Posted at 7:34 AM on October 3, 2006
by Bob Collins
A cruise around the Florida papers this morning to see how the Foley thing is playing near the front.
Remembering that, it's no surprise that the House Republican leadership can't issue a good explanation for why it worked in secret to protect Mark Foley. The only plausible explanation is that political values mattered more than American values. -- Palm Beach Post
"Closure won't come easy. Although an independent counsel isn't necessary to make a criminal case, it's essential in determining what Congress knew about Foley's inappropriate activities and what, if anything, may have occurred to cover them up." - Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel.
Even though Charlotte County comprised less than 20 percent of eligible voters in his state-crossing district, Foley was instrumental in the county's efforts to receive federal funds to aid in the recovery from Hurricane Charley. He became one of the Federal Emergency Management Agency's sharpest critics and offered common-sense solutions to improve disaster-response efforts. He sponsored legislation that will bring millions of dollars to clean up the Everglades.
However, the recent disclosures overshadow his accomplishments and contribute to the public disillusionment with politicians, especially those whose righteous public policies conflict with their unseemly private behavior.
"Some newspapers -- including this one -- knew of this message as well and did not find it worthy of a news story because it seemed innocuous. Thus, Democratic charges of a ''cover up'' of Mr. Foley's activities by the Republican House leadership seem not only premature but crassly political. But the discovery of other, more explicit, messages and confusion over who knew what and when raise questions that require answers -- preferably, under oath and soon."
-- Miami Herald
"In 1996, The Advocate, a gay newsmagazine, outed Foley. During his 2003 run for U.S. Senate, several Florida newspapers reported the old Advocate story. Foley has never publicly said that he is gay. On May 23, 2003, he called a news conference and said that the innuendo about his life was "revolting and unforgivable" and that he would not discuss his sexual orientation." -- News-Press (McClatchey)
The Foley incident goes to the heart of the House's peculiar self-protective culture, particularly among the majority: To get along, go along; don't rock the boat; don't do anything that might make the party look bad. It's why the House has been unable to enact meaningful lobbying reform or bring the costly problem of earmarked pork projects under control. -- Naples Daily News
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Oddly enough, the editorial above appears above one other... about the Minnesota Twins.
Didn't stumble across any editorials about the school shooting in Pennsylvania. But here's what's interesting. In the U.S., the story of an alleged pedophile congressman is the top story. Overseas, it's the school shooting.
Not sure whether that's a commentary in itself on us... or them.
Turns out, according to Hotline, Wetterling's news conference yesterday was part of the national strategy. The Hotline seems to suggest Wetterling was being a loyal soldier in a bigger battle than the 6th.
Today, I imagine we'll see if the local Republicans got their copies yet. I didn't see "shut up and don't answer the phone" listed.
Update 9:05 a.m. - The Washington Times calls fors Hastert's resignation. Context: It's like when Goldwater paid a visit to Nixon in 1974.
Now the big question: Is anyone outside the Beltway or in addition to political wonks paying attention to this issue?
Update 9:20 a.m. - TPM Cafe takes a gander at it all. Takes note of Wetterling.(More)
Update 10:09 a.m. - The Carpetbagger Report asks GOP "leaders" and "analysts" a salient question: what does this have to do with fears of "gay bashing"?
The only thing missing from this now is Lucille Ball and Vivian Vance.
Posted at 10:09 AM on October 3, 2006
by Tom Scheck
Education leads the digest today. MPR's Tim Pugmire has a story on where the candidates for governor stand on the issue.
Speaking of the governor's race, there will be an online gubernatorial debate.
George Will mentions Pawlenty in his column on the 65% solution.
Ainsworth employees will get state help.
Pawlenty is also trying to use the economy to siphon some votes away from the DFL on the Iron Range. Here's his quote at a rally yesterday in Duluth:
Do you like the way the trend lines are headed economically and demographically for the next fifteen or twenty years for the region? Because if you do, then stay with the monopoly Democratic representation, because they've represented the whole region on an almost monopoly basis for twenty, thirty, forty years, with a few minor exceptions. So in light of all that, how's it going?
I'm sure DFLers will be quick to mention that he's the guy who was governor for the past four years.
Brian Bakst, with the AP, has an analysis of the DFL ad criticizing Governor Pawlenty.
Republican Mark Kennedy, who's running for the Senate, tells supporters in Rochester not to believe the polls.
Kennedy's DFL opponent, Amy Klobuchar, gets a mention in a Forbes story on the economy.
The Star Tribune looks at where the candidates for Senate stand on the war in Iraq.
The Wall Street Journal (subscription required) says the Foley flap may help Wetterling and other DFL candidates in Minnesota.
