In regard to Rep. Mark Foley’s improper e-mails to teenage congressional pages, the House ethics committee has approved subpoenas and promised to go “wherever the evidence takes us.” Which could mean that the buck might actually stop somewhere, as it did on that rare occasion when it slammed into Tom Delay. Okay, maybe, maybe not. Seeing is believing.
Meanwhile, Tom Delay’s man, Speaker Dennis Hastert, after exposure and pressure and much hesitation, finally said he accepted responsibility for failing to investigate the complaints against Foley. He told us, “Ultimately…the buck stops here,” a rather famous phrase he had the nerve to borrow from our flinty past president, Harry S. Truman; though Hastert displays none of Truman’s flint, a president who had the fortitude to fire General Douglas MacArthur, the hero of the Pacific war and father of post-war Japan, who recklessly wanted to widen the war in Korea by invading China.
Compare Truman to President Bush, a man who up to now has evaded the buck, who edged aside the experienced general, Eric K. Shinseki, who (like Powell) sanely wanted to commit several hundred thousand troops to Rumsfeld’s Iraqi shock-and-awe, to handle the post invasion phase of that unnecessary war, for which we mostly abandoned the still important one in Afghanistan. The then deputy defense secretary, Paul D. Wolfowitz, attacked Shinseki’s estimate as “wildly off the mark.” This same sage also said, in 2003: there was no history of ethnic strife in Iraq. Really? Well the buck never got near him. Mr. Wolfowitz is now safely out of the way in his job as the president of the World Bank.
In contrast to allowing bucks to stop, this administration and its Republican congress have shown exceptional expertise in the knee-jerk passing of bucks.
Example: Republicans are saying the Dems knew all along what was going on with Foley and the young pages, and waited ‘til just before the midterm elections to reveal the scandal for political gain. (And the GOP wouldn’t?)
True, but the Dems were shopping the Foley e-mails to the media for months, not days, whether for gain or not, while the usually sanctimonious and ultimately hypocritical Republicans were scrambling to cover up their asses as well as the story, to protect Foley’s congressional seat. ABC News finally did the right thing by going public with the story.