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What A Difference Two Years Makes

As the sex scandal surrounding Congressman Tim Mahoney (D-FL) continues to evolve, I find myself amazed at the parallels with his immediate predecessor from Florida's 16th District, the infamous Mark Foley.

  • Both men ran on platforms of morality.
  • Both men were entangled in sex scandals.
  • Both men exploited the power of their office to facilitate their misconduct.
  • Both men had their peccadilloes discovered by leaders of their party, who did not expose it.
  • Both men's peccadilloes were exposed when the objects of their affection shared communications with the press.

Let's recap:

Foley, who had established himself as a champion of exploited children, apparently had a fondness for young men. More specifically, that niche of the market known as "barely legal." He chose to target past and present congressional pages, but first he'd make sure they were above the age of consent before pursuing them further. He also apparently never "closed the deal" with any of them beyond salacious e-mails, and doesn't appear to have violated any laws. He eventually resigned in disgrace.

In the aftermath, it came out that several Republican leaders had had been given some notices about Foley's conduct, but never exposed it or took any action. This was used by the Democrats as part of their "culture of corruption" campaign theme that helped them win both Houses in 2006.

Mahoney, the Democrat who took Foley's seat in Congress, is a married man who ran partly on his status as a champion of family values. He also had an affair with a campaign volunteer who he later hired for his Congressional staff. When the affair ended, he fired her and threatened to withhold her final paycheck if she revealed the relationship. When she threatened to sue him, he arranged for her to be paid over $100,000 for her silence.

It has been revealed that several leading Democrats in the House -- such as Rahm Emanuel and Chris Van Hollen -- were aware of at least the rumors surrounding Mahoney's conduct, but did nothing besides warn him to be careful lest it affect his re-election bid.

It is also unclear whether or not Mahoney violated any laws. In most cases, an employer who dismisses a subordinate after ending a sexual relationship and threatens to withhold their final paycheck if they don't keep silent is breaking several laws. But Congress routinely exempts itself from many of the laws they pass, so I don't know if Mahoney was safely acting like a petty, vindictive asshole with his threats.

Both Florida officials and the FBI investigated the Foley case, but in the end no charges were filed.

The FBI is currently investigating Mahoney.

As I said, the parallels are remarkable. But even more unbelievable are the differences.

Many of the same people who howled for Foley's head are doing all they can to studiously ignore Mahoney. I have yet to hear a single Democrat rail against him and his heavy-handed treatment of his former lover, to discuss the FBI investigation, or admit that they knew about his misconduct and decided it was no one's business.

Further, the press coverage of Mahoney has been almost minuscule compared to the feeding frenzy that surrounded Foley.

Make no mistake: while I think that Foley didn't break any laws, I still think he is vile, despicable scum and am delighted that he has been exposed and hounded out of office. I am relieved that he has this permanent taint on his name and reputation -- lord knows he earned every bit of it.

But I think that Mahoney deserves at least as much revilement.

The fact that he isn't being treated like Foley exposes the double standard when it comes to Democrats and women's issues -- as long as the issue isn't abortion.

Barack Obama was caught, on tape, calling a female reporter "sweetie" in a very dismissive tone -- and was given a pass.

Bill Clinton carried on an affair with a subordinate in the age when such relationships were considered exploitative when there was that much of a power discrepancy between the man and the woman in the workplace, and lied under oath to protect himself from another case where sexual harassment of an underling was alleged. He, too, was given repeated passes. Indeed, Time Magazine's Tina Burleigh once stated that "I'd be happy to give him (President Bill Clinton) a blowjob just to thank him for keeping abortion legal."

Ted Kennedy spent decades as a carousing womanizer, and even killed one while partying on Cape Cod.

And here we have a Democratic congressman who started an affair with a campaign staffer, brought her to DC and put her on the federal payroll, then when he grew tired of her charms fired her and threatened her to keep her silent about the affair. Another fine, outstanding example of how certain Democratic men -- regardless of their politics -- treat women in their private lives.

And how they are excused from their reprehensible behavior because of how they vote on key issues.

Mahoney, by his own words, is a bullying, despicable scumbag. He needs to be rejected, shunned, and investigated for any laws he might have violated in the treatment of his ex-lover.

And those Democrats who were aware -- or, to use the Foley standard, "should have been aware" -- of what he was up to need to be exposed as well.

But I ain't holding my breath over it.


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Comments (27)

More like "what a diffrence... (Below threshold)

More like "what a diffrence a political affiliaion makes"

I'm surprised, Mr.... (Below threshold)

I'm surprised, Mr. Tea, that you could be confused here, a simple check of party affiliation clears the problem right up.

That D after your name is t... (Below threshold)
just me:

That D after your name is the best inoculation against tough media coverage when embroiled in any kind of scandal. It often even allows you to keep your job.

