Well. Ahem. Let's just say: Usually when a congressman is involved in a scandal, he doesn't bring the whole party down with him. This time could be different.
The Mark Foley affair is so simple and so human, it's like a Cliffs Notes version of all the other Republican scandals:
No one cares till the klieg lights get turned on.
Except this time, we won't. Foley's folly has -- forgive me -- exposed the Republicans as the party that really doesn't care about all the things it says it does: mom, apple pie, morals. All it cares about is staying in power.
Were that not its basic motivator, it wouldn't find itself in the position it is in today, roundly condemning the very behavior it was happy to ignore until it bit 'em (and God knows who else) in the behind.
To recap: It was almost a year ago that the top GOPers in the House were told that Foley had sent an "overly friendly" e-mail to a House page. What does "overly friendly" mean?
Overly CREEPY. Duh! Especially when Mr. Friendly himself is an unmarried congressman with a well-documented fondness for underage manhood.
Now, if YOU knew all this, would you quietly ask the potential predator to lay off and then hope for the best? And -- just asking -- if you knew your neighbor was an ice-pick enthusiast, would you quietly ask him to please not hang around the playground and then hope for the best?
OF COURSE NOT! But House Speaker Dennis Hastert and his minions kept mum, fearing scandal. How appropriate that in the process they created the one that may do them in.
Until now, the (many) Republican scandals have been way too complicated to stay on the national radar. Tom DeLay allegedly laundered money. Terrible! But who remembers for whom? How much? It's murky.
So are all those scandals involving lobbyist Jack Abram.off, even though it was mostly Republican congressmen who took "Casino Jack's" cash (this from the party that fancies itself our guardian of virtue). And then there was Duke Cunningham (R-Calif.). He's serving time for some bribery scandal. And Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) sold a bunch of stock right before its price tanked. Suspicious? Yes. Compelling? No.