Hastert’s Contract with America


See no Evil. Hear no Evil. . .
The fact that Republicans in senior leadership positions knew about former Congressman Mark Foley’s interest in under-age Congressional pages and did not encourage him to get counseling or to investigate the content of electronic communications between Foley and these youths shows that the “values agenda” that Karl Rove unleashed during the last election cycle is and was bankrupt.

failed at a moment when leadership was required. He side-stepped a moral decision of importance.
This story is not going away soon, and I wish it would.
I don’t like to see Democrats winning on the cheap, and the Foley affair makes this battle feel like one that is being fought in gutter slime. But the Republican leadership brought this on itself; it wasn’t inflicted by Democrats.
Hastert and his close pals in the know on Foley deserve the shame, ridicule, and ultimately the disinterest in voting from their own constituents.
And just to remind all — Hastert, Foley and the rest would have deserved this siege whether Foley was talking to underage boys — or girls, something the Family Research Council has neglected to comment on.
— Steve Clemons


24 comments on “Hastert’s Contract with America

  1. ET says:

    Cheap is relative. Another millisecond of the Chimperor’s lethal decisions — ratified by his accomplices in Congress– is an expense beyond measure. Do we need any more trillion-dollar decisions to clusterbomb infants and innocents? How much more graphic can it get? One way or another, they f children.


  2. Rob says:

    You say you do not like Dems winning on the cheap. I think I understand what you mean but unfortunately, “the cheap” is all that an increasing number of Americans understand. Some are plain ignorant, willfully blind. Most of us just find it hard to keep up with all the media blitzes and propoganda and he said-she said nonsense of more complex issues. I’ll take a Dem victory on the cheap right now. This way we can get to work on fixing all that has gone wrong in the past six years. Let’s hope the Dems we elect prove worthy.


  3. serial catowner says:

    I get so tired of comments like “winning on the cheap”. These show a total lack of comprehension of how people act in groups, a subject that should be very familiar to many of the people who make the comments.
    The average American is not flying to Tokyo or sitting down for a panel discussion this morning, but we are the people who pay the taxes and spend the money to make this a large and important economy.
    In exchange, we get a lot of ten-syllable blather about how necessary it is to spend another $485 billion on ‘defense’ this year.
    Well, excuse us for living, but election day is just another day when you get socks instead of a bright red firetruck. If a party as revolutionary as the ‘Black Republicans’ of 1854 were to emerge, perhaps one based on unilateral disarmament and the development of renewable energy, backed by the most prominent Democrats, maybe people would make a high-minded vote.
    Until then, what goes around comes around.


  4. parrot says:

    The Democrats aren’t winning on the cheap. As you fear, it may be true that they are the only ones around to fill the moral and ethical vacuum oxygenating the GOP Congressional Leadership (read anaerobic). However, they are there and that’s what matters…for, soon, if nothing is done to stop them, if there is no alternative left besides the bugger hugger thugs, the Republic will suffer mightily. So, don’t fault the Dems for winning when the people decide in the election. Fault the People if the Dems don’t win–it’s pretty obvious to anyone with an average intelligence and decent scruples that the GOP machine is on the take and not giving anything back but torture, lies, and deceit. And we could use a lot less around here, no matter how we get it.


  5. Pissed Off American says:

    “I hope all of Morrow’s children turn out to be gay and marry same sex partners outside of their race who are either French, atheist, Muslim or Jewish. That will teach the bigot.”
    Posted by Ruin the Far Right
    Well, if the hypocracy of the Bush Administration is an accurate window into the workings of the “far right”, odds are Morrow IS a gay Muslim.


  6. Pissed Off American says:

    I love it when Morrow’s natter finds its way out of his keyboard. I mean heck, who else constantly reminds us what despicable scumbags the current criminals in the White House are???? Morrow’s strong attribute is that he drives the point home by example.


  7. Jake - but not the one says:

    Steve, this IS the Republican party. This IS modern conservativism. THIS is the administration.
    The Foley coverup is the straw that broke the camel’s back. No need to bemoan the straw. The Foley coverup, Iraq, habeas corpus, torture, rendition, WMD lies – it’s all of one piece.


