GOPers Blame Cunning, Ruthless, and Incredibly Competent Democrats
The jokes that didn't fit into yesterday's column:
Speaker Hastert and Cardinal Law: Separated at Birth?
According to yesterday's LA Times, it's no longer true that the difference between a Republican sex scandal and a Democratic sex scandal is that the Democratic scandal has actual sex. (It was a good joke while it lasted, though.)
As for the column, you need to know that the editor cut out the reference in the third-from-the-last paragraph about the NRCC using Foley cash in J.D. Hayworth's race (which they are, they just dumped another ~$200K into shoring up Hayworth). I'd say that's interesting, but it really isn't, it's what I've learned to expect from The Tribune.
But if we Democrats really did orchestrate the Foley scandal, shouldn't we have waited a week or two closer to the election? At least the paranoid Republicans can't claim we're both cunning and devious on one hand and totally incompetent on the other, simultaneously. You need two different Republicans to do that.
Also, don't listen to anybody who says that if the Democrats win Congress, it's more a statement about the failings of the Republicans than a mandate. Mandates are just so last century. It's not like Bush bothered getting one before acting like he had one, when he didn't even get as many votes as the other guy.
GOP SOLUTION: IT'S THE VICTIMS FAULT!
East Valley Tribune, Oct. 8, 2006
Still an undecided voter? Here’s all you need to know about our current rulers.
Remember Vice President Cheney shooting that guy in the face? After getting out of the hospital, the victim apologized to Cheney. Hunter safety rules make the shooter responsible for his shot, but the guy with hundreds of pellets in his face and torso told Cheney he was sorry -- and GOP pundits said that Cheney shooting a guy would be a net positive for Republicans, because -- well, who the heck cares, it’s just that they actually said it.
So when the sordid electronic messages sent by former Rep. Mark Foley, R-Fla., to underage House pages surfaced, how did the House Republican leadership react? By calling for a criminal investigation of other people who may have seen those messages. Yes, let’s treat those kids like the guy Cheney shot -- who needs accountability, let’s blame the victims!
Then there’s the other GOP spin, that it’s all the Democrats’ fault. The House Republican leadership couldn’t be expected to know just based on the emails that Foley was doing something absolutely wrong and improper. Except that the group that first obtained copies of the emails this summer first turned them over to the FBI; they only released the emails publicly after the story broke. Those outsiders realized immediately that the emails were seriously creepy and potentially criminal, something beyond the capabilities of the House Republican leadership when it actually mattered.
Blaming the Democrats is amazingly hypocritical, because the House Republican leadership treated Foley as merely a GOP political problem, not one involving the institutional integrity of the House. House GOP leadership cut out the Democrats entirely. Staffers warned pages placed by GOP members about Foley, but nobody thought it necessary to talk with the lone Democrat on the committee overseeing the page program. House Republican leaders saw their responsibility as stopping at Republican pages; any Democratic pages would be left to their own devices.
The absolutely funniest excuse is The Wall Street Journal-Newt Gingrich claim that House Republican leaders couldn’t take action against Foley sooner because if they did so, why, they might have been accused of -- wait for it -- anti-gay bias. Yes, Republicans worry ceaselessly about anything that might possibly be construed as homophobic, because respect for gay Americans plays such a key role in their campaigns. But wait -- now fabulous (in the fantasy, not well-dressed, sense) stories being are fed to reporters that a secret cabal of gay senior GOP members and staffers “that protect each other” stabbed House Republican leaders in the back.
Oh, isn’t that just delightful. Hey, former state Rep. Steve May and retiring Rep. (and former House page) Jim Kolbe, R-Tucson: The House Republican leadership is in trouble, so they have one response: Blame the gays! It’s all Foley’s fault, or maybe the pages’ fault, either because these high schoolers didn’t risk ruining their lives by confronting a 6-term congressman, or because they were just so gosh darn cute that no gay Republican could be expected to resist.
You’d think what’s coming would make any self-respecting gay Republican ill. Except for one thing -- why are there still any self-respecting gay Republicans left?
And making Foley the scapegoat only goes so far. Not only is the House GOP campaign committee refusing to return money Foley gave, but spokesperson Carl Forti said the GOP would be happy to put Foley’s own campaign war chest to use, such as trying to bail out at-risk incumbent (and Speaker Hastert supporter) J. D. Hayworth. Hate the sinner, love the sinner’s cash.
The House Republican leadership said they were protecting children, but they were really protecting their own power. The Bush administration claims it’s protecting us -- and they are, from the bone-chilling “threat” of toothpaste and shampoo on airplanes. And when Republicans fail, it’s the victims of their errors who must apologize.
So swing voters, here’s your question for the “accountability moment” coming November 7: How much failure is enough?