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Friday, October 06, 2006
Ain't that a bitch?

Now that a week has passed, we have a little perspective on the whole Mark Foley scandal, and since I've only been awake nineteen hours, I feel like I'm ready to let it fly. Perhaps a few drinks first, to loosen my tongue...

So, Foley gets caught emailing and instant messaging high school-age boys who worked as pages in the US House of Representatives. There's really no way to make this not stink, so he quickly resigned and disappeared into rehab. As David Letterman noted, this scandal has gotten so bad that Foley figured it was time to go out and get a drinking problem.

So far, so good. Foley will face charges of some sort, and become the national punch line for the forseeable future. He's the new Pee Wee Herman, or since there's a reprehensible act here, the new Gary Condit. Well, to be fair, he didn't kill anyone, and probably didn't actually sleep with any of these pages. We shall see.

But as usual with the Virtue People, the Republicans just don't understand what the real furor is about. What Foley did is disgusting, and with any luck prosecutable, but they prove again that they have no interest in the lessons of history.

It's the coverup, stupid.

At least a dozen high-ranking Republican officials knew what Foley had been up to, and even the pages had been warning one another about Congressman Over Friendly since 1995, which is the same year Foley was first sworn into the Congress. Foley's former chief of staff, Kirk Fordham, told the FBI that he had advised speaker of the House, Dennis Hastert about this problem at least three years ago.

Suddenly, no one can remember anything, and they are as surprised as anyone. And shocked. SHOCKED.

Back in 1972, when Nixon's plumbers broke into the Democratic National Committee offices in the Watergate Hotel, it was a bold move to make, attempting to bug your opponent's headquarters. Strictly speaking, a criminal act, but hardly a violent crime, and a lot of people would have written it off to political dirty tricks, and few people would have been all that surprised.

But Nixon had to try and cover it up.

The results are history, and changed the course of events in this country. Nixon resigned, people not directly involved in the break-in went to prison, and quite naturally, Republicans learned not one goddamned thing.

I don't think anyone is going to go to jail over this scandal, except perhaps Foley himself, and I wouldn't bet on even that. But there is a midterm election coming up next month, and the paragons of virtue are facing an electorate that is completely over the idea of shedding American blood for Iraqi democracy, is good and tired of an economy that is booming for no one but the wealthiest, and, oh, by the way, you guys knew you had a pedophile as a co-chair on the Committee to Protect Missing and Exploited Children.

He was left in place to protect the seat in the house, and because Foley was a world-champion fundraiser. You knew what he was, what he was doing, and you were warned by insiders to put a leash on this guy. You obfuscated, pretended it wasn't happening, and covered it up.

The cover up is irresistible to those who claim an innate understanding of morality. It's ironic too, because when you get caught protecting a pervert instead of the youths he is preying upon, people think poorly of you. It looks bad. It is bad. The next month is going to be an ongoing investigation of who knew what and when, and for every two days that the broad-side-of-a-barn Denny Hastert stays on as speaker, it will cost the Republicans an additional seat in the House.

There, I said it.

Even as I type this,
the USS Eisenhower Strike Group is deploying for the coast of Iran. The GOP is not going to go down without taking a swing, because they know that once the F-16s are in the air, and the big light and sound show is let loose, we will recover our sense of American purpose, rally around our president, and not only will the Republicans maintain majorities in both houses, they may actually gain seats. I put nothing past these people, I only hope that I'm wrong.

posted at 10:07 PM

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