Tuesday, November 13, 2007

The Company You Keep

In local news, Livingston County parents were invited to attend a seminar on internet safety yesterday. Representatives from the LivCo Sheriff's Department, the FBI and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children educated parents on ways to protect their children from online predators.

There's no question that this is a great program. There are some seriously nasty people out on the internet -- the more opportunities to educate and empower children (and their parents), the better.

According to the Press & Argus, the seminar was hosted by Mike Rogers (though the WLNS report doesn't refer to him as the host and his own website doesn't mention it at all).

My point?

Well, do you remember disgraced former U.S. Rep. Mark Foley (R-I Heart Teen Boys), who resigned from the House last fall after he was caught sending sexually explicit emails to at least one underage Capitol page? Prior to his resignation, he and Mike Rogers served together as Deputy Whips for Roy Blunt (R-MO). Deputy whips aren't chosen by lottery -- they're hand-picked by the Whip to enforce the party line. Rogers, in his "leadership" capacity, also spent two years chairing the RNCC finance committee. He co-hosted a fundraiser for Katherine Harris (oh, my!) with Mark Foley and Henry Hyde(R-IL) at Mark Foley's Washington home.

Once the Foley story broke, Rogers repeatedly stressed that he had nothing more than a professional relationship with Foley (and he wasn't too thrilled with the endless CNN loop of Rogers and Foley walking together in D.C.). So Rogers didn't want to 'fess up to hanging out at Foley's house? OK, fine.

The problem is that, as he so often reminds us, Rogers is a former FBI agent AND a father. You have to wonder why a law enforcement professional and parent of young children didn't say a word about Foley's behavior. I'm no lawyer, but I'm pretty sure there's no law saying "pedophilia is OK, as long as the creepy guy at the keyboard is a loyal, productively fundraising Republican."

Even worse, Mr. Rogers stayed quiet when it came out that a good many in the GOP leadership (Speaker Dennis Hastert, Majority Leader John Boehner, NRCC Chair Tom Reynolds, other representatives and senior staffers) had known about the Foley emails for months before it became public.
When he's at home, Mr. Rogers says that he's a leader who champions children's safety. When he's in Washington, his actions show that he's a politician who puts party loyalty ahead of family values.

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