Holy Moly

by

From MSNBC.com:

A new poll by Newsweek indicated the Foley scandal was doing significant damage to the Republicans’ political fortunes and could sink their chances of holding onto control of Congress on Election Day, Nov. 7. The poll found that 52 percent of Americans, including 29 percent of Republicans, believe Hastert was aware of Foley’s Internet communications with underage pages and tried to cover up Foley’s actions. More of those polled, 42 percent, now say they trust Democrats to do a better job handling moral values than Republicans; 36 percent favored Republicans on the values question.

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18 Responses to “Holy Moly”

  1. Michael Lasley Says:

    This is another of those things I don’t understand. I’m not sure why this incident would shake my faith in whatever party I voted for. If I were a Republican, I would write it off as one or two Republicans failing, not the values of an entire party.

    The bad news for Democrats is that they are gaining support without actually doing anything. I’d rather them be doing something positive and productive rather than just waiting for the other side to implode.

  2. Unicorn Says:

    From the “new guy on the block” invited by Al, so blame him! 🙂

    Michael – as a dyed-in-the-wool, “Yellow Dog” Democrat, I too wish they’d do something more positive. OTOH,I think it is more than one or two Republicans whose values are off base – starting at very near the top.

  3. Michael Lasley Says:

    Welcome, unicorn. I blame Al for a lot of things.

    It is amazing to me that this is what shakes the faith of a nation in a party.

    I don’t think it’d take too much to regain that faith. Apparently, a good Democrat scandal would do the trick.

  4. juvenal_urbino Says:

    Al finished 3rd in the poll:

    Democrats 42%
    Republicans 36%
    Al 16%

    I’m like Mikey, in that I’m stunned by these numbers. For the past 20 yrs., the term “moral values” has been so closely associated with “Republican position,” the two were, for all intents and purposes, interchangeable. That was mostly a result of efforts by GOP strategists to plant just that association in the public mind.

    How disheartening must numbers like these be, after all those years of effort? I mean, I’m a liberal, and they take my breath away just from the sheer surprise.

    I also agree that it’d be nice if the Dems were doing something positive, rather than just benefiting from the unmasking of the GOP. It’s not like there aren’t Big Values Issues available to stake out a position on (torture, civil liberties, separation of powers, pre-emptive war, climate change, open government, energy policy, the wealth gap, etc.). And it’s not like they’re not going to have to stake out positions on those issues if they win either house in November.

  5. Unicorn Says:

    Oh, Please – no more Democratic scandals! We had at least a generation’s worth in the last decade.

    Turn about is fair play.

  6. Michael Lasley Says:

    JU — you bring up a good point. IF the Dems when control, THEN they will have to take a stand on something. They can’t just sit back and attack. Which should scare some of the Dem. leaders. At least I hope it does. Because I’m ready for them to do something.

  7. juvenal_urbino Says:

    I’m not getting my hopes up. For the past 10-15 yrs., we’ve had a choice between a party that stands up for nothing (Dems), and a party that stands up for the wrong things (GOP). I don’t see anybody in the House or Senate who looks like they’ve got what it takes to change that, for either party.

    The main (only?) benefit I see from the Dems’ winning either house is that we’ll finally, for the very first time in 6 yrs., see some pushback on the White House. (Which should also raise the temperature on those presidential signing statements.) Possibly some actual congressional oversight, too. Maybe. I’ll believe it when I see it.

  8. Al Sturgeon Says:

    I truly appreciate all the love shown for me here… 🙂

    The numbers are surprising, but I think the fact JU brought up (how hard Republicans worked to associate voting for them with “moral values,” especially characterizing homosexuality and promiscuity as being at the head of the class of “bad things”) helps explain why this comes across to Joe Q. Voter as more than just 1-2 guys making a mistake.

    The spin “Vote Republican = No Sex Scandals” turns out to be untrue. To be totally ugly about it, the story turns out to be that The Congressman Has No Clothes (and you can make up your own punchline from there).