USA Today says the "newer suburbs" will be in play this year, in particular Wright and Sherburne Counties.
The Star Tribune says some Minnesota parents are worried about young pages after the Foley incident.
The Post Bulletin also has a story saying Former V.P. Walter Mondale is blasting the D, M and E proposal.
The Pi Press has an editorial on campaign ads.
The candidates in state senate district #4 debate the issues. GOP Senator Carrie Ruud and DFL challenger Mary Olson are the candidates.
Canterbury Park tries to lure the Vikings.
Finally, some Christian groups are urging pastors to get out the vote.
Posted at 1:08 PM on October 3, 2006
by Tom Scheck
DFL congressional candidate Patty Wetterling is running a new TV ad focusing on the Congressional page scandal regarding former Florida Congressman Mark Foley. As you know, Wetterling held a news conference yesterday calling on any member of Congress to resign if they know that Foley was sending e-mails and text messages to House pages. Here's the release touting the ad:
New Wetterling ad responds to House leadership cover-up ANOKA, Minn. On Tuesday, child safety advocate and 6th District congressional candidate Patty Wetterling released a new TV ad, titled Crimes, that responds to the House leaderships cover-up of the ex-Rep. Mark Foley (R-Fla) scandal. I am appalled by the leaderships response to this crime, says Wetterling, and I have demanded a criminal investigation of the matter and the immediate expulsion of any congressman involved in this crime or cover-up. Protecting Americas children from predators has been my work for 17 years, she adds. Americans can be certain that whether its their house or the US House, I will not rest until our children are safe.
They also released the text from the ad:
It shocks the conscience. Congressional leaders have admitted covering-up the predatory behavior of a congressman who used the internet to molest children. For a over a year they knowingly ignored the welfare of children to protect their own power. For 17 years, Patty Wetterling has fought for tougher penalties against those who harm children. Thats why shes demanding a criminal investigation and the immediate expulsion of any Congressman involved in this crime or cover-up. I'm Patty Wetterling and I approved this message.
Wetterling is running against Republican Michele Bachmann and Independence Party member John Binkowski for the open seat in Minnesota's Sixth Congressional District.
OK, you know how much I enjoy Gary Miller's work. And if you're a reader of Kennedy vs. the Machine, you know that it spends an incredible amount of time on an anti-Klobuchar rant. But in the roughly 12 months or so I've been reading KvM, this is the first inside glimpse at the candidate as a person that I've read.
Lego sets that they don't have the heart to break down? You can't buy that image from an ad exec, I guess.
The post should be a forehead-slapper for a campaign that's been gaining no traction for months.
Posted at 3:20 PM on October 3, 2006
by Bob Collins
These are not exactly subtle hints. Why? Because Democrats don't even have to run against the person they're running against now.
The critical question is what will the reaction of the "religious right" be? Long figured to play a big role in turnout for the upcoming election, especially in the 6th District in Minnesota, some have suggested it might keep them home.
Doesn't sound like it.
"This kind of thing just should not happen, and there is no excuse to justify it in any way," said Rev. Bob Schenck, president of the National Clergy Council, a politically active group of conservative church leaders.
"A big deal should be made of it, and we intend to make a big deal of it," he said. "We plan to address it in pulpits across the country, that this is an egregious moral violation, and we all will be held accountable."
--Rev. Bob Schenck, president of the National Clergy Council in the San Francisco Examiner.
Some of the first polls in races are coming out now. In Connecticut, Chris Shays is clearly vulnerable, though he holds a 4-percentage-point lead over the challenging Democrat, Diane Farrell. But 14-percent are undecided.
Listen to the Farrell's campaign manager.
"The poll shows that people are looking for a change in leadership," said Farrell spokesman Roy Occhiogrosso.
Hastert could be toast as soon as Republicans start campaigning against him too. The National Review seems to think that's likely to happen in open seats.
There is some concern in GOP circles that Republican campaign consultants are advising their candidates to call for Speaker Hastert to resign. It seems that incumbent members are sticking with the Speaker, but nervous GOP candidates running for open seats could echo the calls. If they do and get elected, should Republicans narrowly hold the House they might not enough votes to elect Hastert as Speaker.
Over to you, Mrs. Bachmann.
Howard Fineman at Newsweek has an interesting point. Given the gift that Foley has given them, if they can't win now, they're the new Whigs.
But no pressure.
Posted at 3:42 PM on October 3, 2006
by Tom Scheck
I just got off the phone with Jim Gambone, who works for CW Twin Cities (the merged UPN/WB station - Channel 23 on the dial). He's upset that Republican Governor Tim Pawlenty and DFLer Mike Hatch declined his invitation to participate in a forum with younger voters on October 11th at 9 pm.
