Friday, August 31, 2007

gang of perps

curry: well, let's talk about the political fallout. first it's been a rough year for the right. let's list them: congressman mark foley, conservative pastor ted haggard, senator david vitter. all involved in scandals, accusing them of inappropriate conduct. so the question's gotta be asked, why do these kinds of scandals seem to be following republicans, lately?
scarborough: what's with the republican party? and before that you can talk about duke cunningham apparently having poker parties where reports were that they were trading votes for sex. i don't know.

you can talk about the closeted republican that votes like larry craig, that votes for a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage or votes against protections for discriminating against gays in the workplace. perhaps they are more closeted, perhaps the republican party does not allow gay members to win their primaries.

so maybe these guys have to live these secret lives where on the democratic side, you've got democrats — i think it, it comes down to hypocrisy. mainly where you have democrats that will support same-sex marriage or civil unions and will fight to stop discrimination in the workplace against gays and lesbians.

because of that there are the issues of hypocrisy that follow republicans around, whether you're talking about david vitter or whether you're talking about larry craig or whether you're talking about mark foley.

curry: well the question, i think is, you know, how does this specter of hypocrisy affect the party, especially as we're now moving into a very critical time for the republican party facing this presidential election year?
scarborough: well it's, it's very simple. you know, last year people were talking about the war, they were talking about runaway deficit spending but the bottom-line is, with the republicans that i spoke to, after the mark foley scandal broke, they looked at each other and said, "well, that's it. we're gonna have a democratic senate and we're gonna have a democratic house and because of mark foley, nancy pelosi is gonna be speaker of the house."

so, of course, you can't blame mark foley for everything but there were these scandals following jack abramoff, following duke cunningham. following —

curry: point taken, joe, but what's the impact going to be if that's what happened after mark foley came, faced the scandal? what's going to happen now, regarding, after this senator's, what he's facing.
scarborough: well — it's not, it's not a good impact. it's not gonna have a great impact on idaho. i think, you know, i just don't think a democrat can be elected for the u.s. senate in idaho but larry craig's career is probably over. the former 'singing senator' is gonna be singing alone in idaho, probably next year.

but the bigger impact with the republican party in america will be like the tory party in great britain when they had one sex scandal after another. there is a sleaze, an element of sleaze that will hang over this party. because, again, we had the david vitter scandal a couple of months ago. the two sex scandals, this year, have involved republicans, conservative, pro-family, pro-life republicans.

curry: it's also interesting to note, joe, that senator craig has been a co-liaison to the, in the senate, for the mitt romney campaign.
scarborough: yeah.
curry: so the question is, also, is this gonna spill over?
scarborough: well you know, i don't think anybody would blame mitt romney for what larry craig did in a bathroom in minneapolis because of larry craig's, as he says, "unusually wide-stance." [touché, joe!] that he wasn't sending signals. but what this does bring up for mitt romney is a problem about his flip-flops. his flip-flops on abortion, his flip-flops on gun control and his flip-flop on gay rights. so, you have a guy like larry craig, who's on your campaign, at least for 24 hours in this news cycle, will raise questions. well, mitt romney do you support same-sex marriage this week or do you oppose same-sex marriage this week? and i suspect after that it'll all blow over.

the biggest problem, though, again, has to do with hypocrisy and the republican party. and right now you've got larry craig linked with mark foley, linked with david vitter, linked with duke cunningham going, my gosh, i think every sex scandal in washington d.c., since bill clinton and monica lewinsky has involved a republican. and that has to have an impact and may break the republican party, again, just a little bit more away from its evangelical base.

curry: and, and joe, i was gonna remind people, you are a republican. you are a former republican congressman, so those are very strong words and opinion from you. joe scarborough, thank you so much this morning.
scarborough: always good to remind my republican friends, that yes i am a republican. doesn't sound like it. thanks a lot.

the g.o.p. most definitely have a big problem dogging them into the next election cycle, but hypocrisy on family values and gay issues is really just a small part of it. american voters can deal with hypocrisy. and like most other people, most homosexuals don't lurk in public bathrooms, so just being gay isn't a problem for republicans as long as it's on the down low.

no, the big problem for the gang of perps in washington is criminality. über-lobbyist jack abramoff is in prison for fraud, conspiracy and tax evasion. former ca. rep. duke cunningham is with him for bribery. former fla. rep. mark foley may be looking at charges for corrupting minors, under some of the same statutes he helped enact.

louisiana senator david vitter frequented prostitutes. florida state rep. bob allen is facing charges for solicitation of prostitution, while idaho senator larry craig plead guilty to disorderly conduct to avoid charges of lewd conduct.

scarborough tossed in the lewinsky affair in a feeble attempt for balance, but sex between consenting adults still isn't criminal behavior, so the gang of perps tried to hang clinton on perjury. but lewinsky did not create a problem for the democrats at the end of the clinton era — the democrats' own timidity under fire from the right-wing noise machine™ was what undermined them.

so it's the steady stream of arrests, trials and convictions that's killing the g.o.p. and it's the accompanying "sleaze" that's souring their brand for the voters. and as long as the gang of perps keep turning up on the wrong side of the law, the party that once boasted of a permanent majority will remain locked up as a permanent minority.

