Talk to rank-and-file conservatives anywhere in America on any issue on any day, and their No. 1 complaint is always this: “The Republicans don’t stand up for themselves the way Democrats do.”
They’re right. The Mark Foley case proves it.
When the maybe-a-pedophile-maybe-just-a-sicko Foley scandal broke, Speaker Dennis Hastert’s troops all went on defense. They explained (convincingly to some) that it’s not reasonable to assume from an email asking what a page wants for his birthday that a congressman is a pervert who ought to be in jail. They also noted (correctly) that if they had gone after him on such scanty evidence, the media would have annihilated them for “homophobia.”
But as usual, they completely missed the one, the only point that matters.
When Democrats had a known pedophile, Massachusetts’ Gerry Studds, in their midst—one who really did it, and actually confessed—they did nothing. And then they re-elected him not once but six more times.
When Republicans found Foley’s IMs, he was gone within a day.
That’s the difference. Republicans clean their house. Democrats don’t. And that should be the TV ad everywhere the Foley case is an issue.
Democrats will scream bloody murder. So what? They never miss a chance to play this sort of hardball. Everyone knows it. Framing the issue is the name of the game. Everything else is just losing. And when all Republicans can ask—year after year—is some variant of “why are our leaders so spineless and stupid?” you’d think they might catch on.
In Studds’ case (and yes that’s actually his name), the Democrat-controlled House literally wanted to do nothing, even after the predator confessed to the House Ethics Committee. What did they know and when did they know it? Everything, and early. They simply didn’t care. It took a rabble-rouser named Newt Gingrich to shame them enough publicly even to get Studds censured, a “punishment” which carried no penalty.
Years later, when a Republican senator named Bob Packwood was caught fondling staffers, Republicans forced him out of their majority-controlled Senate; but not before every feminist in America went on the warpath, asserting (correctly) the evils of using a position of power to gain sexual favors from underlings (pardon the term), and (not so correctly) that “the mere allegation is enough” to end a man’s career, never mind evidence or trial.
Three years later, all these same feminists claimed that what Bill Clinton did in the Oval Office with an impressionable 21 year old intern was “private” and that everyone ought to just “move on.”
Let us not even speak of Democrat Rep. Barney Frank (D.-Mass.), who in 1989 was caught running an entire gay prostitution ring out of the basement of his home. He will become chairman of the House Financial Services Committee if Democrats win this fall.
Oh, and whatever happened to Gingrich? He too was run out of Congress—by Republicans—in part for a “scandal” involving a charity he ran. The Ethics Committee—at Republicans’ request—levied a $300,000 fine against him, the largest in the history of Congress, which he paid. And then, after all the damage was done, the Internal Revenue Service cleared him of any and all wrongdoing.
The Republicans of South Succotash, Ala., understand what the Republicans of Capitol Hill do not: 1) the Democrats always defend their guys no matter what, and 2) the Republican leadership always caves. The Democrats can always get Republicans to do their dirty work for them. Those same Democrats will never harm one of their own. And the double standard runs far beyond pedophilia, to every policy issue in the world.
But however stupid Hastert’s bunch may be, they are at least half right: they do get rid of their bad guys. Meanwhile, the Democrats promote them.
So when Speaker-wannabe Nancy Pelosi—who represents the lawbreaking Gavin Newsom’s San Francisco—says “it may take a woman to clean up this House,” isn’t it time for Republicans to take her on? Wouldn’t it even be germane to point out—yea, actively campaign against—her recent participation in a gay pride parade honoring one of America’s leading advocates of pedophilia?
Democrats would never miss such a chance. And they shouldn’t.
But this isn’t even a cheap shot: it’s just the truth. And until Republicans learn to take the offensive on a contrast as blatant as this—not to mention on the real issues of the campaign—the agenda will continue to languish as they stay on defense forever and ever and ever.
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