The Corner

Foley Fallout

The news that House Republican leaders may have known about disgraced former congressman Mark Foley’s behavior as early as several months ago is dynamite. We should certainly recognize that there may be a few agendas at work here, from a liberal media that’s hyping the story because it would love nothing more than a GOP pederasty scandal to an emerging Hastert vs. Boehner rivalry that is driven, alas, by personal ambition rather than political philosophy or a desire to get to the bottom of the Foley case.

If House Republican leaders really did avert their gaze from a problem they knew about, however, Foley could become the new Jack Abramoff. Except that whereas the details of Abramoff’s were always a bit complicated for the public to follow closely, the accusations now leveled at Foley are much simpler and more appalling. Foley is on the verge of becoming the poster child of a party that is concerned about little more than preserving its power. This could very well cost Republicans more than Florida’s 16th congressional district, which at this point they probably deserve to lose even if they somehow manage to replace Foley on the ballot or come up with another candidate; it might be the Democrats’ October surprise.

John J. Miller, the national correspondent for National Review and host of its Great Books podcast, is the director of the Dow Journalism Program at Hillsdale College. He is the author of A Gift of Freedom: How the John M. Olin Foundation Changed America.

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