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October 04, 2006

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By this tack, Foley can be seen as a victim, and those who are anti-gay or appeal to an anti-gay base can turn the issue into a win rather than a loss and continue a “justified” attack on anything that deviates from heterosexuality. The spin here keeps homosexuality confined to sin, a learned or contagious evil, and any nature over nurture arguments can be dispensed with (e.g. “Look what They did to Foley!”).Just a stab.

Sorry, "i.e."

And "personal responsibility"? Good god, man, this is politics. :) By using the "molested by a clergyman" tactic (whether or not it is true is immaterial, and not revealing his name affords a pretention of integrity), the Republicans can dump dead weight while keeping the whole ship from sinking.

I suspect this is a half-assed attempt to turn the topic for October from "A Republican congressman molested pages for years, and senior Republicans knew about it and participated in a coverup" to the familiar Republican strategy of "Gays are EVIL! And child molestors!"

Foley can't be rescued: there's way too much out there.

I don't think this strategy is going to work, except for the really hardline homophobes who really do believe that all gay men will molest teenage boys if given access to them - and judging by conversations I've had with such people online, these people know the Republican party is their natural home anyway.

Aggressively promoting homophobia is a familiar electoral strategy for the Republicans. This is a nastier form of it, but it's a nastier event they're reacting to.

Don't worry, everyone -- the right-wing hit squads are hard at working getting Foley's back on this. Today begins the next round of blaming the victims.

we know the Republicans are working hard with this issue. so, what are the Dems doing? other than that one ad Atrios linked to... anything ?

Predictable. I read the headlines this morning, and thought: these could have been the headlines yesterday morning. Except for the timing; I question the timing.

cleek: so, what are the Dems doing?

Judging by what's happened so far, all they need to do is sit back and give the Republicans rope to hang themselves. And keep pointing at the facts of the case: sexual predator (his sexual orientation irrelevant: it would have been just as bad had he been harassing teenage girls); Republican leadership engaged in cover-up.

One problem with this situation for the Republican party is that Foley seems to have confined himself to harassing Republican pages. Like any serial sexual predator, he obviously had a canny idea of what he could get away with and what he couldn't, and - for years, evidently - harassing pages who were looking for a long-term career with the Republican party, whose parents were likely to be loyal Republicans - keeping it all "inside the family" - worked very well for him. But it does mean that testimony against him can't be immediately argued to be partisan. (Given long enough, I imagine it could: look at what happened to Joseph Wilson, despite all available evidence showing that he was publicly non-partisan until the Republicans in the White House started a vendetta against his wife.

his sexual orientation irrelevant: it would have been just as bad had he been harassing teenage girls

Hey! We can agree! And do, here.

One problem with this situation for the Republican party is that Foley seems to have confined himself to harassing Republican pages.

Unsurprising, if they worked for him or for a friend in the party. It'd be surprising if, for instance, pages were randomly assigned out of a pool. I'm pretty sure it doesn't work that way, though. It certainly didn't work that way in Indianapolis.

cleek,
as someone who has often mused about Dems taking off the gloves, I don't feel completely comfortable reinforcing a lot of homophobic stereotypes that arise when you go after Foley. I wish it were possible to be to point out how sleazy and unethical this is, but an ad that says 'they put a fox in with the chickens' resonates with that stereotype of homosexual chickenhawks always on the look out for younger men. This is not saying that Foley deserves a break, or that the House leadership does either. But when you look at it as strengthening the stereotypes people have of homosexuals, you can't say 'well, we'll do it now because we have to get the Republicans out of office, but when get those scum out the door, we'll repair any damage that rhetoric causes', the Dems will have become what they despise. FWIW

But it does mean that testimony against him can't be immediately argued to be partisan.
That may be true, but Fox News is doing what it can: labeling Foley as a Democrat. And I just heard on NPR that Foley is a "former Republican congressman". Funny, I thought he was a Republican former congressman.

Slarti: Unsurprising, if they worked for him or for a friend in the party.

Did they? I have to admit, I haven't been looking into the details in any detail. It's known, then, that the pages who were harassed were all pages working for Foley or for friends of his?

Foley wasn't and isn't gay. He's a man who had--or may have had--homosexual sex. That doesn't mean that he's gay.

Foley now claims to have been molested as a child some 40 years ago, when he was 13-15 years old. He was raised Roman Catholic in the Boston area, and perhaps he is trying to get himself entwined in the recent child abuse scandal in the Boston archdiocese. As far as I'm concerned, it really doesn't work.

Irrespective of that, as far as I'm concerned, the issue is not so much Foley, but how the Republican leadership in the House apparently covered up Foley's illicit activities. By analogy, the Roman Catholic priest scandal here in Boston was not so much about the invidual molesting priests, but how the RCC hierarchy covered up the molestations.

Ironically, the Republican noisemakers are beginning to pull a page out of the RCC hierarchy's play book: blame their respective problems on gay people, not on their own defalcations.

Foley wasn't and isn't gay.

That doesn't mean that he's gay.

One of these things is not like the other. "Isn't gay" I'd want to know how you think you know; "you don't know if he's gay" I'd tend to agree with.

KCinDC: That may be true, but Fox News is doing what it can: labeling Foley as a Democrat.

