Reidblog [The Reid Report blog]

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Tuesday, October 03, 2006
When Mark touches Charlie

"What Foley represents is what these folks have rejected. It's '60s stuff and they think it's sick." -- Pat Buchanan on the conservative base.

I ask the question again: When (because it's not a matter of "if") does the Mark Foley scandal come home from Washington to Florida, and touch the man voted most likely to succeed Governor Jeb Bush -- one "Chain Gang" Charlie Crist?

Crist, you see, is the sitting attorney general of Florida.

He is a close associate of Florida Governor (and presidential baby brother) Jeb Bush.

As the chief law enforcement officer in Florida, he is drawn into the Florida Department of Law Enforcement's current investigation of Foley's behavior, at least tangentially.

And, and this is a big "and" -- a lot of people in Florida, and I do mean A LOT -- think Charlie Crist is a homosexual.

That's important, because as Pat Buchanan just said on "Hardball," the Foley scandal, if it does nothing else, will cause the evangelical core of the Republican base to recoil instinctively from anything that even looks like a homosexual. That means any politician on the margins -- any David Dreier, any Chris Shays ... any advisor on the margins -- any Ken Mehlman -- who gets too close to the taint of even rumored homosexuality, had better lay real low for awhile. That may sound crual, but then, politics is nothing if not cruel.

How do you get the evangelical base to turn out in Florida's 16th district to pull the lever for the dispicable Foley, even with the inducement that the votes would really go to someone named "Negron"? (Maybe if the someone was named, Smith...)

And now, let's wade a little deeper into the mud.

From today's Wayne Madsen Report:
October 3, 2006 -- Informed sources in Tallahassee, Florida have told WMR that Governor Jeb Bush was fully aware of ex-Rep. Mark Foley's conduct with underage male pages but sat on the information to protect Foley and another top GOP Florida official, Attorney General Charlie Crist, who is currently running for governor to replace Bush. Today, Jeb Bush said he had not previously known about Foley's behavior with the pages before being informed by House Speaker Dennis Hastert in a letter dated October 1, 2006. Bush said he was "dismayed and shocked to learn about Congressman Foley's unacceptable behavior."

However, according to our Florida sources, the FBI and Justice Department informed the Florida Governor's office, Attorney General Crist, and the Florida AG's Child Protection Cybercrime Unit at least a year ago about Foley's predatory emails and instant messages. WMR was told that Crist's conflict-of-interest in the case stems from Crist's and Foley's involvement in gay sex parties, some of which took place during 2003 in trendy Coconut Grove, Florida.

Informed Florida sources claim that up until now, Crist and Jeb Bush have been able to keep a lid on the once-divorced Crist's life style, touting his conservative Christian credentials, but that the Foley revelations will severely impact the Crist gubernatorial campaign. The links between Foley and Crist are certain to harm Crist with his conservative backers who admire Crist for his anti-gay rights stance. Floridians begin early voting on October 23.

And this:
October 3, 2006 -- WMR has learned from informed sources in the Justice Department that the salacious e-mails from Rep. Mark Foley were leaked to ABC News by career Justice Department prosecutors and FBI agents who are incensed that Attorneys General John Ashcroft and Alberto Gonzales covered up the House page scandal for political reasons. The back story of Pagegate is that there was a criminal conspiracy by the top political leadership of the Justice Department to cover up the predatory activities of Foley and other GOP members of Congress since at least 2003 and, likely, as early as 2001.

Other informed sources in the nation's capital report that Pagegate will soon implicate a number of GOP staffers in both the House and the Senate who intimidated and pressured male pages into inappropriate sexual relationships. One source confided that the staff members' contact with pages was "more egregious" than Foley's behavior.

The Pagegate scandal also involves senior officials of the Republican National Committee, located near the House Office Buildings, according to our Capitol Hill sources.

