No Skills Whatsoever

No sooner do I make a stupid prediction…

Okay, I think it’s over. Tom Reynolds’ fired chief of staff now says he told Hastert’s office about the Foley problem two years ago.

He also says he’s ready to talk to the FBI and spill the beans.

Full statement here.

Remarkable how quickly this story is spinning around. Maybe the FBI has more leverage than we thought (how many crimes could there be in this story?) and maybe Fordham just wants to keep the buck moving so that he doesn’t end up as history’s goat in this scandal. Who knows. Any way you cut it Fordham is the last thing that the GOP leadership needs right now.

More analysis from Marshall on what the hell is going on:

There have been a number of signals through the course of the day that the last gambit of the GOP House leadership will be to blame the Foley debacle on a cabal of gay staffers who hid and/or enabled Rep. Foley’s behavior for years. The idea being that they are to blame rather than the leadership.

That may sound like a plot turn out of a bad novel. But with the times we’re living in I guess we shouldn’t be surprised.

Fordham, the staffer who just turned on Hastert, is openly gay, as is at least one other central player in the drama. Fordham’s word now threatens to take down the whole House leadership. So they’re going to throw everything at him.

I know that it seems like I’m cribbing most of my stuff today from better bloggers. Ordinarily that might make me feel a little guilty, but time commitments flatly prevent me from doing anything more that that and I would feel derelict if I left the sheer ludicrousness of the last 24 hours go by without comment.

***Update***

Drum asks about the political calculus behind fabricating a mafia of gay staffers who supposedly protected Foley so that he could prey on kids. It’s a fine question, the idea of a GOP infiltrated by a sinister gay cabal really doesn’t seem to help them much except to preserve the exalted victim status, but I think that he is barking up the wrong tree. There is no strategy right now. The GOP leadership is operating in a state of pure panic. Judging by their total inability to keep a story straight they don’t trust each other any more than they do the press.

Republicans are operating out of the amygdala right now. Pure fight (Reynolds) or flight (Foley). GOP staffers probably lashed out at gays because that rhetoric about a sinister gay agenda reflects what these people actually think. In a panic people usually say what is actually on their mind.






104 replies
  1. 1
    Pb says:

    Tim F.,

    Either you’re Marshall, or you seriously need to update that first link. It’s confusing in any case.

  2. 2

    Presumably the gay staffers of the Republican party probably have a pretty good idea who is gay.

    So it’ll be curious to see how Ken Mehlman fares from all of this.

  3. 3
    capelza says:

    I was watching Scarborough and the conversation there was not about the gay staffers, but the unnamed gay Congresscritters who hold high positions, higher than Foley. Weirder by the minute.

  4. 4
    Tim F. says:

    Pb,

    Thanks. Fixed.

  5. 5
    Thomas says:

    Uh, sure. But dozens of posts on a gay sex scandal–complete with moral outrage over “buggery”–that doesn’t tell us anything about your gay panic.

    You’re absolutely priceless.

  6. 6
    capelza says:

    Thomas…it isn’t about the sex scandal..it’s about the cover-up. But nice try.

  7. 7
    Pb says:

    In a panic people usually say what is actually on their mind.

    Is that why their responses to this–and indeed this whole affair–has been so horribly stupid, mismanaged, venal, incompetent, and tone-deaf?

  8. 8
    Tim F. says:

    Uh, sure. But dozens of posts on a gay sex scandal—complete with moral outrage over “buggery”—that doesn’t tell us anything about your gay panic.

    Talk about priceless – once again a rightwinger mixes up preying on kids with gayness. That is a pretty sick mind you have Thomas. Did you mean to tell every gay man that his lifestyle is equivalent to predatory pedophilia? I doubt you did, but without that equivalence your comment makes no sense whatsoever. Mull it over.

  9. 9
    cd6 says:

    Clearly one of those gay staffers is a traitor to the cause, and assembled that list himself.

    Only a gay staffer has the required built in “GAYDAR” that all homos have, which would allow him to know exactly which Chiefs of Staff and Communication Directors love other men.

  10. 10
    ThymeZone says:

    Is that why their responses to this—and indeed this whole affair—has been so horribly stupid, mismanaged, venal, incompetent, and tone-deaf?

    I’ve been a political junkie since high school. Which was a long time ago. I’ve never seen anything like this. Watergate and Monica were bigger stories, at least so far, but this one takes the cake for the rapidity with which the scandalized party has collapsed in upon itself.

    I never dreamed that that great Machine would just turn out to be a Mickey Mouse watch with a busted mainspring and the stem missing.

    And it’s not over. In fact, it may not even be half over.

    Well, the GOP wants to be the Sex Police. Sometimes you get what you wish for.

    { voice of George C. Scott as Patton, surveying carnage }

    “God help me, I love it.”

  11. 11
    Pb says:

    cd6,

    Why does it have to be a gay staffer, when there are so many other possibilities? The list of suspected gay / closeted Republican Congressmen and other officials is miles long. Maybe the real question is, who came up with this latest bone-headed lie?

  12. 12
    Steve says:

    Uh huh, we’re all part of the anti-gay Left. Seriously, do these people think they gain credibility by making any random old accusation?

  13. 13
    demimondian says:

    I haven’t quite been a political junkie for as long as TZ, but I got hooked during Jr. High (Watergate coincided with seventh and eighth/ninth grade for me. Yes, that’s two years, not three.) I have never seen, nor read of, a collapse this sudden in American politics.

    This is really, really bizarre. The ‘Pubs have completely taken their eys off the ball, and, when they come back up, the Dems look to be ready to tee off on the Woodward book. I just don’t understand what happened…

    I keep thinking I’ll wake up. But, at least, it’ll be from a beautiful dream.