*sporfle*

Okay, it's not really funny. There are Fox News viewers who'll probably believe it. The only problem with that is, if they see "Mark Foley" on their ballots, and Fox News has made them think he's the Democratic candidate... they'll vote for the other guy. ;-)

But when you look at it as strengthening the stereotypes people have of homosexuals, you can't say 'well, we'll do it now because we have to get the Republicans out of office, but when get those scum out the door, we'll repair any damage that rhetoric causes'

i was thinking something more along the lines of "the Republican House leadership is more interested in protecting themselves than going after sexual predators", etc.. there's good campaign material here that doesn't necessarily get into the homosexual aspect of it.

Not to agree just for the sake of agreeing: but I think Sebastian and raj have it pegged precisely. The latest attempts to spin Rep. Foley's improper activities as a "gay" problem, or to find some, any exculpatory storyline which will let the House Republican leadership off the hook are pretty shameful. Shameful in two ways: first, that the GOP, as an institution, feels compelled to "protect its own" via blatant and public flouting of the "personal responsibility" ethos they have been flogging as a political catchphrase for years, and second: that they also fall back on reflexive homophobia (however cleverly cloaked) as a tool to try to spin the narrative in their favor.
Josh Marshall opines that the House GOP leadership is heading for some "outer galaxy of desperation", and I think he's right: we can only hope that our national media will, for once, see through the Republicans' tawdry attempts at blame-shifing, and finally, (finally!!), start holding them to account.

we can only hope that our national media will, for once, see through the Republicans' tawdry attempts at blame-shifing, and finally, (finally!!), start holding them to account

IMO, that's an unrealistic hope. my prediction is: this issue is going to get muddied enough, by people chasing down all these side issues, so that the media's he-said/she-said tendencies are going to turn the whole thing into another Confusing Political Spat, like Plame, SBVT, the Iraq war, etc.. the central political hook is simple and Dems should be hammering it non-stop (let's just agree that hammering hooks is a good idea): the GOP House leadership allowed this to happen.

all this "Foley was abused!", "ABC News held the messages!" is the GOP trying to distract.

Judging by what's happened so far, all they need to do is sit back and give the Republicans rope to hang themselves.

the smart Republicans are going to get ahold of this and prevent that from happening; they're going to put the dumb ones in a pen and tell them to STFU until the situation is fully diffused.

i give the whole thing two more weeks until it's completely under GOP control, and the Dem base is left wondering "why didn't our party do anything when we had the chance?"

Cleek, I fear you're right, but the fact that no one told Tom Reynolds that his press conference with children as human shields was an incredibly bad idea gives me a tiny fragment of hope.

If he's really at a Scientology center, we can be assured that Scientology will be played up as having 'cured' him. I wonder if they told him to say he was molested by a priest...

Sebastian, thanks for this post.

Two points:

It is too bad that the Democratic Party can't adopt a political strategy of forgiveness with responsibility in regard to Foley. In other words, the man has a problem which he needs to take care of. If his actions are criminal, he should be prosecuted under the applicable law; but even if it not criminal, we can all agree that seducing minors, whatever the inclination, is not acceptable. This might lift the issue above the homosexual/heterosexual thing.

But they can't, can they? They would be branded as soft on crime, soft on sin, etc. When Rush Limbaugh starts quoting the well-known moderate Democrat, Allen Ginsberg, on man-on-boy sex, and he will, the urge to stay above things on the part of the Democrats tends to give way to just a little bit of partisan venom.

Why? Because ....

Point Two: "You belong to the party which claims to value personal responsibility."

Sebastian, come on now. You do realize that is a political slogan, a bumpersticker, a bit of a wheeze? I suspect there are equal numbers of folks in both parties who value personal responsibility.

I would say, in fact, that if you took two farmers, for example, one who believes farm supports are necessary and one who believes government should stay out of the farm support business, each of them would stand a small but equal chance of succumbing to a penchant for young boys or girls, and would act as Foley has when caught.

A person can believe, for example, that Social Security taxes should be raised and the program left inviolate, or conversely, that the program should be scuttled and and completely privatized. Either way, I doubt this difference in policy would staunch the individual's desire for underage lovers, should that be their personal distraction. And, if caught, I suspect both policymakers would hedge their denials of such personal behavior ..... or not.

Because last time I checked, human beings have flaws regardless of their public slogans and policy. The idea that only Republicans value personal responsibility was hatched by Frank Luntz, not God, who, by the way, is busy with his or her own plausible deniability.

I suppose this is like a liberal who is shocked to find out that their favorite ultra-liberal celebrity who espouses collectivist economic tendencies is, in reality, a lousy tipper and treats hotel staff and the "little people" with condescension and rudeness.

Come to think of it, your otherwise brave post would stand taller without the last paragraph.


Jon, wouldn't the they have told him to say he was molested by a psychiatrist?

You had me at Allen Ginsberg, John. You had me at Allen Ginsberg. I almost blew coffee all over my screen.

I suspect I am the only person in the entire world who thinks that, while the molestation by priests stuff was gratuitous (even if true), the 'Congressman Foley is a gay man' part was, in fact, at least in part, a decision to have done with the closet once and for all. (At least in the video, it struck me as something the lawyer had been instructed by Foley to say.) Naturally, this is easier to do once the closet has been blown into tiny little splinters, but still -- I put it in a different, and somewhat more human, category than the rest.

Yeah, Hil, but it was still a cynical little moment like with Jim McGreevey.

Being gay in American society IS, in point of fact, harder than being straight. Being a closeted gay can be harder still, and being a closeted gay Republican can be, well, oy.

But at the very moment when you've been caught engaging in utterly inappropriate behavior, to suddenly play the "I'm gay" card in hopes of generating sympathy... it's way too obvious. As Sebastian says, somehow millions of other people manage to cope with this burden without acting like Foley, so why bring it up?

I can't wait for William Jefferson's tearful press conference where he says, yes, I did have all that bribe money in my freezer, but by the way, have you noticed how black I am?

Let's accept Foley's statement (actually the lawyer's statement) at face value, that Foley is gay and that he was abused as a child.

First of all, the one does not necessarily have anything to do with the other.

Secondly, it is an attempt to paint Foley as the victim, deflecting away from the real victims.

Thirdly, I don't think most Dems have a problem with Foley being gay, and that is not anything to work against.

As I understand it, the pages were of the age of consent (as was Lewinsky BTW.

However, first of all, this plays into the buse of power situation. From my readings on this, many pages were afraid to mention anything because they felt that doing so would ruin their chances of being poltical players in the future. Foley undoubtedly felt himself to be immune.

Secondly, it appears that Foley had a penchant for the young. Now I may find a 17-18 year old female attractive, but I am not going to do anything about that.

The constant issue here is who knew what, when did they know it, and why didn't they do anything about it. So far, the Dems have been saying "let's find out the facts."

I think something that is likely to emerge is that if there was some sort of widespread knowledge of Foley's behavior, surely some Dems knew about it and why didn't they do anthing about it?

This may be difficult to push as all the pages, so far, are Republican pages and warnings came from former Republican pages.

Meanwhile, I think the Dems are not pushing too hard right now and waiting for maior facts to come out. Perhaps they think that this way they can keep this from being a two week issue and have it still be fresh in people's minds right up until the election.

One encouraging thing is that the Daily Herald, a conservative suburban Chicago paper, with a wide circulation has changed its headlines from a focus on Foley to a focus on Hastert.

And gee, I agree with both Jes and Slarti on the sexual orientation not being relevant. Hell hath indeed frozen over.

You belong to the party which claims to value personal responsiblity.

LOL!!!! Even with the dis-"claims"-er.

Rumsfeld been fired yet?

Cheney been leashed yet?

Rice been fired yet?

Foley wasn't and isn't gay. He's a man who had--or may have had--homosexual sex. That doesn't mean that he's gay.

Um, he said (through his lawyer) "I'm gay," in a televised press conference. Any reason why we shouldn't believe him?

As I understand it, the pages were of the age of consent
Where does that understanding come from? It hasn't been clear to me.

And if the answer is supposed to be "political tactics," all I can say is I'm glad that I'm so naive, or the Rs are so stupid and desperate, that that seems completely ridiculous to me.

KCinDC: Where does that understanding come from? It hasn't been clear to me.

All reports say that all the pages harassed were 16, and 16 is the legal age of consent in Washington DC. The odd part is that according to a law Foley sponsored, because he contacted them over the Internet, that's a criminal offense because they were under 18, even though they were legal to have sex in person. Of course, sexual harassment is still an offense and is offensive, and becomes more offensive the younger the victim: sexual harassment of a high school student just old enough to be legal, is a lot more offensive than the sexual harassment of a 22-year-old graduate. The power imbalance between Clinton and Lewinsky was creepy, as was Clinton's defense that he didn't think of getting blow-jobs from her as "having sex", but it is substantially less offensive than the situation between Foley and these pages. The difference between a 22-year-old and a 16-year-old is a lot more than just the calendar 6 years.

Reprehensible: Blogger pledges to 'out' boy in Foley scandal.

Just to be clear, because I haven't commented on the case much. I'm not nearly as appalled by the sexual advances to a 17-year old per se (though I still think it is creepy in itself) as I am by the abuse of power. A page is your subordinate. You shouldn't hit on your subordinates (no matter what the age).

Reprehensible:

Oh, swell. That'll fix his little red wagon.

Jes, since the contact was over the Internet, I don't think you can say "they were legal to have sex with in person" without establishing a location for the theoretical sex. Since the pages Foley contacted had left the program, it's likely they weren't in DC anymore, and in a lot of states the age of consent is 17 or 18. This is another one of those situations in which federalism may make things more complicated than they would be in the UK.

Of course, as you suggest, the question of legality of any theoretical sex isn't really relevant to the morality.

All reports say that all the pages harassed were 16, and 16 is the legal age of consent in Washington DC.

The reports also make clear that Foley's contacts with pages continued well after they departed DC, so the laws of other jurisdictions are at issue as well. For example, the age of consent in Florida is 18 if the other party is 24 or over.

"we know the Republicans are working hard with this issue. so, what are the Dems doing? other than that one ad Atrios linked to... anything ?"

Yes:

The first television advertisement to refer directly to the page scandal was broadcast Tuesday in Minnesota, where a Democratic Congressional candidate, Patty Wetterling, is running for an open seat against a Republican state senator, Michele Bachmann. “Congressional leaders have admitted covering up the predatory behavior of a congressman who used the Internet to molest children,” the commercial declared.

Oh, just spotted, also:

"In just the brief period since the Mark Foley scandal broke on Friday, a Democrat candidate from Louisiana's 1st Congressional District has already produced a campaign commercial trying to tie his Republican opponent, Bobby Jindal, in with Mark Foley,"
More here.

IIRC, Patty Wetterling is the person whose ad Atrios linked to.

but Fox News is doing what it can: labeling Foley as a Democrat.

so is the Associated Press. (see Marshall)

who wants to bet there's an RNC press release behind this ?

Point Two: "You belong to the party which claims to value personal responsibility."

Sebastian, come on now. You do realize that is a political slogan, a bumpersticker, a bit of a wheeze?

John, I take the fact that Sebastian said "claims" as evidence that he was fully aware of that; if he had said "is," your reponse would make perfect sense, but as it is, I suggest that it's a poor reading of what Sebastian wrote.

Especially at the length you went on about it.

It is uncomprhensible to think that any Republicunts could possibly be responsible. As they say in the reality based community.....

I don't think that ANYBODY could have anticipated the breach of the Levis.

This is my favorite recent political ad. Wonder if it's getting any airtime?

Here's the TPM post cleek referred to. And it's out there in a few more places (some from before the scandal, though).

SJMN has since corrected itself.

Odd that this error has appeared both there and Fox, though.

Undeniable Liberal, please review the posting rules and moderate your language, or you will be asked to leave. Thank you.

"Jon, wouldn't the they have told him to say he was molested by a psychiatrist?"

Nah. This guy. (This guy.)

Not for me; I'm Xenuphobic.

Slart, I believe you were looking for this thread.

"...establishing a location for the theoretical sex."

As an aside to this thread, not a threadjack, I find the word "theoretical" in relation to sex to be odd. It reminds me of the poor Chinese peasant during the Cultural Revolution who might have let slip a desire for buying his own cow and then finds himself in a reeducation camp for indulging thoughts of theoretical capitalism.

Plus, the "location" for "theoretical" sex is some bit of the human brain. I don't know about the rest of you, but if theoretical sex is now a crime, then I deserve the theoretical death penalty. I'm a theoretical serial offender. I have fifty billion theories a day and if they are now counted as strikes, I'm out. I always theorized that the fact that my theories find very little application in real life was something to be proud of, from a strict theoretical and scientific point of view.

Is this what sex has come to in this culture?

Jes: I agree with you on Clinton, pretty much. He should have said "Young lady, I don't require pizza from anyone but my wife, and besides, I am the President and you are an intern, which seems a little unfair on the power scale. Let us both behave.

However, early reports, if they are to be believed (alleged claims by her friends in California), in the episode, pointed out that Monica set her sights on a specific act with knee pads with a specific person and she got on a plane and accomplished her goal. I would say that was stupid, misguided, ridiculous, perhaps dangerous, tragic, deeply flawed, and many other things, but I wouldn't say SHE didn't think the plan would appear pretty powerful to a member of the male persuasion, regardless of his powerful position.

Just a theory.


Foley's as gay as the day is long. He's been in a long-term relationship with a Palm Beach dentist (who he's been cheating on with his teenage buddies/victims).

And Foley isn't what Democrats should be focusing on: it's the failure of the Republican leaders to ask the hard questions, take responsibility and hold people accountable. Just an echo of their grander failure to do these things wrt Iraq, Katrina, the budget and debt, and the vast expansion of executive power.

John Thullen, maybe I should have said "hypothetical". I wasn't referring to the conversations or to anything occurring within the minds of the participants, but to a possible physical meeting at which actual sexual contact occurred (something for which there's no evidence, as far as I know). That seems like the only situation in which age of consent would be relevant.

But how many of your fifty billion theories a day involve sending e-mails or IMs, or otherwise interacting with the objects of your studies?

Just a theory.

For which I will take you out and have you shot by my minions.

By the way, in all the excitement about the latest Republican cover-up, is it true that someone was arrested for telling Cheney in public that his policies in Iraq were reprehensible? Now that should be a major scandal...

is it true that someone was arrested for telling Cheney in public that his policies in Iraq were reprehensible?

One does not insert a cloud into Cardinal Richelieu's day. We should all know that by now.

I suppose he was lucky he wasn't shot. But perhaps Cheney wasn't armed. Or wasn't drunk. Or both.

Being gay in American society IS, in point of fact, harder than being straight. Being a closeted gay can be harder still, and being a closeted gay Republican can be, well, oy.

But at the very moment when you've been caught engaging in utterly inappropriate behavior, to suddenly play the "I'm gay" card in hopes of generating sympathy

It's worse than that; playing that card also feeds the gays-are-child-molesters line of the fundamentalists whose power in the Republican Party is great, and greater than usual a month before mid-term elections when turnout of the base is everything.

And this tactic has been undertaken with the counsel of Foley's former campaign manager and chief of staff, Kirk Fordham. To whom your comment applies:

being a closeted gay Republican can be, well, oy.

There's a lot of oy-ness, given the number of members of Congress and staff who are. Not to mention operatives of the very fundamentalist groups now demanding a quick sacrifice to stop the revelations, and who plan to use the Foley case to promote their ongoing campaigns of gay hatred.

