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October 04, 2006

Comments

"...that the last gambit of the GOP House leadership will be to blame the Foley debacle on a cabal of gay staffers who hid and/or enabled Rep. Foley's behavior for years."

Ya think?

Personally, I blame the self-hating homosexual cabal that planned and carried out this deeply cynical and hypocritical attack, in service to nothing more or less than the insatiable left-wing lust for the return of lost power. I mean, who doesn't see that that's who is at fault?

I should point out that Josh is great on DC professional stuff, but not on blogs; I think the version I linked to is far more likely to be the fallback, rather than that it's Republicans at fault, which as he notes, wouldn't fly very far.

But the wacko base could easily go for the "the self-hating homosexual radical gay Democratic gay gay gay cabal" version; it may be all they have left.

On the other hand, the official leadership may stay away from it, and let rush and Malkin and Dobson and their echo chamber carry it.

Incidentally, I've always been a great admirer of Barney Frank; nobody's perfect, but he's extremely bright, witty, and far more often than not (with occasional exceptions, of course), I agree with him on the issues.

"Anyone want to get their minds off this with something amusing?"

Dahlia Lithwick finds scandalous SCOTUS IMS!!!!

NINO86 (11:55 pm): Hey, did you remember to cite check the latest draft opinion in Gonzales?
ClerkX (11:57 pm): lol. Sure did. Just got that 565 F. Supp. 110, 118 (ND Ga. 1982) in too!!!!
NINO86 (11:59 pm): Kennedy's clerks still trying to work in quotes from Sartre and Baron de Montesquieu every other line? ;)
ClerkX: (11:59 pm) lol. Yup.
NINO86: (12:00 pm) rotfl. Now get back to work.
(Note: satiric fiction.)

More YouTube goodness


I wonder if all the wingers playing the 'gay cabal' angle could control themselves enough to *not* include Condi Rice.

hilzoy: mmm ... Montesquieu lol

"...even if outing the ex-page had provided some new and relevant information; as things stand, it seems to be not just despicable and vile, but completely pointless."

Possible point and purpose:intimidation of pages yet to come forth.

bob m: I suppose, if the blogger in question turns out to be a DC operative of some sort. But otherwise -- ?

The blogger seemed to think that there was some point to it all, which he was intending to get to, but then, according to him, "Blogger published this before I was ready". (??)

Bleh. -- I mean, if I ever get to the point where I think that politics is worth seriously messing with the life of a person who in no way deserves it, just reach through my computer screen and strangle me on the spot.

Hilzoy, there are plenty of volunteer "DC operatives" out there. They don't even need to be in communication with the party. I don't think it matters whether people are actually paid and taking orders from Karl Rove or are merely doing what they feel is best out of fanatical devotion to the Republican Party, our only bulwark against the Islamofascist menace. The actions they take have the same effect regardless of their motivations.

I mean, if I ever get to the point where I think that politics is worth seriously messing with the life of a person who in no way deserves it, just reach through my computer screen and strangle me on the spot.

Can we strangle other people who think this?

lj: not without their consent ;)

It would mean that rather than admit that he didn't handle this right -- which seems pretty clearly true, cabal or no cabal -- and taking the consequences, he's prepared to wreck people's lives and play on the worst kind of homophobia.

Yes. But then... look, for the past few years at least (perhaps since Clinton) the Republican party has been turning into the party where homophobes can feel comfortable and at home: a party which raises anti-gay legislation as an electoral tactic. That so many gay men still support the Republican party is... well, self-hating and weird. The Republican party has made it clear that they don't just see gay people as second-class citizens, but as cheap meat to be thrown to their real base, the religious right. Fordham just declined to be so thrown.

Hilzoy: I was absolutely clear that it was completely wrong of the people who did it to me, but the idea that it was anyone's problem but mine -- that there might be recourse for it, say, or even a name, like "sexual harassment" -- never crossed my mind.

It occurs to me that the pages who were sexually harassed by Foley - and this is clearly a thing that has been going on for years - are receiving at last what few victims of sexual harassment ever get: the very public shaming not only of the man who harassed them, but also of the men who ignored what was happening to them.

