Thursday, October 05, 2006

Foley's Catheter

All week, we've been watching the waste drain out in the Mark Foley case. It's been a regular festival of recriminations. Five days in, what can we conclude:

  1. Garrison Keillor may be a partisan hack when it comes to his predictable left-wing politics, but he has an eye for the writerly detail that's hard not to admire. Keillor once referred to House Speaker Dennis Hastert as a "shambling galoot," which is, to use a French term, le mot juste. I don't think Hastert is a bad guy, and I'm guessing that he is telling the truth about what he knew and when he knew it, but he's about as unimpressive a spokesman as you could find. He has no shot at winning what's becoming a p.r. battle.
  2. It's very interesting that the Miami Herald and the St. Petersburg Times, which both had some of the e-mails that Foley sent, decided not to pursue the story initially. Apparently both newspapers felt that the story was not newsworthy.
  3. There is clearly a distinction between the e-mails that Foley sent and the instant messages that he sent. The IMs are apparently where the x-rates stuff comes in. It's curious that so many of the accounts of this episode have conflated the two things. Writers in this era certainly know the differences and the distinctions and you would think that the distinctions are important to the story.
  4. It will be very interesting to see what the self-appointed scourge of Minnesota politicians, WCCO reporter Pat Kessler, says tonight about the ad that Patty Wetterling has been running about the case. Wetterling's ad claims two very specific things: that Congressional leaders have admitted to a cover-up; and that Foley "molested" children. Neither claim is true, of course; Congressional leaders (presumably Hastert et al.) have not admitted to anything like a coverup, nor would they. And sending x-rated IMs to pages is horrible, stupid, gross, despicable and many other adjectives. But it's not "molesting," at least as the term is generally understood. Kessler has promised a "Reality Check" - if he does not note those two realities, he's clearly not interested in reality.
  5. If I were a "Congressional leader," I'd be getting ready to up the ante. I'd demand that everyone in Congress turn over every e-mail and captured IM the Members have produced since, say, 1995, and then turn it over to the FBI for investigation. I'm willing to wager that Mark Foley is not the only Member who thinks too much about his member.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Politics has crossed another threshold and there are few of them left.

The democrats must REALLY want to win this election. It's now game on for the examination of ANY politician's personal behavior. I'm guessing that there are quite a few of these narcisists on both sides of the political spectrum that have some intereting pasts and behaviors. Furthermore, context is everything, and things that may have seemed innocuous at the time, might be considered something else when exposure by our neutral and unbiased media.

This is not a defense for Foley, but clearly Personal issues are fair game, and any other politician who has engaged in past deviant behavior of any kind had better watch his/her back. It's a wonder anyone gets involved in politics.