Fondlegate Update: Dead-Ender Edition

1.) Gateway Pundit has the real culprit in the Foley scandal:

John Aravosis, along with fellow radical gay activist Mike Rogers, worked in tandem but not together, to out members of Congress. Mike Rogers wrote about Foley’s get togethers with young men less than half his age but held on to the information until recently like he said he would do back in March of 2005.

2.) Hugh Hewitt says Hastert should dig in and fight back:

The Washington Times wants Speaker Hastert to resign. To do so would be to capitulate to Democratic-activist-induced and MSM-abetted hysteria. Not only should Hastert not resign, he should use every opportunity to swing back hard at a MSM deeply compromised by its ideological extremism and a Democratic Party committed to retreat and defeat in Iraq and fecklessness in the war generally. If Republican candidates recognize that the “clamor” is just the echo chamber, they’ll quickly come to understand that this is another Wellstone Memorial Service moment, when the left has persuaded itself that the American electorate is stupid and easily stampeded, and where overreaching appeals to emotional and unjust conclusions cannot be sustained in the new media environment.

*** Irony Alert ***

Nearly seven in 10 Americans believe it is likely that ousted Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein was personally involved in the Sept. 11 attacks, says a poll out almost two years after the terrorists’ strike against this country.
Sixty-nine percent in a Washington Post poll published Saturday said they believe it is likely the Iraqi leader was personally involved in the attacks carried out by al-Qaeda. A majority of Democrats, Republicans and independents believe it’s likely Saddam was involved.

The belief in the connection persists even though there has been no proof of a link between the two.

A stupid and easily stampeded electorate has served the GOP quite well, methinks.

3.) Apparently, Newt Gingrich reads Tom Maguire:

Discussing the recent resignation of former Rep. Mark Foley (R-FL) with host Chris Wallace on the October 1 edition of Fox Broadcasting Co.’s Fox News Sunday, Fox News political analyst and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA) claimed that House Republicans would have “been accused of gay bashing” if they had “overly aggressively reacted” to Foley’s allegedly inappropriate email communications with a 16-year-old male congressional page when House Republicans reportedly first learned of Foley’s actions in late 2005.

So has the Opinion Journal:

But in today’s politically correct culture, it’s easy to understand how senior Republicans might well have decided they had no grounds to doubt Mr. Foley merely because he was gay and a little too friendly in emails. Some of those liberals now shouting the loudest for Mr. Hastert’s head are the same voices who tell us that the larger society must be tolerant of private lifestyle choices, and certainly must never leap to conclusions about gay men and young boys. Are these Democratic critics of Mr. Hastert saying that they now have more sympathy for the Boy Scouts’ decision to ban gay scoutmasters? Where’s Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi on that one?

Let’s give credit where it is due- Just One Minute came up with this first, last week:

However, picture this headline – “House Leadership Boots Allegedly Gay Republican On Trumped-Up Pedophilia Charges”. Ugly. Worth Avoiding. Listening to Andrew Sullivan decry the homophobes in the House would not have been worth it. So they played it a bit too cautiously and slowly and here we are.

Maybe these hysterical bleatings would have been more plausible if this hadn’t been the de facto party line for the GOP for the past ten years:

Republicans are prepared to oppose homosexual “marriage” in their national platform, Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie said yesterday.

“There is a lot of energy out there, a lot of concern about gay marriage,” Mr. Gillespie said. “So it wouldn’t surprise me if it were addressed in some form or fashion in the platform.”

He accused homosexual activists of intolerance and bigotry by attempting to force the rest of the population to accept alien moral standards. As a result, “tolerance is no longer defined as my accepting people for who they are,” the RNC chairman said.

You can count on the Republicans to be weak, craven, corrupt, and a lot of things. Afraid of the homosexual lobby just isn’t one of them.

4.) The Strata-Sphere has found another culprit- the media:

While the quivering right demands Hastert’s resignation (wrongly) the real news is being under reported and missed. And that is that Brian Ross of ABC News now says he knew of the possible crimes against children as far back as August of last year and did nothing.

