Sunday, October 08, 2006

Foley-Gate Restores My Faith in Republicanism

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As one who just joined the Republican Party this year, I have to say that I was extremely disheartened at first by the events surrounding Florida Republican Congressman Mark Foley.

Foley, as you may know if you haven't been living in a cave, recently resigned after it was revealed that he had been sending suggestive, sexually explicit e-mails and text messages to male House pages, some as young as 16 years old.

It was disheartening for so many reasons. There's the sleaze angle, of course. Some of these messages are way creepy. But what really disappointed me was the way other Republicans acted at first.

Look, I joined the GOP for one reason and one reason only: because whatever you get caught doing, you can usually depend on the party to rise up as one and rally to your defense.

Whether your little peccadillo involves adultery (Rudy Giuliani), gambling (William Bennett), or even petty theft (Claude Allen), you used to be able to count on party leaders to claim (1) It's all a political ploy; (2) Hey, he said he was sorry, now leave him alone; (3) This is all really Bill Clinton's fault.

Now, just because Foley's sexually harassing teenagers, they started acting like he's radioactive or something. I started asking, have these people forgotten the unofficial motto of the party, namely IOKIYAR (It's OK If You're a Republican)?

As always, I want to make it clear that I have no intention of ever actually needing my fellow Republicans to watch my back. I'm not planning to describe my manly parts to any teenagers, male or female, and certainly not in any medium that can be easily copied and disseminated across the World Wide Web.

Nor have I any plans to gamble away millions, steal from Target, or commit indiscretions with female staffers.

It was just the idea that if I did, there'd be an entire American political party there to defend me that made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

It's not like Foley didn't make all the right moves after the scandal came to light. He resigned, said he was sorry and checked himself into rehab.

Now, this last bit may seem odd at first when you consider that Foley claims he wasn't drunk on the House floor when he was sending lewd text messages to teenage boys. But who really cares? When you screw up, you have to check into rehab. How else will people know you're really sorry?

So after Foley did the whole mea culpa dance, did the party do its duty and close ranks behind him? Heck no. There was a whole bunch of "investigation this" and "FBI that" and a lot of hand-wringing about who knew about this ahead of time.

One Republican congressman, Kentucky's Ron Lewis, even said, "If anyone in our leadership has done anything wrong, then I will be the first in line to condemn it."

Sounds more like that liberal mania for accountability than something a good Republican would say. This was not the party I joined a few months ago.

Fortunately, after a few days, some members of the party began to come to their senses and started putting the blame for this whole situation where it really belongs, by which I mean the media and the Democrats.

"You're feeding right into the Democrats," scolded Rep. John Shimkus, who heads the House organization that's tasked with looking out for House pages. "You ought to be ashamed of yourselves. This is an October surprise, and you guys have fallen hook, line and sinker for it."

Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert voiced a similar sentiment: "We have a story to tell, and the Democrats, in my view, have put this thing forward to try to block us from telling the story. They're trying to put us on defense."

Now that's more like it! The real crime, after all, is not sexually harassing teenage boys, but reporting about it.

And in election season, while the Republicans are trying to "tell their story," too! What were these reporters thinking?

I mean, Kirk Fordham, chief of staff to the head of the National Republican Campaign Committee, has come forward and revealed that he'd told Hastert's office about Foley's e-mail habits three years ago. If the speaker's office can keep this sort of thing under their hats for three years, shouldn't a few reporters be able to keep their mouths shut to avoid influencing the election? How dare they make a big fuss over the leadership ignoring reports of sexual predation? Don't they care that we're at war with terrorists who want to cut our heads off?

So it's good to know that, while a few weak sisters in the GOP are losing their backbone, there are still a few people who'll stand up for the party's guiding principle, its polar star, if you will: IOKIYAR, even if "it" is propositioning teenage boys.

It restores my faith in the party. Not that I mean to do that, mind you. I'm just saying.


Maezeppa said...

Fine. Be proud that when teens come to your party leaders to help them stop a PERVERT that they circle the wagons and blow them off. Be very, very proud. Maybe one day you'll learn that good morals are not the same thing as good spin. Idiot.

Anonymous said...

Hahahaha. That is hysterical! Are you auditioning for Colbert's place when he goes on holidays? Great stuff! Can you record this and post it on Youtube!

JD Rhoades said...



Darren: thanks! Glad to see some people can get a joke. Unlike the dimwit posting above you.

Anonymous said...


a good one as usual.
I just noticed that the Huffington Post linked to your column. So maezeppa may not be the only satirically challenge comment you get. From reading some of the "letters to the editor" comments you have gotten over the years, you are probably used to those folks.


JD Rhoades said...

I just noticed that the Huffington Post linked to your column.


Anonymous said...

Fear not. I came here via Huffington and surprise, recognize humor when I see it. In fact, most liberals do, having no morals or values to get in the way you know. Definitely Colbert worthy.

Kidzinthehall said...

I too found your site thru the Huffington Post. You remind me of one of my favorite commentors Minneapolismike....perhaps you're related? Anyways, thanks for the great read. Happy Gobble Gobble Day, from a North of the Border fan!

Chilly said...

It is indeed a shame that some are more humor-impaired than others. I, however, enjoyed this post very much - and thank the dear friend who sent me here!

JD Rhoades said...

Well, ya'll come back now, hear?

Anonymous said...

It's so sad to be misunderstood. Maezeppa thinks you're an idiot. The others think you're just joking. Am I the only one who sees how right you are?

Not that I'm currently planning to molest a teenager, or anything like that. I'm just saying.