This isn't anything new. Independence Party candidate Peter Hutchinson has criticized Pawlenty and Hatch for declining to appear in several debates. Pawlenty has agreed to meet in four more debates between now and election day. Hatch says he won't show unless Pawlenty is there.
Gambone says the station raised $15,000 from the Minneapolis Foundation to cover the production costs of the forum. Foundation offiicials said they had to return the money if one of the candidates declined. So Gambone went to plan B and raised the money from Target Corporation and a private citizen to make sure the forum is on the air regardless of who shows up (I-P candidate Peter Hutchinson and Green Party candidate Ken Pental agreed to appear).
Well, here's the kicker: Gambone says he'll put cardboard cut-outs of any of the candidates who decide not to show up and will pan the cameras to the cut-outs whenever someone mentions their name. He said he was disappointed that Pawlenty and Hatch don't want to use the free air time to talk with younger voters about the issues (CWTV's top demographic is the 18-34 age range). The candidates also posted written responses on the station's website on why it's important for young people to participate. Gambone said "somebody needs to call them on the carpet for this."
Posted at 4:01 PM on October 3, 2006
by Bob Collins
Mark Kennedy was to get his shot with Kerri Miller on Friday. He's dropped the engagement to attend an editorial board forum of rural newspapers. Look for a rescheduled hour with Kerri.
Posted at 4:02 PM on October 3, 2006
by Tom Scheck
Former Governor Jesse Ventura is playing the lead role in a campaign commercial touting I-P candidate for Governor Peter Hutchinson and the other I-P candidates (known as Team Minnesota). The sharply produced ad has Ventura talking into the tv screen and telling voters to reclaim their independence. The sixty second ad will hit the airwaves on Wednesday at 10 pm and will run in the Twin Cities, Moorhead, Duluth, Rochester and Mankato. They also have ring tones to download here.
According to the AP:
Former Rep. Mark Foley's attorney said Tuesday that his client was molested between the ages 13 and 15 by a clergyman.
Foley had represented the West Palm Beach district for 12 years
and was seeking re-election until his sudden resignation last week
after the disclosure of lurid online communications with teenage
"This is part of his recovery," Roth said, declining to
identify the clergyman or the church.
Roth also announced for the first time that Foley is gay.
Ah, the elusive gay-pedophilia connection that Newt Gingrich seemed to be making.
This thing is just percolating in too many directions now.
I'll bet covering Washington was a lot easier when it just involved powerful lawmakers jumping in the Tidal Basin with strippers.
* * *
So, let's see how this number is playing now. First, we go to the Conservative Voice where Grant Swank, in Foley & Priest Molestation: Similarities alludes to something I mentioned in a comment somewhere around: politics is about guarding turf.
In ministry or secular politics, the same drive works for the self-consumed opportunistic individual. Move from Congressional halls to church halls and you will discover the same shrouded weasel. He or she lives for self alone, even to playing blind, deaf and mute when aware of sin circling them.
We finally found someone willing to stand up for the House leadership. It turns out, oddly enough, it's a House, ummm, leader.
And about that alcoholism claim? Maybe not.
CBS asks, "Without blogs, where would Foley story be?" I'll bet it never occurred to CBS that the answer is: "on TV."
It's probably just me but I'm trying very hard to keep separate two aspects of the Congressional Page Scandal of 2006 (not to be confused with the Congressional Page Scandal of 1983): the very real concern over protecting young people vs. the very real reality of attaining or holding onto political power.
Here's where I'm getting confused.
We've had news conferences and miles of type written in blogs and such; and justifiably so.
There have been not one, not two, but three shootings in this nation's schools in the last week, the latest involving the executions of
four five children ordered to stand at the blackboard at an Amish school in Pennsylvania.
I can't find a single candidate for Congress or a sitting member of the honorable House who seems to have stepped out into the fresh air to say a few words about it. Nothing (if you have a link, by all means please provide it)
So here's the question for discussion below: how do politicians decide what to be outraged about? How do we establish the life-and-death urgency of an issue?
I noted earlier that newspapers in Europe had front pages with the school killings. This country's newspapers featured the Foley case. Both legitimate stories, of course. (Disclaimer: I'm really torn up by the school shooting. I'm merely disgusted at the Foley affair.) Two cases. Both -- sort of -- about protecting kids. How do they choose?
But as Democrats issue their proclamations about Republicans and Republicans issue their proclamations about Democrats, I wonder if it's not worth taking a moment to step back from the emotion of politics for a look at ourselves. What do we see?