Saturday, September 30, 2006

Both The Wash Post and the NY Times Put The Predatorgate Cover-Up Story on Page A01 Above The Fold

Front-page news tomorrow - House Republican leadership covered up a sex scandal with underage House pages. The Post story is here and the Times story is here. The lede in the Times story is priceless:

WASHINGTON, Sept. 30 — Top House Republicans knew for months about e-mail traffic between Representative Mark Foley and a former teenage page, but kept the matter secret and allowed Mr. Foley to remain head of a Congressional caucus on children’s issues, Republican lawmakers said Saturday.

The Post story discusses the fingerpointing among the GOP House:

Yesterday's developments revealed a rift at the highest echelons of House Republican ranks a month before the Nov. 7 elections, and they threatened to expand the scandal to a full-blown party dilemma.

The Post article goes on to say that with NRCC chairman Tom Reynolds' statement that he had told Speaker Hastert about the sexually explicit emails Congressman Foley had sent to underage House pages, Reynolds

signaled he was unwilling to take the fall alone amid partisan attacks that were becoming increasingly vituperative. The Democratic National Committee yesterday issued a statement asking "Why Did Tom Reynolds Cover Up Congressman's Sex Crimes?" It continued: "While the shocking [online] exchanges produced an immediate uproar that cost Congressman Foley his job, at least one member of the House Republican leadership had known about the situation for months and did nothing about it: . . . Reynolds."

Republican insiders said Reynolds spoke out because he was angry that Hastert appeared willing to let him take the blame for the party leadership's silence.

A House GOP leadership aide, who spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of losing his job, said that Reynolds realizes he has taken a shot at his leader but that it is understandable.

"This is what happens when one member tries to throw another member under a bus," the aide said.

So now that the Republican leadership have turned on each other, it is quite possible that Republican members may turn on the Republican leadership:

Republicans fear the scandal, coming in the wake of indictments of three GOP congressmen this year, might add to the public's unrest at the party's image and conduct, and some House members yesterday joined in the chorus of dismay and scorn.

"I don't think it will be just conservative voters that will shake their heads when they hear about this," said Rep. Jim McCrery (R-La.).

"As the author of laws designed to protect children on the Internet, I was appalled at the recent revelations that a member of Congress engaged in reprehensible behavior toward young people connected to the congressional page program," said Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.). "Congress should thoroughly investigate this matter and, in cooperation with law enforcement authorities, support all proper legal action."

And of course there is the political fall-out:

Rich Galen, a Republican political strategist, worried that voters might lump Foley's name with former representatives Robert W. Ney (R-Ohio), Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) and Randy "Duke" Cunningham (R-Calif.), all of whom were forced to resign or were indicted amid various scandals this year.

"This sense of entitlement that members of Congress can do anything to anyone or for anyone has got to end," Galen said.

Chuck Todd and John Mercurio of Hotline Blog, noting that ABC News turned up a shitload of evidence in their 24 hour investigation of Foley that the House leadership couldn't find in nearly a year, predict the strategy Democrats will use to make the sex scandal/cover-up hurt Republicans in November:

No doubt, every member of the House GOP leadership that knew of this Foley problem before this week regrets not pursuing a more thorough investigation. But isn’t the argument Democrats will now make when reviving the “culture of corruption” tagline (or even a “culture of arrogance of power” tagline) is that the House GOP leadership just doesn’t have the capacity or the intellectual curiosity to investigate questionable activity, whether it involves a member of their own caucus or more serious public policy concerns like the war in Iraq?

That sounds about right to me.

In the meantime, while the Republican leadership points fingers of blame at each other and tries to get their stories of who knew what when straight, the American people deserve an independent investigation free from the kind of political pressure that GOP leadership will no doubt be putting on House Ethics Committee Republicans to whitewash this mess away.

It's almost like the Republican Party is something that could be prosecuted under the RICO law.

Then again, I think the same thing about the Catholic Church sometimes.
Has the original Foley story been out for a while? I totally missed it.

It almost seems like a perfect storm brewing ahead of the election.

BTW, I think I will post on the economy on Monday after the ISM data comes out. I don't think inflation fears are returning. There is a lot of talk about the ARM refinancing coming up and the long term effects filtering down (or rather up) slowly. Best comments I've heard were.... oh hell, now you got me started, I'm going to post.
I'm surprised you didn't draw comparisons to their sanctimonious outrage over Bill Clinton.
Elizbeth, I feel the same way about both parties. And the linchpin between the two is secrecy and unlimited power.

Praguetwin, I'll be by to read your post later today. It will be interesting to see what the manufacturing data looks like. The inflaton data seemed to really upset traders. I guess they had already figured a rate decrese was coming next and now uncertainty has been entered into the mix.

NYC, Britt Hume made the comparison this morning on FAUX News Sunday. Said it showed how immoral Dems are, since Clinton didn't have to resign for having a consensual sexual relationship w/ an adult woman while Foley was forced to resign for sending unwanted sexually explicit emails to underage boys.

Wingnut values, eh?
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