Oct 042006

I guess you might think I’m doing a parody, but you’d be wrong. So help me, the Republican Congressional Leadership is spinning so hard right now, I think they have made themselves dizzy. In one of the most bizarre “spins” of this whole Foley episode, House Speaker Denny Hastert has managed to blame it all on “terrorists.”

Interviewed by Rush Limbaugh today, House Speaker Hastert said Mark Foley’s inappropriate behavior was “a political issue” and promised Rush that “we are going on offense.”

The “offense” is an effort to portray the scandal as a conspiracy specifically timed by liberals to affect the elections. “We are the insulation to protect this country,” Hastert declared, “and if they get to me it looks like they could affect our election as well”:

SPEAKER HASTERT: There were two pieces of paper out there, one that we knew about and we acted on; one that happened in 2003 we didn’t know about, but somebody had it, and, you know, they’re trying – and they drop it the last day of the session, you know, before we adjourn on an election year. Now, we took care of Mr. Foley. We found out about it, asked him to resign. He did resign. He’s gone. We asked for an investigation. We’ve done that. We’re trying to build better protections for these page programs.

But, you know, this is a political issue in itself, too, and what we’ve tried to do as the Republican Party is make a better economy, protect this country against terrorism – and we’ve worked at it ever since 9/11, worked with the president on it – and there are some people that try to tear us down. We are the insulation to protect this country, and if they get to me it looks like they could affect our election as well.

OK, so Mark Foley was a closeted gay man, and happened to be into younger guys. The guy was being sleazy in general, and I have no doubt he had sex with a page or two. That’s bad, but worse, now it’s all because he was drinking at the time. Let’s remember that at least one of the exchanges we know about was during a vote. So, he was voting while impaired. Oh, and just to put a little icing on the cake, he was abused by a clergyman when he was a teenager…so, in sticking with the standard Republican modus operandi, he’s not really responsible for his actions. I thought Republicans were the party of “personal responsibility.”

Now, let’s look at this a little deeper. Interesting that all these Pages just happened to have saved their IM and e-mail exchanges with the Congressman. Page’s get selected usually as payback to political supporters, many of the Pages have their own political aspirations, and often return to D.C. to work. I’d be curious to find out how many got jobs as a result of intervention by Foley.

Anyway, lots of twists and turns to this case. As bad as Foley’s actions were, as usual, the attempt by the other politicians to minimize his actions, spin their own actions (or lack thereof), cover it up, and then, as Denny Hastert is doing, try to find some convoluted way to gain political points is far worse. Hastert had a chance early on to be a leader and say, “you know, I was made aware of this. Based on what we actually saw then, I thought we’d taken care of it appropriately. Obviously we did not, and I regret that. I assure you we will see to it that this matter is aggressively investigated by everyone that should be involved.”

He didn’t, and he won’t. Of course now, they have asked the Attorney General and Florida authorities to look into it. This will give them their out…now they can start saying, “Well I really can’t comment on an on-going investigation.” And then there is this Congressman Reynolds guy who’s involved. Holy cow, at every one of his campaign stops now he is literally using children as a shield to avoid having to answer questions about this. That’s some real good old fashioned Republican Family Values on display for you.

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