Voting Against The Foley Follies
By: Robert E. Meyer
Mark Foley is gone from Congress–that’s the good news. Denny Hastert is on the ropes because of itâ€”that is probably bad. Let me say from the outset that itâ€™s good that Foley is gone. We just got another rotten apple out of the barrelâ€”I hope before that decaying apple has contaminated all the other fruit.
Itâ€™s a good thing we already know better then to trust the main-stream mediaâ€™s â€œobjectiveâ€ reporting of the news, lest we believe that this incident will result in all the moral conservatives â€œsitting this election out.â€ I have never seen a more blatant attempt at creating an avalanche of self-fulfilling prophecy, then that produced in the Foley aftermath. A classic case of â€œmonkey hear-monkey doâ€ is being foisted upon us. The media tells us that moral conservatives are staying home in protest of the â€œFoley cover up,â€ apparently in hopes that others will automatically join in the boycott. Itâ€™s the time-tested tactic of turning the principled tendencies of the opposition to work against them, so to speak. As one colleague said to me recently, â€œconservative Christians vote with their heart, not their heads.â€ Perhaps this is a left-handed way of saying that they are principled, thus are at a distinct disadvantage to left-leaning voters who are more pragmatic and expedient in their choices (they are smarter and will do anything to win). Any maybe that colleague had a point; nobody in the media predicted that Clinton would lose the support of feminist constituencies despite his alleged shabby treatment of women. A little â€œtrailer trashâ€ could be jettisoned if the commitment to keep abortion safe and legal remained the status quo.
This strategy du jour is even being picked-up and implemented by novices. A letter writer in my local paper has been as faithful as any good horseman of the apocalypse, trying to undermine the Bush administration by writing derogatory epistles every month without fail. Just recently he has changed his tune, exhorting true conservatives to stay out of the election to protest the betrayal of the conservativesâ€™ planks and platform by undisciplined Republicans. It is a political rope-a-dope so painfully obvious and artful that it would make Mohammed Ali turn shades of green.
So letâ€™s turn our eyes back to Speaker Hastert. The cry and the hue calls for him to resign amidst the innuendo that he knew about Foleyâ€™s perverse proclivities long ago. All that is missing is any credible evidence. If an investigation surfaces with any convincing proof, I will join the chorus and sing the loudest. I am not sure Hastert has been the best Speakerâ€”heâ€™s certainly no Newt Gingrichâ€”but that is no reason to toss him from the train preemptively. As I understand it, there were two classifications of electronic communications; E-mails and instant messages. The E-mails were apparently examined by both the FBI and certain Florida newspapers. The benign nature of the communications caused the FBI to decline any further investigation, and the newspapers couldnâ€™t find anything juicy enough to warrant publication. It was the instant messages, which Hastert claims he had no knowledge of, that supposedly contained the salacious communications in question.
Now suppose you’re Hastert. You might suspect Foley is a pervert, but if you act on a hunch without legal proof, youâ€™re castigated as a bigot or a homophobe. If you give him a slap on the wrist, you take the chance that a scandal explodes in your faceâ€”what a wonderful choice of â€œdamned if you do, damned if you donâ€™tâ€ alternatives. In our day of political correctness and â€œperpetrators rights,â€ being circumspect is too heavy-handed.
Of course the timing of this raises no suspicion at all. Gallop polls indicate that 42% of Americans believe that the falling oil prices since August are orchestrated for political benefit despite overwhelming evidence and logical inference to the contrary. Too many Americans can see the snakes and spiders crawling all over them, but canâ€™t smell the rat hiding under the kitchen table. Such folks are going to cancel your informed vote.
There are certainly problems enough in the Republican Party that we ought to be angry. But letâ€™s not get so enraged that by default we put back in power those who by their political nature will raise our taxes, neglect the immigration problem, support expanding the definition of marriage, treat terrorism as a law enforcement issue, and vote on the wrong side of pro-live issues, etc.
That is what I will be thinking of November 7th, not former Rep. Foley.