  14. 14
    scarshapedstar says:

    Haha, the leaker was a Republican all along.

    I wish I could tell the RedState guys, look, you’re just going to have to eat a dick on this one. You can hem and haw and try to proffer it to everyone else in the vicinity, but you’re not getting out of it.

  15. 15
    Pb says:

    demimondian,

    You’re not the only one. Pinch me: Another reason to vote Democrat

    “Jack Abramoff, Bob Ney, Tom DeLay, Duke Cunningham and Mark Foley have all been driven from power over the past year because of ethical and legal challenges. Only DeLay’s arose from political battles. The others were busted in various sexual, financial and ethical scandals that will haunt all Republicans this fall.
    […]
    A Republican congressman preyed on young boys. His leaders knew about inappropriate emails. They did next to nothing. And when it hit the fan a month before the election, Republican leaders spent the first days of the scandal pointing fingers at each other. One more scandal.

    One more indictment. One more reason to vote Democratic.”

    — Joe Scarborough

    Read the whole thing, there’s much more… not to mention a really funny Foley anecdote too. :)

  16. 16
    Pb says:

    Haha, the leaker was a Republican all along.

    I wish I could tell the RedState guys, look, you’re just going to have to eat a dick on this one.

    Heh, as if. They’ve never let a KnownFact(TM) stand in the way of their baseless speculation!

  17. 17
    Gary Farber says:

    “Republicans are operating out of the amygdala right now.”

    Hey, wait a sec!

  18. 18
    r€nato says:

    the GOP’s got nothing. The party of God and prudish sexual mores is stuck with the ugly predicament of trying to excuse, rationalize, distance themselves from a gay pedophile in their midst which they covered up for. The only thing missing, Foley wasn’t an atheist.

    They just don’t know what to do with this. You’re absolutely right John, they are in panic mode and hunting madly for a scapegoat is usually part of that reaction.

    Funniest thing I saw today: Katherine Harris blaming the Democrats for covering up for Foley while professing her concern for the children.

    (Oh by the way David Corn says one of the gay congressional mafia is on her staff)

    Honestly, how can any sentient human being vote for a Republican any longer? It’s an insult to one’s own intelligence to support these buffoons.

  19. 19
    Steve says:

    Heh.

    Embattled House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL) has told conservative activist Paul Weyrich that he would resign if it would help the Republicans, Congressional Quarterly is reporting.

    “He said if he thought that resigning would be helpful to the Republicans maintaining the majority, he would do it,” Weyrich said in an interview. “But he did not think it would helpful for Republicans.”

    The Republican moral compass continues its unblemished record.

  20. 20
    Pb says:

    So, at least two more pages stepped forward; lots of interesting facts in there, and note that this is from around 1998 or so, when Foley was busy blustering about Clinton of all people.

    “The conversation turned sexual almost immediately,” said Vivyan.

    It went on for years according to Vivyan… emails, brief phone conversations, instant messages.

    He says after his tenure as a page, when he was about 19, he returned to Washington and was invited to Foley’s house. He says he brought another page with him, to make sure things didn’t get out of hand.

    “He ordered pizza, offered us beer which we declined, because at the time we were both minors,” said Vivyan.
    […]
    “He did make explicit references, he talked about his anatomy– his own and other people’s, he did enjoy talking about sex frequently. And he did ask if I was attracted to him physically.”

  21. 21
    sglover says:

    It really is stunning how quickly this has developed. The speed of communications has a lot to do with it, I think.

    I can’t think of anything quite like this in American political history. I’m guessing that you’d have to look to the paliamentary governments for a scandal that’s metastasized so quickly.

    I’m slightly curious about the Republican gays who are surfacing in this episode. The GOP’s been riding gay-bashing pretty hard the last couple of elections, and they’ve been happy to spread some pretty poisonous stuff. How’s it feel to be a mid- or high-level tool in a cause that promotes hatred of yourself?

  22. 22
    sglover says:

    It really is stunning how quickly this has developed. The speed of communications has a lot to do with it, I think.

    I can’t think of anything quite like this in American political history. I’m guessing that you’d have to look to the paliamentary governments for a scandal that’s metastasized so quickly.

    I’m slightly curious about the Republican gays who are surfacing in this episode. The GOP’s been riding gay-bashing pretty hard the last couple of elections, and they’ve been happy to spread some pretty poisonous stuff. How’s it feel to be a mid- or high-level tool in a cause that promotes hatred of yourself?

  23. 23
    sglover says:

    Aw hell…. Sorry about the double post.

  24. 24
    Richard 23 says:

    Michelle Malkin makes a good point!
    NOTE: this is the first time I have made such an assertion.

    For the past two days, a conservative blogger has ginned up publicity for his work outing a 21-year-old young man–a former congressional page and current deputy campaign manager for a heartland Republican congressman–who received sexually explicit instant messages from disgraced Florida GOP Rep. Mark Foley when he was 17 and 18 years old. I have received several e-mails from the blogger and readers flogging the post.

    I refused to link to the blogger then and even though the Drudge Report has plastered screaming headlines about the blogger’s scoop, I refuse to link to it now. There was absolutely no good reason to expose the former congressional page’s name and identity. Seizing on ABC News’ redaction failure and reporting errors (more on that in a moment) to play gotcha in a feeble attempt to avenge Foley is not a sufficient reason to obliterate the young man’s privacy. The young man was the prey, not the predator.

    Unbelievable. I couldn’t really find anything else on the front page though. But still: nice one, Michelle!

  25. 25
    p.lukasiak says:

    Re: the attempt to redirect attention to gay staffers….

    Last night on Scarborough (who seems to be courting the ever-expanding Olberman audience now) Lawrence O’Donnell was claiming that the story was about to metatasize into one about gay GOP staffers and how they protect closeted GOP politicians in Congress.

