What's All This Then?
Sunday, October 08, 2006
THE FOLEY SCANDAL - REPUBLICAN HYPOCRISY IN ACTION
Here it is the end of a week of scandals and the Sunday before Columbus Day and up to now I’ve resisted the urge to say anything about Representative Mark Foley. I figured that bloggers by the thousands would be weighing in with their opinions - from the left, the right and - with apologies to Star Trek - from the neutral zone - and me adding my thoughts would just add to Blogosphere clutter. But after listening to some of the nonsensical defenses and excuses being put out by Republican politicians, right wing pundits and Foley himself, I’m afraid my resistance has been overcome.
As for the Foley excuses or inferred excuses - that he is an alcoholic and was sexually abused as a child - if the matter wasn’t as serious as it is, you might think he’s auditioning to be a writer on the Daily Show. As a matter of fact, I think they may have used a version of his "pity me" defense in one of their skits last week. The power of alcohol is truly amazing. It turned Mel Gibson into a temporary anti-Semite - and Mark Foley into a writer of - according to Tony Snow - "naughty e-mails." It boggles the mind. Incidentally, when Gibson put out his booze excuse, I couldn’t help wondering - does it mean that when Jews get drunk , they turn on themselves and each other??
But back to Foley. The guy’s a creep - there’s little argument about that. He can’t help being homosexual but he can certainly exercise judgment when it comes to sending sexually suggestive messages over the Internet. You don’t do it to kids. That’s what makes him a creep. Not using the Internet to send out sexually suggestive messages. The age of the recipients of those messages.
He did the necessary thing when he resigned. Unless the Republican voters of his district were the kind who subjugate all other considerations to party loyalty - and there are people like that - there was no way they would re-elect him once they found out what he was. If House Republican leaders knew about his activities and did nothing about it, they should have their butts kicked too. It’ll boil down to a version of Howard Baker’s bottom line about Nixon and Watergate. What did these leaders know and when did they know it?
If I’m a Democrat, I’m hoping that the stink this man has caused will help to elect Democrats in the upcoming mid-term elections. I would see no reason to crow about it and throw out accusations. An all out attack could backfire - and from what I’ve been hearing and reading from the rabid right - that’s exactly the spin they’d like to see catch on.
Since I’ve been writing this blog, I’ve tried to be objective when I make comments about politics and politicians. I do not align myself with liberal, conservative or in between bloggers - which is one of the reasons why I don’t have a column full of links to other bloggers. There are good and bad people on the left and on the right and no one party has a lock on truth or compassion or decency or patriotism. But the outgrowth of this Foley matter has shown me a difference between Republicans and Democrats that has me shaking my head in disbelief and disgust.
Perhaps you can’t blame the Republican members of Congress for scrambling to get their stories straight while they try to protect their rear ends and their re-election chances. If indeed the Republican House leaders knew about this guy and what he was doing and kept it quiet for strictly political purposes - then as I’ve said, they should get their butts kicked. But if the shoe was on the other foot - if Foley had been a Democrat - his fellow Democrats very likely would have done the same thing. Sadly, such is the nature of American politics today.
But when it comes to the business of trying to defend and excuse the behavior of one of their own, I simply cannot imagine the Democrats - politicians or pundits - acting with the same degree of reprehensibility as Republicans - to their eternal shame - are demonstrating.
First it was Hastert who, in almost the same breath, said that "the buck stops here" - but that it was the people at ABC and people funded by George Soros who wanted to see this scandal blow up!! In other words - blame Democrats!!
And of course the right wing pundits - in print, on the radio and on television have launched a frontal attack on Democrats!!! How convenient that this scandal erupts just weeks before an election, they say. The Democrats must have leaked it. The Democrats must have known about this for months - maybe years - and held back the story until now!! Of course, no Republican member of the house knew anything about it until a day or two -er, maybe a week or so - er, certainly not a month ago !!
And if that isn’t good enough for all you Republican voters out there - Foley is to be excused because Democrats have also engaged in reprehensibly sexual behavior in the past!! That makes as much sense as someone on trial for murder pleading that he should be found innocent because lots of people commit murder - but it doesn’t stop the pundits from using it to make the Foley scandal less scandalous than it is.
Democrats may have rallied around Bill Clinton during his Monica Lewinsky troubles - but I don’t recall anyone trying to defend him by reaching back to find Republican elected officials who had similar problems. I may have missed it, but I don’t recall the names of Bob Packwood or Dan Crane being raised as reasons why Clinton should be given a pass.
But all of these defenses seem mild compared to the one being used by radio hate-monger Michael Savage and others. It was the kid’s fault!!! It was all the fault of all the pages who Foley may have pursued. They were the sexual predators. They lured the gray haired Congressman on. Why before he met them - Congressman Foley was as straight as a steel plated yardstick!!
As I’ve said above, since I began writing this blog, I’ve tried to be objective in my discussions of matters political. I consider myself an independent and I will vote for whoever I think is the best candidate for a political office. In the November election for example, though I will vote to re-elect my Democratic Representative I will be voting with hope in my heart for a particular Republican candidate at the county level against a Democrat who I do not believe to be qualified.
Nonetheless, the reason that I decided to record a few thoughts on the Foley matter is because it has demonstrated to me that despite cynical observations to the contrary - there are differences between the two parties - and one of them is that when it comes to hypocrisy, Republicans can concede cards and spades (Casino) to the Democrats - and still win the hypocrites race by a country mile.