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Monday, October 16, 2006

Republicans Have Done It To Themselves

What’s remarkable about the Foley scandal is that Republicans seem to have done the whole thing to themselves. Such self-destructive behavior is usually associated with Democrats.

A story in the Wall Street Journal today (October 16, 2006) lays this out. The WSJ is traditionally a Republican newspaper, of course, although their news coverage at least as objective as anybody else’s.

Foley was, of course, a Republican congressman. The page who got him in trouble is also a Republican – currently working to help Ernest Istook, a Republican congressman, become the Republican governor of Oklahoma.

William “Wild Bill” Kerr, the blogger who published the page’s true identity, used to publish a newsletter called “Passionate Conservative”, and does an online radio show 3 times a week, hoping to break into conservative talk radio. He votes Republican. Kerr initially set out to prove ABC news was lying, but when he found out ABC wasn’t lying and there was an actual page with an actual name, he published it, first making sure other sites, such as the somewhat conservative Drudge report, knew he was going to do so.

Moving beyond the WSJ, we might remember that Fox News (Republican-leaning) and James Dobson’s Focus on the Family (Republican-leaning) attracted more attention by graphics / statements in which they identified Foley as a Democrat. Innocent typo or attempt to confuse? Another possible theory is that this confusion was intentional: the misstatements got much more play in the press than Bill O'Reilly's show or James Dobson’s comments would otherwise merit.

My local congressman, Republican Mark Kirk, emphasizes his concern for protecting children almost to the exclusion of any other message. It’s such an interesting emphasis at such an interesting time that it almost calls more attention to the subject. [Given Mark Kirk's record on the Iraq War, he probably felt the need to talk about something else ... anything else.]