That's about the most politically incorrect thing I've ever read (on Fark.com). And it certainly belies the seriousness of this Rep. Mark Foley escapade, which at its heart is a story of sexual dysfunction and an undoubtedly very damaged little boy.
But this is a meteorite into the GOP election strategy, and it raises a very salient issue. This do-nothing Congress couldn't be bothered to investigate whether or not one of their members was sexually harrassing a 16 year-old page, though they had knowledge of the incident for at least eleven months. The initial story was that Rodney Alexander, the Republican for whom the boy in question was working, notified "House leadership" about the series of perverse emails. Then an AP story had Alexander change his story, saying he informed Tom Reynolds, chair of the re-election committee for Republicans in the House. In that same story, it is revealed that the incident went before the House Page Board - a bipartisan committee that includes official clerks of the House. The Republican head of that board, after denying interview requests, finally talked and tried to play the whole thing off by claiming that Foley lied to him and that he did what he could. He did inform Speaker Hastert's office of the interview; he DID NOT inform the Democrat on the Board.
Then, in the Washington Post piece on the subject, John Boehner threw the Speaker under the bus.
The resignation rocked the Capitol, and especially Foley's GOP colleagues, as lawmakers were rushing to adjourn for at least six weeks. House Majority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) told The Washington Post last night that he had learned this spring of some "contact" between Foley and a 16-year-old page. Boehner said he told House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.), and that Hastert assured him "we're taking care of it."
It was not immediately clear what actions Hastert took. His spokesman had said earlier that the speaker did not know of the sexually charged e-mails between Foley and the boy.
It's clear to me that there was some sort of knowledge that Foley was in trouble, and yet absolutely nothing was done about it. They couldn't be bothered. The Do-Nothing Congress won't even do anything about pedophiles in their midst. Their job is completely besides the point. It's the getting the power, not doing anything with it.
Laura Rozen got an email from a supporter that put the whole day in proper perspective (including a couple things I didn't even notice:
When historians look back on the 2006 midterms and the Democratic sweep of both the House and Senate, they will look back on Friday, September 29th as the day that sealed the GOP's fate:
-- The Mark Foley resignation is huge. It turns a safe GOP seat into a seat that is now a likely Democratic pickup, and will demand at a minimum party resources that Ken Mehlman would have wanted to deploy elsewhere. You take the Foley seat and add it to the Delay, Ney, and Kolbe seats, those are four seats where GOP incompetence and scandal has converted from sure GOP seats to likely Dem pickups (the Kolbe seat is where Jim Kolbe is retiring and a KKK symphathizer is the GOP nominee).
More importantly, as unfair as it is, this scandal will resonate along the lines of the House banking scandal and free ice deliveries that doomed the Dems in 1994. The party of family values had a Member in its leadership who was inveighing against Internet porn at day, but using it to communicate with minors at night. This is bad, bad, bad for the GOP image;
-- The Woodward book will suck up all the oxygen on TV and talk radio for the next week; a whole week of "free media" for the Dem argument that the Bushies have irrevocably screwed up Iraq; any GOP focus on terrorism next week will be lost;
-- Finally, rumors tonight (reported on NBC News) of a possible military coup in Baghdad, prompting the sudden imposition of a citywide curfew.
I was retaining skepticism on Dem prospects until today. But this is it -- the GOP is in for a shellacking on November 7th.
Personally, I think overturning 800 year-old laws and giving the President the ability to indefinitely detain anybody should be on that list as well, but we've become so debased that doesn't rate as a negative anymore.
But clearly, this was NOT on the dance card for the Republicans. They were just about to ramp up the campaign Wurlitzer and bring it on home. Now they'll spend three days, maybe three weeks, denying and clarifying what they knew and when they knew it. I can't believe the incompetence of a leadership that lets a ticking time bomb like this stay in their bedroom.
Kinda blows that whole "Karl Rove is an evil genius" thing out of the water, don't it?