I would be lying if I claimed I wasn't relishing this with sheer joy because it looks like one of the many scandals that ought to have broken but that no one in the US media seemed to care about has finally cracked at the worst possible time for the Republican party. Whatever Rove's "October surprise" is, it's hard to see how it can overcome this scandal. (Possible: but difficult.)

But separately from political issues: sexual harassment of junior employees, school-age kids who see their whole future career dependent on not making a fuss about what happens to them, is such a scummy thing to do, such a scummy thing to cover up, that it would be a pleasure to see the people who ran the cover-up being taken down whatever party they belonged to.

It just adds a large dollop of relish that it's the party that's clearly believed for years that it could get away with anything. (Which is why, I suspect, Foley was let continue.) I don't doubt the Republican plans to jigger the elections are still on line, but of course the larger the swing, the more obvious the malfeasance.

Out of curiosity, can anyone tell me what Karl Rove's previous 'October surprises' have been, because the only bombshells I recall coming out close to elections in 2000 and 2004 were President Bush's DUI arrest being released right before the 2000 election, and the CBS memos story that I believe did come out in October 2004. What have been the Republican 'October surprises'?

"What have been the Republican 'October surprises'?"

I don't take the words so literally, but interpret them simply to mean policy initiatives intended as forcing moves (it is World Chess time) and wedge issues(dividing and dispiriting opponents base;exciting your own) and at least timed for political advantage. They can occur in August or September, and can be unsurprising.

The most famous example is the Iraq War Resolution of 2002. Bush was asked to postpone the vote until after the 2002 midterms, and refused. IIRC, another one would be the FMA in 2004. This year, the Military Commissions Act, unless you think there were compelling reasons it had to be decided this September.

Whatever Rove's "October surprise" is, it's hard to see how it can overcome this scandal.

OBL's head on a stick would do it.

I suppose they could try bombing North Korea.

bob,

Thank you. I confess I tend to be a bit literal-minded, so when I hear the term October surprise, I tend to think of it in terms of some bombshell announcement, as opposed to wedge issues.

"I suppose they could try bombing North Korea."

I am guessing an aggressive blockade of Iran. It would be an act of war, but wouldn't look like one on CNN.
Some neat video of Marines landing on oil tankers. If Iran, within its rights, attempted to break the blockade by firing on American ships, Bush would say Iran shot first. It would be both the truth and a lie, so works fine. Or some Gulf of Tonkin thing, the mysterious missile landing 20 ft starboard, I won't be able to prove where it came from.

Or simply two cruise missiles to some target in Iran, publicly denied. Little damage, real war not started, nations screaming at each other. Are Dems gonna call the Pres a liar, when a war is at stake?

All sorts of games can be played, when the military is a personal toy and the world your playpen.

I am guessing an aggressive blockade of Iran. It would be an act of war, but wouldn't look like one on CNN.

Naw. For the reason you just gave, it wouldn't look like much on CNN. Oil would hit $150/bbl just on Iranian oil being cut off. Unless Iran actually shot at something, Bush would have just the negative consequences.

It's hard to tell from your comment what you think the etymology of October Surprise is, I get a slight impression that you feel like it is a term whipped up by liberals to tar Rove, though that may be my liberal bias acting up. But I think October surprise as either having their origin in earlier events, Nixon against Humphrey or Reagan against Carter, the latter, I think, is the main source. In fact, I think that the whole notion of 'October surprise' has paralyzed the media in pre-election reporting. Furthermore, some googling suggests that it was Rove himself who was promising an October surprise. Also, your notion of 'October surprise' seems to suggest only events that are completely controlled by one group or another, rather than the ramping up of certain concerns as the elections approach. I grant that this might be an overly broad interpretation of October surprise, but certainly, the scheduling of the Afghanistan elections and the intervention in Fallujah both occurred in October 2004 could be argued to be under under the control of the admin, while the appearance of the Bin Laden tape before the 2004 election could constitute an 'October surprise', though I'm not suggesting Bush was able to order Bin Laden to make a tape.

