Five weeks before the Mid-term Congressional elections and the Democratic Party seems to have been handed a gift from God…Florida Congressman Mark Foley. As if the failed War in Iraq, the Abramoff corruption scandal that engulfed Congressmen Tom DeLay, Randy Cunningham and Bob Ney, the continuing fallout from Rita and Katrina and the myriad other scandals big and small weren’t enough, now we have yet another Republican caught screwing around, only this time literally. And while the latest polling does seem to indicate that Foley’s admitted attempts at child diddling and Denny Hastert’s alleged attempts at covering it up will indeed hurt the GOP in November, Democrats had still better be careful.
It’s always dangerous to politicize an emotional issue, and Foley represents for parents everywhere an extremely emotional issue . In the late 1990’s, Republican’s tried and failed to whip up opposition to Bill Clinton with the Monica Lewinsky debacle; a strong case can be made that his impeachment actually cost the GOP seats in the House in the subsequent election. Last year it was Terri Schiavo, and it was again the Republican’s who tried to use the poor woman to score points with their Base. If you remember, they failed miserably and left Jeb Bush and Bill Frist, not to mention President Bush himself, limping away from the issue with all three looking like backwoods bumpkins and fools. Later that summer, Democrat’s latched onto Cindy Sheehan and her quest to meet with the President at his Crawford ranch. While that episode didn’t turn out to be the black eye for Liberals that Schiavo was for Conservatives (mainly because of the President’s complete mishandling of the affair), it did devolve into a complete freaking circus so at the end of the day, once again, no one’s mind got changed. And that’s the point…changing people’s minds.
While the Party of Lincoln seems, all on it’s own, to have manufactured itself enough rope to commit the largest group suicide in political history, those in this country who oppose the policies of the Bush Administration have a good chance of taking it too far and causing a real backlash among the Base. While I personally believe that Denny Hastert probably did everything he could to keep the Foley scandal under wraps till after the polls closed on election day, it’s important to remember that for rank and file Republicans, this is yet another painful issue among many. A lot of people put their faith in the Republican Party…their literal faith, believing that the GOP represented their moral code and religious beliefs and until they’re convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt that they’ve been betrayed, I would think that their initial reaction would be to believe that all of this is just some Democratic plan to discredit their leaders. They’re wrong and deep down inside they already know it, but it’s always hard to admit you’ve made that big a mistake. Just ask George W. Bush.
So, all’s I’m saying is, let’s go easy on this. Republican’s, as I’ve already said, don’t need our help with Foley and Hastert other than some pious head shaking. But the real problem is, as we have consistently seen over the last six years, the leaders of the Democratic Party can be pretty fucking stupid. They and by extension, we, finally have a real chance; please guys, don’t screw it up.
PS: I just pulled this from the Dow Jones “Market Watch” web site, re: the Foley thing: “The analysts, in a research note, said they now also see odds of Democrats taking control of both houses at 40%, up from 30%. That represents a higher level of risk for stocks in the pharmaceutical, managed-care, defense, student-loan and oil industries, they said”. This is why we always lose elections.