Thursday, October 05, 2006

The Party's Over

It used to be said that the only way to lose your job in this gerrymandered Congress was to be caught in bed with a dead girl or a live boy. I think we've nearly reached that threshold. Before the news networks went all Mark Foley, all of the time, the most outrageous comment I heard came from the Republican leadership, including former Speaker Newt Gingrich, that if they aggressively confronted Foley about their knowledge of his conduct with underage boys, they might be considered "gay bashing." What a breathlessly hypocritical remark. The party that every two years campaigns to write discrimination against homosexuals into the Constitution is suddenly sensitive about "gay bashing?"

The e-mails and IMs from Foley to the pages in question are salacious and specific, and if you enjoy fifty year old men asking teenage boys to measure their penises, there are nine pages of similar requests on or at this address:
So, these are not merely "naughty e-mails," as Tony Snow so Victorianly put it, and the shameful cover-up involves the entire Republican Congressional leadership. Mark Foley was allowed to continue as head of the caucus to protect children from internet predators while the party leadership knew he was trolling for teens, to protect their political power.

If you are homosexual, and suddenly your political party launches a faith based, anti-gay jihad; then you become a closeted and repressed gay who ends up preying on boys over which you wielded power. Say what you will about Rep. Barney Frank, and Fox news certainly has, including the claim that he operated a brothel from his townhouse. But of all the smear and charges by his opponents, the only allegation that proved true was that Frank had temporarily chosen an unsavory companion, and who, regardless of sexuality, can deny experiencing that unfortunate reality? But Frank's open sexuality doesn't seem to interfere with his effectiveness as an advocate for his constituents. Only the party of "family values" would try to keep this scandal under wraps until after the election when they were warned about the problem well in advance. Barney Frank's questionable companion was at least a consenting adult. Rep. Foley's wanting "you to know that he is a gay man," is an insult to gay men. Does he believe his admission excuses his arrangements with teenage pages, or his incredible recklessness?

Foley also wants you to know, according to his attorney, that he "is in no way a pedophile." That depends on what "is" is. True, he never solicited a prepubescent on the internet, so the proper term may be "pederast." The word the people need to remember is "hypocrite." So before Mark Foley joins O.J. Simpson, Tanya Harding, Mel Gibson, and Laci Peterson in the 24 hour news cycle's DNA, it's well to remember that Iraq is a slaughterhouse and half the world is on fire. I realize that the paralyzed Republicans will do absolutely nothing about Iraq before the election, short of announcing the total withdrawal of our troops as a last attempt to preserve their power, and the only way we can even begin to put out some of these fires is to elect Democrats to Congress next month. So, if the sleazy story of Mark Foley's liberties with teenagers makes the "values voters" hesitate for just a minute before trusting the Republican Party to protect their cherished beliefs again, then let the media frenzy begin. Dig it all up so we can stare at it like a car wreck.

But voters who have already had enough need to keep their eyes on the prize. Last week, I would have thought that the only GOP supporters left were the Christian right and the social conservatives. This week, I'm not sure if they would be endorsed by NAMBLA. This scandal may be a necessary distraction for those people who haven't placed the Iraq war at the top of their concerns. I'm willing to endure that distraction if it means garnering more votes to elect Democrats who are willing to change course in Iraq and the entire Middle East. Our immediate local concern is electing Steve Cohen to Congress from the Ninth District. It is outrageous that a man like former representative Harold Ford, Sr., who built his family's political dynasty with the support of the Democratic Party, would withhold his support for the elected Democratic candidate. Does he intend to be the Ralph Nader of this race by supporting a candidate that could split the Democratic vote and endanger the seat? Both Fords, Sr. and Jr., need to pay attention when the president says you are with us or with them and pick a side. Then urge their son and brother Jake, (running as an Independent), who is neither informed, qualified, employed, or a High School graduate, to drop out of this race while the Democrats have a real chance to pull the rug from under these corrupt men who have wrecked our government. That is more important than attempting to keep just another average Jake (Ford) in public office after the average Joe (Ford),lost the Democratic primary. The extent of Junior's Democratic support in his Senate race again Bob "Frist Lite" Corker could well depend upon his support of Cohen.

