Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Foley scandal fallout

What at first seemed like a an innocuous sex scandal (okay, maybe sex scandals aren't "innocuous") with no real consequences for the GOP besides maybe clinching their almost inevitable loss of the House has now blossomed into a full-blown crisis. The right-wing Washington Times is calling for Speaker Dennis Hastert's resignation from his post, Dems are having a field day by slamming the GOP, and the chances of Republicans keeping control of both houses of Congress are exceedingly slim. And still the GOP won't back down and realized that they screwed this scandal up, big time. With Hastert and other GOP brass already claiming not knowing a thing about Foley's emails and IM's, House Majority Leader John Boehner is vehemently backing Hastert and Co. in the scandal.

"...One thing is certain: no one in the leadership, including Speaker Hastert, had any knowledge of the warped and sexually explicit instant messages that were revealed by ABC News last Friday," Boehner says. "...I'm confident the Speaker would have moved to expel Mr. Foley immediately and turn him over to the appropriate authorities."

Hastert is, of course, refusing to resign, and continues to defend his actions in the matter.

The question is, how much impact will the scandal have on the upcoming election? It all depends on voter and activist reaction. Right now, the scandal is all over the news, and people are rightfully disgusted. and are ready to hold the entire GOP accountable for Foley's conduct. You even have conservative groups (besides the Times) spitting mad about everything that happened. This could add up to a perfect storm of opposition to Republicans.

But the fact the election is still over a month away helps the GOP. Yes, one month is no a large amount of time, but the GOP has a track record of fighting these things off with help from the bulging coffers, Pres. Bush, and a good bit of Rovean strategy. However, the amount of vitriol facing them after this scandal broke will be tough to shake. If the atmosphere doesn't change, this could be the turning point leading to a Democrat takeover of Congress.


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