Brian Ross of ABC News said he learned about the e-mail messages in August but was too busy with Hurricane Katrina and the anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks to pursue them immediately.

That excuse is pure BS! First off, he had evidence of possible child abuse and that should have been reported to law enforcement – not held for some story line. And second, what was wrong with dealing with this in October – after those events he sited? What about November? Why not in December? What was so pressing in January? Why did he not do something to stop a predator in February? What was more important than this in March? Couldn’t he find the time in April of this year? Surely he had time in May or June? Nothing could be done in July and August? Was it Katrina and 9-11 AGAIN that knocked any chances of stopping a child abuse again this September? Ross planted this story with the help of Mike Rogers. Mike Rogers admits he worked to have this story timed. And it is strange how the information was planted on some know-nothing website and picked up magically by Ross. What, did the out of the way website remind Ross crimes were possibly being committed that he learned about a year earlier and he should do something?

Too bad Dan Rather is retired. I bet he had something to do with this too!

5.) Finally, Red State has figured out the best way to handle this situation:

Right now, however, we must fight. We must fight like our lives depend on it. Make no mistake, the timing of the Foley allegations were not designed to persuade swing voters to vote Democrat. They allegations were designed to suppress the GOP turnout. We must not let the Democrats be successful at this.

While we know the GOP is far from perfect and, under Denny Hastert’s recent leadership, has been a disappointment, we know the Democrats would cut all funding from Iraq, unleash investigative hordes on the President, and block all tax reforms and social security reforms.

Now is not the time to get comfortable with the notion of Speaker Pelosi. Now is the time to fight. Call your local GOP candidate. Walk neighborhoods and work phone banks. And then contribute cold hard cash to some good Republicans who need your help.

Translation- “Sure- we want to bugger your kids and won’t do anything about it as long as it doesn’t cause waves or threaten our one party rule. But Nancy Pelosi and company are worse, and if the terrorists kill your kids, who cares if GOP congressmen are diddling them? Send us some cash so we can keep your kids alive and fondled.”

*** Update ***

6.) Mark Noonan, blogging at “GOP Bloggers- Blogging for the Majority,” has figured out who is to blame. All of us!

Usefully, this scandal brings up the entire issue of sexual morality in the United States. For far too long we have taken a cavalier attitude towards sexual matters, and because we have become jaded people like Foley are able to slip under the social radar for quite a long time. Fortunately, Foley was discovered before he could actually do something terrible – but we escaped such a thing by the skin of our teeth, as it were. Our recourse in this is to more firmly adhere to the tried and true morality on such matters – to assert and defend the concept that sex is a matter for a married couple and anyone who strays outside of this should be brought in to the glare of public scruitiny and condemnation.

Don’t you get it? If sex were limited to a missionary style sex acts between a husband and wife (but purely for procreation- no pleasure allowed), then our Congressional Republicans might not have been so jaded about sex and might have actually done something about their colleague hitting on kids. But because some of us refuse to adhere to Noonan’s cultish pseudo-morality regarding sex, and, alas, we are forbidden to stone homosexuals and don’t have enough red letter A’s, we all enabled Foley to feast on our kids. It’s so simple! Maybe because a simpleton said it.

If only Florida had passed a ban on non-marital sex and had banned dildo sales, this could have been avoided. I say Mark Noonan and company should get right on that.

7.) I won’t even bother with specific links, as they are too numerous to categorize, but we will extend special honorable mention to anyone who mentions the Clenis and Lewinsky, Barney Frank, or Gerry Studds/Dan Crane.






45 replies
  1. 1
    Bruce Moomaw says:

    This rogue’s gallery is comparable only to Batman’s. (And, like Batman’s most of them belong in the Arkham Asylum for the Criminally Insane.)

  2. 2
    chopper says:

    hold on, i’m a-go make some popcorn. this is the best meltdown of a political party i’ve seen in decades.

  3. 3
    Pb says:

    Awesome post, John…

    Send us some cash so we can keep your kids alive and fondled.