And for the regular commenter to this blog that preaches the Tim Leary "Tune in, Turn on, and Drop out" philosophy; I have no problem with the first two thirds of your thesis. When we were children of the sixties, we had the luxury of dropping out as a protest against war profiteers, consumerism, and a militaristic society. And because we were not just idealistic, but young, we were willing to try alternative living and societal experiments because it seemed as if we had nothing to lose. It is good to remain idealistic, but we are no longer young. The people we now oppose are the same people we opposed in the sixties, only now they are our peers in open revolt against the social advances we already fought for. We are the grown-ups now and we are responsible for our government's conduct in the world. If we "drop out" we are truly lost. If you believe the Democrats' b.s. is the same as the Republicans', at least it's different b.s., and right about now, different will suffice. Leary's slogan needs to be revised to fit the times;
It might be more effective as "Tune In, Turn On, and Take Over."


Anonymous said...

Good reporting, good writing, good Goad what mess.
You keep on exposing the money whores.
Peace and Love
d in tennessee

Anonymous said...

Like I said...the whole political game is as bogus as a wheel barrow full of steaming dragon shit...and it's a Democrat/Republican blend. They are all two-faced whores. The thing I don't understand is how anyone could support either party. They are two sides of the same coin and the coin itself is bogus. I would like to see commentators expose the bogusness of both parties. Why does anyone do anything other than to boo and hiss the whole lot of them? The Democrats are only going to steal more of our money and throw it away on worthless programs and be so pacifistic that lots of us in this country are going to be killed. Negotiating with terrorists is like negotiating with a white shark. We'll have people like Allen Colmes defending us. This is not to say that the Republicans are not just as inept and bogus. We have a crisis of leadership in this country and neither party has the answers. We desperatly need an effective third voice. One that can defend us while protecting our freedoms and spend tax money wisely and honestly...ok, I can hear the laughter now. Maybe the only solution is to head for the hills...this civilization may be on the verge of implosion. And you'd better hurry, because Hillary will only accelerate the implosion.

Anonymous said...

Ok I finally read the transcripts... So the guy's a pedophile. If the
kid weren't underage, what the fuck. But it's kind of criminal.
I agree - it's an insult to gay people to "come out" in that
manner..... and all the press talkin about alcoholism and mental
I just wish the Republicans would go down for their WRONGNESS on the
whole world scene thing.
But whatever boots em out I guess.....

from Margaret Carlson said...

Foley Fiasco Was All About Salvaging a Seat: Margaret Carlson
2006-10-05 00:12 (New York)

Commentary by Margaret Carlson
Oct. 5 (Bloomberg) -- If you always wondered how far
politicians would go to keep the committee chairmanship, the
mahogany-walled office lush with staff, the warm car purring at
the curb, look no further than the majority in Congress.
Watch as U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert, Majority Leader
John Boehner and others in the know try to blame each other for
leaving congressional pages to the attentions of Representative
Mark Foley. Stare at the spectacle of every man for himself. And
admire the efficiency of Republicans: It took Democrats 40 years
to love power for power's sake and do anything to keep it. The
Republicans managed it in less than a decade.
Hastert told talk-show host Rush Limbaugh that it is
partisan Democrats who are calling for his head. Actually, it's
so much worse for him. Most of those beating the drum to sideline
the speaker are members of his own party hoping that a ritual
sacrifice will satisfy voters in time for Election Day. Boehner
told a local radio station that not only was Hastert told about
Foley's inappropriate contact with a page, but that the
responsibility to do something was squarely ``in his corner.''
With his colleagues all but calling him a liar, Hastert gave
an interview to CNN in which he allowed that well, yes, he might
have been told, but that it was ``in the context maybe of a half
a dozen or a dozen other things... that might have affected the
campaign,'' so he ``just didn't remember that.''

The Campaign

And there it is: the campaign. Hastert was more desperate to
save a seat than to save a child. In and of itself, the Foley
scandal doesn't weigh as heavily on voters' minds as the war in
Iraq. But it may turn out to be a tipping point.
Even before Foley, Republicans had slipped mightily in the
public's esteem -- Jack Abramoff's visits to the White House and
multiple bribes, the resignation in disgrace of Majority Leader
Tom DeLay, the arrest and imprisonment of Representative Randy
``Duke'' Cunningham for steering business to a contractor who
lavished money and gifts upon him. That's not to mention the
party's failure to control spending, pass a budget, tackle
immigration or do anything to stop the carnage in Iraq.
Those who defended Hastert on talk radio early in the week
kept bringing up Bill Clinton (of course) and how Foley was an
isolated situation resolved by the Florida congressman's
blessedly quick resignation.
But these are the same people who fretted endlessly over
what the children would think during impeachment, as did I. Here
we're dealing with a page, more child than man, a 16-year-old in
high school so in need of being protected that he's living in a
dorm under constant supervision.

