The "October Surprise" set to go down in history for Election Year 2006 is a lurid sex scandal, the unseemly and unsavory sort of profligacy that cannot be spin-scrubbed away. It is the dreaded stain of pedophilia, an atrocity many Americans fear and loath as much as (or maybe even a little more than) they do terrorism.
The bell that can't be un-rung — at least not in the precious few weeks left before the November 7 vote — began clanging, very loudly, when six-term Congressman Mark Foley (R-FL 16th), 52, resigned Friday, September 29, after the revelation he had exchanged inappropriate emails with a former 16-year old congressional page.
On Sunday, October 1, the FBI announced it is looking into whether Mr. Foley broke federal law by sending the inappropriate emails in question. Meanwhile, the disgraced ex-Congressman announced he has been battling alcoholism and checked himself into a rehabilitation clinic.
Republicans, on Monday, picked Florida State Rep. Joe Negron in the hope of salvaging the abandoned House seat for the GOP. Mr. Foley's name will remain on the ballot in the largely Republican West Palm Beach district, but Mr. Negron will receive any votes cast for Mr. Foley.
The question of what the GOP leadership knew about Mr. Foley's inappropriate emails to former pages, and when they knew it, is firmly fixed in the minds and mouths of the Democratic Party, whose leaders must be simply beside themselves with the indescribable (and unspeakable) emotions associated with the outrageous fortune of unforeseen opportunity.
As the scandal festers and grows, so do the opinions, angles, and deflections, all blending into a cacophony of partisan balderdash that is only just beginning to build into a roaring crescendo of muckraking and mudslinging threatening to drown out any and all efforts at damage control.
Loyalty and Devotion
Some people are going beyond damage control. They are trying their level best to un-ring that bell before its reverberations send shock waves through the ranks of the GOP leaders who are suspected of having engineered a cover up, something which could bring down more than just one Republican politician who grappled with his alcoholism and "other behavioral problems," and lost.
Die-hard GOP loyalists, bright-red red-staters, the faithful, and the righteous, are in an almost out-of-control spin cycle, pumping out conspiracy theories, paranoid hypotheses, and just about every other sort of rhetorical contrivance, in what appear to be vain attempts to fan the stench of what is now being called "Foleygate," away from the Republican Party and onto the Democratic Party.
The effort is an earnest one, even if much of the rhetoric is a strain upon the credulity of all but the most faithful and righteous. Such loyalty and devotion are admirable, regardless of their motivations.
Right Back Atcha, Lusty Liberals!
The Democrats have had their fair share of sex scandals and some folks seem to know just about all of them. Armed with this knowledge, they have engaged in the tried and true tactic of criticizing the critics, charging them with hypocrisy on the proposition that, with what judgments the Democrats judge Republicans, they shall be judged. And with what measure the Democrats mete to Republicans, it shall be measured to them again — even if it's not very likely to happen in what's left of this election cycle.
Randy of Rightwinged.com, after the obligatory acknowledgement that, "Foley is a sicko," reminds us about "Democrat after Democrat who've been wrapped up in REAL sexual scandals."
Randy reiterates that he won't excuse Mr. Foley's behavior, but he does "need to make clear what he did," which was that, "He said some sick stuff in instant messages to some kid in Louisiana who used to be a page in DC. Unless there is some explosive development yet to come out, as far as we know there wasn't any type of physical contact here."
Apparently, sex scandals don't become REAL sex scandals unless it can be proven people are actually touching each other, even when minors might be involved.
Democrats, it seems, have done a lot of touching, and Gateway Pundit demonstrates this with an ostensibly humorous look at what did not happen:
Representative Foley did not have sex with the minor, did not have sex with the young man in the Oval office, did not put him in a high level security position he was not qualified to handle after a major terrorist attack on the country, was not married at the time, did not run a prostitution ring from his apartment, did not turn his back on Congress when he was accused of having sex with a minor, did not run and get re-elected several times in a democratic stronghold after this news broke, Representative Foley no longer sits in Congress, and the page did not disappear and end up dead after an ongoing relationship with Representative Foley.
Gateway Pundit concludes, "the fact that Democrats are pointing fingers shows that they are only politicizing this very serious issue."
I think Gateway Pundit is absolutely right.
Clarice Feldman of The American Thinker, "smell[ed] something very peculiar in the way we have learned of the disgrace of Rep. Mark Foley."
Before she gets into the emerging background detail of "an attack strategy has been devised by parties anxious to damage the GOP and swing the coming election," Ms. Feldman requisitely mentions a Democratic Congressman's "taped phone conversations lusting for 15-year old Catholic school girls in their uniforms."
A blog called Stop Sex Predators, which was started in July of this year, has fallen under the scrutiny of Ms. Feldman and others because it had only a few posts about stories several years old until this September 21 post about "Shocking Emails".
The article was a re-posting of several emails, allegedly from former congressional pages and interns who were propositioned by Congressmen.
