Tuesday, October 10, 2006
When Truth Becomes Negotiable
So Dave... what do you think about 'FoleyGate'?"
If I had nickel for every time I have been asked that this past week, I would be able to shore up social security and Medicare myself. Ok, not really but it certainly has seemed that way over the past few days. I didn't want to weigh in on this particular GOP Scandal until I knew more of the facts, and more importantly I wanted to see what the GOP response would be.
Well we all saw and heard and read the shifting GOP talking points on the scandal surrounding Florida Republican Mark Foley. First it was that the GOP was as shocked as anyone and we should be glad Mark Foley was gone. Well, then the truth came out (no pun intended) that the GOP knew about this issue perhaps as early as 2003. Then the talking point was that Speaker Hastert wasn't told until only recently. Ooops! Turns out he was told a long time ago. Ok, let's try again.
The new talking point then became that this was all some sort of planned Democrat "October Surprise", and conservative talking heads tried desperately to spin the need to investigate the House Democratic leadership to see if they knew about Foley's behavior before the GOP did.
Then once again the truth turned out to be different, and we learned it was in fact only republicans who knew, and were responsible for bringing the issue of Mark Foley's behavior out into the open. Not ABC News, not George Soros and some mystical "Clinton War Room".
Can I just ask where is the Clinton War Room? How do I get a pass to get in there? It sounds like a great place to hang out and watch the Republican Party implode under the weight of its own dishonesty, greed for power and sheer stupidity.
I guess it is time I come clean and make a small confession. I used to be a republican.
(I will pause here to allow for gasps of horror and disbelief.)
Feel better? Ok, moving on...
Yes I was a card carrying member of the GOP. I even was an elected officer in the College Republicans. I campaigned for Reagan-Bush as a Young Republican and for Bush-Quayle '88 as a College Republican. In a box in my closet are framed photos of yours truly with the likes of Ronald Reagan, George HW Bush, Dan Quayle, Bob and Elizabeth Dole and even the late Lee Atwater. (Former Chairman of the GOP).
So what happened? Simple. In 1992 the Republican Party lost its mind, and then its soul. The GOP went nuts and truth, became negotiable.
Truth became whatever spin fit a particular aim or agenda. We see the end result of that now, in 2006. Weapons of Mass Destruction became "WMD Related Program Materials & Plans". Draconian cuts in health care became "Giving our senior's choice". Giving polluters a free pass to wreak havoc on the environment became "Clear Skies" and "Healthy Forests'. Having the courage to question the complete and utter failure of the administration's policy in Iraq became "Wanting to Cut and Run". So it should come no great shock that covering up the obscene behavior of a high ranking GOP Congressman, and doing so entirely as political operation of the GOP congressional campaign committee became; "Leadership was informed and appropriate actions were taken."
Mark Foley didn't have inappropriate contact with minors because he was Gay, or because he was alcoholic, or even because he was allegedly abused by a Priest when he was a teenager. Mark Foley did what he did because he wanted to. He knew it was wrong, he knew it was a total contradiction to his entire public persona and he knew that it was something he needed to hide.
Attempts by various mouth-pieces of the GOP to say that Foley's fall from grace proves that all Gays are pedophiles is no different than when the Nazis said the same thing about the Jews. It is politically expedient hate, with no basis whatsoever in fact.
More than that, when Foley did get caught, the Republican leadership did not address what Foley was doing. Instead, they looked at the matter only in terms of its potential threat to the GOP congressional majority. Truth once again became negotiable, rather than risk a safe GOP congressional seat in Florida. That now famous un-named congressional page may well been speaking of the entire Republican leadership when he called the behavior of Mark Foley; "sick, sick, sick, sick."
You can rename torture, you can attack the bill of rights and call it "defending the homeland", you can even call a full blown civil war "an insurgency in its last throes". But the truth remains, visible for all to see. If any good at all can be said to have come out of the sad and twisted story of Mark Foley it is that the curtain of spin has been finally pulled back.
Pulled back to reveal a Republican Party that will put its own political fortunes ahead of the health, welfare, safety and security of the American People.