Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Dennis Hastert is a dangerous idiot

By Michael J.W. Stickings

From Think Progress:

Interviewed by Rush Limbaugh [yesterday], House Speaker Hastert said Mark Foley's inappropriate behavior was "a political issue" and promised Rush that "we are going on offense."

The "offense" is an effort to portray the scandal as a conspiracy specifically timed by liberals to affect the elections. "We are the insulation to protect this country," Hastert declared, "and if they get to me it looks like they could affect our election as well."

So, let me get this straight. It's all politics. Forget that Mark Foley is a sexual predator. This is now a campaign issue. Plain and simple. Democrats are just using Foley to get to Hastert and the Republicans, who have done such wonderful things for the country.

Do you ever get the feeling you're living in some alternate reality where nothing makes sense and you're just mucking around in bullshit? Sort of like when Jerry, George, and Elaine are waiting for a table at that Chinese restaurant. There's one point where Elaine just loses it. I feel that way now. I'm losing it.

In all seriousness, this is fucking insane. We're talking about a sexual predator here. A man -- a man in a position of authority, a man in a position of responsibility, a member of the House of Representatives, for fuck's sake -- preyed on impressionable and vulnerable teenaged boys. He had sexual relations with them on the Internet. He sought sexual relations with them in person. Is that not what happened? Is that not what this is about? Republicans are trying to change the channel, but no partisan spin will help them this time.

It's not the Democrats' fault that a Republican is a sexual predator. It's not the Democrats' fault that the Republican leadership knew what was going on and let it go on. How should the Democrats respond? How should they deal with a sexual predator? How should they deal with the denials and cover-ups? Should they not be critical of Foley? Should they not be critical of Hastert and the other enablers of sexual predation in the Republican leadership?

Where is the outrage from Republicans themselves? Oh, no, there's no outrage. This is politics. And they're now going on the offensive. How fucking offensive is that? Is there not something sick and twisted about the Republicans responding to a story of sexual predation by themselves going on the offensive, by turning to political predation?

Dennis Hastert is a fucking idiot. And so are all those who still refuse to deal with the real issue of Mark Foley's reprehensible behaviour.

Bookmark and Share


  • Mark Foley admits to having acted, as you say, reprehensibly. Indeed. But let's give him credit for admitting the root cause:

    "I strongly believe that I am an alcoholic and have accepted the need for immediate treatment for alcoholism and other behavioural problems."

    While of course I agree with you that Foley's behaviour amounts to sexual predation, is it right to say that he "had sexual relations with them on the Internet"? Is this not perhaps stretching the definitions of "sexual relations"?

    Moreover, Michael, please reduce your use of the word "fuck". I've always found it's used when people can't be bothered to write meaningful words. Let's make sure the Reaction sticks to its Arnoldian roots. I'm sure Arnold never said "fuck" - ever.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:34 PM  

  • Root cause? The root cause of soliciting minors for sex is soliciting minors for sex. Besides, the cause isn't at issue and a cause isn't an excuse. It wasn't booze or a momentary lapse of mental faculties, it was something he did for a decade. It was something that was covered up by people who have arrogated the position of moral leaders and protectors of children.

    I suppose that if we call telephone masturbation "phone sex," internet masturbation can be called something similar, but you're right, that technically it isn't sex. It's still illegal to try to arrange a meeting with a minor for sexual relations, and that's what he did. It's hard to believe that someone who has been trying for years hasn't had occasional success however. We will see.

    I try to stay away from such words myself, but you know, this is the kind of episode that makes it almost impossible to express my disgust in a polite fashion.

    By Blogger Capt. Fogg, at 4:49 PM  

  • I agree with Capt. Fogg on this. The root cause isn't alcoholism. That's a cop-out. Other mental problems? Maybe. But a criminal act is a criminal act. We may try to understand why the criminal acts the way he does, but mitigating factors -- such as prior abuse, and Foley claims to have been abused by a clergyman -- does not erase responsibility.

    And, yes, James, I probably have used that word too much recently. In two posts -- this one and the one on global warming. I use it sparingly, but I use it for effect. Sometimes you just have to be blunt in a coarse way. Arnold may not have approved, but of course he never had to deal with this incarnation of the Republican Party.

    By Blogger Michael J.W. Stickings, at 7:56 PM  

  • I agree with James that f-bombs, like all bombs, should be used sparingly. But can we really be sure Arnold never used it? At some point during his tenure as inspector of schools he must have seen something that pushed him to the limit.

    By Blogger ., at 10:53 PM  

  • Indeed, a criminal act is a criminal act and, as Michael says, mitigating factors do not erase responsibility - that certainly was not my point in quoting Foley. It may be true that Foley has a problem with alcohol (and other problems), but if the Republicans are trying to use this to distract from the main issue - the crime of soliciting minors for sex - then this is inexcusable, and ought to make us very (politically) indignant indeed.

    But I suppose I feel not (primarily) moral indignation when I hear about people like Foley, only a kind of moral sadness at the state of humanity. Any alcoholism and other mental problems that Foley might have do not, in this context, erase his own personal responsibility, which he must face up to; but they are parts of the bigger picture of the fallen state of mankind.

    Arnold, of course, would have used the same sort of language that's printed in Victorian novels. Pushed to the limit, he probably would have become red in the face and muttered, "D--n".

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:58 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home