Monday, August 27, 2007

another one bites the dust

(art by aarrgghh)

gonzales bids hasta la vista.

what's striking to me is how little sadness there is on the right that he is leaving. a quick look over at "the corner" shows that most conservatives there view his departure with relief. michelle malkin wasn't upset to seem him go either. a quick blogosphere check shows that most on the right are okay with this decision.

but i wonder why republicans and wingnuts aren't angry about gonzo's departure. gonzalez has been radioactive for months now. he became the walking symbol of the bush administration's failures — incompetence, corruption and cronyism (loyalty uber alles).

for him to resign now — after the disastrous appearances on the hill, after his deceptions, after stubbornly refusing to do so months ago when it could have stemmed the tide — well, it seems like defusing a bomb after it had already gone off. it's like rumsfeld all over again.

this departure brings back memories of the phrase, the mayberry machiavellis. bush and friends seem intent on going down hard and taking the gop with them.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

i died in iraq

from texas: a report from beyond the grave ... ?

rockport man among 14 soldiers killed in iraq chopper crash

corpus christi, texas (ap) — a 23-year-old coastal bend man says he's been identified as one of 14 soldiers killed in a helicopter crash in iraq this week.

rockport police chief tim jayroe is a friend of garrett mclead's family. he says the army has told the family that the 2002 rockport-fulton high school grad was among those killed in yesterday's crash of a blackhawk helicopter.

most of the 14 soldiers killed in the crash in northern iraq were based in hawaii, while several others were from washington state. the military says mechanical trouble likely took down the chopper, not hostile fire.

the army hasn't released the names of those killed in the crash, which was part of the pentagon's worst single-day death toll in iraq since january. the military said it appeared the aircraft was lost by mechanical problems and not from hostile fire.

... or just sloppy editing?

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

dubya foreign policy 101

josh marshall:

even more interesting is another argument president bush is poised to make: namely, that vietnam is more than just an analogy. he will argue that the terrorist threat we face today is in some measure the result of our withdrawal from vietnam, as it emboldened the terrorists to attack us.
the president will also make the argument that withdrawing from vietnam emboldened today's terrorists by compromising u.s. credibility, citing a quote from al qaeda leader osama bin laden that the american people would rise against the iraq war the same way they rose against the war in vietnam, according to the excerpts.
i'm not sure i've ever seen a better example of president bush's comically inept strategic thinking. actually, lack of strategic thinking. i'm sure you've noticed how, as the president's policies go further and further down the drain, he more and more often cites the authority of osama bin laden as the rationale for his policies. in this case, we must stay in iraq forever wasting money and lives and destroying our position in the world because if we don't we'll have proved osama bin laden right.

it's like a very sad version of a sixty year old falling for that dingbat head fake ten year olds used to play when i was a kid in elementary school in which:

  • kid a says he wants the football
  • kid b says, 'fine, but if you take the football, you're gay.'
  • and then kid a stalks off hopelessly bamboozled and unable to parry this paralyzing riddle.
apparently we have permanently ceded our foreign policy to the whim of osama bin laden's taunts.

josh's schoolyard analogy is amusing, but it's actually not quite accurate, especially if the football is intended to represent u.s. withdrawal from iraq.

bush clearly intends to stay in iraq until the end of his term, if no one forces him out, an event which, at this late stage, seems less and less likely. so bush clearly doesn't want the football. it's the other kids in the yard, the good, sensible, tired, restless public, who really want the football and have been badgering poor dubya to get it for them.

bush's vietnam analagy is just one more in an endless (at least until january 2009) series of lame excuses for not getting the football that everyone else wants but dubya has no intention of delivering.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

outgrowing the "grown-ups"

i used to believe that a lot of these people were just talking over my head, their discourse too lofty for a regular guy like myself. but that isn't true. they're just stupid.

— oliver willis, "margaret carlson had a column to fill"

funny thing — while i cannot point to a specific time or day or season, by the time i left high school i had reached this same epiphany about all the figures that had been held before me as authorities: parents and teachers and all those they pointed to as "leaders".

while i would hestitate to call them to a person all stupid, at the heart of my transformation was the realization that, despite what i had been brought up to believe and had dutifully absorbed as a force of nature, like the pull of the earth, these purportedly omniscient beings were actually no more intelligent than i was. that the politicos and the pundits who propagandized the iraq war — and who even at this late date continue to debase our public discourse — are now openly mocked as "grown-ups", "very serious people" and "the wise old men of washington" is no product of simple bush-deranged whimsy.

ironically, i considered my development to have been one true sign that i had reached a degree of maturity. except that i didn't become one of the "grown-ups".