    O’Donnell dropped a very broad hint that Scott Palmer, who is Hasterts Chief of Staff, and whom the (“openly gay”) Fordham claims to have contacted on the Foley problem three years ago, is part of that “Velvet Mafia.”

    This is going to get really ugly (or uglier) as the “narrative” develops — there are doubtless hundreds of gay republican staffers on Capitol Hill, and by focussing on the “Velvet Mafia” there is a strong likelihood that a “purge” of gay staff is coming — and if that comes to pass, all hell will break loose.

    Hastert is doomed — the only question is whether he has the sense to resign from the House effective immediately, or tries something slick like promising not to be a candidate for the speakership next term (that kind of half-measure isn’t going to do any good at this point). If Palmer is gay, its just icing on the cake.

    Reynolds is also doomed — his association with Fordham is going to make his re-election nearly impossible, and his position as chair of the RCCC is going to tarnish every GOPer running for re-election.

    And Boehner is doomed — he hasn’t gotten much attention yet, but the minute Hastert is devoured, the media sharks will focus on him and his key role in the Foley story. (and heaven help him if he has a “gay staffer.”)

    Majority Whip Roy Blunt has tried to have it both ways so far, supporting Hastert at first, and now jumping ship by criticizing how the Foley Follies were handled. While not directly implicated yet, the fact that Blunt was Foley’s “boss” (Foley was a Deputy Whip, i.e. part of the House GOP leadership who reported directly to Blunt) makes him vulnerable — and again, if Blunt has a “gay staffer”, he could be in big trouble…

    The bottom line here is that “everyone in DC — including the House GOP leadership — was fully aware that Foley was gay — and that rumors about Foley (and his attraction to considerably younger men) have circulated for years. By helping Foley stay in the closet, these leaders essentially enabled Foley to avoid investigation when the “overly friendly” emails surfaced. (when the public presumption is that Foley is straight, “overly friendly” emails just come off as weird, when you know that Foley is gay, its obvious that “something else” is going on –and that an investigation was needed.)

  26. 26
    Faux News says:

    Will Xenu protect Foley from being indicted?

  27. 27
    caroline says:

    p.lukasiak

    Yes, it does look like it’s going to get really ugly. The only positive development that could come out of a “gay purge” would be killing the “gays are pedophiles” mindset among some americans.

  28. 28
    Mary says:

    I’m watching the implosion of the House Republicans with a certain grim satisfaction. Foley was a pervy, stalking creep who abused his position to make pages deeply uncomfortable during their tenure and who stalked them after the program while they were still underage. He should have been seriously warned or removed years ago and the members of the Republican circular firing squad — and the party as a whole — truly deserve to tumble this fall.

    But I think the rise of stories like Vivyan’s is muddying the waters. I read the linked story and saw the MSNBC clip of him. All he can provide is IM transcripts of conversations in 2004, when he was a divorced man in his twenties, and he talked in a decidely non-traumatized way about various conversations and meetings with Foley, many of them after he turned 18 and after he left the program.

    The focus should be on the underage pages that this man stalked during and right after their tenure in the program, not his chat-up of men in their twenties. The focus should be on the years of covering up in the House. Stories like Vivyan’s risk trivializing the whole story in some people’s eyes.

  29. 29
    Thomas says:

    Tim, my comment was about your gay sex panic, not about gay men more generally. I certainly wouldn’t suggest–as some of your more supportive readers do–that the fact that Foley is gay should have raised concerns about possible pedophilia.

    I also wouldn’t have a panic attack myself at the mere thought of a middle-aged man being hitting on an eighteen year old. You wouldn’t either, unless it were a gay middle aged man hitting on an eighteen year old male. That’s what I mean about a gay sex panic.

  30. 30
    chopper says:

    Unbelievable. I couldn’t really find anything else on the front page though. But still: nice one, Michelle!

    crazy, coming from a woman who has no problem whatsoever revealing personal information about war protesters even after being asked to stop.

    guess she changed her mind in the last month.

  31. 31

    Sounds a little like the gay purge the Nazis had back in the 30s. The Roehm business.

  32. 32
    Steve says:

    One senior House Republican tells CBS that there’s a lot of anger at what he describes as “a network of gay staffers and gay members who protect each other and did the speaker a disservice.”

    But TIM is in a “gay sex panic”? The masters of projection strike again.

    I certainly wouldn’t suggest—as some of your more supportive readers do—that the fact that Foley is gay should have raised concerns about possible pedophilia.

    Not one single person has suggested the GOP should have investigated him just because he was gay… but I don’t think you care. That’s what happens when you spend all your time in a place where smears of liberals don’t require evidence, because everyone “already knows” they’re true.

  33. 33
    demimondian says:

    Thomas, you want the topic to be about gay sex, sure. I can’t certainly understand that, since it helps conceal the misbehavior of the Republican leadership. The problem here is that the issue isn’t gay sex, but the Republican party’s response to gay sex. What I think of men hitting on boys is irrelevant — what Reps. Hastert, Boehner, and Reynolds thought about it, and, more importantly, did about it, is.

    Once again, the Republicans have put the pursuit of personal power above their responsibilities to their constituents. In isolation, yes, this would just be the failure of the cadre at the heart of the Republican House, but, in concert with the lies that led to Iraq, the warrantless wiretaps, the torture laws, the renditions, the imprisonment of American citizens without due process…I can see why you want to change the subject.

  34. 34
    ThymeZone says:

    Not one single person has suggested the GOP should have investigated him just because he was gay

    Maybe not, but Perkins, the smarmy asshat who runs the “Family Research Council” or whatever it’s called, has more than strongly suggested that having gays in office is not the kind of thing that they expect from a party that courts their votes. He has gone out of his way to blur the line between perversion and gayitude, and talk in doublespeak about how gays are engaged in “sinful” behavior.