Ms. Feldman asks, "How likely is it that this site with virtually no readership, few posts and hardly any history or posts of interest suddenly receives this bombshell?"
Tom Maguire of JustOneMinute has questions about how the story broke and is also skeptical about the sudden materialization of the Stop Sex Predators blog, which apparently, "brought down the Congressional leadership with its sixth, seventh and eighth posts."
Mr. Maguire writes that he, "would want some assurance that this was not simply a successful attempt to promote a story that wasn't quite ready for the Mainstream Media by laundering it through some blogs," and part of his "suspicion arises because the blog posted emails about gay Congressmen in response to a post about 'skinterns,' scantily clad young women."
The St. Petersburg Times' handling of the story has raised even more questions in the minds of Mr. Maguire and others.
The editors of The Buzz, a blog and public forum sponsored and maintained by the St. Petersburg Times, were given copies, last November, of an email exchange Mr. Foley had with a former page from Louisiana. However, the editors concluded the information they had at the time didn't meet their standard for publication. The Buzz revisited the question on several occasions, but did not learn anything new until last week, when the emails were posted on Stop Sex Predators.
Later that same week, a news blog at the website of ABC News broke the story, and, soon after, someone contacted ABC and provided a detailed, overtly sexual email exchange between Mr. Foley and at least one other page. Those revelations, which could not be credibly dismissed as misinterpreted friendliness, caused Mr. Foley to resign.
Mr. Maguire wants to know, "how did ABC round up the follow-up emails and IMs so quickly?" He also wants to know if it was, "the page in Louisiana who sent his Foley emails to an unknown web-site after declining to push this story with the St. Petersburg Times," and, if it was not, "[he] who sent the emails to Stop Sex Predators, who did?"
Mr. Maguire speculates and hypothesizes, "Maybe — the St. Petersburg Times would not let him make an anonymous accusation. On the other hand, if the former page was so determined to get Foley, why didn’t he try another news organization — ABC, for example, didn’t seem to have a problem with anonymously sourcing this."
The folks over at justbarkingmad.com are asking about an organization called, "CREW," which stands for Citzens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.
justbarkingmad complains that CREW has been releasing "damning information and statements," such as Mr. Foley’s electronic sexual exchange with a minor, and the only Democrats on its list of the Top 55 most corrupt members of Congress are those who are currently under investigation.
Looking into the people who run CREW, justbarkingmad found "virtually every listed member of CREW’s staff has been formerly associated with a Leftist, or left leaning organization."
"In other words," justbarkingmad writes, "it’s a DNC hit squad."
Macranger of Macsmind hits back:
Several sources are telling me that there is an extreme amount of “nervousness” in the Democratic side of the aisle that this so-called “Republican Scandal” may actually bite them in the ass in November. Seems that although Foley played the willing pervert, he might have actually been enabled a bit, not by Republicans but by those sympathetic for the Democrat cause.
So we now know that George Soros funded CREW and knowingly withheld possibly criminal information just so it could have the greatest political effect. Moreover, we know that a leftist “Gay Republican Outer,” actually played a material part in the plot as well, even going so far we believe as to pose as one of the chatters.
Macranger, who believes the Democratic Party's response to the scandal was "far too orchestrated," reports Stop Sex Predators this morning removed "damaging comments," and the FBI is looking into who started the blog.
The question Macranger wants to see "ratchet[ed] up now," is the potentially tables-turning, "What did DEMOCRATS know, and more importantly, WHAT part did they play?"
Just in case the approach fails because it turns out most people are too caught up in the salacious details to care about what the Democrats knew or when they knew it, several bloggers, apparently taking their cues from an editorial in today's Washington Times, are today imploring Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert to fall upon his sword and resign his leadership position.
I am now very dizzy and getting nauseous, not so much from the scandal itself (the shock has worn off), but from the continuous spinning of pundits, partisans, and paranoids seeking to turn one man's exposed weaknesses into their own strengths.
My little trip into the far right spectrum was a most interesting venture into the minds of the faithful and the righteous. Some may wish to ridicule the contrived efforts of those good folks, but I will not, for I believe the ability to hold one's head high under the compounding duress of progressive cognitive dissonance requires a lot of fortitude.
Mark Foley Flashback: If I Were One Of Those Sickos, Jay, October 1, 2006, Stop The ACLU.
Shameful Democratic Hypocrisy Regarding Foley Situation, Randy, October 2, 2006 03:51 AM, RedWinged.com.
Sixteen-Year-Old Who Worked as Capitol Hill Page Concerned About E-mail Exchange with Congressman, Rhonda Schwartz and Maddy Sauer, September 28, 2006, ABC News web site, The Blotter.
Foleygate: The Democrats’ October surprise? (UPDATE V – 3:51 PM), Sister Toldjah, October 2, 2006, Sister Toldja.
Foley Setup? – Part II – Hitting a Nerve, Macranger, October 3, 2006, Macsmind.
Foley Setup? – Part III – Did the Democratic Party Leadership know about Foley? Macranger, October 3, 2006, Macsmind.