Saturday, September 30, 2006

"Turning a new page" takes an unintended meaning...

I'm not an American citizen, so the outcome of the US midterms only affects me in as much that the Bush administration will either be allowed to continue status quo, or will at least be under a little more scrutiny if the Democrats get enough seats to get power of subponea.

That said...my my my. What. A. Mess. A good old-fashioned, nobody looks good, hard to back away while attempting to look self righteous, dyed in the wool scandal.

See here.

And the original nitty gritty here.

Let's not forget Slate's take on it (by page three, the level of conversation stops being something that can be passed off as "ill-advised", "badly worded" or "easily misinterpreted" and just gets low-grade dirty).

And of course, the "Did I know him? Vaguely. Quiet guy. Kept to himself..." post-mortem begins here.

The primaries leap from dull and depressing to sordid and depressing. The Republicans will discuss Foley (and the actions/lack thereof around him) as little as possible while acting appalled that the Democrats keep bringing it up for - heavens! - the sake of politics (Powerline has that kind of a take on it, while conveniently stressing a few related Democratic scandals over the last few years).

The Democrats will continue to mention that a) they had nothing to do with this, b) Foley was allegedly the kind of person who'd spent years working for causes to prevent this kind of thing (it didn't take long for the term 'predator' to show up), and c) pointing out the conduct of Foley's friends (by now rather former friends), asking if Mr. or Ms. Q. Public wants to retain these losers in office (while trying not to look gleeful about it).

To be fair, the aformentioned losers were only aware of the letters (presumably the same weird but not quite actionable ones that have been released) and not the more explicit IMs. The public will have to figure out whether those emails were some kind of warning sign, if they were worth further investigation (or at least a chat and a handshake) and whether they were discounted, hushed up, or ignored by those in high places.


It's all so fresh that the jokes haven't even started yet. It's a matter of time. Theme and variation on the classics I suppose:

How do you get a GOP lawmaker out of a tree?

Get a dishy 16yr old congressional page to wave and say "Yoo Hoo!"

Heh heh. But seriously folks...this is about as unappealing as is possible for a pre-election. The cycle of this story will probably spin double time over the week. Jon Stewart is going to have a field day. The blog types already are. Check out Unpartisan for their RSS fed listings of stories along with the left/right commentary (here and here for especially interesting takes) And somebody on the National Review's blog page (The Corner) has gone one step further than that:

Nobody just starts being a underage-boy-chaser-seducer past the age of 50. This sordid and disgusting story is far from over, and may end up with Foley in jail. He may avoid jail. Hell is another story.
-John Podhoretz (12:58pm)

I didn't know that the God-fearing National Review loyalists had managed to skip the whole 'Judge not, that ye be not judged' paradigm and had secured franchise rights to judge the quick and the dead. Although given the usual level of ego involved with the National Review, I shouldn't be surprised.

Podhoretz is probably flinging people into hell a bit early. After all, this is still just an issue of optics (at least so far). I don't know what the Florida laws are relating to luring, but exactly how could one be prosecuted for writing dirty stories without actually doing anything about it? Not a bright thing to do when you're in public office, but unless Foley actually met (or arranged a meeting, booked the hotel room), I don't think any law has been broken. If he's distributed what's considered pornographic material to minors (and the page was 16 at the time), that's an offence. We don't know if that's what happened yet.

Bad judgement or incompetence? Political opportunism or a genuine alternative? Florida is going to be a lively place.

Meanwhile, Oh Canada. We've got Tie and Belinda. Really. The less I know, the better.

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