    I smell a rat here, as I said before, in that these buttholes are going to make hay out of the confusion over predatory and inappropriate behavior, and the fact that the Foleymonster is gay. They are going to recruit new bigots, new Darrells, over this thing, and are doing so as we speak.

  35. 35
    Richard 23 says:

    p.lukasiak, nice analysis. I think I’ll just watch from the sidelines and try not to get blood spashed on me. Don’t sit in the first couple of rows.

    Thomas, I’m not sure what your problem is, but you seem to be misreading this thread on purpose. But thanks for the thoughtful commentary, silly buns. I thought we were talking about House leadership and you can’t stop obsessing about gay sex. Maybe you should get some.

  36. 36
  37. 37
    p.lukasiak says:

    On the “outing the staff” front….

    On Monday Howie Klein outed both former Clerk of the House Trandahl (when I saw his pic on Josh’s site, my Gaydar went off the charts) as well as Hasterts chief Counsel (and former Ethics Committee staffer) Ted Van Der Meir.

    Trandahl is the likeliest candidate for the “other central player cited in ” as is at least one other central player in the drama” (In DC, there is a distinction between being “openly gay” and being “publicly gay” — the distinction being that “publicly gay” GOPers will attend things like “gay pride rallies” as gay men, while “openly gay” GOP staff hang out in gay bars and use their positions to get laid, but don’t show up at “public” gay events.)

    So, while we wait for John Aravosis and his friends to finally and fully expose the “Velvet Mafia” in the GOP, we are left to speculate on which Congressional Republicans are “friends of Dorothy” — top of the list (now that Foley is gone) is Californian David Dreier, with Pennsylvania Congressman Jim Gerlach an up-and-comer (pun intended)….

  38. 38
    DougJ says:

    I love blaming the gay staffers. Call it Operation Pink Elephant.

  39. 39
    p.lukasiak says:

    …and while we’re on the subject of closeted gay GOPers… has anyone else noticed the stunning silence coming from Ken Mehlman’s office? (Trandahl is probably keeping mum because he is co-operating with the Feds at this point.)

    And where is our good friend Karl Rove? (yes, the idea that Rove is gay is repugnant — but then again, the idea of Rove having sex with any mammal is repugnant.)

  40. 40
    p.lukasiak says:

    p.lukasiak, nice analysis. I think I’ll just watch from the sidelines and try not to get blood spashed on me. Don’t sit in the first couple of rows.

    richard, that’s not blood that you need to be worried about…. :)

  41. 41
    Proud Liberal says:

    It really is stunning how quickly this has developed. The speed of communications has a lot to do with it, I think.

    It was also the nature of the scandal. Every parent of a teenager worries about their child on the computer. They have been bombarded with stories of the predtors that are out there. It is something that prior generations did not have worry about. Sure, worry when you child went out but they never had to worry when their child was in his/her own bedroom. That is why this scandal took off. Congressman stealing money? going on free golf junkits? rewarding lobbyists? yeah everyone KNOWS that this happens, thats politics. Its only money. But, fuck with my kids and I’m coming after you motherfucker.

    The perfect scandal becauuse it is all about everything we have been talking about with the Abramhoff matter, the misuse of intelligence, the bridges to nowhere, earmark scandal, out of touch with real americans etc etc. But it has been put under the spotlight because of an issue every parent in this country is concerned about, internet predators.

    enough to take the House back? Don’t know, there is still time for this to take some strange twists but it certainly is looking bad for the Republicans. They are so busy attacking each other and trying to save their own necks they don’t have time to focus on the campaign. Values voters are going to stay home in droves. Dems are going to be even more motivated knowing the golden ring is reachable.

    I hope the Dems keep doing what they are currently doing which is staying out of the way. let the press do their work for them. Let the Republicans call each other liars. It seems to be working so far.

  42. 42
    Tim F. says:

    Tim, my comment was about your gay sex panic, not about gay men more generally.

    You make an allegation without doing a single thing to support it. To illustrate, I could use the same logic to say that your inability to argue clearly comes from late-stage syphillis. Who needs proof when I can allege.

    I also wouldn’t have a panic attack myself at the mere thought of a middle-aged man being hitting on an eighteen year old.

    I see that you’re batting for a perfect zero. If all of the kids were eighteen plus you might have a point. Except, gosh, that is bullshit and I am sure that you know it. If we’re going to talk about this, and believe me that I don’t mind doing so, then you have to meet reality halfway.

  43. 43
    Andrew says:

    At this point, I’m pretty sure that Thomas’ version of “gay sex panic” is misplacing his leather chaps before the annual meeting of We’re Not Log Cabin, We Swear! meetings.

    Repressed GOP homosexuals are certainly among the most odd creatures on the planet; absolutely obsessed with all things homosexual and looking for excuses (panic! at the capital) to assuage their (sub)conscious guilt. But what really, really stands out is their stilted language around sexuality: “gay sex panic”? Seriously? Who the hell talks like that? People who go through “Pray out the gay through Jesus” reeducation camps, that’s who.

  44. 44
    Par R says:

    All of this concern over the Republican leaders failure to “protect the children in their trust,” would be a bit more convincing if the same crowd making those charges weren’t the same group clamoring to boycott/outlaw/banish the Boy Scouts because of their ban on gay scoutmasters.

  45. 45
    caroline says:

    They are going to recruit new bigots, new Darrells, over this thing, and are doing so as we speak.

    Are there any new ones to recruit? Seriously, I thought that they already had all the ones that existed under their tent.