    Now…

    To me, the challenge for the Democrats is this: the BIG issue on the table to seize and run with is the war, but seeing as their spinelessness in the beginning contributed to our being there in the first place, they’ll have a hard time agreeing on how to spin this one.

    So if I was the strategist for the Democratic Party, I think I’d emphasize two issues: energy (spin the price of gasoline) and wealth gap (the two go together).

    I saw Bill Clinton on C-SPAN the other day campaigning for someone, and his approach was strange/interesting/effective: he branded what’s going on in Washington as being a “small” group within the Republican Party. In effect, he said “We like Republicans and conservatism overall – they’re our sisters/brothers – but these nutcases in charge have to be stopped.” He spoke of the huge debt incurred since 2001 and said, “That’s not conservative.” He spoke about our borrowing money from Mexico to pay for his personal tax cuts, etc.

    I’m officially rambling now…

  9. Joe Longhorn Says:

    as a dyed-in-the-wool, “Yellow Dog” Democrat

    Glad to see you’re diversifying the clientele ’round here, Al. 😉

    I figure I’ve sat in self-imposed “time out” long enough.

    This scandal hasn’t caused me to lose any faith in the Republican Party, but it has caused me to lose a little faith in the American Public. How quickly they are swayed by current events, significant or not. It’s depressing. I am impressed with the Dems ability to spin this into a solely Republican scandal, when it’s really a Congressional scandal. Does anyone really believe that Hastert (or even his staffers) knew the full extent of Foley’s contact with the page(s) and sat on it, and that Dems in the House had no clue about it? Hogwash. The full extent of Foley’s contact wasn’t known until the IMs were made public a couple of weeks ago. Based on the content of the e-mails that the Speaker’s staff had months ago, what more could they have done than talk to Foley and tell him that the contact was inappropriate and to knock it off? Had they intruded further while investigating the e-mails, they could very well have been called out for excessive suspicion of a gay congressman’s contact with pages. Now that more is known, Foley has resigned in disgrace and faces possible criminal charges, and procedures have been put in place to help prevent similar occurrences in the future. What more needs to be done?

    I just have to say bravo to the strategist that held onto the IMs until the perfect moment to cause max damage. As a result, Republicans are going to get creamed in November.

    BTW Al… I’m not sure about you, but my gas prices are falling. Down about $.60/gal in the last 4 months or so.

  10. Al Sturgeon Says:

    Joe’s back!!!!!!!! Whaddayaknow?!

    Was it the Mets victory last night that did it?
    🙂

    Glad to have you back around. JU emailed me the other day wondering how to get some politically-conservative voices back around, and I was at a loss as to how. So in addition to just “you” being back around, more than one of us is glad to have your perspective, too.

    To answer your question, my gas prices are definitely down. Not as much here as in other places I’ve traveled recently, but maybe 40-50 cents/gallon. So your point is valid – don’t know if the timing is great to spin that particular issue, though I still think it is a significant problems for lots of voters.

  11. Joe Longhorn Says:

    Al,

    You don’t know me (or any Astros fan) very well if you think I would ever be happy with a Mets win over any opponent. Asking me to root for the Cards or Mets is the same as asking me to vote for Nancy Pelosi or Hillary Clinton. As an Astros fan, my ideal scenario with the remaining participants is that the Cardinals lose to the Tigers in 7 games. Hopefully taking the Series to the full 7 games will stop the knuckleheaded sports commentators from talking about the “vastly superior” American League.

  12. Michael Lasley Says:

    Welcome back, Joe. Doesn’t say much about me, maybe, but I’d already forgotten the scandal, and it’s only a couple of weeks old. It isn’t necessarily a good thing for Democrats, as I stated out earlier in the thread, that they are going to gain lots of votes off of this issue alone.

    And like you, I’m tired of the announcers talking about the vastly superior American League.

  13. juvenal_urbino Says:

    Welcome back, Joe! Nice to have you around.

    I just have to say bravo to the strategist that held onto the IMs until the perfect moment to cause max damage.

