As events unfolds it appears that House leaders knew about Mark Foley's perversion for several years without removing him.
On Capitol Hill, House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., denounced sexually explicit instant messages Foley sent in 2003 to pages as"vile and repulsive"and denied that House leaders had access to them.
However, Hastert and others, including Majority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, and Rep. Tom Reynolds, R-N.Y., the chairman of the House campaign effort, for months had been aware of a questionable 2005 e-mail exchange between Foley and a Louisiana teen.
GOP leaders are facing questions of a cover-up while Democrats across the country seize on the scandal, demanding an independent investigation and calling for some Republicans to resign their leadership posts.
Republican candidates, meanwhile, are distancing themselves from Foley and seeking inquiries. Some Republicans also are calling for accountability from GOP leaders who knew about some of Foley's behavior and failed to take action.
"If they knew or should have known the extent of this problem, they should not serve in leadership,"said Rep. Christopher Shays, a Republican in a competitive re-election fight in Connecticut.
I'm glad some Republicans are standing up to the complicity of the party leadership with Foley's immorality, but I'd go farther than Representative Shays and say that no Congressman who knew of Foley's actions deserves to remain in office. Even if Foley committed no crimes, his actions were reprehensible and he should have been thrown out of the House; Article 1, Section 5 of the Constitution gives the House the power to expel a member for any reason with a two-thirds majority. Any Congressman could have entered such a motion or even held a press conference, but none had the courage to do so.
That the Democrats have done worse is irrelevant. Frankly, no one expects the Democrats to take the moral high road -- and they don't claim it. The Republican party is supposed to stand for family values, for personal accountability, and for a definite boundary between right and wrong. When we condemn Democrat politicians for their plentiful despicable acts but then do the same ourselves we undermine not only our moral authority, but also every other cause we advocate. How will the War on Terror fare if Democrats take control of Congress because Foley wasn't cast out from among us earlier? How many babies will be aborted because Roe v. Wade continues to stand as law? How many innocents will be victimized by thugs because their own right to carry weapons continues to be infringed? How many will continue in poverty because of misguided wealth redistribution schemes?
Thanks a bunch, Republican "leaders". With your pathetic play-along attitude you've severely threatened everything our party claims to stand for. America will suffer for it.