  46. 46
    Tim F. says:

    All of this concern over the Republican leaders failure to “protect the children in their trust,” would be a bit more convincing if the same crowd making those charges weren’t the same group clamoring to boycott/outlaw/banish the Boy Scouts because of their ban on gay scoutmasters.

    Priceless! Gay equals pedophilia strikes again.

  47. 47
    Bombadil says:

    I’ve checked a lot of sites this morning, and can’t recall where I saw it, but someone (Marshall, maybe?) said that Reynolds may turn out to be Foleygate’s John Dean. Hastert and Co. tried to hang the wrong guy out to dry.

  48. 48
    p.lukasiak says:

    I love blaming the gay staffers. Call it Operation Pink Elephant.

    me too — because if this starts to focus on “gay staffers”, you can be sure that there will be lots of “pushback” — and it won’t be just about the sexual indiscretions of gay members of Congress — there are too many “out and proud” lesbians and gays in DC to allow this to be cast as a “gay problem”…. (especially since the prospect of a witchhunt for gay staffers will leave a lot of those staffers in a position of very little to lose by revealing the sexual habits of “straight” congresscritters….)

  49. 49
    RSA says:

    And where is our good friend Karl Rove? (yes, the idea that Rove is gay is repugnant—but then again, the idea of Rove having sex with any mammal is repugnant.)

    Let’s not be too exclusive here; the idea that Karl Rove is human is repugnant.

  50. 50
    Jay C says:

    One thing that heartens me no end out of this whole mess is the parallels I can see between the House Republicans’ current meltdown over the Foley/page affair, and the travails of the British Tories in the late ’90s. In both cases, we saw a “conservative” legislative bloc, which manipulated parliamentary rules to keep themselves in power, by thin margins, way long after the public had grossly tired of them. And in both cases, just prior to an election, found themselves beset by a seemingly endless series of tawdry scandals (sex- and money-related, of course) that hopelessly tarnished their image, and put the final nails in their electoral coffins. I won’t go so far as to hope that the present GOP will suffer the same fate as the Tories did in 1997 (being effectively marginalized for a generation by Tony Blair’s “New Labour”) – but it does warm the heart to see a political gang of power-mad authoritarian hypocrites done in by their own duplicity and sleaze. Couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch of guys….

  51. 51
  52. 52
    Tim F. says:

    I simply cannot imagine a gay purge in the GOP. How many Jon Deans would that create? Dozens. Possibly hundreds. Staffers know every dirty secret and the smart ones hang on to documentation.

    Arguing against my point, scapegoating Fordham was possibly the stupidest move imaginable. So following my amygdala comment in the post (sorry Gary) maybe these guys are freaked out past the point of logic.

  53. 53
    Zifnab says:

    (especially since the prospect of a witchhunt for gay staffers will leave a lot of those staffers in a position of very little to lose by revealing the sexual habits of “straight” congresscritters….)

    Bring the gay witch hunt on. I’d be thrilled to watch the high holy god-fearing moral majority degenerate into a tabloid frenzy. Let the Hot Tub Tom stories fly. It’ll be fun to watch the truly rightous – the gay-free Inhofes and Burnses and Brownbacks – turn on their own to clense the taint. I doubt it will happen. The Log Cabin Republicans are Republicans because they practically swim in money. And ‘Pubs will give up the illusion of morals long before they give up the scratch. But it’ll be fun to watch them make the tough choices.

  54. 54
    Par R says:

    As usual, Barney Frank brings some honest sense to this discussion. Yesterday, Frank predicted “..that the Foley scandal…will create a difficult atmosphere for any gays, closeted or not, seeking to remain active nationally…” The scandal clearly has set back the gay rights agenda by at least a decade; already right-wing groups, aided by others not usually thought of as conservatives, are redoubling their efforts to ban gay marriage and other long sought equal rights…and many now think this effort will spread and achieve the kind of success that conservatives have long sought.

    It appears that once more the loony left has unwittingly given the right what they have been seeking. As the saying goes, you shall reap what you sow

  55. 55
    Davebo says:

    Off topic but still.

    It’s good to know that Republicans in congress aren’t spending all of our money.

    Congress sets aside 20 million

    The military’s top generals have warned Iraq is on the cusp of a civil war and that U.S. troops must remain in large numbers until at least next spring. But if the winds suddenly blow a different direction, Congress is ready to celebrate with a $20 million victory party.

    Lawmakers included language in this year’s defense spending bill, approved last week, allowing them to spend the money. The funds for “commemoration of success” in Iraq and Afghanistan were originally tucked into last year’s defense measure, but they went unspent amid an uptick in violence in both countries that forced the
    Pentagon to extend tours of duty for thousands of troops.

    Honor the troops by throwing yourself some lavish parties, while the troops fight on.

  56. 56
    Mary says:

    Hey Par R, I missed the part where Foley’s shameful actions and the Republicans bigoted’, incoherent and desperate attempts to walk away from their responsibility to deal with that man years ago — is somehow the responsibility of the loony left. Or the part where Barney Frank rent his garments and wept over how this mess was all the Democrats’ fault.

    I’m sure you’ll get right back to me on that, eh?

  57. 57
    Rudi says:

    In the realm of Stupid Republican moves, from BelgraviaDispatch and the NYT, the Republicans added to the Defence Allocation bills – $20Mil for parades in Washington for a Victory in Iraq celebration before “the Victory”.
    Has this been covered at BJ?

  58. 58
    DougJ says:

    said that Reynolds may turn out to be Foleygate’s John Dean. Hastert and Co. tried to hang the wrong guy out to dry.

    Not Reynolds — Fordham.

  59. 59
    Bombadil says:

    Not Reynolds—Fordham.

    D’oh!

    You’re right, I was wrong. Thanks, DougJ.

  60. 60
    Bombadil says:

    John and Tim, given this, are you sure you want to be associated with PajamasMedia any longer?

