Monday, October 02, 2006

Why Mark Foley's Misconduct Is Going to Damage the GOP

Tonight was the primetime debut of the Mark Foley scandal. A quick look at the top three stories, among the 2,380 listed in Google News on the subject, provides a small indication of just how big this story is getting. The two most recent stories are from the Times Online in the UK and from in Australia. The third is from the New York Times about one potential casualty of the explosive scandal:
Four-term New York Rep. Thomas M. Reynolds — who heads the committee orchestrating the Republicans’ national House campaign this year — already faced a vigorous and increasingly competitive longshot challenge, even before the stunning scandal involving Florida Republican Rep. Mark Foley blew up last Friday.
But reports that Reynolds, as chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC), had knowledge as early as last year of some of the inappropriate Internet communications from Foley to an underage male congressional page have drawn him deeply into the controversy, and may well damage his chances of winning a fifth House term on Nov. 7.
It is becoming increasingly clear that this scandal will hit harder than other sorbid tales from the Republican regime in Washington. A story about a powerful congressman hitting on teenaged pages hits home in ways that other scandals can't.
For instance, the cycnical among us hardly find it shocking that legislators routinely accept gifts from powerful lobbyists. In the public imagination, it can't be too hard to corrupt an elected official. As for the corruption of intelligence about Iraq, this seems more than a little abstract to many Americans.
Often it's the most personal misconduct that hits home for most people, which is why Mark Foley's disturbing messages -- and the GOP leadership's reluctance to intervene to protect the teens under their care -- are likely to have a profound impact on the election.
In the next few days, I expect to see an avalanch of commentaries linking the Republicans' inaction on this scandal with inaction on lobbying and even the Iraq war. Already tonight I have seen such comments from Catherine Crier on Court TV and GOP strategist Ed Rollins speaking on CNN. (Sorry, the transcripts and video clips are not yet available.)


Blogger Catbird said...

As the Foley ripples spread out across the political pond, one word comes to mind: schadenfreude.

11:28 AM, October 03, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Newest question mark is the 100K "hush money"? he gave to the GOP in July...

4:57 PM, October 03, 2006  
Blogger Tom Noyes said...

satisfaction or pleasure felt at someone else's misfortune.
[Origin: 1890–95; < G, equiv. to Schaden harm + Freude joy] Unabridged (v 1.0.1)
Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2006.

7:27 PM, October 03, 2006  

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