    Painting this as a strategic Dem leak is a pretty tough sell, don’t you think? Like I said, I wouldn’t put it past them (or the GOP, either, were the cell phone on the other foot), but it just doesn’t add up.

    For one thing, the story didn’t break at “the perfect moment to cause max damage.” It would’ve been much more useful a couple weeks closer to the elections. Moreover, coming out when it did, it completely squashed the NIE and Woodward book stories, which were poised to do a lot of work for the Dems.

    For another thing, I still find it very hard to imagine that members of the Republican caucus would have shared this kind of information about one of their own with the Democrats. The Republican leader of the Page Board, for example, didn’t tell either of the other members of the board, not even his fellow Republican. (This problem also makes it hard to say this is a “Congressional” scandal, rather than a Republican one.)

    And the last problem is that the media outlets who broke the story all say their sources were Republicans or the pages themselves.

    I just don’t see how a Republican congressman’s misbehavior and the Republican leadership’s mishandling of it is somehow the Democrats’ fault.

    ~~

    I’m rootin’ for the Tigers, too. Because the Tigers really should win the World Series on those rare occasions when they have a chance. And because neither of the NL teams is good enough to deserve being rooted for, except by their own fans.

  14. Joe Longhorn Says:

    JU,

    You make good points about the timing. It just smells a little funny to me that the IMs are three years old and just now leaking out. Weren’t they just as inappropriate three years ago? I don’t get it.

    Here’s an article that sheds a little light on the sourrces of the IMs. It doesn’t really support my assertion that this was a well-timed attack, but I think it does a lot to exonerate the Speaker and Republican leadership. If they didn’t know about the “bad stuff”, how can you hold them accountable for it?

    I characterized this as a Congressional scandal because of several comments from Representatives from both sides of the aisle that stated Foley’s behavior with pages was an “open secret.” If they all thought he was creepy and inappropriate, why didn’t any of them do anything?

  15. juvenal_urbino Says:

    Weren’t they just as inappropriate three years ago?

    They were. But if it’s a strategic Dem “leak,” wouldn’t it have been just as helpful to the Dems to leak it 2 yrs. ago, if not more so, given that it was a presidential election year?

    I’ll check out the WaPo article later this evening.

    If they all thought he was creepy and inappropriate, why didn’t any of them do anything?

    I’ve found it’s often the case that not everybody knows what supposedly “everybody knows,” if you know what I mean.

  16. juvenal_urbino Says:

    I’ve read the WaPo article, now, and I’m not sure I see your point, Joe. There’s almost nothing in it, good or bad, about Hastert or any other Republican leader. What am I missing?

    It does say that at least some of the sources for some of the media reports were Democrats, so there’s that. Although, none of them were officeholders.

    Here’s a WaPo article about Hastert, by way of MSNBC.

  17. Joe Longhorn Says:

    My point taken from that article is that the really damning evidence against Foley didn’t come out until very recently. Yet, Hastert and Republican leadership are being taken to task for not doing more earlier.

    The article points out that a Dem “operative” shopped around the more innocuous e-mails for a year before he got a news agency (ABC) to publish them. Now, if these e-mails couldn’t even get a bite from the press for a year, what makes us think that the Speaker and his staff should have moved more forcefully based on these e-mails alone?

  18. juvenal_urbino Says:

    That’s not quite what the article says, actually. It says a Dem operative shopped the more innocuous emails around, and nobody would run the story. ABC ran it when a Republican source brought it to them.

    To me, that doesn’t tell us much at all about what Hastert, et al., knew or when they knew it. The news outlets might have declined the story from the Dem operative because all he had were fairly innocuous emails. They might have declined it because, coming from a political hack from the other party, it smelled like a smear job.

    ABC might have decided to run the story because their source was from Foley’s own party, and therefore less likely to be politically motivated and therefore more credible. Or maybe because, with the Dem operative, it gave them a second source. Or it could be that the Republican source gave them information the Dem source didn’t have — information that was less innocuous.

    There’s just not enough information in this article for us to be able to draw a conclusion about who knew what when within the House.

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