I spent most of my parties and elections class discussing the Foley case. There were, in our collective wisdom, three issues that came to the fore. First, and most obviously, Foley’s bad behavior, and its true, likely as yet unrevealed, extent. Second, how Foley’s colleagues on both sides of the aisle ought to have dealt with what people are claiming was an "open secret." This is of course a Republican problem, but it’s also a Congressional problem. I don’t stand aside and watch a colleague engage in questionable behavior, regardless of which side he’s on. If I don’t approach him directly, I go to someone in the other party with whom I have a reasonably good personal relationship and share my concerns. Congress ought, in the first instance, actually to police itself. It shouldn’t be a partisan matter, either in terms of discipline or, also, in terms of exploitation.
Which leads me to the third point: if the partisan context for dealing with this bad behavior is unavoidable, if each side is happy to leave it to the other to deal with its own, er, transgressors, then both sides are culpable for the resulting missteps. If you think that your opponents will jump on any evidence of misbehavior, then your temptation is to keep things as quiet as possible, to cover up or sweep under the rug, rather than fully investigate. Of course, this is a Republican problem, but it’s also a problem of Congressional hyperpartisanship. If either party didn’t have to pay for policing its own members, or if policing individual misbehavior were undertstood to be a collective (non-partisan) responsibility, we wouldn’t have this problem, or at least we’d have less of it.
Update: Heres an article offering evidence for the "open secret" thesis. Hard evidence of "inappropriate" contact with pages, in this context, should have been pursued vigorously.