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Pay no attention to the people behind the curtain

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Okay, Fred: I see your Gerry Studds and raise you a Dan Crane

In Fred Dooley's never-ending war to make Democrats look bad for the Mark Foley's being a sexual predator, today he wants us to pay pennance for Gerry Studds, a Democrat who was found doing the same thing Foley did. I'll let Billmon tell the story:
Doing his bit for Operation Save Our Majority, Marc Ambinder at the Hotline (the National Journal's news service for political junkies) tries very hard to circulate a GOP urban legend:
It's the talking point of the day for Republicans -- and yes, it is a talking point.

Gerry Studds (D-MA) had sex with a 17-year-old male page in 1983. He was reprimanded. Republicans wanted to censure him. But 79 Dems voted against upgrading the condemnation.
It may be the talking point of the day, but it's also a lie. Studds was censured, not reprimanded -- even though the latter was the penalty recommended both for him and for GOP page bender Dan Crane by the House Ethics Committee. Republican backbenchers, led by that paragon of moral virtue, Newt Gingrich, wanted to expel them both.

The vote to upgrade Studds' reprimand to censure was 338 yeahs to 87 nays, and while I don't have the partisan breakdown, I wouldn't be surprised if 79 of those nay votes were Dems -- excessive partisanship being such a bipartisan disease in Washington. But, the vote to upgrade Crane's reprimand to a censure passed by only 289 yeahs to 136 nays. I'm guessing not all of those 136 votes were cast by the heathen Democrats.

In both cases, the final vote on censure was overwhelmingly lopsided -- 421 to 3 in Crane's case, and 420 to 3 in Studd's.
Fred will say Studds was cheered by the Dems; I doubt Republicans sat on their hands for Crane. Fred will tell you Studds was relected after the censure, but so was Crane. Nyah nyah nyah.

SPECIAL SIDE BET: Ten imaginary blog dollars says Fred won't stop throwing Mel Reynold at us, either, even though it is a completely misleading and dishonest argument. Example: This comment from under my Tuesday post:
Tell me, were you so rosy after Bill Clinton commuted the sentence of Mel Reynolds? If you recall Reynolds had ACTUAL SEX (not virtual) with a minor.
Sounds horrible, right? But consider the facts:
Just before leaving office, President Clinton (at the urging of Jesse Jackson, among others) commuted the sentence of former Illinois congressman Mel Reynolds, who had spent 30 months in a state prison for having sex with a 16-year-old campaign volunteer and was serving a five-year sentence in federal prison for lying to obtain loans and illegally diverting campaign money for personal use.
Got that? Reynolds had finished serving his sentence for statutory rape. Not to excuse Reynolds's behavior--it is as wrong or wronger than Foley's--but what Clinton pardoned Reynold for was the campaign fund abuse. To say Clinton pardoned commuted the sentence* of Reynolds for having sex with a minor is, simply, a lie.

Your move, Fred. Your move.

(Oh, and Fred: The person who leaked to ABC was not the "Soros-funded CREW" or Democratic operatives. It was a Republican. You now have officially no Democrat to blame for this.)

* Terminology corrected at Fred's request in the comments below. Fred also seems to have missed one last, larger point about Studds and Crane: Both of those Congressmen faced sanction after an investigation by the House Ethics Committee. If there is any difference between the Studds/Crane matter and the current situation, it's that the current House leadership refused to investigate even though they knew about emails to multiple pages as far back as 2003. When Fred tries to tell you it's Dems now applying a double standard, he's trying to distract from the real culprits.

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