Reidblog [The Reid Report blog]

Think at your own risk.
Monday, October 02, 2006
What FoleyGate means
I don't buy into the meme that the Mark Foley controversy is proof that the Republican Party is a massive Washington pedophile cult, as some on the Internet have decided. But I do think that the non-response of the House leadership, from John Boehner to John Shimkus to Tom Reynolds (who chaired the Page Board) to Dennis Hastert, over the last eleven months that they knew they had a wierdo with an unnatural interest in Congressional pages in their midst, is telling.

What it tells me is that the Republican Party in Washington has become so fattened and bloated with uncontested power (not that they actually use it to, say, check the power of the president) and with lobbyist largesse and financial bloat, that they have completely lost touch with reality. The almost surreal corruption of this party, after a relatively short experience with absolute power, is stunning, and proves all the old axioms containing the word "absolute." (If Bush is like a mad Nero fiddling away while Iraq burns, these guys are like a debauched Roman court, reveling in mutton and whores and blowing the treasury on lavish feasts while the country sinks.) It's a sad commentary on the current state of politics that the Republicans in Washington are so fixated on bloating themselves with lobbyist cash, war profiteering contract gimmes for themselves and their families and the base accountrements of power (even while they give the only meaningful power -- the power of oversight -- away) that they lost the ability to even think like human beings, or like parents. Instead, they chose to think like the Catholic Church hierarchy did when faced with pedophile priests. They ignored the evidence of, as Bay Buchanan just said on The Situation Room (as she tore into the Republican leadership, not even pretending to debate Paul Begala on a single point), a known homosexual man paying undue attention to male pages -- all of whom are teenagers, all of whom are placed in the care of the Congress by their parents ("in loco parentis," as Chris Matthews likes to say) -- and covered up his behavior rather than taking action, just to make sure his seat remained safe, just so that they could continue to rake in the pork.

Meanwhile:

The Family Research Council says this proves you can't mainstream the gays...

The conservative call for Hastert's head begins (hat tip to Andrew Sullivan). ... and then it continues (ht to Sullivan again). To quote David Bossie of the right wing group Citizens United:
“If Speaker Hastert was willing to sacrifice a child to protect Rep. Foley’s seat and his own leadership position, then he surely does not share our American and conservative values.”

Meanwhile, Americablog has more snowballs to add to the avalanche:
[George Stephanopoulos On Good Morning America today.
Right now it's a category 3 hurricane and it's picking up steam. Republicans all across the country are getting questions about it. But here's the key question: Did any Republican leaders know about those x-rated emails? If they did, it's game over. The leadership will have to resign. It will cost Republicans control of Congress. As one top GOP aide told me this morning, 'the place will burn down.'

And while they're not talking about this specific issue, the Wall Street Journal's editorial slam on the GOP is right on target:
...too many Republicans now believe their purpose in Washington is keeping power for its own sake. The reform impulse that won the House in 1994 has given way to incumbent protection.

Natch.

Enter The Corner:
If House Republican leaders really did avert their gaze from a problem they knew about, however, Foley could become the new Jack Abramoff. Except that whereas the details of Abramoff’s were always a bit complicated for the public to follow closely, the accusations now leveled at Foley are much simpler and more appalling. Foley is on the verge of becoming the poster child of a party that is concerned about little more than preserving its power. This could very well cost Republicans more than Florida's 16th congressional district, which at this point they probably deserve to lose even if they somehow manage to replace Foley on the ballot or come up with another candidate; it might be the Democrats’ October surprise.
And then again, somebody at NRO had to toe the GOP party line, so it might as well be this guy. A bit sad, I'd say.

But not as sad as the Wizbangers, who never miss an opportunity to pimp the party line (psst! Lorie! The inability to see unambiguous wrong, even when it involves predation and children, is rather amoral, doncha think? If politics and partisanship is really more important to you than the plain, lurid facts in this case and the safety of these kids on Capitol Hill, then you really should run for office. You'd make one hell of a GOP congresswoman.) By the way, for the winger wack-jobs in the bleachers, the IMs were provided to ABC News' Brian Ross on Friday, by between two and five former pages, after he broke the FoleyGate story nationally. Before that, the group Citizens for Responsibility in Government had filed a complaint after getting a tip from blogger StopSexPredators, who posted the emails on September 24th, following an initial posting on September 21st. Not sure he's part of the liberal hit team...)

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posted by JReid @ 5:02 PM  
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