Where Is Falwell?

Where is the Reverend Jerry Falwell, fresh from calling
Senator Hillary Clinton worse than the devil? Where is Senator
Rick Santorum, who was offended by man/dog love, or the Reverend
James Dobson of Focus on the Family? They haven't dismissed the
e-mails as simply ``naughty'' (as did White House spokesman Tony
Snow) or ``overly friendly'' (Hastert's caucus), but they have
barely expressed any outrage.
There are no doubt churches all over the country damning
Republicans' conduct, but not operatives in the evangelical
movement. Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council,
couldn't bring himself to damn Republicans. He would only say
that the Foley affair shows a ``problem in the culture as a
In the real America Republicans claim to be so much in touch
with, no adult -- not a member of the family or godparent --
would get away with writing a 16-year-old asking for a picture
and what he would like for his birthday.
No one would need a second round of e-mails to be persuaded
of the nature of the request. No one would wait months, if not
years, to take action (one senior staff member says he told
Hastert three years ago about Foley and the pages). No one would
keep it quiet, even if the parents so desired, because other
parents would be owed a warning. As other e-mails reported by ABC
News show, Foley had many pages where that one came from.

`Values' Anyone?

What Hurricane Katrina was to swing voters, an inescapable
tableau of the incompetence of the administration they had been
supporting, the Foley scandal may turn out to be for ``values
voters.'' It's an unmistakable sign that the party to which they
have sold their soul cares far less about them than it does for
the other half of their fragile coalition on Wall Street. The
Wall Street folks have gotten almost everything they hoped for --
a record-high stock market, tax cuts and breaks as far as the eye
can see. What does James Dobson have to show for his support?
Foley is mercifully gone in the one-size-fits-all excuse of
alcohol and abuse. He doesn't matter, but the bishops and
cardinals who remain do. I can't say what is going to happen in
the election five weeks from now, but I predict Hastert will be
gone by then. Republicans won't have their followers go into the
voting booth believing that they can't be trusted with the

(Margaret Carlson, author of ``Anyone Can Grow Up: How
George Bush and I Made It to the White House'' and former White
House correspondent for Time magazine, is a Bloomberg News
columnist. The opinions expressed are her own.)

Gregg said...

As usual, you've grasped the core of the problem in your very strong hand. Your final comments put the responsibility directly where it should be....with us.
What you have going on in Tennessee with the uneducated Ford kid is shameful. That his relative, the young would-be Senator Ford, could be as removed from the realities of real people and choose not to address it straight up is sad. Maybe that's the only way to get elected in a state that shares borders with Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas, and Georgia. I see people all day who work for a small living but have no medical insurance. My sense of "inalienable rights" is that anybody in our "club"....born south of Canada and north of Mexico is to be afforded special "club" membership privileges. What are "inalienable" rights if not the right to have our medical facilities be there to provide for our "club" members. Can't really get those good ole "inalienable" rights when you have to choose between diabetes meds and food/apartment. I see this every day. Typically I close the door and mention that they could vote to have the money that is taken out of their meager pay sent to kill strangers in Iraq or it could go to pay for the CT scan they need....their choice. I suggest that any vote for any Republican will ensure that they will be in the poorhouse the next time they need to be hospitalized.
I apologize whenever my spit gets on their shirt. The closer we get to November the more angst I feel.

Anonymous said...

I'll say it again...Gregg is a poet and perhaps something of a genius. The best I've heard since Jack Handey of 'Deep Thoughts'. He should set up a web site that deals with his world view. It could lead to a syndicated news gig.

Anonymous said...

'Liberalism...the philosophy of suicide for western civilization'. I hope the Muslims are considerate enough to put that on our tombstone. One thing is certain (and,perhaps, fitting)... they will kill all the liberals first.