October 06, 2006

Novak, Will and Morrissey on Foleygate

Bob Novak on the questions being asked by Republicans on Foleygate (a/k/a "Masturgate"):

[B]y this week, Republicans were turning on their own leaders with difficult questions. Why did the unusual attention paid to teenage boys by a homosexual man not flash warning signals? Why did Shimkus not alert his Democratic counterpart on the page board, Rep. Dale Kildee of Michigan? Above all, why was Foley urged to run again?

These questions are being asked by not only rank-and-file House members but by elected members of the leadership. Indeed, Hastert, Majority Leader John Boehner and Majority Whip Roy Blunt all were acting disjointedly as the scandal broke this week (with Boehner publicly declaring it was the speaker's responsibility). The failure of the 109th Congress to satisfy the Republican conservative base seems linked to failure to deal effectively with Mark Foley.

George Will is pessimistic:
After the 1936 election, in which President Franklin Roosevelt shellacked the Republican nominee in all but two states, a humorist wrote: "If the outcome of this election hasn't taught you Republicans not to meddle in politics, I don't know what will." If, after the Foley episode -- a maraschino cherry atop the Democrats' delectable sundae of Republican miseries -- the Democrats cannot gain 13 seats, they should go into another line of work.
Captain Ed is less so, but he has some advice:
Republicans should stop going on offense on this issue; it's a fight that is unwinnable. The violation here is Foley's betrayal of public trust by hitting on young and vulnerable pages, regardless of whether they had turned 18 or not. It's not ABC reporting on the IMs, and it's not whether anyone held onto the IMs for a period of time before ABC reported them. Arguing these points will not win any converts among the voters that the GOP could lose in this upcoming election, and it's not going to motivate the base to turn out for the vote. The constant argument only prolongs the embarassment, and it sets up Republicans for a "gotcha" every time another former page comes forward ... and I think we can look forward to more of that as the days progress.

Michelle Malkin has been trying to advise Republicans to simply acknowledge the failure honestly and work to rebuild trust in GOP leadership. Unfortunately, they and their supporters have proven resistant to good advice. The sooner we quit trying to win an unwinnable argument, the sooner the air will deflate from this embarassment. If Republicans had done that last Friday, all of the subsequent revelations would have generated drastically less damage to party credibility.

By Ragnar Danneskjold, Typical Bitter Gun-Clinger at 12:27 AM | Comments |