  8. Robert Morrow says:

    hey, I’m already banned by FreeRepublic and MoveAmericaForward, so delete away …


  9. Ruin the Far Right says:

    PLEASE leave the venomous post from Robert Morrow for all to see in all its glory both now and in your archives. It’s always good for those who favor progress to see the bigoted, true colors of the Far Right flaunted proudly when their hate gets the best of them. I hope all of Morrow’s children turn out to be gay and marry same sex partners outside of their race who are either French, atheist, Muslim or Jewish. That will teach the bigot.


  10. Marky says:

    I’m not surprised that Dobson approves of Foley.
    You see, Dobson believe that the way to prevent homosexuality is for the father to shower nude with the son and show off his big penis.
    If the son is out of town, working for respectable Republican older men, then one of them can stand in for dad in the shower.
    Foley gets a gold star, in Dobson-land.
    Didn’t you know that a Republican can’t be gay, Steve? It’s somewhere in Leviticus.


  11. Steve Clemons says:

    I like the idea that “moral values” could be one of the major rallying points for Dems in the next election. Clever, and true.
    Robert, I am debating taking your last post down. You are better when commenting on UN affairs — your comments about the “pervert homo caucus” are really out of line and not consistent with your normal style.
    Steve Clemons


  12. Robert Morrow says:

    I think that the Democrats’ pervert homo caucus should be in charge of investigating Mark Foley, because they really know how to get to the bottom of things.


  13. joe says:

    oct. 9, 2006
    In the midst of all the hoopla surrounding this Foley Folly, the nagging question comes to mind as to the TIMING of this ‘disclosure’. This administration is an ACE at controlling the timing of announcements and events to distract the public from the reallly important stuff.
    Timing of the breaking news of this Folly, was about a day or 2 AFTER those series of bills congress passed where the DECIDER
    1) can now personally identify anyone to be dangerous to national security;
    2) scratched out habeas corpus;
    3) can ‘openly’ proceed with illegal spying on whomever the DECIDER feels is a threat;
    4) removed any appeal process.
    The media was just beginning to carry articles about all this assaults on the fundamentals of our democracy. Then “bam”, the Foley Follie begin.
    Now that the DECIDER has all these POWERS, why should he be toooo worried about this mid-term election UNLESS of course he still has Hastert to do his bidding?


  14. Carroll says:

    I don’t care who is and isn’t gay or in the closet. The only people I want to know about are the sickos like Foley and who knew and covered it up.
    And aside from sicko Foley this whole coverup thing is once again about the corruption of power…about how people will do “anything” to hold onto it.
    And that applies to both parties.
    Would I rather be seduced at 16 by a pervert or blown in half at 18 in Iraq?….choices,choices.


  15. Punchy says:

    All that has to be proven about “moral values” and the Republican party can be summed up by the complete silence of the FRC. They dare not trash the party that made them relevant–pedophilia be dammed. They dare not speak ill of a Congressman whose hypocrisy (regarding the bill he championed) is off-the-charts.
    That tells me they don’t give a damn about values, morals, and personal responsibility–they only care about retention of power.


  16. pauline says:

    poa wrote:
    “Yet some clown lusting after young men is supposedly gonna bring these assholes down.”
    Is Foley the only clown?
    I see where Wayne Madsen reported this weekend that Hastert may have inappropriately approached teenage boys in his old coaching days and on top of that may himself be involved in some sort of gay trysts in DC.
    Madsen also writes, “The rumors about another top GOP member of the House being involved in sexual encounters with young “men for hire” are confirmed to WMR by well-placed sources in Washington’s gay community. The member in question is House Speaker Dennis Hastert, whose “alternate” life style is the primary reason for him and his staff covering up the scandal involving ex-Florida GOP Rep. Mark Foley and his lewd messages sent to underage male congressional pages. Hastert’s penchant to receive anal sex is well-known to our sources in DC’s gay community.”
    Many discredit Madsen, but he was right on with the details of the secret rendition CIA prisons, complete with some of the actual airplanes and flights used.
    If any of this is true, how will the religious-right, conservative base handle this? If true will it catch fire before the November elections?
    Will they just deny reality!?
    If true, America may not only be toast, but burnt toast.