Foley, by the way, had a splendid opportunity to come out in May of 2003, when he was outed by the Broward New Times. Instead, he organized a bizarre conference call with the press to deny it that pretty much ended his run for Senate (he was planning to run for Bob Graham's seat, which ended up being filled by Mel Martinez).

Jes: Yep.

"Foley wasn't and isn't gay."

The Palm Beach Post disagrees.

One does not insert a cloud into Cardinal Richelieu's day. We should all know that by now.

Thanks for the laugh, spartikus.

Probably only the chaos of the Katrina aftermath prevented them from going after the guy on the bicycle...

Gary:

Yes, I do go on. You're right about that.

As to the word "claims", your point occurred to me. And I'm not attacking Sebastian personally. But am I wrong that Sebastian probably votes Republican the balance of the time because their policy prescriptions seem to him to encourage personal responsibility? And that somehow the plurality of the electorate (and Republican candidates), by extension, have come to think that those policy prescriptions, boiled down to a shallow bumpersticker, mean that Republican candidates don't put their knickers on, or take them off, one leg at a time, just like Democrats? And that this conclusion is daft?

"I don't know", thinks Sebastian. "Why don't you ask me."

Oh. O.K.!

I admit that Bill Moyers, for example, "claims" to believe in collective responsibility for, say, healthcare in America. But Republican bumperstickers would have you believe that Moyers, by extrapolation, thinks that collective sex with large numbers of interns is fine, too.

Not that this is Sebastian's responsibility. Or yours. And it certainly isn't mine. ;)

Yes, a strange story about the guy arrested for "threatening" VP Cheney: here, via Josh Marshall , is what seems to be the ur-article on the incident.

Even stranger is why this hasn't surfaced till now - not that it seems in the least non-credible (given what we know about our current leadership's attitudes towards interactions with the public) - it makes one wonder why we are only hearing now, in October, about an encounter in June. Weird.

because he just filed a lawsuit, I'm guessing?

Again, Democrats don't need to and shouldn't go after Foley. He's done. It's the Republicans in Congress who have failed, again and again, to ask the hard questions, take responsibility, and hold people accountable.

Their failure to do this has led to tens of thousands of people being killed, the waste and looting of the national treasury, the disgrace of Katrina's aftermath, and an out-of-control President who's in way over his head being handed the powers of a dictator.

It's also led to a situation much easier for most people to grasp: Republican "leaders" turned a blind eye (or, at best, winked) that allowed members of Congress to harass and molest teenagers.

KCinDC:

None. There is no homework assigned with my studies. Not even the occasional pop-quiz. Sometimes my wife and I don lab coats and goggles, but the only thing we produce is laughing gas, duly noted in scientific journals.

Besides, I was raised a Protestant, and everyone knows they got rid of sex altogether a long time ago, the party-poopers.

On Friday night, I check into Bob's Rehabilitation Clinic and Bar and Grill to take care of my problem.

"hypothetical" is better.;)

Nell, I think we all agree with you. However, it appears that part of the Republican strategy is to keep the focus on Foley, who is already paying for his sins.

This is why Pelosi has called for an investigation, indepedent of the FBI, who already dropped the ball earlier in the year, to determine who knew what, when and why inaction.

If the Republicans work to delay that investigation, that becomes major ammo for the dems.

Nell is hitting all the right notes (with Thullen taking great solos over the changes, methinks) I do worry about the witchhunt aspect of this and the possibility that the Republicans will be able to make this whole thing into homosexuality, which would let them have Foley drawn and quartered in the town square, thus reassuring the populace that the world is back on track. It's why I can't sleep.

Ed Perlmutter's, and the rest of the Colorado slate's response's. (This is a columnist, not a news article.)

Democrat Ed Perlmutter waited three days to inject the Mark Foley scandal into Colorado's 7th Congressional District campaign.

Wonder what took so long.

On Monday, Perlmutter called for the resignations of every member of Congress who knew of Republican Rep. Foley's obscene messages to underage congressional pages but didn't force him out. Perlmutter then called on his Republican opponent, Rick O'Donnell, to demand the same accountability.

In the 3rd Congressional District, Democratic incumbent John Salazar railed at Republican opponent Scott Tipton, whose party "put politics before the safety of our children."

Tuesday, 4th Congressional District Democrat Angie Paccione checked in, demanding the resignation of Republican House Speaker Dennis Hastert for knowing about Foley's behavior but doing nothing until it became public in media reports. Paccione said her Republican opponent, incumbent Marilyn Musgrave, also should ask Hastert to step down. Paccione then chastised Musgrave for voting against a bill to help runaway, homeless and missing children.

I'm cynical enough to believe that Perl mutter, Salazar and Paccione would not be raising Cain if Foley had been a Democrat and Democrats controlled Congress.

But Republicans would be.

They actually pay people really good money to offer these deep insights in the paper. (The rest of the column goes on with equally obvious advice from a local poly-sci professor.)
[...] Democrats "need to focus on (Republican) party leadership that is asleep at the wheel or at least insensitive to a serious matter on which they should have been proactive," Straayer said.
Yup, wouldn't know that without a Ph.D and decades of expertise.

Some of the conclusion is a little better, though.