On preview, I see you mention that you think of October surprise concerns announcements, which is much more restrictive than what I think of it, but I'm not sure how to resolve the two definitions.

lj,

I actually focus more on the 'surprise' aspect. The way it seems to be used, that I have seen, is as a theory that Rove will spring some big news close to the election that will move the electorate into his camp too late for the Democrats to move them back. Capturing bin Laden, invading Iran, that sort of thing.

Would you consider the release of George W. Bush's DUI arrest an October surprise, notwithstanding I think it was actually released in November?

Andrew: . The way it seems to be used, that I have seen, is as a theory that Rove will spring some big news close to the election that will move the electorate into his camp too late for the Democrats to move them back.

FWIW, this year I first heard this in the context that Rove was claiming that there was going to be an "October surprise". You can see these stories on Google News for yourself. I find no direct quotes of Rove himself, though, just reports that he's been promising one. (And one theory that the "October Surprise" was the latest Osama bin Laden tape, made available online by Rupert Murdoch's UK Fox News, The Times.)

gas prices are surprisingly low right now...

Why is that surprising? Gas prices always drop after Labor Day, do they not?

And doesn't economic theory tend to suggest that when prices rise, supplies rise because there's greater incentive for people to provide that good or service due to the price increase?

I'm not sure, I have always thought of an October surprise as something done or manipulated by the admin/campaign, which is why the secret talks with the South Vietnamese or the dealings with the Iranians more closely fit the my notion of an October Surprise. I don't believe that the DUI arrest was organized by the Kerry campaign in the way that the Swiftboat campaign was, though I admit that others might disagree with either (or both) halves of that statement.

The British Army is doing it's part in throwing cold water on the Iranian angle of an October surprise.

The Kerry campaign organized the Swiftboat vets? Geez, and I thought the Bush administration was inept. ;)

I am sorely tempted to use someone's name here as an adjective, Andrew...

Why is that surprising? Gas prices always drop after Labor Day, do they not?

Aug-Oct, for 2002-2005, in my region (Central Atlantic), prices went up.

2006 Aug-Oct, prices have dropped from 3.30 to 2.60.

source

cleek,

That is interesting. Another one of those things you 'just know' slain by cruel, hard facts.

Wow, is it just me, or does anyone else think it's remarkable to have a government site that throws up all its stats in Excel?

(btw, if you need to use spreadsheets just to keep track of lists and stuff rather than for accounting purposes, check out the google spreadsheets. Been using them to keep track of class grades and attendance, since we always have an internet connection in every classroom and I can access them from any computer. very neat)

Another one of those things you 'just know' slain by cruel, hard facts.

i didn't believe it until i saw the numbers just then. i assumed it always dropped, but that it was just a big drop, this time.

now i know.

all hail Google.

Andrew sez: And doesn't economic theory tend to suggest that when prices rise, supplies rise because there's greater incentive for people to provide that good or service due to the price increase?

Yes, but the evidence seems to be these days that oil is being produced at as high levels as possible, e.g. here re the Saudis; it's not like the tar sands are suddenly being utilized; so if supply has risen, that's because somebody was storing it away earlier and decided to release it now. Or decided to delay purchasing oil for the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. (I'm certainly not objecting to the ostensible reason in the latter case.)

The attempted rescue of hostages in October 1980 that went horribly wrong was intended, if it had been successful, to be an OS that would benefit the Carter re-election campaign. That it was a debacle turned it into an OS for the other side.

There are those who maintain that Reagan supporters sabotaged the mission. I'm not one of them, but I'm agnostic; too much has come out since about the actions of the Iran-Contra crowd for me to dismiss it as impossible.

"There are those who maintain that Reagan supporters sabotaged the mission."

I'm curious: do you recall any specifics on the alleged methodology?

Gary, check here for some of that speculation. The sabotage is a bit too much for me as well, but the arms agreement seems much more probable.

Somewhat on topic...

As it seems to be more clear now that Hastert should have known about this, am I the only one suddenly envisioning Mayor Quimby in "Bart After Dark," where Bart ends up working at a burlesque house that Marge and the Citizens' Committee on Moral Hygeine seek to run out of Springfield, revealing that Mayor Quimby has been a customer there, at which point Quimby says, "Er, uh, well... eh, in light of these new facts, of which I now realize I was largely aware, I must take action."

