during the election cycle. For some strange reason, as we get closer to November, the political olfactory senses become amazingly acute.

They say a shark can detect one drop of blood in a million drops of water and can smell blood a quarter—mile away. Well, the sea predator has nothing on a political party when a candidate from the opposition party is suddenly wounded.  However, in this case, the political sharks from both major parties are circling around the hierarchy of the GOP establishment trying to ascertain who knew what and when.

All the facts are not out yet, but one thing is clear, Florida Rep. Mark Foley, who, bizarrely enough, just happens to be the leader of the House caucus on Missing and Exploited Children, behaved at least mildly inappropriately with underage boys working as congressional pages. 

Since the scandal broke, Foley has not only resigned his seat, he has taken the 'fifth,' as in a fifth of scotch or vodka. Yes, once again we see an elected rep using the booze defense. The spirits made him do it. On advice of his attorney, rather than his physician, I suspect, Foley checked himself into an alcohol rehabilitation facility.

No, I'm not making fun of people with the serious disease of alcoholism. I'm being sarcastic about the speed with which some people duck for cover in a treatment program as soon as their greed, their malevolence or their perversion is exposed. It's a pathetic plea for sympathy, used by those who are cynical enough to believe that you actually can fool all the people all the time. To their credit, Republicans are publicly condemning the man who further eroded the little trust that still exists between the people and their government.

Nevertheless, the revelations sent House Republicans into damage—control mode amid charges by Democrats that some House leaders may have known for months about Foley's freindly overtures toward the young pages. Democrats have questioned whether the GOP leadership, including House Speaker Dennis Hastert, tried to protect a House seat in an election year at the expense of the well—being of teenage pages.

Mr. Hastert said he was 'outraged and disgusted with Congressman Mark Foley's actions.' I'm sure he is, as all decent people would be. But, if he thought he could cover it up until after the election, would he? How about the Democrats? Did they know about this long ago but decided to hold it as a bombshell just before the election?

That's the problem with political parties; they have a 'circle the wagons' mentality. If someone has the same political label as you, he or she must be protected 'for the good of the party.' Hence, when a thief or a pervert is discovered within the rank and file, the first thought that often comes to mind is not how to stop the illegal activity, protect the public and punish the offender, it's, who knows about it so far and how can we keep it from getting out?

If the media have gotten wind of it, the next step is generally for the Party to call for an investigation; especially if Election Day is near and the results of the probe won't be in until after the ballots are counted. In this case, a Republican leader said he told Hastert about the "overly friendly" emails months ago. Hastert says he doesn't remember. I wonder how long it will be before Hastert heads for a rehabilitation facility.

No, there's nothing funny about this; yet, sometimes it's necessary to use humor to make a point. During the past year or more, all we've heard from our 'leaders' on both sides of the aisle is: Who's going to win more seats in the House and Senate?

Sports analogies abound. When a star football or basketball player commits a crime, the 'team' is more afraid of losing the championship than they are of seeking justice for the victim. Who cares if a woman is raped by some thyroid—challenged megalomaniac as long as he can put points on the scoreboard? Who cares if some guy is playing footsy with underage boys as long as his vote can help keep a Party in power? This country is hemorrhaging from a political bloodbath that views Party dominance as more important than public safety.

Bob Weir is a former detective sergeant in the New York City Police Department. He is the excutive editor of The News Connection in Highland Village, Texas.  Email Bob

Major sex scandals always seem to start with just a faint hint of impropriety; a friendly email message, a late—night phone call, or maybe a smarmy comment and a wink in the lunchroom. If not taken seriously, it becomes openly suggestive remarks, sexual innuendo and some playful physical contact. Soon, it appears more acceptable and less suspicious; except when it happens in the political arena during the election cycle. For some strange reason, as we get closer to November, the political olfactory senses become amazingly acute.

They say a shark can detect one drop of blood in a million drops of water and can smell blood a quarter—mile away. Well, the sea predator has nothing on a political party when a candidate from the opposition party is suddenly wounded.  However, in this case, the political sharks from both major parties are circling around the hierarchy of the GOP establishment trying to ascertain who knew what and when.

All the facts are not out yet, but one thing is clear, Florida Rep. Mark Foley, who, bizarrely enough, just happens to be the leader of the House caucus on Missing and Exploited Children, behaved at least mildly inappropriately with underage boys working as congressional pages. 

Since the scandal broke, Foley has not only resigned his seat, he has taken the 'fifth,' as in a fifth of scotch or vodka. Yes, once again we see an elected rep using the booze defense. The spirits made him do it. On advice of his attorney, rather than his physician, I suspect, Foley checked himself into an alcohol rehabilitation facility.

No, I'm not making fun of people with the serious disease of alcoholism. I'm being sarcastic about the speed with which some people duck for cover in a treatment program as soon as their greed, their malevolence or their perversion is exposed. It's a pathetic plea for sympathy, used by those who are cynical enough to believe that you actually can fool all the people all the time. To their credit, Republicans are publicly condemning the man who further eroded the little trust that still exists between the people and their government.

Nevertheless, the revelations sent House Republicans into damage—control mode amid charges by Democrats that some House leaders may have known for months about Foley's freindly overtures toward the young pages. Democrats have questioned whether the GOP leadership, including House Speaker Dennis Hastert, tried to protect a House seat in an election year at the expense of the well—being of teenage pages.

Mr. Hastert said he was 'outraged and disgusted with Congressman Mark Foley's actions.' I'm sure he is, as all decent people would be. But, if he thought he could cover it up until after the election, would he? How about the Democrats? Did they know about this long ago but decided to hold it as a bombshell just before the election?

That's the problem with political parties; they have a 'circle the wagons' mentality. If someone has the same political label as you, he or she must be protected 'for the good of the party.' Hence, when a thief or a pervert is discovered within the rank and file, the first thought that often comes to mind is not how to stop the illegal activity, protect the public and punish the offender, it's, who knows about it so far and how can we keep it from getting out?

If the media have gotten wind of it, the next step is generally for the Party to call for an investigation; especially if Election Day is near and the results of the probe won't be in until after the ballots are counted. In this case, a Republican leader said he told Hastert about the "overly friendly" emails months ago. Hastert says he doesn't remember. I wonder how long it will be before Hastert heads for a rehabilitation facility.

No, there's nothing funny about this; yet, sometimes it's necessary to use humor to make a point. During the past year or more, all we've heard from our 'leaders' on both sides of the aisle is: Who's going to win more seats in the House and Senate?

Sports analogies abound. When a star football or basketball player commits a crime, the 'team' is more afraid of losing the championship than they are of seeking justice for the victim. Who cares if a woman is raped by some thyroid—challenged megalomaniac as long as he can put points on the scoreboard? Who cares if some guy is playing footsy with underage boys as long as his vote can help keep a Party in power? This country is hemorrhaging from a political bloodbath that views Party dominance as more important than public safety.

Bob Weir is a former detective sergeant in the New York City Police Department. He is the excutive editor of The News Connection in Highland Village, Texas.  Email Bob