Saturday, October 07, 2006

GOP Foley-gate Unravels

The Foley-gate Page scandal continues to unravel, taking so many twists and turns that even I am having a hard time keeping up with it myself.

For what it is worth, it turns our that Mark Foley was a "quiet" champion of gay rights, contrary to my initial suspicions that he was an "Uncle Tom Republican" who was working against the civil rights of gays and lesbians. See this Palm Beach Post story for more info.

In addition to former Foley Aid, and recently resigned chief of staff for tom Reynolds (R-NY), Kirk Fordham, several other Republican leaders and staffers have contradicted House Speaker Dennis Hastert's denial of prior knowledge of Foley's inappropriate interactions with pages. On Sept. 30, National Republican Congressional Chairman Tom Reynolds issued a statement in which he said that he had informed Speaker Dennis Hastert of the allegations of improper contacts between Foley and a former male page. Accoding to Roll Call, GOP sources said Reynolds told Hastert in early 2006.

The Washington Post reports on Oct. 7, that one of Hastert's own staff members says that Hastert's chief of staff, Scott Palmer, met with Foley at the Capitol to discuss complaints about Foley's behavior long before Hastert says aides in his office dispatched Rep. John Shimkus (R-ILL) and the clerk of the House in Nov. 2005 to confront Foley about the emails sent to a Louisianna page. The staff member's account buttresses the position of Foley's former chief of staff, Kirk Fordham, who said that he had appealed to palmer in 2003 or earlier to intervene.

There has been a lot of discussion of a "list" of closted gay Republican staffers, including some of the names mentioned above, in the blogs and some news media outlets. David Corn and other bloggers have been talking about such a list but no one was sure about its source. It appears that one source is Mike Rogers, who is threatening to begin publicizing one closted gay staffer a day beginning Monday on his blog BlogActive. "Beginning Monday, and every weekday thereafter, I will be identifying the name of a closeted senior staffer in Congress with the hopes that those investigating this matter will make sure to include them in their questioning. And I hope the press looks for them as well. It's time to rid the government of those that would harm us." (This is the blogger that Mike Fleming asked me about on his radio show, and at that time I did not know about.) Several "gay activists" have been advocating "outing" these closted gay Republicans to expose their hypocrisy of working for anti-gay politicians to advance the GOP's anti-gay agenda and to educate the anti-gay Christian Right Republican base about the fact that closted homosexuals are advancing their agenda in the Republican Party. Not sure if this is a good idea.

At the same time, CBS reports (Oct. 4) that "several top Republican staffers who handled the Foley matter are also gay. Their role in this controversy has caused a firestorm among GOP conservatives, who charge that a group of high-level gay Repubican staffers were protecting a gay Republican congressman." (CBS News correspondent Gloria Borger, Oct. 4)

Anti-gay conservatives from groups like the Family Research Center have been circling the news talk shows making the claim that Republicans were being "politically correct" by not wanting to appear to attack gays and that it is why they covered up knowledge of Foley's behavior toward pages.

So it seems like two opposed groups from the Left and the Right are trying to finger the closeted gay GOP staffers. Some on the gay left want to expose the hypocrisy of these gay Republicans working on behalf of the GOP anti-gay agenda, while anti-gay conservatives want to blame these closted gays for covering up for Foley.

In more news, conservatives (including Sean Hannity and local conservative radio host Mike Fleming) are now targeting CREW (Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington), the group which helped publicize the emails sent from Foley to former pages. CREW monitors violations of ethics and has exposed many recent ethical violations by members of Congress. Hannity and other conservatives have FALSEY accused CREW of withholding Foley's communications and putting politics over the safety of congressional pages. As Media Matters points out however, CREW provided the FBI with the emails two months before ABC News reported their existence, and the FBI failed to act on them.

The evidence is that it was the REBPUBLICANS who put their own partisan interests ahead of the truth and the welfare of congressional pages by not acting on the repeated warnings by REPUBLICAN staffers and leaders about Foley's innappropriate behavior toward the congressional pages. It is REPUBLICANS, NOT Democrats, who are in control of Congress and the committees overseeing the pages, it is the REPUBLICANS who knew about Foley's behavior and did nothing, it is the REPUBLICANS who tried to coverup the facts in this case. It is REPUBLICANS who are accusing Hastert and the GOP leaders of not responding to their warnings about Foley and it is REPUBLICANS as well as Democrats calling for Hastert to resign.

Those, are the facts you won't hear on right-wing talk shows!

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