    That line in particular really cracked me up!

  4. 4
    bud says:

    …who cares if GOP congressmen are diddling them?

    Look John, I know that you’ve seen the light, and that the entire Repug party is “buggers and thieves”, but I thought you had more class than this.

  5. 5
    Paul L. says:

    Sure- we want to bugger your kids and won’t do anything about it as long as it doesn’t cause waves or threaten our one party rule.

    So John is saying that in the 1980s that the democrats were the “we want to bugger your kids and won’t do anything about it as long as it doesn’t cause waves or threaten our one party rule” party.
    Does Anybody In Our Media Remember Gerry Studds?

  6. 6
    Jon H says:

    What are they writing about this at, ahem, “swords crossed”?

  7. 7
    SeesThroughIt says:

    I can’t believe you left out my favorite voice of idiocy, Mark Noonan. First, of course, you must disavow any responsibility within the party with logic so tortured, Noonan must think it’s an Iraqi:

    One of the emerging talking points is an accusation that the House GOP leadership long knew of Foley’s transgression and did nothing about it. This is rather absurd. First off, we GOPers simply will not stand behind a morally reprehensible character – that is something that Democrats do (you know, Clinton, Jefferson, McDermott, etc, etc, etc).

    Got that? “We can’t have done such a thing because…well…we just can’t have! Besides, Democrats are the only ones who ever defend immorality!”

    Now that you’ve cleared your party, it’s time to assign some blame. Who’s gonna have to carry the brunt of it? Why, those damn dirty liberals and their damn dirty sexual freedom! They set the stage for this sort of thing, so it’s their fault!

    Usefully, this scandal brings up the entire issue of sexual morality in the United States. For far too long we have taken a cavalier attitude towards sexual matters, and because we have become jaded people like Foley are able to slip under the social radar for quite a long time.

    So, what’s the only prescription here? Isn’t it obvious? Massive social regression. Sex outside of marriage = WHORE!

    Our recourse in this is to more firmly adhere to the tried and true morality on such matters – to assert and defend the concept that sex is a matter for a married couple and anyone who strays outside of this should be brought in to the glare of public scruitiny and condemnation.

    It’s not very often that I literally laugh out loud at a not-intentionally-comedic blog posting, but Noonan’s attempts to be a good little GOP footsoldier broke that threshold.

  8. 8
    Shabbazz says:

    What, no blame reserved for Hollywood, Jane Fonda, Cindy Sheehan, Michael Moore, Media Matters, France or the UN? I thought for sure that they all had a hand in this!

    I’m disappointed!

  9. 9
    Pb says:

    Does anyone who now suddenly remembers Gerry Studds remember Dan Crane? Sheesh.

  10. 10
    RSA says:

    First, of course, you must disavow any responsibility within the party with logic so tortured, Noonan must think it’s an Iraqi.

    Took me a sec, but this made me laugh.

    Massive social regression. Sex outside of marriage = WHORE!

    I propose that members of Congress be required to sign sexual loyalty oaths. Republicans can sign extended versions that commit them exclusively to the missionary position.

  11. 11
    minute says:

    They could send out Jhn Cornyn to tell us that none of your molested children matter if your dead.

    Seriously, people need to start asking these guys what it is they want to do with gay people. All I keep hearing from the religious right and others is its the fault of gay people. And then they drop it. So if gays are really to blame what do they want to do about it.

    It’s bullshit pure and simple and people need to start calling them on it.

  12. 12
    Steve says:

    So John is saying that in the 1980s that the democrats were the “we want to bugger your kids and won’t do anything about it as long as it doesn’t cause waves or threaten our one party rule” party.

    I just think it’s cute that you believe this to be a scathing comeback. Really, really cute. I wanted to repeat it, that’s how cute it is.