Not that I really expect Hastert to take action.

Not that I really expect Hastert to take action.

there are plenty of rumors out there that the govt is itching to take action in the form of ... banning minors from using IM. (lost my cite, sorry)

I suppose I should have expected that. The solution to bad behavior on the part of our leadership is...to take some more freedom from the public.

Doubtless this is big business's fault.

Cleek, here. Matthew Yglesias linked to it.

Doubtless it's liberals' fault, Andrew. I thought you were the one who was particularly sensitive to having your positions distorted.

"I thought you were the one who was particularly sensitive to having your positions distorted."

Nice.

I think there really is some sort of communication barrier between some of us here. I'm assuming that "Nice" is a negative comment, but I don't see that I did anything outrageous.

It seems to me that much of the discussion under Andrew's posts consists of him stating that various people are misunderstanding (or distorting, as he perceives it) his positions, or him reacting negatively to (often relatively mild) snark. So when Andrew commented "Doubtless this is big business's fault" in response to the rumored IM ban -- doing exactly the sort of thing he finds so objectionable from others -- I reacted to it.

It's absolutely fine for Andrew to make that sort of joking remark (at least I assume it's a joke -- maybe the communication barrier is thicker than I thought), but if he's going to do that then he shouldn't be offended when other people make similar jokes.

My hypersensitivity is duly noted. I shall endeavor to keep myself under control in the future.

Maybe I'm hypersensitive to your hypersensitivity.

Rewards of Foley: the Butterfly defense, you might say. In return for which, Foley gets six years of page-turning thrills...

Ah, another fellow who just hasn't been paying attention.

In 1996, Perot/Choate got nearly half a million votes out of Palm Beach County. Browne/Jorgensen got nearly 24k votes. Even Nader managed 4k votes. Third-party votes were actually down over 70% in Palm Beach County in 2000 over the previous presidential election. One could certainly make a case for that it's awfully suspicious that the third-party votes went so hard in the Republican direction, but I'm not seeing the case for an intended D vote going for Buchanan, at least not from that article. Buchanan managed to reduce the Reform party's take from PBC by only 96% and change from the previous election, and he's shocked that he only lost that many?

And of course one could be awfully suspicious that Nader was able to get so MANY more votes (by a factor of 20) in PBC in 2000 than in 1996, but there are probably some decent reasons for that.

Dang. Well, I thought I was looking at the county-by-county results, but turns out it was for the entire state. I thought the totals looked high.

Trying to pull out the results by county, but I'm not sure they're available for 1996.

Ok, so PBC went over 33k third-party votes in 1996; just a hair over 10k in 2000. Nader got 55% of the split, and Buchanan got about a third of them, with the rest being split between a half-dozen other candidates.

Bottom line, PBC split D-R by 58-34% in 1996, and 62-35% in 2000. Make of that what you will; looks to me as if more third-parties went D than went R.

I really don't think you can sensibly argue that there wasn't anything statistically weird about the Buchanan vote in Palm Beach County in 2000. I haven't looked this up recently, but didn't he pull something like four times as high a percentage in PBC than in any other Florida county, without any reasonable explanation?

I'm not here arguing that anything particular should have been done about it, but I just don't think it's tenable to argue that there isn't a reason to believe something happened, probably the poor ballot design, to accidentally swing a number of votes to Buchanan.

I haven't looked this up recently, but didn't he pull something like four times as high a percentage in PBC than in any other Florida county, without any reasonable explanation?

Any other reasonable explanation. It's a perfectly reasonable explanation when you look at the butterfly ballot (which I first saw on AskTog, btw). Tog very neutrally blames lack of user testing rather than malice, so Slarti needn't disbelieve his analysis on principle as he generally does any evidence that Bush lost the Florida election.

Even Buchanan thought the result was weird. Amusing, I guess, for him, but weird.

