It’s called the October Surprise – the earth-shattering scandal that is mysteriously revealed weeks, if not days, before an election.
In 2004, it was the falsified documents from CBS’s Dan Rather, aimed at President Bush’s military career. In 2000, it was a report that Bush had been arrested for drunk driving decades earlier.
This season, the award goes to Mark Foley. Most of you have heard about his inappropriate conversations with a male page. A few weeks ago, the Florida congressman resigned from his office in the midst of the emerging scandal.
According to reports, Foley sent sexually explicit e-mails and instant messages to a 16-year-old male who was working as a page on Capitol Hill. Let me be the first to say that what he did was inexcusable and I am glad he is gone. I trust the authorities will act appropriately.
You would think that would be the end, but no. The Democrats didn’t want to settle for just one person. With the quick resignation of Foley, I think they felt dissatisfied with the amount of damage they caused to the Republican Party. Therefore, they immediately called for the resignation of Dennis Hastert, the Speaker of the House. Are you kidding me?
The Democrats are accusing Hastert of trying to cover up the scandal. With little to no evidence of this, I see this as an attempt to distract the public’s attention. They want to broaden this issue as quickly as possible. Why?
What Democrats don’t want people to remember is that in 1983, one of their own, Congressman Gerry Studds, went beyond what Foley did. For one reason or another, neither the Democrats nor their friends in the media remembered Studds’ case in which the congressman actually had a sex with a male page, who was also a minor.
The difference Studds and Foley is that Studds didn’t leave Congress. His only punishment was a censure from the House of Representatives, which equates to a stern slap on the wrist. He then went on to be re-elected six times! Isn’t it funny how that hasn’t come up?
If the Democrat’s true motive is to hold our leaders to a higher standard, they should look no further than their own leadership. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, the most powerful Democrat in Congress, is currently the subject of multiple investigations for his less-than-honorable behavior.
He was recently involved in the sale of a piece of land that resulted in him pocketing $1.1 million, which he never disclosed to Congress, as mandated by the Federal Election Commission. Additionally, the FEC is looking into reports that Reid has used thousands of dollars from his campaign to pay for personal gifts to his staff, which is strictly forbidden by federal election laws.
So I would ask, where are the calls for his resignation? If the Democrats are so anxious to out Hastert for a crime he didn’t commit, wouldn’t it make sense to call upon the Democratic leader to step down for his transgressions? I guess not.
What I want to leave you with is a quote from the great Dwight D. Eisenhower. He once said, “You do not lead by hitting people over the head – that’s assault, not leadership.” Maybe the Democrats should take some advice from Ike.
Nick Hemenway is a senior mechanical engineering major. His column appears Thursdays in the Collegian. Replies and feedback can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.