  13. 13
    Bruce Moomaw says:

    Quite a few of us remember Gerry Studds (and agree that it’s an outrage that both the House AND his own constituents were unwilling to throw him out on his ass). And it may very well be that Brian Ross’ promised imminent list of more page-hunting Congressmen will contain some Democrats — sex scandals are nothing if not bipartisan. What this scandal unquestionably DOES do, however, is blow to smithereens, once and for all, the GOP’s smarmy claims to be the Party of God. It will be impossible now for them to make that claim without somebody in the audience giggling.

  14. 14
    Pb says:

    Fortunately, Foley was discovered before he could actually do something terrible

    I’d like to know how Noonan knows this, and what his threshold for ‘terrible’ is…

  15. 15
    Jill says:

    Live by the sex scandal, die by the sex scandal.

  16. 16
    OnTheOther Hand says:

    By way of scout-prime from First-Draft:

    Mr. Ross dismissed suggestions by some Republicans that the news was disseminated as part of a smear campaign against Mr. Foley.
    “I hate to give up sources, but to the extent that I know the political parties of any of the people who helped us, it would be the same party,” Mr. Ross said, referring to Republican.

    http://www.first-draft.com/

  17. 17
    Vladi G says:

    Does Anybody In Our Media Remember Gerry Studds?

    You mean the guy that was censured by the Democrats, then returned to office by the voters? By all means, let Foley run again. Go ahead and keep him as nominee and we’ll see what happens.

    Why do Republicans hate democracy?

  18. 18
    Steve says:

    Quite a few of us remember Gerry Studds (and agree that it’s an outrage that both the House AND his own constituents were unwilling to throw him out on his ass).

    I’m not up for relitigating stuff from 20 years ago, but on my personal moral compass, I’m less troubled (as a general matter) by a single consensual relationship than I am by someone on the prowl for dozens upon dozens of teenaged pages.

    There is a double standard here, though. If you’re going to run as the party of morality and family values, the people who want to reintroduce moral fiber into the backbone of America unlike those hedonistic fag-loving Democrats, then guess what, you’re going to get hoisted by your own petard every once in a while, even when you don’t truly deserve it. I’m not particularly bothered by that.

  19. 19
    Paul says:

    John,

    I was always under the impression that Republicans believed in personal responsibility and accountability. You are kind of a Republican right? (If one can be without being completely bonkers.) Please explain why these Republicans and conservatives are so quick to blame society for Mark Foley’s sick behavior and the House Leadership’s laissez faire attitude to sexual predation.

    Thank you.

  20. 20
    p.lukasiak says:

    What REALLY PISSES ME OFF is the idea that exposing a “pedophile” is the equivalent of “gay-bashing” — especially when said “pedophile” did everything he could (except not have sex with men) to assert that he was not gay.

    It would be different if Foley was openly gay — he wasn’t. (although his homosexuality was one of the worst kept secrets in DC — apparently he was far more discreet in his congressional district.)

  21. 21
    chopper says:

    Our recourse in this is to more firmly adhere to the tried and true morality on such matters – to assert and defend the concept that sex is a matter for a married couple and anyone who strays outside of this should be brought in to the glare of public scruitiny and condemnation.

    that is truly hilareous. talk about trying to find a silver lining.

  22. 22
    Andrew J. Lazarus says:

    Not Fondlegate.

    Either, Le Page aux Foley, or maybe Foley a deux.

  23. 23
    tBone says:

    If only Florida had passed a ban on non-marital sex and had banned dildo sales, this could have been avoided. I say Mark Noonan and company should get right on that.

    I think banning dildos would be a good idea. Especially in whatever state Noonan lives in.

  24. 24
    Bruce Moomaw says:

    “…we will extend special honorable mention to anyone who mentions the Clenis and Lewinsky, Barney Frank, or Gerry Studds/Dan Crane.”

    Well, hell, John, that includes ME. It’s not totally irrelevant to this case (and a glance at Wikipedia reveals that the bastard was even more unrepentant than I thought). But if Foley was having flat-out cybersex with more than one page (and it now starts to look as though he was), he certainly surpasses Studds.

    Meanwhile, a bulletin on the OTHER current House GOP sex scandal: the latest poll in PA-10 shows Rep. Don Sherwood trailing by 9 points. Apparently the voters hold some kind of obscure grudge against him for having (by his own confession) tried to strangle his mistress.

