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Saturday, October 07, 2006

Has the Foley Affair Changed My Mind?

A reader writes:
"In the wake of Foley, do you still see the GOP keeping control of Congress in November?"
There's really no way to predict how the Foley tempest will effect the midterm election campaign. And there may be other volatile dynamics yet to enter the political scene; a month is an eternity in today's political climate. But if I'm limited to a binary "yes or no" choice, I would say: yes, Congress is likely to remain in Republican hands, for the same reasons I originally stated. Bill Kristol's latest portrays two very different messages, one from a Democrat who's focusing her TV advertising on Foley; the other from a Republican who's emphasizing security in a dangerous world. "This is a choice that should work out fine for Republicans," Kristol writes. "Which is why Democrats and the media may look back on the frenzy about Foley as a tactical mistake." Moreover, unless a smoking gun emerges to link Hastert as definitively negligent, there's reason to think the Democrats' use of Foley could backfire in a decisive way. How so? Nancy Pelosi this week declared her outrage "as a mom and grandmother" that "these kids" [the pages] "weren't protected." Pelosi has marched in San Francisco gay pride parades in which NAMBLA founder Harry Hay, a dedicated advocate of man/boy love, also marched. Count on the fact the GOP campaign operatives are working overtime to find photos or video footage of Pelosi and Hay together. If visual proof exists, expect it to appear in Republican campaign ads all over the country.
"And if the media and the Democrats want to remain sex-obsessed?" asks Kristol. "It might not be amiss for Republican candidates to remind the electorate which of the two parties has, shall we say, a more 'nuanced' view of sexual scandal. Which party continued to accept Rep. Gerry Studds as a member in good standing for a decade after his sexual liaison with a 17-year-old page? Which party worships at the altar of an even more famous abuser-of-his-position-of-power-for-sexual-favors--Bill Clinton? Not the Republicans."