In the Department Of Heh:

A new poll by Newsweek indicates the Foley scandal is doing significant damage to the Republicans' political fortunes and could sink their chances of holding onto control of Congress on Election Day, Nov. 7. The poll found that 52 percent of Americans, including 29 percent of Republicans, believe Hastert was aware of Foley's Internet communications with underage pages and tried to cover up Foley's actions. More of those polled, 42 percent, now say they trust Democrats to do a better job handling moral values than Republicans; 36 percent favored Republicans on the values question.
Not that I'd be too confident; other polls suggest that many conservative Christian Republicans are still viewing this as a scandal solely about Foley, and yet others suggest that it may depress some from voting, but not turn them towards Democrats (which is still good news, to be sure).

solely about Foley

That makes for a catchy Republican mantra.

I remember watching Buchanan on TV right after Election Day and he said 1) it was obvious that he'd gotten hundreds of intended Gore votes by mistake, and 2) it was unfortunate but there was no remedy under the existing law.

I was always kind of impressed that he would be so straightforward at that particular time, since it flew directly against the Bush campaign's insistence that Palm Beach County was a Reform Party stronghold.

What's depressing are the quotes in some stories about how various Christian conservative Republicans simply see the larger story as a farrago of counter-smears and claims, and therefore dismiss it, or say it's unclear and are with-holding judgment.

Which simply demonstrates that if you throw enough baseless mud, no matter how insubstantial and wholly made-up, lots of people (though enough?) are too dim/uncaring/unable/ (pick one, or another) to sort through it.

On a similar vein, I was thinking of quoting the same set of claims on Meet The Press from Republican Senator Talent that was already briefly quoted here, about how Claire McCaskill (and by implication most or all Democrats) want to "give terrorists the same rights as Americans," etc., as if it's possible to know by magic who is a terrorist and who isn't.

I sure wish this magic could be used in normal courts, and we could do away with these pesky, time-consuming, wasteful, and expensive adversarial proceedings, which are so unnecessary to get to the truth.

Why not just believe the authorities? Don't you trust them? Isn't the American government trustworthy? What are you, some kind of communist Arab Muslim terrorist-lover?

But that's the Republican line now.

"I remember watching Buchanan on TV right after Election Day and he said 1) it was obvious that he'd gotten hundreds of intended Gore votes by mistake, and 2) it was unfortunate but there was no remedy under the existing law."

I remember it perfectly clearly, as well. I guess he hadn't heard from Slart that he's wrong.

I thought it was pretty well accepted that the butterfly ballot design resulted in a significant number of Gore votes to go for Buchanan. But since the county election officials were Democrats, it was an "oh well" thing rather than a "rigged election" thing.

I remember it perfectly clearly, as well. I guess he hadn't heard from Slart that he's wrong.

Well, I guess I missed where Buchanan had done a thorough analysis by the day after the election. See, we can all miss things that never happened.

Yes, Buchanan pulled three and a half times as many votes from PBC as he did from any other county. Yes, probably anomalous. I'm sure it's all because the Republicans were sticking it to the Democrats. Sneaky of them to put that butterfly ballot past PBC.

I've pointed out (on numerous occasions; I thought it'd be tedious for me to point it out yet again, here) that this wasn't the first time the butterfly ballot had been floated by PBC on numerous occasions, but probably that's just persistent Republican evil, rather than the intermittent kind.

Slart, I did, really, try not to make any claims about Republican malice. I didn't notice anyone else making claims about malice or intentionality (the article Jes linked criticised Foley's behavior during the recount, but didn't, I think, make any accusations about the design or implementation of the PBC ballot). But there's a real difference between saying "Whatever happened in Palm Beach, there's no evidence that it was purposeful and there was no legal way to fix it," which might be fair, and saying, as you appeared to be, that there was no reason to think there was any anomolous misattribution of large numbers of votes in PBC at all. The first of those is a plausibly defensible position, but the second appears awfully unlikely.

Hm. Well, I guess I should point out that the second "on numerous occasions" really belongs where the first one is, in case anyone cares.

LB, the article Jesurgislac linked to appears to at least try to make the case that Foley had anything at all to do with misattribution of D votes to R, and was successful in that endeavor.