  25. 25
    Halffasthero says:

    John, you are getting linked from a lot of places lately. I got to this topic from someone else’s link on their website. You are nailing everything and everyone on this topic with ruthless accuracy. If I ever get on your bad side, do me a favor and give me a chance to apologize first.

  26. 26
    Mac Buckets says:

    If you’re going to run as the party of morality and family values, the people who want to reintroduce moral fiber into the backbone of America unlike those hedonistic fag-loving Democrats, then guess what, you’re going to get hoisted by your own petard every once in a while, even when you don’t truly deserve it. I’m not particularly bothered by that.

    So you should only be held to moral standards if your party is most associated with moral standards? Wow, that sure lets Democrats off the hook for, well, just about anything they want to do (but I suppose that was the point of that tortured logic, wasn’t it?)!

    That’s a hell of a standard you’ve contrived there, but you could’ve just saved the bandwidth said, “It’s OK If You’re A Democrat.”

  27. 27
    tBone says:

    So you should only be held to moral standards if your party is most associated with moral standards?

    Where is the part where Steve says Dems shouldn’t be held to moral standards? Please show your work.

  28. 28

    So you should only be held to moral standards if your party is most associated with moral standards? Wow, that sure lets Democrats off the hook for, well, just about anything they want to do (but I suppose that was the point of that tortured logic, wasn’t it?)!

    That’s a hell of a standard you’ve contrived there, but you could’ve just saved the bandwidth said, “It’s OK If You’re A Democrat.”

    I don’t know Mac.

    I have higher moral standards then the mule fucking torture monkeys who vote Republican.

    So why should I listen to you?

  29. 29
    Mac Buckets says:

    Brian Ross of ABC News said he learned about the e-mail messages in August but was too busy with Hurricane Katrina and the anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks to pursue them immediately.

    That excuse is pure BS! First off, he had evidence of possible child abuse and that should have been reported to law enforcement – not held for some story line.

    It sure is easy for the media to hold onto these stories for a long time (I mean, it’s not like this page was being harmed in any way, right?). What a coincindence that the reporter just happened to find the time to report this election-year Surprise in October!

    I’ll bet he could’ve held onto it for a lot longer, if he had wanted to. Yep, I bet — hypothetically — that if you have the media “shelving” stories for you, a Congress-Sleaze could have it pretty sweet in D.C., or pretty tough — depending on whether the timing of the reportage (or non-reportage) helps or hurts you.

  30. 30
    tBone says:

    Yeah, because the media is the REAL story here, right Mac?

    Thanks for chiming in, though. It’s good to know that our home-grown deadenders are still around.

  31. 31

    It sure is easy for the media to hold onto these stories for a long time (I mean, it’s not like this page was being harmed in any way, right?). What a coincindence that the reporter just happened to find the time to report this election-year Surprise in October!

    That’s right. Blame the liberal media.

    Instead of Mark Foley.

    After all, Foley’s only crime is he got caught, right?

  32. 32
    Bruce Moomaw says:

    OK; so Ross should have investigated the initial ambiguous E-mails immediately, but Hastert (who has, to put it mildly, more direct responsibility for policing this kind of thing) had less responsibility to do so? (To say nothing of those persistent reports that the GOP leadership knew of Foley’s playtime activities five years ago?)

  33. 33
    maf54 says:

    here is the truth: it is all because of gay marriage in massachusetts

  34. 34
    Mac Buckets says:

    Where is the part where Steve says Dems shouldn’t be held to moral standards? Please show your work.

    Start with his horrifying let-off of the never-repentent Stubbs (consensual? I thought the main reason we have statutory rape laws is we assume that minors are too easy to cajole into giving their “consent”!) compared to Foley, who’s a huge perv to be sure, but whose actions were nothing compared to Stubbs’.

    Then look at:

    If you’re going to run as the party of morality and family values…then…you’re going to get hoisted by your own petard every once in a while, even when you don’t truly deserve it.

