The Spectacle Blog
More incriminating Foley IMs. This time, he's inviting a teen over for drinks, and we're not talking Sunny D.
Denny Hastert, meanwhile, is brushing aside calls for his resignation. Um, okay, but the Speaker is going to have do something in response to this matter other than issue prepared statements.
There's an Associated Press story out on the wire with the mis-titled headline, "Bush: Democrats shouldn't be trusted to run Congress." Of course since it's the AP, it's running on many news Web sites and will run in hundreds of print newspapers in the next day or so, with near-identical variations of the headline. ABC's affiliate here in Raleigh even puts the "Democrats shouldn't be trusted" in quotation marks, as though the president had literally uttered that statement.
The calls now for Hastert to resign are all well and good, but a scandal of some sort, involving an arrogance of power that involves being blind to ethical or moral considerations, was eminently predictable for years. Back at the beginning of 2005, for instance, I lamented in The New Republic the loss of an ethical compass in the GOP leadership. In these very pages earlier this year I said Hastert should not be re-elected as speaker. In January of this year Rep. Jeff Flake and others demanded an entirely new round of leadership elections.
The Washington Post, in a seeming answer to Ben Stein's piece yesterday, analyzes why it is that Republicans are more susceptible to hypocrisy allegations than Democrats when sex scandals erupt. Reason, in a nutshell: the GOP's socially conservative image.
Todd thinks he knows who's to blame for this: "It's the media, to be honest. What is the standard 'gotcha' story in the media? It's hypocrisy. If we can prove hypocrisy, we have a story. . . . So in a sex scandal, the bar for Republicans is lower."
The Hill reports that Lieberman said the Democratic Party's leadership has assured him that he would keep his seniority even if he beats Lamont as an Independent. If this is true, it's significant, because it reveals that Democrats have accepted the fact that Lieberman probably will win and that keeping Lieberman's seat Democratic is more important that appeasing the Kos wing of the party. The further interesting wrinkle is that if Democrats win control of the Senate, Lieberman, the most pro-Bush Democrat, would become chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs panel, which is primarily responsible for investigating the executive branch.
This is a huge blow to Republicans because any scandal that involves sex will reach a broad audience. After all of the hubub surrounding the Abramoff scandal, it had a relatively small amount of political fallout (if any). The Randy "Duke" Cunningham and Bob Ney resignations over bribery didn't have a widespread effect becuase people discount for politicians being corrupt. But the Foley story has tabloid appeal and should continue to generate headlines. If the trail about how much Republican leaders knew and when they knew it runs dry in the next few days, the damage may be limited to Foley's congressional district. But if revelations start coming out in dribs and drabs over the next few weeks suggesting Hastert knew more than he's saying he did, this could be the final nail in the coffin for Republicans. Democrats may have in the Foley scandal the perfect symbol of Republicans becoming too arrogant with power, adding more force to the "Throw the bums out" argument.
The Foley fallout has prompted some strong language from fellow conservatives, some of it published today in The Washington Times. Many of you undoubtedly have seen (because Drudge highlighted it) the newspaper's call for the resignation of House Speaker Dennis Hastert, but in a news report other conservatives are similarly outraged, like Richard Viguerie: