Did Foley Deserve To Go Down?

It’s been more than two years since Mark Foley garnered notoriety for sending salacious emails to congressional pages.

The Floridian Congressman has since resigned, come out and been cleared of any illegal wrong-doing, which means it’s a perfect time for right-leaning journalist James Kirchick to come out and blast the left for addressing Foley’s misdeeds in the first place.

Though he describes Foley’s online activities as “reprehensible,” Kirchick wags a righteous finger at “democratic operatives” and other liberal activists who, he says, simply used Foley as a political pawn.

The Congressman didn’t deserve such malicious attention – rather, he needs our sympathy and understanding. Or something.

From The Advocate:

My initial reaction to hearing about Foley was one not only of disgust but pity. While there’s no question that Foley behaved inappropriately, he never hurt anyone (indeed, in several of the IM conversations, it’s clear the 17-year-old “victim” happily egged him on), and he was apparently the victim of childhood trauma. Shouldn’t gay men and lesbians, of all people, have a bit of sympathy for such an individual?

On the contrary, the reactions of liberal gay activists, who took obscene pleasure in seeing one of their brethren dragged through the mud, were at times hard to differentiate from the inquisatorial demands of many conservative commentators simultaneously calling for a purge of the so-called Velvet Mafia from Republican congressional offices. Normally, it’s the GOP that uses gay-baiting to win elections. This time it was Democrats.

Kirchick goes on to say left lavenders are again playing games with people’s private lives, this time with John McCain staffer Mark Buse, who was outed last month.

Not only are such efforts disingenuous, says Kirchick, but end up perpetuating homophobic stereotypes. That’s not the case with Buse, we don’t think, nor do we think the charge can be made in terms of Foley – or other high profile cases, like Larry Craig and Bob Allen.

By claiming the media’s attention on raunchy IMs or bathroom antics somehow contributes to homophobia is a bit short-sighted. It’s because of homophobia that men like Craig and Foley find themselves in such sticky situations. They are affected by it and, sadly, often contribute to it. By blaming the left and the media, Kirchick’s displacing responsibility from society as a whole and, in fact, this nation’s conservative set, who do more to hurt gay people – publicly and privately – than any so-called democratic operative.