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October 03, 2006

Mark Foley's Story: A Microcosm of How Republicans Work

It has been fascinating to watch this Foley story play out in the news.  In this relatively easily understood controversy, we see more clearly than usual how Republicans operate.  It's all there but more condensed than usual.  Also, they didn't seem to have had control over when it came out so it caught them by surprise and we had about two days of getting to see behind the curtain before we got shut out again - with each of them trying to cover their own ass first before getting their stories coordinated.  It is yet to be seen whether the raw nerve of covering for a pedophile in Congress will cause this particular scandal to tie the Republicans down or whether they'll slip out yet again.   

This story highlights the worst attributes of modern day Republicanism.   These guys are addicts.  They are even willing to throw their children over to stay in power. 

As I've come to understand it, the Republicans have known that Foley was gay since the early 1990's but he is from a wealthy, sturdy Republican district and he brings a lot of money into the party. Take a look at any of the photos with Foley and Hastert or Foley and Allen that have been up in the last couple days.  These guys simply don't look comfortable with Foley or he with them.  (Sorry, I didn't think to keep those photos, only realizing later how telling they were, and now I can't find them).  And how could they be?  So much of what the Republicans say they stand for forces Mark Foley to live a dishonest life.  How could he possibly be comfortable with them?  But he could bring in a lot of money and they liked that. 

The Miami Herald had an article up with local folks sharing their impressions of the story.  Journalist Michael Rogers, who is gay himself, has reported on Rep. Mark Foley of West Palm Beach for three years.  Someone he quotes says that Foley had a long-time partner for 19 years.  Yet, Rogers says Foley is, like our own Jim West, anti-gay, and he voted for a federal DOMA Act.  Rogers goes on to say:

I do believe that he had unhealthy sexual advances to these guys because he was living his life as a closeted gay man.  Healthy gay men who are mature and dealing with their sexuality in a mature way don't hit on kids who are 16 years old. What's his signature issue? You don't know whether to laugh or cry.

So Congressman Foley comes to live a warped life and the Republicans are so uncomfortable with him, they still can't bring themselves to tell him to quit it and get help.  Plus they want to keep the seat and avoid not just a scandal but a "gay-themed" scandal at that.  So they ignore the impact of the communications between Foley and several pages over five years.  They enable his preying and then cover up his "naughtiness" as if they never got the lessons of over a decade's worth of the scandals in the Catholic church. 

Instead they go all out on cover-up.  Kirk Fordham, who had been Foley's chief of staff and is currently the chief of staff for Tom Reynolds and the NRCC (National Republican Congressional Committee), does his best to prevent the content of the emails and IM's being published, shuts down the Republican page website and gets Foley safely away to a alcoholic treatment center.

Jon Stewart, plus more, after the fold.

So, while we still have a moment of public awareness let's consider what this says about this corrupt Republican leadership?  Noemie has a piece up at Washblog where she puts this is a larger context beautifully:

There's a correlation between this disregard, this bottomless disrespect, for the safety and wellbeing of the young men Foley exploited for  narrow pleasure -- and the obscene disregard and lack of respect for the young men and women they send off to kill and torture and be corrupted and maimed and killed. 

While most of us would prefer to be focusing people's attention on the really large issues of total arrogance, ineptitude, corruption and covering up mistakes of judgment in regard to the war on terror or the Iraq War or the Katrina aftermath, what we get the most press on is the Foley pedophile case.  But it's all the same failures, all the same players, all the same game plans. 

Get rid of them so we have a chance of getting our country back.

Oh, and here is Jon Stewart's take on the whole thing. 

Posted by Lynn Allen on October 3, 2006 at 10:59 AM in National and International Politics | Permalink


Well, Jim West is not the only local example of a closited gay republican legislator who has opposed every gay friendly measure he has had a vote on. Luke Esser is cut from the same hypocritical cloth.

Posted by: Particle Man | Oct 4, 2006 11:48:39 AM

Wonderful...rather than commi-pinkos, we can witchhunt the closeted gay republicans.

BTW...it is entirely possible that gay persons do not wish to be identified as 'gay'...as if it is anybody's business. I find it abhorant that the media has lowered the bar to 'The Star' quality.

The way most of the current pro-gay legislation has been created is hardly how I want the law to operate for all persons. (Gay here)

Frankly, I've left both of the extreme parties and gone for the Libertarian Party. At least they advocate for the reduction of special (straight) rights, rather than fighting for yet more regulations to make business even more of a nightmare.

Posted by: daweedo | Oct 4, 2006 4:17:22 PM

Well, I would admit that the issue of Luke's private life is not something I have raced to talk about. But, at some point the hypocrisy is just too much. I have no reason to question that Luke is an upstanding citizen. Being gay or even in the closet is not the issue. But demanding the floor as he did last session to speak so forcefully against the civil rights bill and gay marriage was just another act in a play that Jim West directed for years. These votes were public and the voters of Luke's district are entitled to know just exactly what he was thinking when he voted and said what he did.
And what of the GOP both here and in DC. What price do they exact upon statesmen like Luke who's private life they have come to identify?

Posted by: Particle Man | Oct 4, 2006 5:45:48 PM

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