[...] Salazar's seat looks safe. Perlmutter has the best chance of winning a contested race because of the chaos. He's running for an open seat in a politically balanced district that went for Democrat Ken Salazar in the 2004 U.S. Senate race. But Straayer says the Foley scandal - or the handling of it - actually helps Paccione more and underdog 5th Congressional Democrat Jay Fawcett most.

Paccione now gets to crow about Musgrave's vote against The Runaway, Homeless, and Missing Children Protection Act of 2003, not mentioning that Musgrave voted for The Adam Walsh Child Safety Protection Act of 2006. Paccione also gets to link Musgrave to Hastert, who some Republicans say was told about Foley's misconduct months ago.

Fawcett is running for an open seat against Republican Doug Lamborn, a candidate whose primary campaign was so dirty that retiring incumbent Republican Joel Hefley may not even vote for him. Hefley, a former ethics committee chair, called Lamborn's tactics "sleazy."

Hefley's view of Lamborn is "almost DeLayesque," Straayer said. The question Fawcett can ask with the Foley scandal is whether voters want to add to a Republican power structure that already appears indifferent to sleaze.

Of course, it is guilt by association.

But in this election cycle it could actually affect the verdict.

"There is," Straayer said, "a discomfort with the direction of the country."

So far, the way those in control have managed Foley's follies is anything but a right turn.

I'd like to emphasize that Ed Perlmutter is surging, but still can use contributions; also, Democratic state Rep. Angie Paccione has a tougher row to hoe, but she's in the Red-To-Blue Program, and she was endorsed last week by Wes Clark, and is still a possible win, which would mean getting the absolutely despicable Marilyn Musgrave out of Congress (and hopefully off to the looney farm for gay-bashing obsessives she belongs on), so contributions to her would also be great; see my post for appropriate links and more.

Hastert has been lying again. Jake Tapper blogs:

Of note: Yesterday, under fire for not having done more when his office was first informed of some inappropriate e-mails Foley sent to an underage ex-page, Hastert told Rush Limbaugh's listeners — and other audiences — that he and the GOP leadership had facilitated Foley's resignation.

"We took care of Mr. Foley," Hastert said. "We found out about it, asked him to resign. He did resign. He's gone."

That wasn't true.

Foley resigned before anyone in leadership could speak to him.

Hastert spokesman Ron Bonjean later told ABC News that the speaker "misspoke" because he had been under the mistaken impression that someone in leadership had advised Foley to resign.

Also, J.C. Watts gave the Repub leadership a kick:
[...] "For Republicans, for four or five weeks there we had gone from awful to bad and over the last three or four days we are back in the awful category," Watts said. "It's damaging. I think it's very damaging."

Watts said the leadership of the House — Democrat and Republican - needed to take a long hard look at itself.

"They've become more concerned about leading each other in Washington as opposed to being a leader for the people back home concerning issues of the day," Watts said.

I believe the word is: heh.

Hastert spokesman Ron Bonjean later told ABC News that the speaker "misspoke" because he had been under the mistaken impression that someone in leadership had advised Foley to resign.

Here even I can feel a bit of sympathy for Rep. Hastert, because of course someone in leadership had advised Foley to resign.

It appears to have been Col. Mustard NRCC Chair Reynolds with the pipe wrench his chief of staff Kirk Fordham. Part of the answer to hilzoy's question.

In re Jesurgislac's 7:57 comment:
-"Judging by what's happened so far, all they need to do is sit back and give the Republicans rope to hang themselves."

A tactic that has worked famously for them over the past 6 years. :) The Waiting for Guffman Theater presents: "Molested by a Clergyman! or Slipping the Noose."

In re john miller 10:42:

-"Let's accept Foley's statement (actually the lawyer's statement) at face value, that Foley is gay and that he was abused as a child.

First of all, the one does not necessarily have anything to do with the other."

It does if you are someone who is prone to quote Leviticus on the subject.

"It appears to have been Col. Mustard NRCC Chair Reynolds with the pipe wrench his chief of staff Kirk Fordham."

Who has now fallen (pushed or not) onto his sword.

So now a "leader" is cutting his closeted functionary loose, and blaming it all on Teh Gay Overzealous Rogue Staffer.

Shades of Hastert hinting that the FBI should look into who leaked the emails, and that it was Teh Gay Overzealous House Clerk.

More of this kind of thing will be forthcoming, since I'm afraid the Donald Wildmon-led Arlington Group is calling the shots for the moment.

Sorry, Gary, didn't refresh before posting the comment. To atone, I'll provide the Overzealous Staffer link.

He fell on his sword while hugging Hastert.

Ok, so I'm in the that's-totally-completely-inexcusable camp now.

Then again, Fordham's not going quietly: says he tried to get Hastert to act two years ago, will tell all to FBI.

Mmmm... that's goooood popcorn.

"hugging Hastert" has a lot of potential as a euphemism.

You know what this boils down to? GOP Leadership -- and it wasn't just Hastert made a cold decision about what "family values" was really worth to them.

Nothing. And because this is coming out -- because it's not just one person's bad acts, but the coverup by the leadership -- it's damaging the GOP with it's own hardcore "family values" base.

Jesur is right. The Democrats just need to repuidate and stand back. There's nothing they can add to this. No further damage they can do to the GOP. It's all self-inflicted, and as the rats turn on each other it's just going to get worse.

