Saturday, September 30, 2006

“It was not a graceful exit.”

So said congressman Jeff Flake (R-AZ), according to the New York Times. Republicans on Capitol Hill had hoped to finish the session by passing legislation with which to bash Democrats as being soft on terror etc. Instead, they went back to their districts with a new scandal brewing.
Congressman Mark Foley abruptly resigned as details of unavory messages between him and teenaged congressional pages hit the media. The scandal quickly leapt beyond Foley's personal conduct to the question of what the GOP leadership knew and when did it know it:
The highly publicized case of Mr. Foley, who served in the House leadership as a deputy whip, threatened to build into an institutional scandal as House leaders acknowledged that they had known about the messages for nearly a year, but had relied on Mr. Foley’s word that nothing inappropriate had occurred.
But that was not all. Republicans were unable to win final approval of a bill to regulate domestic wiretapping, which Democrats feared would become a political weapon more potent than the bill governing terrorism suspects. The disclosure of a National Intelligence Estimate saying the war in Iraq was fueling terrorism called attention to the issue Democrats most want to campaign on — discontent with the administration’s handling of the war. A new book by Bob Woodward did the same, claiming that the administration had ignored high-level warnings that it would need more troops.
As September comes to a close, the Republican playbook is losing it old magic. Today, as the UPI reports, the Democrats picked an Iraq veteran to deliver the response to the president's Saturday radio address:
Tammy Duckworth, who lost both legs in an Iraq helicopter crash, is also running for Congress and used the radio forum to chide the president over the "cut-and-run" allegations levied against Democrats over the Iraq war.
The National Guard major took issue with use of the term by Republicans including her opponent, State Sen. Peter Roskam.
"I didn't cut and run, Mr. President," Duckworth declared. "Like so many others, I proudly fought and sacrificed."

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