Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Republicans Endangered and Exploited Their Own Supporters' Children to Hold On To Power

Overheard at Washington Monthly:
I'd believe much more in Fordham's Christian sensibilities he if hadn't actively tried to prevent a child predator and the other people who enabled him to get what's coming to them from both law enforcement and the voters.

I guess that this reader hasn't caught the GOP's new & improved spin operation today.

Wednesday's memes:

"16 year olds aren't children, so Foley's not a pedophile."

"The Democrats also knew that Foley was a homosexual (and if he's gay, then he's obviously a pedophile), so they, too, are guilty of a cover up."

This is what Democrats ought to be pointing out for the media and those people who aren't capable of independent thought (Republican voters): The Republicans' habit of trying to move the ethics' bar ever lower after they have been caught dead to rights.

Democrats ought to be the echo chamber after every revelation in this story, reminding voters that "This is what happens when one party controls all branches of government, and they refuse to perform their Constitutional role of oversight."

It's hard to believe that if Hastert hasn't resigned by now, that Rove hasn't signed off on Hastert's strategy of hanging in. At least until after the election. That seems to me to be a pretty risky strategy, unless Rove is fairly confident that in these last weeks before the election Republicans will be able to reduce their base's reaction to this scandal as "boys will be boys." A drip-by-drip de-sensitization to a middle-aged Republican congressman's preying upon teenagers, until Rove's promised "October surprise" takes over the air time being given to this story.

Hastert supporters like Patrick McHenry (R-N. Carolina), a 31-year-old, first-term member of Congress, legend for his anti-gay, Christian-right rhetoric, hit the air waves today to question "How did these IMessages and emails get to the media?" McHenry is accusing Democrats (ABC says that it didn't get the story or the messages/emails from a Democrat), as if forcing Foley out of office and an investigation of this situation is something to be ashamed of. Throw some money at McHenry's Democratic opponent, Richard Carsner if you can.

As long as we're asking questions, who in the Republican leadership questioned the pages and their parents and learned that they didn't want to file charges? Did the investigation of Foley end once they realized that it was only Republican pages that Foley went after? Does the Republican iron-grip on power extend to their constituents, too, threatening them if they went public? Let's remember that pages are the children of the most influential and biggest contributing members of the political parties. If Mark Foley was diddling the son or grandson of one of Rodney Alexander's (R-LA) biggest contributors (or Jim McCrery's, (R-Shreveport), was there a conspiracy among more Republican members of congress to keep it quiet? Apparently one of the pages in question and his family have been threatened:
U.S. Rep. Rodney Alexander, R-Quitman, defended House Speaker Dennis Hastert and himself Tuesday even as calls for both lawmakers' resignations came for their handling of the page scandal that cost Republican Congressman Mark Foley his job.

The firestorm broke Friday after reports surfaced that a male page from Monroe contacted Alexander's office about inappropriate e-mails from Foley in the fall of 2005. Foley resigned Friday.

Alexander said his office contacted the teenager's parents and Hastert in the fall and House Majority Leader John Boehner and Rep. Tom Reynolds, the National Republican Congressional Committee chairman, in the spring of 2006.

"We contacted the family and the House leadership on multiple occasions about the e-mails," said Alexander, R-Quitman. "If the speaker didn't know any more than we did, I think his response was adequate."

The page's family had U.S. Rep. Jim McCrery, R-Shreveport, come to Alexander's defense on Tuesday, saying he 'has done everything he thought was appropriate. Rodney is beyond reproach," McCrery said.

But another Louisiana Republican, Rep. Charles Boustany of Lafayette, said he would have tried harder to bring the problem to Hastert's attention.

"I might have done this differently," he said.

The Washington Times, a conservative newspaper, called for Hastert to step down on Tuesday, while the chairman of the House Democratic Caucus called for Alexander's resignation.

U.S. Rep. Jim Clyburn, D-S.C., questioned why Alexander went to Reynolds, who leads the political group whose goal is to get Republicans elected.

"He's trying to cover their political backsides," Clyburn said of Alexander. "I think that is atrocious. He politicized this from day one."

Clyburn said Alexander and other Republicans are trying to protect Hastert. He said the leaders could have acted last year to make sure there wasn't a pattern and that there weren't other victims.

But Alexander said he was unaware of previous e-mails Foley sent to other pages that were more lurid than the ones sent to the Monroe page.

"I didn't have any idea about any previous e-mails," Alexander said. "I'd heard rumors he was gay but never anything about inappropriate contact with pages before the ones reported to our office.

"I think (Hastert's) response was adequate if all that he knew about was the e-mails we had. I have know way of knowing if they knew anything else."

In the 2005 e-mails to the Monroe page, who was 16 at the time, Foley asked the teenager how he was doing after Hurricane Katrina and what he wanted for his birthday. The former congressman also asked the boy to send a photo of himself.

"Our office informed both the speaker and the majority leader," Alexander said. "I don't know how much higher I could go than that."

Alexander said he believes the e-mails to the Monroe page stopped after House leadership warned Foley.

"The family never told us there were any more e-mails," said Alexander, who has been in contact with the page's family. "I assume they would have let us know if there were more."

Neither the teenager, who Alexander said has been threatened, nor his family responded to multiple interview requests.

Why aren't Rodney Alexander and Jim McCrery being dogged by the media about what they knew and what they were told? Why aren't they being pressured to resign their seats? Why aren't Democrats, like Alexander's opponent, Gloria Williams Hearn, and McCrery's (Patti Cox) making more hay over this?

Republicans did nothing to protect the children of their own supporters from becoming victims.

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