Folks, don't get all excited about Fordham's revelations. After all he was
A: Out of the loop
B: Speaking out a need to get revenge
C: Overlooked for a promotion at some time in the past
D: A Democratic plant
or
E: All of the above.

'"hugging Hastert" has a lot of potential as a euphemism'

I have a vague memory of some movie or sf character grasping the bad guy in his arms and jumping into a volcano. Probably that's Darth Vader and the emperor from the third Star Wars, come to think of it.

I have to say, though, the more Hastert is on TV, the more stock photos of Hastert are run in newspapers, the better Democrats' chances are. That gentleman has been kept out of the harsh lightbulbs for a very good reason.

F: Working on a book.

Morat20,
Rather than stand back entirely, I think Dems, particularly challengers, should use the leadership failure as an example of the larger failures.

But yeah, I think that the wheels are coming off for good now.

Not that AP isn't doing its part, sending out a story today describing Foley as "(D-FL)". That's going to do more damage than the same stunt by Fox, because it's going to get picked up all over the place. Some coincidence, eh?

via Crooks and Liars,

Stewart and Colbert's take. I like Stewart better, but Colbert's line about Hastert not knowing anything about harassing young boys because he was a high school wrestling coach was the best one liner.

Also, Fordham not going quietly in to the night suggests the wheels really have come off the bus. About time, too.

Ya gotta love the Republicans (or maybe they're just Democrat-haters; that seems to be their passion) ranting on about how homophobic and intolerant of homosexuality the Democrats are.

More here.

Also, I have to complain to the Democratic Praesidium that I missed the memo on David Corn being appointed to be "The Democrats."

Let's presume Hastert is gone (this Friday, 6:00 pm, along with various others in the old guard (class of 1994) leadership.

Monday morning, Mike Pence or Rep. Ryan or Shadegg or someone in that vein is named Majority Leader. On Tuesday, they announce a list of campaign promises, led by more huge tax cuts, followed by "saving" Social Security and passing an amendment to the Constitution to balance the stinking budget.

Small print promises to hold the fort against teh gays and teh terrorists.

Wednesday, Bush rushes over to the Hill for photo ops with the above leader, James Dobson, CATO reps, and Club for Growth jannisaries.

Thursday, the religious base is secure. Friday, the libertarian gut-the-government (you, but not you, Andrew) base is secure.

Saturday, the polls surge to 51% in favor of the Republicans.

The famous actress said when she finally laid eyes on the actor's mug who played the Beast in Cocteau's "Beauty and the Beast":... "ach, give me back my Beast."

I'll be saying "Give me back my Hastert".

Democrats should not be too confident. We can still end up the tax and spend, terrorist-rights-hugging, slightly threatening child molester sympathasizers.

"Probably that's Darth Vader and the emperor from the third Star Wars, come to think of it."

Er, no. (Maybe I'm missing the joke again.)

However, the last episode of Deep Space Nine featured more or less that scene. (They were underground "fire caves," and Sisko transcended spacetime, or something like that, afterwards, but close enough.)

The Emperor did get thrown down the conveniently nearby gaping pit leading to power something-or-others (clearly the Empire is evil due to having eliminated the Republic's Occupational Safety Administration), but Darth stayed around to unmask and have a tender momement with sonny boy before expiring ("it's too late for me, my son!"); which face he's wearing depends on which version you see, thanks to Lucas's endless tinkering.

We can still end up the tax and spend, terrorist-rights-hugging, slightly threatening child molester sympathasizers.

Ah, the good ole days.

Er, no. (Maybe I'm missing the joke again.)

End of Alien 3?

"Monday morning, Mike Pence or Rep. Ryan or Shadegg or someone in that vein is named Majority Leader."

Denny Hastert is Speaker of the House. John Boehner is Majority Leader. Possibly you're assuming Boehner will Ascend to the Speakership, but I think that's unlikely.

"On Tuesday, they announce a list of campaign promises, led by more huge tax cuts, followed by 'saving' Social Security and passing an amendment to the Constitution to balance the stinking budget."

Just for the record, the House session has adjourned.

But I should know better than to bring reality in to one of your reveries; sorry for interupting, John; my apologies.

But Gary, the beauty of Thullen's scenario is that it doesn't need the House to be in session, they could just do it on the steps and the media would roll up and the talking heads would declare that a compromise has been. This seems to have been the way the torture bill worked.

"End of Alien 3?"

There is no such film.

Correct as usual, Gary - actual title is Alien³, for those who care.

(sidenote: one wonders what might have been...)

"(sidenote: one wonders what might have been...)"

Without even checking, I'm betting that goes to Bill's script. (Bill's an old friend, from years before he sold a word of fiction.)

"Er, no. (Maybe I'm missing the joke again.)"

Oops, guess not. All I really remember about that movie is that it's much better dubbed into French.

Maybe I was thinking of a great scene in Zelazny's great novel Lord of Light. Or something completely different.

Gary: Did you meet Gibson via fan periodicals, in a professional capacity, or otherwise? (Am assuming you two met after his move to the Great White North.)

"Gary: Did you meet Gibson via fan periodicals, in a professional capacity, or otherwise?"

I first met Bill via fandom; he'd been mildly and briefly active years before I was, back in the early Sixties, as a kid, attending the Chicon III, the Worldcon in Chicago in 1962, then "gafiating" (gafia=Getting Away From It All) sometime in 63/64, until the mid-Seventies, when he, pursuing his interesting in writing professionally, took a class in sf at the University of British Columbia, which was taught by my friend, Dr. Susan Wood.

