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Why did Hastert protect Foley?

And why am I using the past tense?

LA Times: Everybody knew about Foley:

Foley's Proclivities an Open Secret?
"Almost the first day I got there I was warned," said Mark Beck-Heyman, a San Diego native who served as a page in the House of Representatives in the summer of 1995. "It was no secret that Foley had a special interest in male pages," said Beck-Heyman, adding that Foley, who is now 52, on several occasions asked him out for ice cream.

Jeebus.

Another former congressional staff member said he too had been the object of Foley's advances. "It was so well known around the House. Pages passed it along from class to class," said the former aide, adding that when he was 18 a few years ago and working as an intern, Foley approached him at a bar near the Capitol and asked for his e-mail address.

Hastert and the Republican leadership say "We didn't see the Instant Messages! And besides, we banned Foley from from contact with that page!"(Anyone notice those two statements contradict? If they ban him from contact, why not dig deeper and find the IMs?)

But anyone, even Republicans, who's not part of the leadership, can see that what Haster should have done:

At least one Republican lawmaker, however, has said that GOP lawmakers should have dug deeper into Foley's behavior months ago.

West Virginia Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, who sits on the board overseeing the page program but who has said she was not told of any of the e-mails, told the Charleston Gazette over the weekend that even the less-explicit ones should have been viewed as suspicious

"I don't think it would pass the sniff test," she told the newspaper. "Even asking those questions — that is not normal between a 52-year-old adult and a 16-year-old…. It's not like they're family friends or anything. I think it would raise some serious questions."

Interesting that Republican backbenchers are willing to throw Denny over the side.

Why did Foley do it? Because he could.

"Mark Foley knew he could get away with this type of behavior with male pages because he was a congressman," he said.

Authoritarian personalities, with total power, and no accountability. Always a recipe for disaster.

Everybody knew.

Hastert had to have known. (DeLay would have known!)

So, if Hastert knew, and did nothing, there's only one conclusion:

Hastert is protecting Foley.

Why? Just power at all costs, or something worse?

UPDATE How else would you describe Hastert's behavior, other than protecting Foley? WaPo:

Key House Republicans learned of the e-mails in 2005 and chose to deal with Foley privately, warning him to cease contact with the 16-year-old former House page.

But if Foley is innocent, why force him to cease contact? And if Foley might not be innocent, why not investigate further? If Hastert had ordered that done, the creepy IMs would have been discovered.

Many Democrats and some Republicans sharply criticized the decision by key House GOP members to handle the matter of the Louisiana e-mails so quietly that only one of the three lawmakers who oversee the page program knew anything about it. The other two -- one Democrat, one Republican -- expressed anger yesterday that they had been kept in the dark.

(Note another Republican, not in the leadership, immediately "getting it.")

I'd say that "handle privately" is another way of saying "protect Foley." Wouldn't you?

UPDATE Chris has a great--though prematurely triumphant--post on how the Hastert-Foley scandal has "decapitated" the Republican leadership. They're running around like chickenhawks with their balls cut off....

UPDATE Glenn (our Glenn, the guy who actually does analysis) has a great post on, gosh, an actual cover-up in the classic Nixonian mode:

John Aravosis says that he has now "confirmed" the story above -- that it was indeed Rep. Reynolds' Chief of Staff, Kirk Fordham, who tried on behalf of Mark Foley to convince ABC to suppress the IMs. For the reason I explained above, I think this is a huge revelation. It means that the Chief of Staff for the current NRCC Chair, a key GOP House leadership position, tried on behalf of Foley -- after he knew of the IMs -- to block the public from learning about the IMs by offering ABC an exclusive interview with Foley in exchange for ABC's agreement to conceal those messages.

That means that the top aide to one of the Republican House leaders, as recently as last Friday, tried to suppress the most incriminating and important facts regarding this scandal. Isn't that the very definition of "cover-up"?

UPDATE As John Cole says:

It is hard for voters to get past the idea that their kid might be upstairs on his computer getting perved on by middle-aged Republicans while the leadership of the party (the party of values, mind you), informed of this man’s predilections, was just too busy to be bothered. Ask your neighbor what they think of the party that harbors a man who, in his spare time, spends hours IMing teenagers to measure their penis.

People understand that, and it should scare the shit out of the GOP.

Naughty bloggers! He said "shit"! What will Dean Floater think?

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