    Truly reprehensible.

  61. 61
    chopper says:

    only in par’s world is this a net gain for the right.

    the denial is so thick you can cut it with a knife.

  62. 62
    Gold Star for Robot Boy says:

    This chart, dig how Insty-man (in green) has lost about half his readership in six months.
    Couldn’t happen to a better guy.

  63. 63
    Rudi says:

    Davebo,
    Thanks for the Yahoo link, the NYT missed/ignored McConnell. This would have been like voting for a parade to celebrate the End of Cold War in 1980. Are Darrell and Tommy kissing cousins?

  64. 64
    Davebo says:

    Bombadil

    Don’t worry, Simon signed some kind of online integrity pledge so everything is hunky dory.

  65. 65
    Gold Star for Robot Boy says:

    John, I’m not about to tell you how to run BJ (as if you’d listen). But what Pajamas did, exposiong the kid, that’s not cool.
    Wasn’t Pajamas supposed to be a collection of sites that were above this crap? If PM truly wants to be taken seriously, with all the benfits such legitimacy entails, it also has to behave seriously. That’s not happening.
    In a larger point, bullshit like this is why the MSM, left and right, still thinks of the blogworld as an irresponsible mob. Because it often acts like an irresponsible mob.

  66. 66
    capelza says:

    Pat R

    The actions of the man who raided a single room Amish scholl, bound ten little girls and planned to sexually abuse them, but then shot them all in the head execution style…

    Wheres the outrage for the hetero pedophile, the murderous HETERO pedophiles…

    Sadly Barney Frank is right….this has damaged gays, but while this does…let us always remember that when this scandal broke…it was a HETERP amn that was truly, truly evil.

  67. 67
    p.lukasiak says:

    Maybe John should suggest that they change the name “Pajamas media” to “Boxer Shorts Media”, because Simon, Reynolds, et al seem to enjoy the idea of exposing a young man who got a “sorta” hard-on while “chatting” with Foley in his boxer shorts…

  68. 68
    capelza says:

    Sorry for the massive typos..I’m pissed about this…

  69. 69
    Punchy says:

    Heard on CNN that Hastert is now blaming, in addition to others, CLINTON.

    Wow, this guy gets more blame than a six year old with a 12 year old sibling. Damn desparate, IMO.

  70. 70
    Ned Raggett says:

    Dig this…

    The source who in July gave news media Rep. Mark Foley’s (R-Fla.) suspect e-mails to a former House page says the documents came to him from a House GOP aide.

    That aide has been a registered Republican since becoming eligible to vote, said the source, who showed The Hill public records supporting his claim.

    The same source, who acted as an intermediary between the aide-turned-whistleblower and several news outlets, says the person who shared the documents is no longer employed in the House.

    But the whistleblower was a paid GOP staffer when the documents were first given to the media.

  71. 71
    Zifnab says:

    Heard on CNN that Hastert is now blaming, in addition to others, CLINTON.

    And with Right Wing Media Mouthpieces echoing this sort of bullshit non-stop for the next few weeks, you know at least a little will stick, no matter how slimy.

  72. 72
    Zifnab says:

    Oh, hey, btw…

    Mark Foley (D-FL)

  73. 73
    Pb says:

    Heh yes. The GOP has now proven beyond a reasonable doubt that they will say or do absolutely anything to win an election, they have no moral compass.

  74. 74

    All of this concern over the Republican leaders failure to “protect the children in their trust,” would be a bit more convincing if the same crowd making those charges weren’t the same group clamoring to boycott/outlaw/banish the Boy Scouts because of their ban on gay scoutmasters.

    POTD.

    Because all homosexuals are pedophiles, this scandal is really about homosexuality instead of pedophilia. The Republican leadership, blameless, innocent creatures, were kept in the dark about Foley by a nefarious cabal of homosexual staffers. Those staffers will now reap what they have sown, as the GOP further demonstrates its commitment to protecting our children by illegalizing homosexuality on Capitol Hill.

    Reason enough to vote Republican, if you ask me. That’s why I’m predicting the GOP will gain 20-30 seats in the House this November, and possibly 2-3 Senate seats as well. Take THAT, moonbats!

    BTW, why doesn’t Senator Corky “Darrell” Cornyn weigh in on how this scandal relates to the Boy Scouts? Was Foley ever a Scoutmaster? Did any of the pages he abused become “converted” to homosexuality, and go on to become Scoutmasters? Do Scoutmasters tend to vote Democrat, thereby outing themselves? And why haven’t all homosexuals been locked up behind chickenwire fences by now, to keep them away from the kids?

    These are serious questions. These are children we’re talking about, here. American children, who should grow up to be patriots instead of gays. But thanks to the actions of Mark Foley, D-Florida, that may never happen.

  75. 75
    RSA says:

    Yesterday, Frank predicted “..that the Foley scandal…will create a difficult atmosphere for any gays, closeted or not, seeking to remain active nationally…”

    No shit. It turns out not to be very difficult to predict some kinds of idiocy. How many Sikhs, for example, have been attacked and killed in the U.S. after 9/11?

  76. 76
    chopper says:

    Mark Foley (R-Neverland Ranch)

  77. 77
    John S. says:

    Because all homosexuals are pedophiles, this scandal is really about homosexuality instead of pedophilia.

    Actually, this scandal has ZERO to do with pedophilia (or homosexuality). It’s all about pederasty (the card-carrying NAMBLA members) and power.

    I don’t why so many people keep missing this important distinction.

  78. 78
    John S. says:

    Oh, and AFKAG, I know you were being facetious.

  79. 79
    Richard Bottoms says:

    Time to switch back to Iraq folks.

    Our message is they are inept and distracted by scandal.