I do note the huge difference in coverage-and while I would like to say the gay angle may have raised to Foley scandal up a notch or two, it shouldn't have raised it that much. You couldn't turn the nightly news on without hearing the name Foley. Even people who didn't live in his district knew who he was. I bet if you polled people on Mahoney you would just get a bunch of blank stares.

Media bias at its finest.

I'm not surprised Mahoney's... (Below threshold)
James H:

I'm not surprised Mahoney's in trouble. All those pranks he pulled on Captain Harris had to catch up to him eventually, right?

I continue to be amazed tha... (Below threshold)

I continue to be amazed that women in some Islamic countries meekly accept a 2nd-class (or lower) existence relative to men in those societies. They are afforded ONE group that they are allowed to feel and be "superior" to: non-Muslims.

In the Democratic Party the women are again afforded ONE group that they are allowed to feel and be "superior" to: Republicans. In all other cases the Democrat Taliban treats them like playthings. As Jay points out, the history of disdainful, if not outright mysoginistic, treatment of them is (or ought to be) called to question and roundly condemned. Instead it is rarely if ever mentioned...and even then quickly explained away.

Will Mahoney retain his seat? William "FreezerBurn" Jefferson continues to (oops, that was about corruption...another crime Democrats cannot, by definition, be guilty of).

The left doesn't care about... (Below threshold)

The left doesn't care about him because they have no core beliefs, no center to guide them. What a moral wasteland. ww

I'm of the mind that these ... (Below threshold)

I'm of the mind that these women, regardless of party affiliation, are just as despicable. Their utter disregard for the wives and children of their paramour is selfish and apathetic. They open themselves up for scorn and future mistreatment. And they deserve it just as much as their partner.

I'm not saying that anyone here is defending her, but that aspect of it gets lost all too often depending on one's feelings for the more recognized personality of the two, especially when politics are involved. We expect more of Mahoney, because of his leadership role, but don't expect as much of her.

We saw a total disconnect in this regard with the general public in the Bill and Monica affair. Conservatives blamed Bill for exploiting Monica and liberals, seeking to give Bill a pass, reserved far too much of their contempt for Monica.

Politics aside, I have no sympathy for either. I have no sympathy for Mahoney or this woman. She accepted a second-class role in his life and is now enjoying her role as his victim. There's something fundamentally wrong with that.

Maybe I'm overly sensitive of the issue of infidelity, but I have reason to be. But I don't think I'm wrong here in pointing out the not-so-obvious aspect of it all.

You missed the other affair... (Below threshold)

You missed the other affair he was having that caused the 'first' affair with Allen to go south. Not to mention the pork barrel grant he got for the 'other' woman.

Not to worry though, there's a 'D' after his name so his friends, the MSM, will be sure this gets the same amount of coverage as John Edwards affair got.

Sigh. Leave it to Jay Tea ... (Below threshold)

Sigh. Leave it to Jay Tea to pile on this otherwise fine man and not respect Tim Mahoney's privacy in what has to be an excruciating time for him and his family. Just who do you think you are, Mr. Tea? Are you saying you're that much better than this poor womanizer? Leave him alone! *sob* Leave Mahoney alone!! *sob* How dare you, Mr. Tea!? He's a HUMAN!!!

/obvious sarcasm

I remember when Time Magazi... (Below threshold)

I remember when Time Magazine's Tina Burleigh said "I'd be happy to give him (President Bill Clinton) a blowjob just to thank him for keeping abortion legal." She thought it was quite clever.

I guess Tina didn't get the irony in her statement. If her kind, pro-choice, would stick to BJs, abortion wouldn't necessary.

I used be upset about this ... (Below threshold)

I used be upset about this then I learned 10 truths of American Liberalism.
1. Consistency and Liberalism are mutually exclusive
2. Conservatives and Republican are evil therefore anything you do as liberal is justifiable whether it be moral or not
3. All people with R in their name are Racist and if they are Black then they are Uncle Toms if are part of other grops they are traitors to their race
4. Americans are fundamentally stupid and need the Guidance of Liberal in charge.
5. If a Conservative has good Idea refer to rules 2 and 3
6. Money is only good if you a Liberal has a lot of it and others depend on the Liberial government to get it. Otherwise people (refer to 4) will not use it in the correct way
7. If the Constitution interferes with you either lie about (refer to 4) think of the funding father as being conservative refer to 2
8. Religion is only good when you can twist it for your own use otherwise keep rule 4 in mind
9. USA is too young of country and we must take guidance form Europe even though they have committed genocide, imperialism and every other evil that Americas is routinely accused of. However if someone questions this refer to 4 and rule 1
10. The press is your friend. If there are those in the press that are not your friend refer to 2,3 and 4 and then it is your Moral right to shut them down.

The most ethical Congress e... (Below threshold)
James Cloninger:

The most ethical Congress evah!

It's a top to bottom double... (Below threshold)

It's a top to bottom double standard that has been going on for years and years. Nothing is going to change.

