The recent congressional page scandal has touched off a firestorm of controversy on Capitol Hill. Pundits keep saying that this scandal could bring down the Republican majority, the proverbial nail in the coffin of the Reagan revolution. Republicans have held a monopoly on “moral values.” They were the owners of the moral high ground on issues concerning “traditional American values.” It stood to reason that the best way to approach this from a GOP standpoint was to admit their mistakes and throw overboard anybody who was involved in a cover-up. However, doing that would require Republicans to admit that they actually did something morally corrupt. Instead of holding anyone accountable for a cover up, they blamed Democrats.
Conservative GOP Rep. Patrick McHenry made the rounds on the nightly talk shows saying that Democrats knew of Mark Foley’s indiscretions and kept the story from the media so they could use it as a “gotcha” ploy to sway the electorate. When asked by CNN’s Wolf Blitzer if he had any evidence to back up his accusation, McHenry stuttered, then replied, “Do you have any evidence that [Democrats] weren’t involved?”
Sorry Congressman, not exactly the legal standard that’s required in this country for charging someone with obstruction of justice. ABC News has repeatedly said that the source in their story is a Republican, but I wouldn’t want the facts to get in the way of your argument.
Some congressional Republicans went as far as blaming the victims of Foley’s unwanted advances. In an interview with the Salt Lake Tribune, GOP Rep. Chris Cannon told a reporter, “These kids are precious kids…It looks like, maybe this one e-mail is a prank where you had a bunch of kids sitting [around] egging this guy on.” Later in Time magazine, Cannon was quoted as saying, “You don’t need ‘gaydar’ to understand [Foley] has certain dispositions.”
This is another popular tactic some Republicans have taken in recent weeks, equating pedophilia with homosexuality. Pat Robertson was blunter in his association saying, “Well, this man’s gay. He does what gay people do.” Statistics from the FBI show that 95 percent of all child predators are heterosexual. The inference by Congressman Cannon and Rev. Robertson that all homosexuals are pedophiles is entirely incorrect.
The bright side to this story for liberals is that the Democrats seem perfectly content to stand back and watch Republicans dig themselves into a hole. They hope this scandal persuades the Christian Evangelical voters to stay home. If Democrats can’t take the House in this environment, they need to seriously reconsider their stance and public relations strategy.
The Republicans will try to salvage their hopes on the big wedge issues of the last decade: gays, God and guns. They hope that some gay bashing will help them galvanize their base.
The party of Abraham Lincoln, which put our country on the paths of hope and equal rights for all, has become the party of Pat Robertson and Chris Cannon, who have nothing to offer the global society but fear and hate. What could be more un-American?