The bottom line is that the GOP is facing its worst political scandal since Watergate and the White House, already under assault from the revelations in Bob Woodward's insider account of the Bush presidency and the Iraq war, has told GOP members of Congress that they are on their own as far as Pagegate damage control is concerned.

If any of that is even kind of true, get ready for a long, sleazy ride.

But wait, there's more from Madsen:
WMR has also learned that Foley was responsible for earmarking tens of millions of taxpayer dollars for special projects having little or nothing to with missing and exploited children to political allies under the cover of providing assistance for abused or kidnapped youngsters and teens. In addition, Foley was privy to confidential U.S. government law enforcement information on the international trafficking and exploitation of children -- information that may have been misused by Foley and other influential Republican political leaders involved in the brewing scandal.

The consensus of Washington insiders is that the Foley scandal is merely the "tip of the iceberg" and when all the facts become known there will be a political tsunami that could wash away as many as 60 to 70 incumbent Republicans in the House. There is also evidence that the scandal may soon spill over into the ranks of the Republicans in the Senate (particularly the Senate office of embattled Virginia Senator George Allen) [note: the Senate Page program is overseen by the political patronage Senate Sergeant-at-Arms office, not a member oversight board such as that which exists in the House], the White House, and the Republican National Committee.

There's lots more, but you'll have to go to the site to read it for yourself. Suffice it to say that it's bringing back conspiracy theories involving real child prostitution in high level GOP circles in Washington, and those theories are revving up again.

Okay, time to get out of the rabbit hole.

Update: Add the Miami Herald and Fox News to the media cover up list.

Update 2: Okay, conspiracy theory stuff aside, proof I'm not completely crazy on the Foley-Crist thing. From Andy Marin in Florida:
...In a bizarre twist of fate, Foleygate is now likely to focus rapier-sharp attention on Crist’s peculiar lifestyle and in particular on the absence of any significant female figure in his life ("mom" doesn't count).

Crist was briefly married decades ago. To date, his former “wife” has never been quoted or even identified. I expect Florida media will be making massive efforts to locate the former spouse and to pose the question: did you divorce Charlie after seven months of “marriage” because you discovered he was gay? What did cause the end of your seven-month marriage?

As I indicated in my earlier column on Foleygate (see PoliticalGateway.com or ContrarianCommentary.com) I knew Mark Foley well in the 1990’s. Mark often had female arm candy on display. Crist is peculiar in that he has not even gone to the extent of brandishing a Foley-style female companion.

In the wake of the explosive and embarrassing impact of Foley’s resignation, are Florida voters more or less likely to support another Republican with a blank slate on human relationships? The answer is obvious and apodictic.

A simple Google search reflects that Crist’s sexuality has been a matter of intense concern for both the right and left. Gay rights groups, moreover, who were burned when Foley’s sexuality embarrassingly morphed from homosexuality into pedophilia, may take preemptive action to force Crist’s hand, to avoid another “Foley surprise.”

My prediction: Crist’s “lifestyle” is about to become the focal point of the Florida gubernatorial campaign, and Crist will inevitably be asked questions about his sexuality in campaign debates between Crist and his Democratic opponent. How the issue plays out will decide whether Democrats retake the Florida governorship. Crist's “lifestyle” may fuel the “hypocrisy gap” which has emerged from Foley's anti-gay posturing at a time when he was seeking the company of underage males.
And let's recall, Florida's gay community has a good reason to go after Charlie: he was a vocal supporter of the ill-fated Florida marriage amendment try (something sure to be reracked in 2008), and he was vocally supported by our lovable wack-job preacher, homophobic, anti-Islamic, mosque-fearing Reverend O'Neal Dozier.

The questions will be asked. Charlie won't be able to avoid them.

Even more updates: the Orlando Weekly tests its Charlie gaydar:
* Running mate has a mustache: GAY

* Has high cheekbones: GAY

* Prefers tailored suits: GAY

* Has Anderson Cooper hair: GAY

* Is down with civil unions: GAY

* Dots “I”s with stars on website: GAY
Well that clears that up.

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