Susan was an extremely Big Name Fan, a multiple Hugo winner for Best Fanzine and Best Fan Writer, having first become active with her husband, Mike Glicksohn, circa 1967 and co-winning the Hugo for the amazingly good fanzine Energumen (scans recently made available here, though they don't make clear the amazing mimeography quality, color, or fine art), and then on her own after their divorce. We were good, though not super-close, friends, and I got her small circulation fanzine, Amor de Cosmos (actually, the title went on at length, but I don't recall the whole thing at the moment, although it ended in "People's Revolutionary Susanzine"), which went to around 40-50 of her closest friends, and we saw each other regularly after I moved to Seattle in 1978, but I get ahead of myself.

In 1976 I was visiting my then friend, Patrick Hayden, in Toronto (for many years, we co-edited fanzines, lived together on and off, ran conventions together, and otherwise engaged in various projects and closely intertwined lives; that was a long time ago, though), and Bill was visiting Toronto -- I have no memory as to why -- and had been given a couple of names of current interesting active fans from Susan, and so he called up Patrick, and arranged to come visit us.

Patrick was then living with a fan, whose name the fan probably wouldn't want mentioned, since he was a libertarian of the black helicopters sort (despite being a Canadian) and the most paranoid person I've ever known, but let's call him "Phil."

Anyway, Phil and Patrick then momentarily lived in a tiny basement one-room place, and it was not untypical that at the time, the door was stuck semi-permanently shut, so we were forced to enter and leave by climbing in through one of those tiny windows abutting the ceiling of the room, which is to say, at ground level.

Since Bill is, I forget, 6' 7" or so, my first introduction to him was his legs and ass coming through that tiny window. And getting briefly stuck.

We extracted him, and had a very pleasant day, and he had a lot of questions about doings in fandom since his day, which we answered; fun was had by all.

Then, in early '78, I moved to Seattle with my love, Anna Vargo (deceased January '05, though we'd split up 20 years before, but stayed extremely close friends all that time), and became part of the center of the social community of sf fandom in Seattle for years, with our house (which we named Our House, after the CSNY song -- it was a very very fine house) being the site for years of the monthly Vanguard Party I co-founded (most folks you wouldn't have heard of; ones you might have included Joanna Russ, Vonda McIntyre, Amy Thomson [years before she sold a word], F.M. Busby, I dunno, maybe a couple of others, maybe not).

There was a lot of frequent travel between the San Francisco Bay Area, Seattle, and Vancouver (and to a very slight degree, Portland, Oregon, but not so much) fandoms, with an axis of us all being close friends; so Bill came down to our party a fair number of times; he also did a fanzine with Susan and a woman named Allyn Cadogan, for some years, in those years, called Genre Plat.

Fandom seemed to have grown very large to us in those days, but it was very small and intimate compared to what it later grew to in the Eighties, let alone since.

Anyway, that's the very short version.

(By odd syncronicity, I was just sent a box of things of Anna's which arrived in the mail two hours ago, including a copy of a fanzine I did in December, 1982, describing Seattle fandom for four pages of small type; funny how the world works.)

Bill was always famous in our circle, back then, for being fascinated by new technology and new culture, and cutting edge stuff, and things Japanese. He was the first person any of us futurist-oriented, sf-mad, science/tech-oriented, people knew who had a newfangled thing called a "Walkman," which he showed off to all.

Wonder whatever happened to him, and that interest.

"Maybe I was thinking of a great scene in Zelazny's great novel Lord of Light."

While I'm name-dropping (and I've almost surely been through this before, here): a book whose later editions I was very proud and pleased to do trivial administration stuff on the republication of.

I'm pretty sure that I've mentioned here before that my first meeting of Roger came when I looked up and he was at the urinal next to mine.

Ray LaHood wants to shut down the page program.

Rep. Ray LaHood, a close House ally of Speaker Dennis Hastert, on Wednesday called for a suspension to the congressional page program at least for awhile.

[...]

LaHood said in a CNN interview that the page program, which brings 15- and 16-year-olds to the Capitol, should be suspended because "people are very, very concerned."

I guess he's really worried about other Republican Congressmen.
LaHood said, "Some members (of Congress) betray their trust by taking advantage of them. We should not subject young men and women to this kind of activity, this kind of vulnerability."
Yep.

Hey, I have an idea! Let's get rid of the Republicans in Congress, instead of the pages!

Yeah, get rid of the pages - because we sure as hell shouldn't demand that members of Congress control themselves.

God, that sounds just like rationalizations for keeping women in pudah, or muffled in burkhas, or away from historically male-dominated professions. "Men can't control their base nature, so the only way to protect women is to keep them under wraps."

To which I always answered, "If men are that weak and unstable, what the hell are they doing running the world?"

Just got a Republican-contracted phone poll with many questions about the economy and a few about the Foley revelations.

One question was a 'yes/no/don't know/' on whether I would want my son or daughter to be a page.

Another asked me to choose between:

'Republican leaders just recently learned of the problems with Rep. Foley' and
'Republican leaders have known for years about the problems with Rep. Foley'

(can't remember exact phrasing that followed 'about').

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