“Before I liberate the speaker so he doesn’t have to stand up here for that long, Speaker, I want to say this to you…I am proud to be standing with the current speaker of the House who is going to be the future speaker of the House.” Hmm…I wouldn’t be so sure. As Dubya bequeaths a “heck of a job, Denny” upon an increasingly embattled Hastert, the GOP moneymen are nevertheless hedging their bets, and are pulling cash out of several races around the country to try to hold the (Maginot?) line in Ohio, Missouri, and Tennessee. The financial “jousting will continue into the final days, but what is clear at this point is that Democrats are playing very little defense in the House and the Senate.“
One small piece of consolation in this increasingly dark, troubled world: A new post-Foley Gallup poll puts the GOP in an absolute freefall: “Democrats had a 23-point lead over Republicans in every group of people questioned — likely voters, registered voters and adults — on which party’s House candidate would get their vote. That’s double the lead Republicans had a month before they seized control of Congress in 1994 and the Democrats’ largest advantage among registered voters since 1978.” Moreover, two other polls by CBS News/New York Times and ABC News/Washington Post confirm that an electoral rout may now be in the making.
“The social conservatives are frustrated with what’s going on…We have heard disappointment and disenchantment. The level of commitment isn’t as fierce as it ought to be.” Another Foleygate update: As another GOP staffer backs up Kirk Fordham’s account of telling Hastert about Foley in 2003, the NYT reports that the scandal has put at least five more GOP House seats in play, and gay Republicans begin to fear they’ll end up the scapegoats of it all. “I’m just waiting for someone in a position of authority to make this a gay issue.” Update: With new revelations from Representive Jim Kolbe (R-AZ), the Foley-clock moves back to 2000.
“The fact is, even prior to the existence of the Foley e-mail exchanges, I had more than one conversation with senior staff at the highest levels of the House of Representatives, asking them to intervene when I was informed of Mr. Foley’s inappropriate behavior.” Foleygate update: Any hope of the GOP leadership coasting through the ugliness likely ended yesterday when Foley’s former Chief of Staff Kirk Fordham announced he told them about Foley in 2003. Now, with the House Ethics Committee grinding into action, Dennis Hastert says sorry, but I’m not going anywhere. Well, Mr. Speaker, I get the sense the decision may soon be out of your hands.
“If, after the Foley episode — a maraschino cherry atop the Democrats’ delectable sundae of Republican miseries — the Democrats cannot gain 13 seats, they should go into another line of work.” In the face of Foleygate, conservative columnist George Will concedes the midterm elections.
More Foleygate fallout: As the representative in question heads to rehab for alcoholism (I always thought alcoholism meant you drank too much…never knew about the whole IM’ing underage folks about their masturbation habits part of it), the House GOP leaders’ story keeps changing about what they knew and when they knew it (apparently, warning signs of Foley’s shadiness go back to 2001), and the Republicans as a whole wonder if this might be the straw that broke their electoral back… Update: As Foley’s story continues to get creepier, his attorney adds childhood abuse by a Catholic clergyman to the explanatory alcoholism. Rum, Romanism, and Rebellion?
The GOP’s annus horribilis continues: Another once-safe House seat comes into play as Florida Republican Mark Foley abruptly resigns in the wake of a growing scandal involving inappropriate (or “sick sick sick“) e-mails sent to a 16-year-old page. “Hours earlier, ABC News had read excerpts of instant messages provided by former male pages who said the congressman, under the AOL Instant Messenger screen name Maf54, made repeated references to sexual organs and acts.” Foley was the co-chair of the Congressional Caucus on Missing and Exploited Children.