From a reader:
Jonah: Obligatory disclaimer: I’m a moderate Democrat who hopes to see the Republicans lose control of at least one chamber of Congress this fall, largely for checks and balances purposes. So I’ve been taking two lumps of Schadenfruede with my coffee each morning, as I sit down to read about the GOP leadership squirming its way through this whole Foley mess. Having said that, I think a lot of the rhetoric about Foley–largely from the left, but occasionally from the right–is over the top. As you note, the charge of pedophilia here is something of a stretch. My pet peeve, though, is the use of the term “predator.” Ted Bundy was a predator. John Wayne Gacy was a predator. Mark Foley is a dirty old man (okay, a nominally closeted gay dirty old man) who would have been far more at home in Periclean Athens than in modern-day Florida’s 16th district. To be sure, he abused his office, put some freaky e-moves on young men one-third his age, may well have scored, and crossed a lot of lines that clearly shouldn’t have been crossed. If my kids had been involved, regardless of gender, I’d be going berserk. But is Foley a “predator”? Not unless there’s a whole lot more here–I’m talking rape, genuine stalking, and the like–that we don’t know about.