The real difference is the willing support the left has from the MSM. One standard for the left, a very different one for the right. So the MSM takes events and spins them and the American people hear what is fed to them. Recent example is Edward's affair. MSM, silence.

Best part:<a href=... (Below threshold)

Best part:


He lost track of the number of times he cheated on his wife. What a great guy!

I disagree with Jay Tea's d... (Below threshold)
James H:

I disagree with Jay Tea's description. This year, other stories loom a bit larger than a Congressman's sexual pecadilloes, including the presidential election and the current economic cluster ... well, you know.

Outside of the press, I would ask if there's a larger problem on Capitol Hill. A Republican congressman used the page program as his harem-in-waiting, and his leadership does little to nothing about it. A Democratic congressman sexually harasses a member of his staff, more or less allows her to extort a hundred large from him, and his party's leadership ... does little to nothing about it.

The core problem, I think, lies not with the press, not with the Republicans, and not with the Democrats, but with a much larger sense among members of Congress that they can get away with this kind of behavior ... and a sense among the leadership of both parties that they should allow this kind of behavior to go unpunished.

I hate morality crusaders. ... (Below threshold)

I hate morality crusaders. They usually aren't.

I disdain those who dismiss... (Below threshold)

I disdain those who dismiss those who not only have a moral compass, but attempt to follow it. Its a form of sour grapes.

Who are "they", Paul? No n... (Below threshold)

Who are "they", Paul? No new toys to brag about this week in your lala land of Chinese made scooters?

"I hate morality crusade... (Below threshold)

"I hate morality crusaders. They usually aren't."

I'm betting the irony of that statement is completely lost on you, isn't it?

Hmnm, well, we have ... (Below threshold)

Hmnm, well, we have one of two choices, maybe three. We can take Paul at face value and assume he is going after Jay Tea, a not unreasonable assumption considering his history of postings.

OR, we can assume he is going after the Congress Critter who believes that Adultery is okay so long as you don't get caught. And that hetrosexual Adultery is far more moral than gay Adultery.

OR that those who run on a morals platform like said Congress Critter, are probably not very moral.

Or, Paul can tell us what he really meant.

"Or, Paul can tell us wh... (Below threshold)

"Or, Paul can tell us what he really meant."

You might be able to determine that, but you'd have to read and decipher something close to the length of War and Peace to find out. As long as you have your trusty Little Orphan Annie decoder ring to help you.

A man who identified himsel... (Below threshold)

A man who identified himself as a conservative Republican said The Times always plays up scandals involving Republicans and buries scandals involving Democrats. He had forgotten that just this year The Times broke the story of the sex-for-pay scandal that brought down New York's Democratic governor, Eliot Spitzer, and published a series of investigative stories on Representative Charles Rangel, another Democrat, that put his chairmanship of the House Ways and Means Committee in jeopardy. When reminded, he said, "I'd call that good journalism."

So there you go, there is not a specific double standards. Its just that some stories get the media's attention.

So, Mahoney had an affair w... (Below threshold)

So, Mahoney had an affair with an adult woman. Call it what you will, the voters of that district in Florida will decide.

Foley was a predator on underage congressional pages. If you can call that the same thing, than you need to take off your red glasses for a minute, look at your children, put them back on if you want to, and then say the same thing to my face.

Tim Mahoney is an adulterer and I hope he loses. One Republican't pickup in the face of 20+ Dem pickups in the house won't matter.

But I truly love how Eliot Spitzer was excoriated and disgraced for visiting a prostitute, and how David Vitter (R) Louisiana, visited a prostitute and he still sits in a Senate chair to this day.

Eliot Spitzer was abusing h... (Below threshold)

Eliot Spitzer was abusing his power in office at the time. He had used State Police to spy on his political and then leaked reports about him misusing state property which turned out to be completely fabricated. He also tried to get his bank officer to cover-up transaction which was what led to him being caught in the sting. Furthermore, when he was acting as prosecutor he went after prostitution and their client vigorously and now we find out that he was patronizing them at the same time. So was he protecting the ones he frequented while taking out the competition? He also had reputation for going after people on Wall Street some time legitimate mostly illegitimate charges to get them to pay off the state.
He just reeked of misconduct by a guy who was going to cleanup Albany. In the first few weeks he thought he could get away with it, and it was not the NYT that went after him it was the other papers and Talk Radio. He was pushed out of office under the weight of his own misconduct. Spitzer might have retained his positron if he had not just acted like 3rd world dictator.

As for Vitter lets see what the Democartic controlled Ethic's Panel does to him.

Morality crusaders, regardl... (Below threshold)

Morality crusaders, regardless of party, often turn out to be anything but moral in their own creepy personal lives. Psychologists call this "reaction-formation" psychology. It's so common to moral hypocrites.

Yep. The irony is definite... (Below threshold)

Yep. The irony is definitely lost on Paul.

Hey Paulie, lee lee is call... (Below threshold)

Hey Paulie, lee lee is calling.






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