Anonymous said...

Great Post and yes some do seem to "not get the humor and sacrasm".

Anonymous said...

Sarchasm (n): The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn't get it.

Anonymous said...

LOL! Passed this one on...

I have a question. I know that the Repugs only warned other Repugs about Foley.
Were the pages only Republican?
Were there Democratic pages? Did Foley come in contact so to speak with them? Did Foley care about their politics? Did they work for Foley?
(I guess I have a LOT of questions...)

Anonymous said...

Let's get the word out about the Velvet Mafia. Kirk Fordice, gay staffer that covered this up, and he juiciest tidbit Hastert and his chief of staff,Scott Palmer according to Lawrence O donnell are GAY LOVERS THAT LIVE TOGETHER!
Now, I have nothing against gay people, but when the're hypocrites working against their own, they deserve to be outed. Call talk radio. Write letters. Call hastert's office and harrass them 202-224-3121. Ask for Denny. Sing the nananana hey hey Goodbye song.

Jill Draper said...

I'm sorry, dear, but anyone who quotes Dorothy Parker can't be a neocon. Sorry, not buying it. BTW, have you gotten a time slot on Comedy Central?

Fact is, progressives shouldn't be hooting about this development at all. It's got Rove written all over it. Remember, Republicans are nothing if not conniving and savvy. Unless it's shiftless and amoral.

What they've done is really quite clever. They sacrificed the one for the re-election of the many. They've got too much at stake to do anything but pull out all the stops to keep Congress on the right side of the aisle.

Think about it: the sexual peccadillos of one prurient pedophile are revealed long after they were first discovered. Huffington said someone has known about it for six years. So why now?

I don't believe it's a coincidence that all this came to light in October. Hmmm. Americans watch Jerry Springer, Paris Hilton, and TomKat. We really get off on anything that's a bit salacious, so this one's a big winner.

So, what did Foley's Forbidden Fruit take off the front page? The worst crimes ever perpetrated by a government. Not just the outrages in Woodward's book, but mounting American and Iraqi casualties, legal torture, executive immunity from war crimes, the Taliban's resurgence in Afghanistan, genocide in Darfur, the ruins of New Orleans, ever-more prevalent poverty, a disappearing middle class, lost pensions, reduced buying power, a disgraceful minimum wage, warrantless wiretaps--I'd go on, but I'm getting tired now. It's all too much.

Let's talk dirty for a bit and just not think about these things. Isn't it time for the Today show?

Anonymous said...

I don't know about the idea that the sexual indiscretions of a congressman is a political ploy to divert attention from the real issues of the day set in motion by Rove, et. al. In this country gettin involved in a war whether real or fabricated is a manly, competitive and adventurous undertaking. How can that be a bad thing.

Regardless of justification or outcome, war is cool. We bravely kill innocent women and children, our soldiers heroicly die, monuments are built, epic poems are written, patriotic songs are sung, and our citizens sleep snugly at night, knowing that the agents of revenge are afoot.

What's important is that some Republican teens who so far as we know are within the age of consent in DC, were courted electronically. Yes. in the American zeitgeist, this is the ultimate crime. War crimes, torture, bankrupting the federal coffers, enriching the wealthy, are as nothing to such a Hannibal Lector-like crime.

Rove knows Americans will go for a war before a scandal involving child molestors any day. This would not be a distraction he needs.

JD Rhoades said...

This would not be a distraction he needs..

I have to agree. If this really is something engineered by Karl Rove to take people's minds of Iraq, then it's misfired badly.
There is a substantial constituency in the Republican Party that will say with a straight face that gsy people are the biggest threat to America today, and who equate homosexuality with pedophilia anyway. This is the constituency that delivered the White House in 2004.
Now, granted, this Adminsitration has done some pretty boneheaded things, but even I can't imagine Rove's stupid enough to anger that group for the sake of getting Iraq out of everyone's minds.

cognitorex said...

Or as Rumsfeld sees it, you need to blame the digital age. There was a time when cover-ups worked, prior to the advent of recoverable IM's and digital cameras.
Finding no blameable scapegoat for the massive scandal of Abu Ghraib what was Rummy to do? Finding that deniability was not an option in light of photos, photos and damn photos what was Rummy to do?
He outed the photo taker who had remained unnamed to the world.
In the world of the morally bankrupt, it was the least he could do.

Anonymous said...

I find it hard to blame Republicans for recognizing "voting America's" screwed up priorities. Their Machiavellian instinct is to appeal to the fears of Puritan descendents who kill what they do not understand. The ten percent of the populace who are gay are different from the ninety percent who claim they are not. They're withches--burn them. Do they affect straight people's ability to fall in love, get married and have children? No. But are they pilloried by a book written two thousand years ago by a bunch of fanatics in the sand. So they must be bad. Stone them.

Dialogue, understanding, tolerance, inclusiveness fly in the face of homonegeity, religious edicts, conformance and competition. Get over yourselt America. Welcome difference, embrace multiculturalism. Who the hell wants to eat plain rice when you could have wild rice.

I guess when one man is allowed to amass 90 billion dollars while people are sleeping in cardboard boxes in January, it is probably unlikely we will ever see cultural maturity.

Anonymous said...

kidzinthehall, thanks for wishing us a happy gobble, gobble day, but here in the REAL America we celebrate Thanksgiving when GOD intended us to, in November! Today is COLUMBUS DAY, that is intended to be the day that we set aside to celebrate the near-anihilation of the native Americans.

Before anyone calls me an idiot, I'm writing in the style of the author.