    They have $20,000,000 tucked away for a victory celebration while US casualties are the highest in months.

    Hit them on why that money didn’t go to the VA to help wounded vets. Show the smirking chimp & Mission Accomplished. Change up now.

  80. 80

    Actually, this scandal has ZERO to do with pedophilia (or homosexuality). It’s all about pederasty (the card-carrying NAMBLA members) and power.

    All pederasts are homosexuals, too. The important thing to remember is that gay people are evil.

    Oh, and AFKAG, I know you were being facetious.

    Only somewhat. I really do want to see Darrell weigh in more on this one. I’d like to hear some more about gay Scoutmasters, too.

    Also, Par R is giving DougJ a run for his money, here. Doug scored big when he suggested we let the Afghan Taliban run America a couple days ago, but Par R’s put in a strong showing since then.

  81. 81
    DougJ says:

    I think Fordham is probably one tough bastard. To grow up gay in Greece, NY — a notoriously right-wing suburb of Rochester (where I live) — he’s have to be. He’s got pieces of guys like Hastert stuck between his death.

  82. 82
  83. 83
    Proud Liberal says:

    hmmm.. now isn’t this interesting. Don’t know what to make of it yet but still interesting.

    Coming After Hastert

    Posted by JOHN MCINTYRE | E-Mail This | Permalink | Email RCP
    FOX News is now scrolling an alert that says “GOP Poll Shows Massive Losses if Speaker Stays Till November.” Bill Hemmer then quoted a report from Major Garrett saying prominent internal GOP polling suggests Republicans could lose up to 50 seats were Hastert to stay on through the election.

    I find the 50 number just a bit over the top, but what I think this leak shows, is there is now a coordinated plan within Republican ranks to dump Hastert.

    The Speaker is about to have a press conference, where from all the news reports he insists he will not step down, but I don’t see how he can put this fire out at this point.

    .

  84. 84
    Zifnab says:

    He’s got pieces of guys like Hastert stuck between his death.

    Thanks DougJ. That was an awesome bit of homoerotic innuendo right there.

  85. 85
    ThymeZone says:

    Well, since we are spectators, and munching our popcorn, heres my guess ….

    Haster floats the “I won’t quit — Dems and media are to blame” crap and tests the waters.

    By this time Saturday, they’ll know how this is playing in Peoria … and Springfield, and Memphis, and Baton Rouge, and Orlando. At that time, Hastert will quietly surrender the speakership.

    Here’s my $5 … let’s get some other guesses going.

  86. 86
    jg says:

    Watching Hastert walk and talk I can’t help but think of the Vogons from Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. Or a big bowl of white pudding.

  87. 87
    Steve says:

    I find the 50 number just a bit over the top, but what I think this leak shows, is there is now a coordinated plan within Republican ranks to dump Hastert.

    Yeah, no kidding. There’s no way those are actual poll results (although I agree it will be worse for Republicans if Hastert stays, and I hope he does even though it will cost me 5 bucks).

    But when you have the Washington Times and Fox News trying to push Hastert out… clearly this doesn’t just magically happen. There’s a nasty power struggle playing out here.

  88. 88
    Tsulagi says:

    Makes sense Fordham flipped. There are going to be some bad apples and I’m sure he knows how these guys operate. Probably saw some of the spin taking shape to blame staffers who are gay. “It’s not our leadership’s responsibility and they’re not accountable, it’s the evil gay staffers. We’re the victims.” Fordham knew that’d sell to the base.

    I would think at this point the Pubs would want to say there is a formal FBI investigation. That way they could say they can’t comment on the matter while it’s under investigation and responsible MSM shouldn’t either. That would be much better for them than the current laugh fest watching the clowns point at each other or the visuals of hiding behind children at press conferences.

    However, it now seems like the FBI has some ‘splainin to do of its own since they were provided Foley emails back in July. Maybe the AG was afraid of the FBI being called gay bashers while he was explaining the rationale as to why gays can’t be employed as Arab linguists. Yeah, that’s it.

  89. 89
    Proud Liberal says:

    I think the Republicans are trying to figure out what works best for them: ousting Hastert or letting him stay. The calculus is not as easy as it looks.

    Right now I think the gameplan will be Hastert taking SOME responsibility (I should have done more in retrospect, yada yada yada) and we will have an impartial investigation to see what went wrong.

    That is all well and good but I dont’ think this story is just going to sit there waiting for Louis Freeh’s report. As much as they would like to control events they have no power to do so. Put some butter and salt on your popcorn this is going to get interesting.

  90. 90
    Proud Liberal says:

    However, it now seems like the FBI has some ‘splainin to do of its own since they were provided Foley emails back in July

    let me come to the defense of the FBI on this from the perspective of someone with 25 years experience in law enforcement. If they only received the “overly friendly” emails they had no evidence a crime was committed. Not even close. Are they suspicious of inappropriate behavior? You bet. But do we really want our FBI to conduct full blown investigation every time that something suspiciously inappropriate, though legal, is brough to their attention? I think that is a very very slippery slope that we dont’ want to go down. TZ talks about the sex police, that would really be the sex police if we want our FBI to launch investigations based on those initial emails.

    that being said, the Congressional leadership has a different obligation. Those pages were put in their care. They should not be concerned as to whether the emails are criminal in nature but that they may indicate a problem. They, not the FBI, had an obligation to dig deeper and find out exactly what was going on.

  91. 91
    Rudi says:

    Proud Lib,
    Even if they didn’t investigate, shouldn’t a folloup call to House Leadership been appropiate?

  92. 92
    t. jasper parnell says:

    This is wholly off topic but PA Republican Don Sherwood on the real values of the value voters:

    While I’m truly sorry for disappointing you, I never wavered from my commitment to reduce taxes, create jobs and bring home our fair share,” Sherwood said, addressing viewers. “Should you forgive me, you can count on me to keep on fighting hard for you and your family.

