Holy shit, this Foley business is exploding. It looks really bad for the Republicans. The leadership of the GOP is in shambles. People are breaking ranks and speaking to the press to cover their own asses and the media is lapping it up. The leadership itself has tried to present a united front, but they seem to be taking a “duck and cover” approach to the storm. We’ll see if that works.
This is serious business. It is a serious breach of trust and a serious problem for a Republican party that has been trying to shake the “Culture of Corruption” tag that the Democrats have hung around their heads.
The blogs have been going nuts, of course. Glenn Greenwald in particular has had thorough and consistant coverage. He’s been all over this thing.
Hastert’s first interview since this scandal began is here, with CNN. He really just seems exhausted, beaten, and even resigned. He dismissively shrugs off the reporter’s incredulous question as to how he could simply forget reports from Rep. Reynolds that a 53-year-old Congressman was sending inappropriate emails to a 16-year-old page, and speculates that perhaps he forget about it because Reynolds mentioned it in passing along with a half-dozen or dozen other “campaign” items. This story really can’t end unless and until Hastert resigns.
The audio is really bad in that link above, and it’s not synched with the video. But the point is that Dennis Hastert is toast. He’s done. He had knowledge and he did nothing with it. There doesn’t seem to be any sort of “intervention” where Hastert might’ve wisely sat Foley down and told him, “Hey, dumbshit, quit hitting on the fucking pages, already, eh?” That might’ve happened, but it hasn’t come out yet. Denying any knowledge of the crime is a normal fallback for any politician (look at Condi Rice using that exact tactic to deflect culpability for the 9/11 attacks), but this time it might get Hastert burned since there are others close to him on record as saying that he was informed.
Of course, the neocons have wiggled out of tight spots before, a hundred times. But this might be their undoing. And yes, they look incompetent here, but they knew exactly what they were doing. Every powerful person has their favorite perks of the job, and Mark Foley’s was that he liked the endless stream of underage boys that he could hit on and do god-knows-what-else to. He could just as easily have been a high school gym teacher. Who knows what Hastert likes. Whisky? Hookers? Cocaine? All 3 at once? It doesn’t matter. These guys all look out for each other and they know when they have to look the other way. If Foley likes boys and Hastert likes hookers and Cheney likes skull fucking the corpses from his recent hunting expeditions, that’s just fine and dandy within the ruling elite.
But stories like this aren’t supposed to leak into the mainstream. And if they do, they are supposed to be buried quickly. So watch out for any attempts to do so (which will actually take the form of a deafening silence), and raise hell if you see it. I have no doubt that Hastert would have liked to cover this thing up way before the media caught wind of it. He should’ve put the kibosh on it long ago and now it’s come around to bite him in the ass. He’ll have to pay the piper.
Quite frankly, I suspect we’ve only scratched the surface of this one. The way that Foley resigned his seat — not decided to quit his re-election campaign, not said he would work out the remainder of his term — tells me that there may be more skeletons hidden in his closet. Possibly cute 15 year old skeletons with stories to tell. We shall see (but most likely we won’t, whether they exist or not). I don’t want to speculate (okay, yes I do), but I’m guessing that this goes waaaay deeper than “overly-friendly” notes to underage pages. I think we have to watch for something much worse. I can only subscribe Foley’s quick exit (at the very beginning of the media frenzy) to a guilty conscience.
What horror lurks in Foley’s closet?