Should Republican Leadership Be Fired Over Foley Mess?

That’s what James Joyner is saying in reaction to news that Republican congressional leadership knew of the Mark Foley mess for “months” before it was made public.

Due process might explain keeping things close to the vest and exercising every caution in making sure Foley was in fact guilty of this conduct before letting word get out. I’m at a loss to explain why he was allowed to remain in charge of making laws to protect our children. Absent some incredibly good explanation, Hastert and Boehner need to go.

I think that’s a bit of an overreaction. In fact, I think it’s somewhat hysterical.
However distasteful Foley’s actions are (and this observer finds them unequivocally repugnant) there are some important facts to keep in mind before we throw anyone under the bus.
First, given information available now, it doesn’t appear as though Foley has broken any laws. The age of consent in Washington D.C. is 16 years old, and apparently Foley never actually had sex with the boy. Also, Foley is not married. He was, as far as the law is concerned, a single man flirting with a young staffer in his office. Not exactly an ethical situation given the boy’s age and that Foley basically manipulated someone who worked for him, but it wasn’t illegal either.
So what, really, could Hastert and Boehner have done? Foley didn’t commit a crime, and the boy’s parents apparently have said that they didn’t want the matter to go any further…so what options would they have been left with?
Not many, as far as I can see.
I think its a bit ridiculous to try and extend responsibility for Foley’s actions beyond Foley himself.

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