  93. 93
    Faux News says:

    I’m sure there are a lot of nervous (closeted) Log Cabin Republicans on the Hill right now. JR’s bar in Dupont Circle will no doubt double its profits this weekend from all the panic binge drinking that will ensue.

  94. 94
    ThymeZone says:

    that would really be the sex police if we want our FBI to launch investigations based on those initial emails.

    Sex is something that needs to be policed. The idea that people are out there sexing each other … or even themselves … without government regulation is something that I find repugnant and unacceptable.

    Nothing good ever came of unregulated sex. I think we can all agree on that.

  95. 95
    Tsulagi says:

    If they only received the “overly friendly” emails they had no evidence a crime was committed. Not even close.

    Not suggesting they should have done a full blown public investigation. I would think, though, an agent could have made an appointment with Foley in his office to at least ask a few questions about the nature of the emails. Possibly ask him to voluntarily allow them to check his electronic communications to the pages. Initially could have been kept entirely confidential between them and Foley. See if that went anywhere.

    Instead, so far it doesn’t appear FBI did anything. They’re claiming emails provided to them had the minor’s name redacted, and because of that they couldn’t do anything. Pretty weak if true, and those supplying the emails claim it’s not.

  96. 96
    Proud Liberal says:

    Even if they didn’t investigate, shouldn’t a folloup call to House Leadership been appropiate?

    yes, I do think that should have been the course of action taken.

    Not suggesting they should have done a full blown public investigation. I would think, though, an agent could have made an appointment with Foley in his office to at least ask a few questions about the nature of the emails

    I am not so sure I can agree with that. According to Drudge the recipient of the emails was 18 at the time and the emails themselves were not even close to being illegal even if he were 10. The FBI is a law enforcement agency and without any evidence of a crime whatsover I think it would have been inappropriate for them to “question” Foley. They could have and should have contacted Hastert’s office, passed along the emails, and told him that perhaps he should look into it further.

  97. 97
    Bombadil says:

    I’ve checked a lot of sites this morning, and can’t recall where I saw it, but someone (Marshall, maybe?) said that [Fordham] may turn out to be Foleygate’s John Dean. Hastert and Co. tried to hang the wrong guy out to dry.

    I should have remembered — it was Greenwald (of course).

    And if you haven’t seen it already, please read this lovely post as well. It’s worth it even if only for the description of Rush Libaugh.

  98. 98
    Bombadil says:

    And I made that editorial correction (Fordham, not Reynolds) — thanks again to DougJ.

  99. 99
    Proud Liberal says:

    oh.. this is very enjoyable.. and from FOX news no less.

    WASHINGTON — House Republican candidates will suffer massive losses if House Speaker Dennis Hastert remains speaker until Election Day, according to internal polling data from a prominent GOP pollster, FOX News has learned.

    “The data suggests Americans have bailed on the speaker,” a Republican source briefed on the polling data told FOX News. “And the difference could be between a 20-seat loss and 50-seat loss.”

    The GOP source told FOX News that the internal data had not been widely shared among Republican leaders, but as awareness of it spreads calculations about Hastert’s tenure may change. The source described the pollster who did the survey as “authoritative,” and said once the numbers are presented, it “could change the focus” on whether the speaker remains in power.

  100. 100
    Tsulagi says:

    I am not so sure I can agree with that.

    And it looks like we will choose to disagree. While I do agree it was a fine line whether to take action or not, if the original emails given to the FBI contained the ones asking for a photo and one where Foley said he thought a page’s friend was a stud, that’s over my line when it comes to underage kids.

    Parents of pages send them to learn about and be a small part of government in service to their country. They have a reasonable expectation of security for their children in their absence.

  101. 101
    Steve says:

    It’s a good point about whether there was really sufficient information in the emails alone for a criminal investigation, which doesn’t change the fact that it should have been obvious to House leadership they had an issue.

    But the FBI has, in fact, been telling two different stories, one claiming that there wasn’t enough to go on, and the other claiming that they wanted to investigate but CREW refused to provide them with unredacted emails so they could do so (which appears to be false). They need to figure out which it is.

  102. 102
    Proud Liberal says:

    This can’t make them too happy over at NRO:

    A new poll from Scott Rasmussen conducted Tuesday and Wednesday night reports that 61 percent of American adults believe that Republican leaders have been “protecting Mark Foley for several years.” Only 21 percent believe that the leadership “just learned about Foley’s problems last week.”

    .

  103. 103
    Thomas says:

    Christ, Tim, you’re the one who said, “In a panic people usually say what is actually on their mind.” So when I say you’re in a gay sex panic, I’m referring to your own words. What’s on your mind? Well, it’s quite obviously gay sex. You can’t stop talking about it. You and your friends have it all over the site. Not only do you not mind discussing it, you positively enjoy it. Gay sex panic.

    Now, tell me about the kids under 18. Tell me about Foley and his attempts to have gay sex with them–and about your panicked reaction at the thought. You will I’m sure be titillated and horrified at the thought–the very essentials for any good gay sex panic.

    Steve, see p.lukasiak’s comment at 7.36am. There’s your evidence. You evidently aren’t accustomed to people disagreeing with your views. How unfortunate for us all.

  104. 104
    Thomas says:

    I love the criticisms of the FBI most of all. Steve, I’ll help you a bit: “there’s not enough to go on” isn’t inconsistent with “we’d like to investigate further, but we don’t have even know to whom the email was sent.” But, you know, when “why is the FBI covering this up?” is the question, it really doesn’t matter whether the FBI is telling a consistent story. Smear and destroy, that’s what you know. And when you know it and don’t know anything else, that’s what you do.

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