Well, I guess I missed where Buchanan had done a thorough analysis by the day after the election.

I don't know how thorough the analysis was, but the Buchanan campaign certainly had crunched some numbers by November 10, 2000.

[Buchanan's Florida coordinator, Jim] McConnell says he and Jim Cunningham, chairman of the executive committee of Palm Beach County's Reform Party, estimate the number of Buchanan activists in the county to be between 300 and 500 -- nowhere near the 3,407 who voted for him.

"Do I believe that these people inadvertently cast their votes for Pat Buchanan? Yes, I do," said McConnell. "We have to believe that based on the vote totals elsewhere."

Says Cunningham of Buchanan's numbers in Palm Beach County: "It's in the hundreds; it's not a significant amount." Asked if the county is "a Buchanan stronghold," as the Bush campaign has asserted, Cunningham said: "I don't think so. Not from where I'm sitting and what I'm looking at."

McConnell also notes that the Buchanan vote would have been severely diluted from the 1996 totals because of factional splits within the Reform Party.

"I'm sure it's all because the Republicans were sticking it to the Democrats. Sneaky of them to put that butterfly ballot past PBC."

Well, if you say so; me, I pretty much doubt it. This might be deducible from the fact that I've never said any such thing.

"But since the county election officials were Democrats, it was an "oh well" thing rather than a "rigged election" thing."

Look at how such things are reported--if an anomaly might help the Republicans it is immediately suspicious, if it helps Democrats (Wisconsin, Minnesota, the Torchelli ruling) it is merely an oddity.

"Look at how such things are reported--if an anomaly might help the Republicans it is immediately suspicious, if it helps Democrats (Wisconsin, Minnesota, the Torchelli ruling) it is merely an oddity."

Passive voice. The Foley scandal allegedly helps Democrats: is there a lack of claims that this is "immediately suspicious"?

I know I question the timing.

As have a whole bunch of other people.

if it helps Democrats (Wisconsin, Minnesota, the Torchelli ruling) it is merely an oddity.

Don't know about Minnesota, but in Wisconsin at least, it was considered both and reported as such.

I always question the timing. Mostly because I find it humorous.

kenB: But since the county election officials were Democrats

Except, you know, for the tiny detail that Theresa LePore, the former Supervisor of Elections for Palm Beach County, Florida, began as a registered Republican but switched her party to Democratic because,

according to her, "when I ran [for the supervisor position], I chose Democrat because the incumbent was Democrat and the county registration is predominantly Democrat." cite
The butterfly ballot, while certainly in itself enough to make sure that Bush was appointed President rather than Al Gore, who more voters in Florida actually voted for, was designed by a Republican - but it is impossible (and was then) to prove that LePore had done so with intent or because she was a lousy designer. Tog of AskTog, the design website I linked to, thought it was a classic example of not doing user testing. There is, of course, sufficient other evidence in undercounted ballots to show that Gore won the election without the butterfly ballot; but when it turns out that Mark Foley was being allowed to turn whatever pages he felt like without any senior Republican making any move to stop him, you have to wonder (a) what Foley knew that meant they couldn't touch him, or (b) what Foley had done that meant he should be so rewarded.

Unless, of course, the senior Republicans in question knew they didn't have to care, because it doesn't matter any more who voters in the US actually vote for: the Republicans will remain in control of both Houses, the administration, and soon the Supreme Court, for the foreseeable future. Democracy depends on fair elections; fair elections depend on the public caring that they're fair and free: and the US just doesn't seem to have that, at least judging by Slartibartfast's indifference to their fairness so long as his favored party gets into power.

Jes, could you please not personalize this? The last sentence could have been left off and your point would have been made quite adequately. I'm sure you don't want to imitate "a policy of cheap rhetoric and cheap shots" as Fareed Zakaria recently suggested Bush policy was.

Eh, you're right: Slarti had managed to refrain from his usual personal jibes, and so should I have. Consider the last sentence unsaid.

Slarti had managed to refrain from his usual personal jibes, and so should I have.

Of course 'his usual jibes' is non-usefull personalizing too. Bad news when you try to stop a habit but don't register your doing it anymore :)

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