October 3, 2006

Hastert toast within a week?

Like the Catholic Church, the Republican leadership was aware they had a sexual predator on their hands, and until now, did a good job of looking the other way. The Church put the church ahead of the safety of young boys, and the Republicans felt political considerations were more important than protecting their pages.

Denny Hastert, the Speaker of the House from Illinois is going to be forced to resign, and soon.

That's the consensus of many observers in light of developments and continued information coming out in the story of Rep. Mark Foley and his gay flirtations and sexually suggestive e-mails and instant messages with underage male pages.

It's an interesting story in itself just how this story has unfolded. But the key story here is not Foley, as disgusting as that is, but rather how top Republican leadership had known about Foley's predilections for months, yet hadn't done anything about it, allowed Foley to take one page out to dinner at Morton's in D.C. after the page had won an auction to dine with him at the Congressional mess, and much more.

Pages had even been warned about Foley years ago, yet nothing was ever done, and Foley was allowed to head the committee on Missing and Exploited Children.

The drumbeat has begun; What did Hastert and others know and when did they know it?"

Hastert has played the dumb card so far, saying that he didn't know of the situation at first, but then having a fellow Republican congressman, Tom Reynolds, chair of the National Republican Campaign Committee come forward to say that he'd told Hastert about inappropriate contact between Foley and a page from Reynold's district prompted the neckless wonder to say he didn't remember the conversation. How do you forget something like that when you're Speaker?

Worse than that, Hastert suggested that he didn't remember because learning that a congressman in his party was trying to pick up underage pages was mentioned in the context of, "... other things that might have affected campaigns." Egads! A potential child molester in your midst and all they could consider it as was a potential campaign issue?

Now it appears that the Moonie owned right wing Washington Times (whose editor is the toad Tony Blankley)is going to call for Hastert's resignation, and many right wing bloggers are even thoroughly disgusted with how the Republicans have dealt with this, including Joe Scarborough, who served with Foley as fellow congressmen from Florida, and nut jobs Michelle Malkin and Michael Reagan.

Add to this the fact that the loathsome Bill Frist has as much as said that it's impossible to defeat the Taliban in Afghanistan and we should allow them to be part of the Afghanistan government, the recent flood of damning and shocking revelations of the depth and breadth of Bush administration incompetence and failure, and it seems like a full-blown Republican melt-down.

More on the evolving story here, including a link to this post which explains why this story more than other perhaps more important ones, will be the most devastating to the Republicans.

Eugene Robinson has a great editorial which captures the situation thus far.
Even when damage control seems a lost cause, I suppose you have to follow the playbook. So Mark Foley resigns his House seat in a nanosecond, then explains those creepy electronic messages to young congressional pages by declaring himself an alcoholic, effectively blaming it all on demon rum. House Speaker Dennis Hastert promptly calls for a really thorough — meaning really slow — investigation. The rest of the Republican leadership declares itself shocked and/or saddened, but agrees that the time has come to move on, folks, nothing to see here.

These practiced responses have long served politicians but you don't get the sense that anyone thinks they'll work this time. There's really no effective spin you can put on the Foley scandal, no way that even the Republican Party's image-makinggeniuses can make people feel good about a 52-year-old man discussing masturbatory techniques with a male teenager via instant message.

About all the party leadership can do is hope the whole affair is so unsavory that some voters will be too grossed-out to pay much attention. Then maybe it wouldn't sink in that House leaders were told in November 2005 — that's almost a year ago, for anyone who's counting — about an inappropriate e-mail that Foley had sent to a House page. The situation was handled with nothing more than a quiet warning.
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8 Comments:

At 10/03/2006 8:44 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Either Hastert resigns now, or his party loses him Speaker later. Either way, HAstert power in Washington is done, and with no power we'll see if he actully gets reelected

 
At 10/03/2006 5:20 PM, Blogger nicodemus said...

Getting rid of Hastert is the silver lining in this cloud. Hastert is such a pork-barrel. Whatever happened to the days when Republicans were fiscally responsible? I remember a time when Republicans ran against "big spenders" and "big government"!

When I see Hastert and his ilk, I sure miss Newt Gingrich.

When I see the picture of Jerry Weller next to Mark Foley, I wish there was a direct correlation between the two so we could be rid of Weller, too. Don't get me started on that guy. His constituents deserve so much better. I have always believed that both parties need to practice more quality control.

The talk now is that real conservatives are going to sit on the sidelines and let fellow Republicans go down the tubes. I am seeing more proof of that every day. When I say real conservatives, I mean the Barry Goldwater types, not the "Neo" -cons, whatever that means; I think it means Republicans who think money grows on trees.

 
At 10/05/2006 7:46 AM, Anonymous havinfun said...

Hastert certainly seems to have issues in this deal. From what I am reading, it does appear as though he may have to step down (if even just temporarily) while this is being investigated.

