First anti-Semitism, now homophobia? Democrats, please. Shamelessness is one thing, but demanding a homosexual witch hunt to out a gay Congressman?

Apparently Howard Dean has been replaced by Howard Stern.

When liberal institutions like Harvard welcomed anti-Semitic terror supporters like former President Khatami of Iran, I raised an eyebrow. I thought that was a job for the KKK, not the modern American Left.

Now Democrats are denouncing the GOP leadership for not assuming that any single man who e-mails teenaged boys must be both gay and a predator. “He was single, he was swishy and he was sending suspicious e-mails,” Democrats complain. “Where was the lynch mob?”

Of course I’m talking about Freaky Mark Foley, that pathetic pedophile wannabe from Florida.

The story — as it as been wildly misreported in the mainstream media — involves Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert reading sexually explicit e-mails and eye-popping instant messages between Republican congressman Mark Foley and 17-year-old boys a year ago … and then ignoring them. Hastert allegedly conspired to keep Foley in Congress even after reading comments like “do I make you horny?” and “cute butt bouncing in the air” and various references to teenaged monkey spanking.

Setting any moral issues aside (this is Congress, after all) why would Speaker Hastert — with an embattled Republican majority clinging to a slim 15-seat lead — leave a potential perv like Foley in a relatively safe Republican seat? Hastert surely knows the first rule of modern politics: “If I’m reading these I-Porn e-mails from a Republican congressman, the Dems are, too.”

Wouldn’t the real conspiracy have been to push Foley out last year and get a solid citizen in place to hold the seat? Where’s the GOP payoff for sticking with Congressman Creepy, the One-Handed Wizard of the Keyboard? What voting bloc are they going after — those swing “NAMBLA and Defrocked Priest” voters in Ohio and Pennsylvania?

It doesn’t make sense, does it? That’s because nearly everything you “know” about the Foley Affair is wrong.

The House GOP leadership did not know Mark Foley was a pervert until September 29, 2006 — the same day this sad sicko submitted his resignation and slunk off to the nearest Patrick Kennedy rehab center.

What Hastert and others knew last year was the same thing the St. Petersburg Times newspaper knew at the time, that Freaky Foley had sent five e-mails to a former page down in Louisiana. Here’s how the Times — no friend of the GOP — describes the e-mails:

“The conversation in those e-mails was friendly chit-chat. Foley asked the boy about how he had come through Hurricane Katrina and about the boy’s upcoming birthday. In one of those e-mails, Foley casually asked the teen to send him a ‘pic’ of himself … There was nothing overtly sexual in the e-mails, but we assigned two reporters to find out more … We also found another page who was willing to go on the record, but his experience with Foley was different. He said Foley did send a few e-mails but never said anything in them that he found inappropriate. We tried to find other pages but had no luck…

“Since that time, we revisited the question more than once, but never learned anything that changed our position. After ABC News broke the story on its website, someone contacted ABC and provided a detailed e-mail exchange between Foley and at least one other page that was far different from what we had seen before. This was overtly sexual, not something Foley could dismiss as misinterpreted friendliness. That’s what drove Foley to resign on Friday.”

But these facts haven’t stopped angry Democrats from calling for Hastert’s head for failing to … er, well, Pelosi and her pals aren’t exactly clear on what they think should have been done to Foley last year. A flogging? Drag him out of the closet and toss him onto Pennsylvania Avenue? Pin a pink star on him and hand him to the mullahs of Iran?

Apparently Democrats think Hastert should have reacted to those first, odd-but-inconclusive e-mails by rushing to the nearest mic and shouting: “We’ve got a Congressman who asked a 17-year-old boy for a picture. Obviously Foley’s a homo — and a pedophile to boot! So we’re holding hearings, locking down the interns, and kicking him out of the GOP. We have to — you know how them gays are!”

In other words, liberals are denouncing the GOP for being insufficiently homophobic.

It certainly signals a new moment in Democratic politics. As the Wall Street Journal asks: “Are these Democratic critics of Mr. Hastert saying that they now have more sympathy for the Boy Scouts’ decision to ban gay scoutmasters? Where’s Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi on that one?”

Good question. Here’s another: Has anyone asked Congressman Barney Frank how he feels about this?

Ah, yes — another proud moment for the American Democratic Party.