Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Fall Foleyage

And the luridness continues for another day...

  • ABC News has even more Foley transcripts. Seems the guy would occasionally wander off the House floor for a bit of net nookie. The comments are kind of entertaining: Mostly outraged citizens, with a few wingnuts desperately screaming talking points and not getting any traction.
  • The Portland Freelancer explains how Bush can still rescue the Republican Party, by using that shiny new Detention Act against those pesky pages, who obviously hate America, etc.
  • It's becoming clear to me that Foley's real "sin" in the political universe was resigning. He could have pulled a Tom DeLay, going on the warpath against his accusers, blatantly lying about his actions, and daring anyone to lift a finger against him. DeLay's gone now, but this act worked for years, and it'll work again for the next crooked politician who decides to go that route. The media immediately cowers and falls back into duelling-quote mode, and the story quickly falls off the radar.

    Now that Foley's out, the people who covered for him look vulnerable. Dennis Hastert looks to be highest on the sacrificial victim list right now, going by pieces at MSNBC, ABC, and Bloomberg, if they accurately reflect the spirit of the times. Hastert was always a happy-go-lucky nonentity, a kinder, gentler DeLay sock puppet. He never had much of a base himself, and now that DeLay's gone, he no longer serves any purpose. Regardless of what party's in power, the nature of DC is that if the speakership suddenly looks to be in play, it's time for all-out fratricide to see who can grab the gavel. The fact that there's a general election in a few weeks is of no consequence. Despite all the talk about putting party loyalty ahead of personal ambition, there's a point where that's just not going to happen. There's not a single member of congress out there who would resist temptation and not make a grab for the brass ring if it looked to be within reach. John Boehner, the House majority leader, has no loyalty to Hastert, and it sure looks like he's trying to undermine the guy every time he talks to the media. Sure, a leadership bloodbath might work against the party in November, but it looks like he's rolling the dice anyway. And I doubt he'll be the only one.
  • Dan Savage comments about how the story would look if Democrats played hardball ("slimeball"?) the way Karl and the R's do. He mentions that nobody's accused Hastert of being a pedophile yet. Well, that's not strictly true; I mentioned it yesterday, but only as a joke. Well, mostly as a joke. The guy really and truly does give me the creeps, and he always has. I can't put my finger on it. Spidey sense, maybe.
  • The Mercury also chimes in with a vintage Foley quote from back during Monicagate.
  • The Chicago Tribune looks at how the R's high-and-mighty rhetoric has come back to bite 'em in the Foley case.
  • WaPo makes a similar point here. Is there anything more fun, more delicious, than watching yet another crop of smarmy holier-than-thou politicians get cut down to size? Like I said yesterday, it's a shame this gets the public's attention when legalizing torture doesn't, but if this is what it's going to take to get the R's out of office, I guess I'm ok with it.
  • I have a theory that you can tell how much trouble a politician is in by how many kids they surround themselves with at their next photo op. Just count the kids, and you know exactly how bad things are. By that measure, Thomas Reynolds is in big, big trouble. The article sums it up best: Crass political theater.
  • The latest reason Reynolds is in trouble: Beyond the big payoff from Foley, and his attempt to hush ABC up, it turns out that his top aide, Kirk Fordham, used to work for Foley and appears to have known everything for years. So now Reynolds is distancing himself from his own aide, insisting he was never told a single word about any of this stuff, no sirreee.
  • And in another unsurprising turn, Foley's acquaintances seriously doubt the alcoholism story.
  • Maybe sensing the alcohol story wasn't going to fly by itself, now Foley's officially come out of the closet, oh, and he was abused by a priest as a child, too, as if that excuses or even explains any of this. I guess that's so he can claim that the whole gayness thing isn't really his fault, and Father So-and-So turned him gay at an early age, against his will, something along those lines.
  • Understandably, the nation's gay rights groups are not taking his side in the scandal.
  • As usual, things that surprise the rest of the country turn out to have been longtime open secrets inside the beltway. So now that the open secret is secret no more, the media can finally tell us all about it and go on to explore the wider issue of "outing" politicians. For the life of me, I will never understand how the beltway media game works.
  • And naturally, the wingnuts are trying to use the scandal to get in a bit of gay-bashing. More on that angle here. It just amazes me the sort of wild-eyed crazies they'll put on cable news these days.

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