    So the corrolary would be: If your party doesn’t run on family values (Im assuming he means the Dems here), then when you don’t deserve the hoisting on those values, it won’t happen. And Steve will be happy.

    Certainly, he’s arguing for a completely different set of moral standards for the two parties, as any good sheep would.

  35. 35
    John S. says:

    as any good sheep would

    I guess you would know, eh?

    Baaaaaa.

  36. 36
    Tim F. says:

    What a coincindence that the reporter just happened to find the time to report this election-year Surprise in October!

    Another damned leftwing conspiracy theory. And the moonbats think that they should be trusted with national security?

    All in good humor, Mac. But this evil media conspiracy that you constantly promote is pretty out there. You don’t build credibility with these tales of shadowy journalistic cabals.

    Believe me, some days it feels like the Media is out to get the Democrats. When it comes to certain rightwing memes that don’t die it seems practically indisputable. But it just ain’t so. It’s an illusion based on the human tendency to notice things that piss you off far more than things that don’t.

  37. 37
    Richard 23 says:

    Well, the story comes full circle:

    Former Rep. Mark Foley says he was abused by a member of the clergy at age 13, though he does not blame his current troubles on “the trauma he sustained as a young adolescent,” his lawyer, David Roth, told the press today.

    Roth said he “very much wanted to release the name” of the priest and other details, but his lawyers advised him against that.

    Family values, minors, priests, Congress…. This scandal has it all!

  38. 38
    Steve says:

    So the corrolary would be: If your party doesn’t run on family values (Im assuming he means the Dems here), then when you don’t deserve the hoisting on those values, it won’t happen. And Steve will be happy.

    Well certainly, I’m happy when someone doesn’t deserve to get hoisted and it doesn’t happen. I’m assuming you had a point but accidentally misunderestimated the English language along the way.

    And I find it hilarious, absofuckinglutely hilarious in a you-cannot-parody-this sort of way, that someone comes in here decrying the liberal media for sitting on this story and then calls me a sheep. Seriously, they have a factory in Oklahoma where they churn these people out or something.

  39. 39
    Steve says:

    Start with his horrifying let-off of the never-repentent Stubbs (consensual? I thought the main reason we have statutory rape laws is we assume that minors are too easy to cajole into giving their “consent”!) compared to Foley, who’s a huge perv to be sure, but whose actions were nothing compared to Stubbs’.

    Yeah, that’s so horrifying, considering I don’t even know the facts of the Stubbs case, or whatever his name is, and specifically said I wasn’t going to talk about it, let alone “let him off.” If what he did was statutory rape, then of course it’s disgusting and illegal, but frankly I’m not going to take your word for it when you can’t even be trusted to read the words that I type.

  40. 40
    vaughan says:

    This is quite funny how folks bring up the 80s Studds scandal. The consensual sex was unethical, just as any superviser/young employee relationship is. It was not illegal. It certainly wasn’t something that Gary Studds helped write laws about.

    I met Rep. Studds once, and I’m a friend of the underage page in question. He certainly didn’t see himself as a victim at the time, and he spoke honestly about the incident in the investigation and he also spoke up for Rep. Studd’s character. The guy was a bon vivant, and more worldly in many ways than the shy Rep. Studds.

    The most important thing is that the 80s page scandal was not a partisan deal, and neither the Democratic nor Republican party covered it up. The situation compared to now is as partisan as can be. I’m serious, you die-hard partisans: do a gut-check. What would your fifth grade Sunday School teacher think to hear you rationalize this behavior based on petty political concerns?

  41. 41
    Pb says:

    I bet—hypothetically—that if you have the media “shelving” stories for you, a Congress-Sleaze could have it pretty sweet in D.C.

    Close. See “Bush campaign”, 2004.

  42. 42
    Beej says:

    Oh Lord, here we go again! “There were Dems who went after underage pages, too, so you can’t possibly say anything about Foley’s actions or Hastert’s coverup because that would be hypocritical.” Isn’t that, in essence, what you are telling us, Mac? I am so tired of this lame old argument that I could hurl!

