'I Don't Care'
At the beginning of October, everyone discovered what the Republican House staff already knew. Rep. John Shimkus (IL-19) let ex-Rep. Mark Foley (R-FL) spend a lot of time with pages, including private dinner with one, after the Grand Old Party (GOP) knew Foley was a problem . That was the page class of 2001-2002. With that discovery, everyone knew that John Shimkus is toast. The June 06, 2002, video confirms the facts as they are part of the Congressional Record:
MR. SHIMKUS: I thank my colleague. Now someone who spends a lot of time with you also, the gentleman from Florida (Mr. Foley), would like to say a thank you.Everyone knew Mr. Foley enjoyed the company of young male pages a little too much, and no one had any concerns. Telling his cruising story in front of Mr. Shimkus proves that he had no issues with Foley’s proclivities either. The AmericaBlog post at the beginning of October asked very valid questions:
Mark Foley also recounts the time when he cruised with one male page in his BMW to a private dinner in downtown Washington, D.C. The page needed permission from the Clerk of the House, Jeff Trandahl, and the Republican staffer who works for Republican Speaker of the House J. Dennis Hastert (IL-14). Mr. Trandahl joined Mr. Shimkus in 2005 to talk to Mr. Foley about the inappropriate e-mail message traffic with the first child who got this scandal started.
The thing that is frustrating to me is that I am not the bad guy here, Shimkus said in an interview with the Chicago Tribune. Leadership is not the bad guy. The bad guy is whoever had these explicit instant messages that were done in 2003 and held them. That's the bad guy ... because those instant messages are what put these kids at risk.Responsibility and accountability are certainly missing in action in IL-19. Many have known this for years. Others prefer to remain suckers regardless of the proof: I don't care whether it was politically motivated - you're the one who cares about that. I don't care! I don't care! I don't care! -- U.S. Rep. John M. Shimkus (IL-19), on Jim Leach's morning show on WMAY-AM radio in Springfield, Illinois, October 05, 2006.
Mr. Shimkus, who did not inform other members of the page board about the meeting, would later say that he had ordered Mr. Foley to cease all contact with the teenager. He also had not asked Mr. Foley whether he had communicated with other pages by e-mail, but Speaker Hastert said Mr. Shimkus did.
First, why would you tell someone to stay away from underage kids if you did not think something was wrong? If you thought something was wrong, why would you not make further inquiries?
Second, if someone is told to stay away from kids (pages) and they've done nothing wrong, their natural reaction is to scream bloody murder. Imagine if someone asked you to stay away from children when you've done nothing wrong. I, for one, would tell this accuser to take a flying leap and I would scream bloody murder to the media and everyone else I know that this person is trying to smear me.
When Foley never questioned Shimkus' request to stay away from pages, does this not raise very large bright red flags to Shimkus? As the leader of the page program, does Shimkus not owe a duty to all the pages to make sure he's not missing something.
Contrary to the partisan attitude that Mr. Shimkus has used in response to his colleague’s behavior, it has no place in this issue. Ron from www.wedemocrats.com has this to offer:
I think it is more of a matter of trust. We expect people in a political or religious positions to be trustworthy. Regardless of their position, they need to held accountable for their actions. People that cover up for them, or lay blame on the feet of others need to held accountable. These are children that are being abused, by adults. Put the politics aside and do the right thing for these children and America.Obviously, the pages had no reason to trust those in charge – especially the Chair of the Page Board. There are two possibilities to consider:
- Dennis Hastert and John Shimkus are the very good, close friends they claim to be and share information as close friends typically do (which means they are both lying).
- Dennis Hastert only claims that John Shimkus is a very good, close friend, has known the facts for several months, and kept the truth from the IL-19 congressman (which means that one person is a liar and the other person is set up to take the fall).
Lost in all of the questions is Mr. Foley -- a very ill man. His sexual predatory behavior is a cry for help -- has been for years. Instead of asking questions, showing concern, acknowledging the signs, & providing help, the leadership did NOTHING except cover their political butts. Too few facts. Too many inconsistencies. People deserve accountability from their elected representatives not self-serving politics for a myriad of reasons: the culture of corruption, war in Iraq, tax breaks for the rich, campaign contributions from special interests, politicians doing their bidding, the Budget, trade deficits. They all abound uncontrollably.
EVERYONE knows Mr. Shimkus is toast. Everyone except Rep. Rahm Emanuel (IL-05), Chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. All he has to say about Dan Stover, his Party’s challenger against John Shimkus, is that he has a lot to offer.
Emanuel criticized Shimkus only to the extent that he said Shimkus should have
informed Democrats on the page oversight board about the suggestive e-mails a
member of Congress sent to a page.
He also declined to sharply criticize Speaker Hastert: This has not been one of his best moments, but we all get judged by the totality. In other words, voters who are unhappy with what is happening in Washington should elect Democrats.
Rep. Emanuel’s gift of understatement was lost in his more prolific, albeit misplaced, endorsement of Tammy Duckworth, his Party’s candidate for IL-06 running against State Sen. Peter Roskam (R-Wheaton). His support for her never waivers even when she puts her entire foot in her mouth.
Ron: In the end, each of us must define what progressive means to us. And to answer my own question Am I a Progressive, you bet I am. That is why I support Danny Stover in IL-19 for Congress over John Shimkus the conservative Republican Yes man of President Bush.
The I don't care statement from John Shimkus says it all. The answer is a person that does care:
- Centralia Office, 415 E. Calumet St. P.O.Box 1945 Centralia IL 62801Hours 9-5 M-F firstname.lastname@example.org
- Edwardville Office, 230 S. Buchanan Edwardsville, IL 62025 Hours 4-8 M-F 10-6 S 618-655-0111
- Springfield Office, 206 S. 6th St. Springfield IL 62701 Call for hours 217-891-7038 email@example.com