Thursday, October 05, 2006

Dems: Keep It Simple with the Foley Affair

Conservatives are furiously focusing in on some calls for GOP legislators to return campaign cash connected with disgraced former Rep. Mark Foley.

The attention to this singular aspect of the Foley boondoggle is a blatant attempt to redirect the discussion onto a theoretical consideration (i.e., an argument seeped in relativism, as opposed to a clear cut matter of right and wrong) of what constitutes "dirty money" and, subsequently, away from the Republican leadership's cover-up of Foley's activities.

After all, it's the cover-up that's damaging to the GOP, not the actions of a lone representative from Florida or the money that the Republican leadership funneled to colleagues.

The Dems should focus solely on the actions of the Republican leadership (or lack thereof) when it was informed of Foley's activities years ago. It's a story that speaks directly to the priorities of today's GOP, and one that can be added to a long list of abuses of power by the leaders of the Republican Party.

What's more, it's a story that's going to play -- big time. It's got sex, it's got conspiracy, and it's got finger pointing, all three of which are key ingredients for a media feeding frenzy. And, to top it all off, it's coming at a time when many in the American public are just starting to tune into politics in preparation for the upcoming elections.

In fact, according to a new AP poll, the story is already having an impact on voters. Out of the likely voters contacted in the poll, one-half said the Folely scandal will be "very or extremely important" when they head to the voting booths in five weeks.

As ABC reports: "More troubling for Republicans, the poll found that by a margin of nearly 2-to-1 likely voters says Democrats would be better at combatting political corruption than Republicans."

That's the simple point the Dems need to nail home with the Foley affair.

UPDATE: Fox News is reporting that an "authoritative" GOP pollster has conducted an internal poll that estimates a 20 to 50 seat shift in the House next month if Hastert stays on as Speaker.

According to Fox: "
The GOP source told FOX News that the internal data had not been widely shared among Republican leaders, but as awareness of it spreads calculations about Hastert's tenure may change."

Why aren't GOP lawmakers calling for Hastert's resignation as it seems the American people are demanding? Chris Cillizza of the Washington Post supposes that the White House's fond relationship with the Speaker has something to do with it. We'll see how long that fondness lasts in light of this recent polling.


Anonymous Raj said...

Spot on, Seth. This isn't and shouldn't be about the impact on political tactics.

It is and should be about the failure of political leadership to do the nuts and bolts work of governing--including the work of protecting House Pages.

The Republican leadership isn't just craven and hypocritical. It's incompetent.

October 05, 2006  

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