It does seem as though the press is getting ahead of itself in this (go figure) and the Dem's are doing a good job of pushing the thought that many people knew (to the full extent) what Foley was up to, when they likely knew nothing more than he was a pervert.

Good Democrat strategy, aided by a willing press.

The questions that remain...(1) to what degree did Republican leadership know, (2) to what degree did Democrat leadership know (did they hold this for the most opprotune time, and (3) who is pushing this story.

One party will take a big hit in this - the question is yet to be determined...which party.

I suspect that in the next 7-10 days, as the smoke clears and the bloom is off the rose of this story, the truth on all fronts will be known.

Everything until then nis nothing more than speculation...

 
At 10/05/2006 4:06 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

havinfun,
I'm please to say that you're making sense.

Yes, the press is getting absolutely stupid about this, as it does any sort of tabloid scandal.

They're giving it FAR too much coverage, and also going off on every tangent imaginable, including big pieces on how to hide your internet messages and all sorts of hysteria about internet predators.

The story is complex and has a lot of nuances to it, which of course, the press is incapable of reporting, but instead get all sorts of small, but vital details completely wrong.

There's commentators (including Begala) spouting off about how if it were his kid, he'd go after Foley with a Smith & Wesson. and all sorts of hyper-ventilation.

The Dems are exagerating things, though I don't blame them. I mean, they've been victimized and almost destroyed by decades of lies, exagerations, and hyperbole. So a little on their part is almost quaint.

But your hypothosis that one party will be burned by this and it remains to be seen which one is really out there in dreamland.

Under no conceivable conditions will this, or could this, scandal do any harm to the Demorats. It's a huge blow to the Republicans and entirely of their own making.

This isn't some manufactured lying Swift Boat attack. This is simply the truth emerging after having been covered up for years.

And don't forget the drumbeat of lies, duplicity, outrageous spin and attacks, incompetence, and more lies coming out about the Republican congress and White House.

The fallout from the Foley/Republican leadership story is a result of the vast amount of evidence of massive corruption and abuse of power by Republicans.

This just happens to, by it's tabloid nature, be the story that has the public and press in a frenzy.

But without a long-simmering disgust with Republicans and their phoney "values" campaign among the public, INCLUDING among many traditional Republicans, it wouldn't be as damaging.

 
At 10/05/2006 6:14 PM, Anonymous havinfun said...

Dope,

You almost had it, however, you started going off on the 'republican lies.' One does not know that there were any lies.

Did people know that Foley did 'something' - certainly. However, no one knows what anyone knew and what they knew, when.

If the Dem's knew, held it for 6-months or more until it suited their needs - then they are every bit, if not more, in the line of fire as anyone.

The full story has yet to be told and I would expect that everyone, you included, hold tight before speaking of lies, etc.

 
At 10/05/2006 8:44 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Havin, YOU were doing ok until you misread my meaning.

There haven't been any lies proven YET in the Foley story, (though there surely will be since so many claims by Repbublicans directly contradict each other)

It's the fact that the Republican administration and their shills have lied as a matter of course.

This Foley matter has such resonence with the public because it exemplifies and contains all the things they're sick and tired of from Republicans in general, namely, sickening hypocrisy, phoney piety, and putting political power ahead of literally everything else. In this case the safety of teens, but in many other cases ahead of the constitution and the security of the country.

This story doesn't exist in a vacuum, but rather against a backdrop of a party that thinks that the public will swallow what they say is reality, rather than what they do.

As a Republican aide famously said to reporter Ron Suskind,

"In the summer of 2002, after I had written an article in Esquire that the White House didn't like about Bush's former communications director, Karen Hughes, I had a meeting with a senior adviser to Bush. He expressed the White House's displeasure, and then he told me something that at the time I didn't fully comprehend -- but which I now believe gets to the very heart of the Bush presidency.

The aide said that guys like me were ''in what we call the reality-based community,'' which he defined as people who ''believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.'' I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. "That's not the way the world really works anymore," he continued. "We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality -- judiciously, as you will -- we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do."

Clearly, this administration has thought they could simply invent their own reality. But now the cracks are showing, though far too late.

This is just the story that caught the public's attention, but it's only one of hundreds and hundreds of examples.

 
At 10/06/2006 4:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hastert isn't going anywhere. That's my prediction.

 
At 10/06/2006 5:30 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Anon,
Just as many got excited and predicted Clinton's demise within a week, it seems that the initial feeding frenzy on this was a bit over-heated. Hastert has survived the crucial initial stages and escaped imminent danger.

Though the situation is pretty fluid, it seems that the Republicans have gotten their act together fast enough and most, with a few very notable exceptions, are standing behind Hastert (about 20 of them would fit without being seen)

At any rate, at this point in time, I think your prediction is likely correct.

 

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