Choosing a better way
Incident reminds us how to best proceed
By Tony Staley
Last week's news was filled with stories about the resignation of Congressman Mark Foley, R-Fla., and the resulting fallout.
Foley had been linked to sexually improper instant messages sent to underage pages in the House of Representatives. Next came questions about what House Republican leaders knew about Foley, when they knew it and why they did nothing.
House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., responded by blaming the Democrats and ABC News, which broke the story. A Foley spokesman said the former Congressman had an alcohol problem and had been abused by a clergyman when he was a teen.
While it's human nature to deny, change the subject and attack others, it won't work, said Lanny Davis, who served as White House special counsel to former Pres. Bill Clinton. In an interview with Steve Inskeep on National Public Radio's Morning Edition (10/5), Davis gave his three basic rules for confronting such situations: "Tell it all. Tell it early. Tell it yourself."
That's what Hastert and Republican leaders should have done last May, Davis said. The best course now, he said, is what Hastert did Thursday: Admit he made a mistake and say he's sorry.
Good advice for us all in times of trouble.