  17. karenk says:

    Excellent post. You are definitely in touch with the “real world”. One thing to add: It’s the Bush Admin economic policies that keep us working harder and longer so that the average citizen has no time to follow their “adventures”, (or perhaps I should say misadventures), and compare what they say on sound (good) bites to what they actually do in setting policy and practice. HOW CONVENIENT!!!


  18. David Noziglia says:

    Even before this scandal broke, I was trying to get traction on the idea that, when Democrats leave the polling booths, and they’re stopped by some exit pollster, and asked why they voted for a Democrat, the answer should be, “Moral Values.” Everything this administration has done for the past six years, and everything the Republicans have done in Congress for the past twelve, has been dishonest and immoral. Why should the page business be any different?


  19. clio says:

    Agree with both comments, memekiller.
    But Steve.
    I know you’re a political junkie; what, after all, am I reading this, but “I don’t like to see Democrats winning on the cheap…?” sounds too, too. Lots of people outside the beltway vote.
    Most of these people are busy with lives that, from their perception, intersect with government only tangentially. They are hard put to keep up with or even care about foreign policy, social security, the FCC or NLRB or Supreme Court or whatever. They often know more about Iraq because someone they know or love is there, but even that is not always immediate. There is so much else to do.
    These people hardly have time to get supper on the table after an 9-12 hour physically arduous day, before throwing in a load of laundry, mopping up the latest spill and getting the kids and themselves into bed before 4:30 AM rolls around, and it’s time to start again. It’s amazing if they even know that anything outside the daily grind is happening.
    But most of these people have family. Most of these people have kids. Most of these people care about and want a better life for their kids, and maybe even for themselves. For them the idea of the powerful preying on their families is no mere abstraction. It is immediately and resonatingly understandable.
    And as memekiller implied, the Foley mess is emblematic of the way Bush and the radical Republicans have governed: All for the powerful, zero for anyone else. If it brings it home to those who hardly have time to read/see the news, and are often too tired to follow it, let us thank the gods for it.


  20. memekiller says:

    We need to push hard on North Korea. This is attacking Bush’s “strength” which is actually a glaring weakness.
    What the Dems need to figure out is that in today’s environment, EVERYTHING sticks. So don’t hold back. They’re velcro. Don’t be pussies.


  21. Zathras says:

    It’s interesting that this scandal’s development has proceeded for the most part without much aggressiveness from the Democratic campaign organizations or most Democratic candidates.
    Strictly as a matter of campaign tradecraft, Democrats would be ill-advised to expect the media to do their campaign work for them right up until Election Day. If you have a scandal in the other party that has gotten people’s attention, and can use it as a hook on which to hang other scandals the public has not been able to track, then you had better use it in that way. You shouldn’t waste any time, either.
    Democrats appear to be thinking their advantages in this campaign season are Iraq and the awkward position(s) in which the GOP House leadership finds itself over the Foley affair. This is true up to a point. It seems to me, though, that Democrats have a tremendous potential advantage in the public’s definite but vague sense that Congress is doing a lousy job. Right now that sense is reflected in very low approval ratings for Congress generally; the trick for Democrats is to catalyze public discontent in such a way that voters relate their negative feelings about Congress to their individual (Republican) Congressmen and Senators.
    I don’t know that the Democratic campaign apparatus is up to this. In recent elections Democrats have played defense much more than offense, focusing on the protection of their own incumbents and often as not seeking to mute differences with Republicans (or with the administration, which has been basically the same thing). They may also be reluctant to run against Washington because there isn’t that much of what Congressional Republicans do now — the endless fundraising, the setting up of golden parachutes for retiring Members and staff, the free and easy spending — that Congressional Democrats really want to change; they just want their turn at the trough. I’m not trying to predict what Democrats will do in the rest of the campaign, only what they would have to try to convert public discontent with Washington to votes for Democrats running against GOP incumbents.


