Monday, October 02, 2006

Republican Hijinks-O-Rama

I am SUCH the evil person. I must be. I'm getting far too much entertainment value from the Congressman Foley sex scandal. If it's such a terrible situation, in so many ways, why do I find it so funny? I guess there are several reasons.

Some years ago a commentator smarter than me laid out the rule of thumb for political scandals: Democratic scandals tend to involve sex, and Republican scandals tend to involve subverting the Constitution. Foley has smashed that template by serving up a sex scandal that involves neither a Democrat nor a clergyman.

It's too late to remove the congressman's name from the ballot. This isn't funny because of the confusion it will cause; that's likely to be minimal, after all the publicity. Everybody will know who's been chosen to replace Foley on the ballot. The funny part is that, in order to vote for the replacement candidate, people will be forced to cast their ballot for Foley, after seeing his name in the news every day between now and the election.

The Republicans are being left with an alarming lack of spin room on this story. They'd like to plead ignorance of the whole situation, which is difficult when the news is full of Congressional pages who say they were warned to avoid Foley or minimize contact with him—and those warnings had to have come from someone. They'd like to claim that the fact of the scandal becoming public shows that Republicans keep their own house clean, but that's hard when the guy was running not for election but for RE-election. They'd like to claim that Foley's evident predatory nature is a necessary consequence of his homosexuality, but they know that their opponents will be calling it a necessary consequence of being Republican, and they fear that it might not be difficult to produce an example of a straight male congressman who has sexually pursued female pages. Nobody wants to say that straight sex predators are somehow less evil than gay ones, even if that's what they truly believe.

So, unless you're a Republican, it all adds up to a veritable Oktoberfest of Schadenfreude. Whatever side you're on, it's clear that some horrible stuff happened here. There is no up side to this. I must be a terrible person to be enjoying it all as much as I am.

P.S. I don't mind when other people call them "Repuglicans" or something like that, but I don't find it necessary. "Republican" is sufficiently insulting all by itself.


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