Re: No Help For Foley

Whether or not the page was 18 or 17, while obviously important for legal reasons, does not change anything ethically. As far as I’m concerned, Foley’s actions were disgusting because they were about abusing power and taking advantage of his position as a congressman.

U.S. Warns N. Korea

The AP reports:

WASHINGTON – The United States passed a warning to North Korea not to conduct a nuclear test, the chief U.S. envoy to stalled disarmament talks with the communist country said Wednesday. "We are not going to live with a nuclear North Korea," he said.

Boy, that's a huge relief. I was under the mistaken impression that we were living with a nuclear North Korea.

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Fordham Speaks

The AP reports:

A senior congressional aide said Wednesday that he alerted House Speaker Dennis Hastert’s office two years ago about worrisome conduct by former Rep. Mark Foley with teenage pages.

Kirk Fordham told The Associated Press that when he was told about Foley’s inappropriate behavior toward pages, he had “more than one conversation with senior staff at the highest level of the House of Representatives asking them to intervene.”

The conversations took place long before the e-mail scandal broke, Fordham said, and at least a year earlier than members of the House GOP leadership have acknowledged.

An earlier story about Fordham’s resignation that appeared on ABC’s website said Fordham “had urged Republican leaders last spring not to raise questionable Foley e-mails with the full Congressional Page Board…” Clearly, Fordham didn’t want to be the fall guy. If he’s telling the truth, this just adds to the evidence that, at the very least, Hastert was asleep at the switch. Time will only tell how much Hastert actually knew, but the bottom line is that the more questions are raised, the more stories like this come out, the less time will be available for Republicans to get their message out on national security in the crucial weeks ahead of the election.

Voting Republican

On our main site, Quin makes a good case for the merits of the "As bad as the congressional Republicans are, the Democrats would be worse"  argument.  Over at Alarming News, Karol Sheinin writes a letter to Republicans arguing against the "losing to win" theory. Regardless of where you stand on this issue, the mere fact that conservatives have to make these arguments to counter other conservatives so close to the election –rather than it being a given that everybody would be rallying around Republicans — is a bad sign. But according to one reader, I'm ignorant of the way things are going in the rest of the country:

Well Mr. Klein, it appears the beltway conservatives have thrown in the towel. Fortunately, many of us outside the beltway bubble don't pay a lot of attention to media cycles or late night comics.We leave that stuff to you nuanced guys. We get what's happening. We've heard the Democrat orchestrated phone calls on the heals of this media induced frenzy. We know who's really exploiting the children's issue.We know ABC sat on this story for months. We also know that flawed Republicans resign but flawed Dems. get rallied around. Why don't you do something constructive with your access to TAS, try a blog on how the Bush economy topped the vaunted Clinton stock market, or did the late night comics already do that?

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Pence Defends Hastert

As part of a joint statement with Joe Pitts, Mike Pence comes out against a Hastert resignation:

“Regardless of our reservations about how this matter was handled administratively, we believe Speaker Hastert is a man of integrity who has led our conference honorably and effectively throughout the past eight years. Speaker Dennis Hastert should not resign.”

Foley: The Final Nail

It’s looking more and more as if the Foley scandal is the final nail in the coffin for the Republican majority in the House, if not the Senate as well. To me, the House was up for grabs this year, and it all depended on whether the news cycle broke in favor of one party or the other in the weeks before the election. Last month, it seemed as if the tide was turning in favor of Republicans as the focus shifted to national security. But the Foley scandal, which has entered the mainstream and become fodder for late night comics, reinforces the idea that Republicans have simply been in charge for too long and have become drunk with power. Also, as far as voter turnout is concerned, national security is probably the one issue that the otherwise fed up conservative base will rally around Republicans on, but it’s hard to think of something that will sap their enthusiasm more than a Republican congressman abusing his power to take advantage of teenage boys.

Lieberman Says Promised Seniority

The Hill reports that Lieberman said the Democratic Party’s leadership has assured him that he would keep his seniority even if he beats Lamont as an Independent. If this is true, it’s significant, because it reveals that Democrats have accepted the fact that Lieberman probably will win and that keeping Lieberman’s seat Democratic is more important that appeasing the Kos wing of the party. The further interesting wrinkle is that if Democrats win control of the Senate, Lieberman, the most pro-Bush Democrat, would become chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs panel, which is primarily responsible for investigating the executive branch.

Re: Foley Ugliness

This is a huge blow to Republicans because any scandal that involves sex will reach a broad audience. After all of the hubub surrounding the Abramoff scandal, it had a relatively small amount of political fallout (if any). The Randy “Duke” Cunningham and Bob Ney resignations over bribery didn’t have a widespread effect becuase people discount for politicians being corrupt. But the Foley story has tabloid appeal and should continue to generate headlines. If the trail about how much Republican leaders knew and when they knew it runs dry in the next few days, the damage may be limited to Foley’s congressional district. But if revelations start coming out in dribs and drabs over the next few weeks suggesting Hastert knew more than he’s saying he did, this could be the final nail in the coffin for Republicans. Democrats may have in the Foley scandal the perfect symbol of Republicans becoming too arrogant with power, adding more force to the “Throw the bums out” argument.