  22. Pissed Off American says:

    Only in America. Some lying AWOL scuzzbag dope snortin’ half wit gets placed in the Oval Office by a bunch of fanatics, ignores warnings of an imminent terrorist attack, shreds all science and common sensical conclusions based on science, completely dismantles 50 years worth of advances in environmental protection law, wipes his ass daily with our constitution, makes a joke of our electoral process, lies the nation into the worst foreign policy debacle in the history of the United States, condones, advocates, and legalizes torture……..
    Yet some clown lusting after young men is supposedly gonna bring these assholes down.
    This country is toast.


  23. Reader says:

    Interesting essay on the ethics of the “family values” party’s own mess:
    Starting Monday… Investigate these closeted staffers
    I am very concerned what these CLOSETED high level staffers have done.
    This site first reported on the danger Kirk Fordham was to gays OVER
    TWO YEARS AGO. Before anyone gets out the violins for poor Kirk,
    remember he was the money chief for US Senator Mel Martinez’s campaign.
    You know Mel, he’s the one who equaled marriage equality with living
    under “totalitarian rule in Cuba.”
    It’s not that Kirk is gay that got him in trouble. It’s that he was
    hiding in a closet and facilitating Mark Foley’s actions.
    Well, America, I want other closeted staffers questioned. I want all
    entities investigating this matter to look at every other closeted
    staffer who may have contributed to this national disgrace.
    So…. 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.
    I will also highlight a past case from the site’s history. I will ask
    you all to join me in sending emails to the ethics committee and media
    about these staffers who are putting the very stability of our
    Some have said this is a purge of gays from the government. No my
    friends, this is NOT about gays. To suggest that there will be a purge
    of gays from the government is preposterous. Now, if you want to talk
    about a purge of anti-gay closet cases facilitating the hard Right’s
    agenda… I say purge away.
    It’s about the hypocrisy. The know it. We know it. They want to change
    the focus. As the boss himself says:
    Like soldiers in the winter’s night
    With a vow to defend
    No retreat, baby, no surrender
    Bust ’em open
    Salon gets it right with Open the closets on Capitol Hill:
    That era has passed, despite the fondest wishes of some
    conservatives, and it is time that the American media — and, yes, the
    closeted culture of official Washington — awakened to that fact. It is
    time, in short, to end the hypocritical double standard that shields
    gay politicians from the implications (and the promise) of who they
    are. Let the doors open wide.
    Do I mean ‘outing’? Yes — within limits. I hold no brief for those
    hysterics on the far right who want every homosexual working in the
    Republican Party to be called out by name — as a precursor,
    presumably, to being expunged. Nor do I think that gay congressional
    staffers forfeit all rights to privacy simply by virtue of their jobs.
    But I do believe that every man or woman who courts public office must
    be held to some public standard of honesty — of coherence.
    From his website: http://blogactive.com/


  24. memekiller says:

    Taking the high ground and talking policy does not work in the current media environment. The only thing Kerry achieved by asking Moveon to remove the Bush National Guard ads was to change the story from: “candidates attack each others war records”, to “did Kerry execute an unarmed boy, and fake his war medals?” You can’t expect the media to credit Kerry with doing the honorable thing. They want slime. Slime means ratings. The GOP provides them with the oppo research.
    Being that we are more honorable people, we can still be practical. Yes, it’s homophobia, but its a story that fits the other stories we’ve been trying to tell, and gives them ressonance. It’s a metaphor for pre-9/11 warnings, warnings about Iraq, pre-war intelligence, Katrina, North Korea… ASLEEP AT THE WHEEL. Time and time again. If CNN only devotes time to underage pages, then use underage pages to highlight the important stories: the leadership has not just put their political needs ahead of not only our children, but our nation, and we’re paying a heavy price today with North Korea.
    Cheney shooting a 78 year old man in the face, and then blaming the victim says something about the GOP’s character. It says the same thing as the GOP blaming the victims in this case. Use it. Don’t be ashamed. If it takes underage pages to save the Republic, then I’m not going to complain.


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