    Nixon apologists: Johnson taped conversations and went after political enemies too.

    Reagan apologists: Kennedy made a deal to keep missles out of Turkey if the USSR would take the missles out of Cuba, so you can’t blame Reagan for trying to make a deal with Iran.

    George W. Bush apologists: Lincoln suspended habeus corpus and FDR interned Japanese Americans, so you can’t criticize Bush for torturing prisoners at Gitmo.

    Logic and Rhetoric 101-If the first action was wrong (and you are assuming that it was), you can’t use it to excuse the second action which is also wrong.

    Please don’t make me read or hear this type of argument again. I have a sensitive stomach.

  43. 43
    Bruce Moomaw says:

    Yep, accusing past politicians of abuses in order to get current politicians off the hook for the same abuses is definitely the perfect recipe for a national race to the bottom.

    By the way, I was just plowing through some old papers and found the following relevant passage concluding Jonathan Chait’s July 26, 2004 piece in the New Republic:

    “Congress has ceased to provide a check on the executive branch, functioning instead as the legislative arm of the White House. Bush is the first president since James Garfield not to veto a single bill. Whereas the Democratic Congress held hearings about Whitewater, it’s simply impossible to imagine today’s GOP Congress investigating Bush’s past business dealings. Even Republicans confess that their party has essentially abandoned its duty to oversee the executive branch. ‘Our party controls the levers of government,’ GOP Representative Ray LaHood told Congressional Quarterly. ‘We’re not about to go out and look beneath a bunch of rocks to try to cause heartburn.’

    “And so, where the Republicans have broken rules — say, using the Treasury Department to disseminate political advertising, or employing conference committees to write laws from scratch — the enforcement mechanisms are essentially controlled by the perpetrators themselves. If Republicans stand together, there will be no investigations. (Or, at least, no serious investigations.) If there are no investigations, there is no process for the media to cover. If there’s no media coverage, there’s no public outrage to constrain the GOP. After the GAO ruled that the administration broke the law with its Medicare videos, Democrats in Congress demanded that the money spent on the ads be refunded. But Republicans simply ignored them, and the story disappeared.

    “In any case, most of the abuses under Bush — things like suppressing cost estimates, or redistricting more than once a decade — have violated norms, not rules. When you violate norms, you’re limited only by your sense of shame and your party’s willingness to stick together. Which suggests the most frightening lesson of the Bush administration: The institutional restraints on an anti-democratic presidency are weaker than we believed. When we say ‘the system works,’ we think of Nixon’s various shady machinations against his foes, or Franklin Roosevelt’s court-packing scheme, both of which were duly foiled. But those anti-democratic excesses were foiled not merely by ‘the system,’ but by the people who inhabited that system and the particular political circumstances of the time. Nixon’s crimes were uncovered by a Democratic-controlled Congress, whose investigations gained bipartisan legitimacy when many Republicans (including members of Nixon’s own administration) turned against him. Unlike Nixon, FDR enjoyed unified control of Congress, yet his fellow Democrats were fractious enough to stop him from bullying the Supreme Court. Had those presidents, like Bush, enjoyed the benefits of a subservient Congress and a staff that never spoke out against their excesses, they might have done a lot of damage.”

    Again, yep. The Founders’ crazy belief that they could somehow keep political parties from coming into existence at all — and their consequent misdesign of the Constitution — came within a hair of destroying the US as early as 1800, and it could end up doing so yet. In the meantime, all we can do is keep screaming at the top of our lungs and hope that enough of the voters hear.

  44. 44
    LibertyCat says:

    But Nancy Pelosi and company are worse, and if the terrorists kill your kids, who cares if GOP congressmen are diddling them?

    This is the best comment I have seen on the whole sorry affair. You are so nearly sigged.

  45. 45
    Bruce Moomaw says:

    Interesting twist on the Studds story from Billmon: apparently at least as many Republicans voted against censuring Dan Crane as Democrats voted against censuring Studds.

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