03 October 2006

right flank breaks ranks

the mark foley debacle raises some very interesting questions about the source of the inevitable split in the republican party. on one level, it's absolutely understandable that this would be the issue that would do it: the conservative base is (a) terrified of the supposed epidemic of pedophilia in this country and (b) reeeeally hatin' on the gays. consequently, there's an electoral incentive to distance yourself from (i.e. burn at the stake) a member of said base who turns out to be a hypocritical sicko. of course there is. sigh.

on another level, though, i'm repulsed and intrigued that it took an individual hypocritical sicko in a high place to make the right flank break ranks. the washington times is urging denny hastert's resignation today, and buckets of other conservatives are similarly up-in-arms. this is not an inconsequential moment for "values leaders" to be marching their "values voters" away from the republican congressional leadership. indeed, one might expect that opinionistas who have looked the other way as a thousand ethical lapses and many thousands of civilian casualties took place on their party's watch would continue to do so, more so now than ever. but instead of paying attention to the "individual hypocritical sicko" aspect of the situation, there's emphasis from the right on the "huge fucking conspiracy of silence in the party leadership" angle. wow!

my question: why are these the people breaking ranks with this party? with the party that they fought very very successfully to take control of, that is. perhaps it's another exciting episode of We Are The Underdog, Damn It -- something that's worked well for the "christian" right in the past -- but usually they don't go quite so far or lay the blame quite so close to home. if anyone in the republican party has a real case for marginalization, it's the olympia snowes and lincoln chaffees of the world, the moderates. a week ago i would have expected a an eventual revolt of the moderates finally to fracture the g.o.p. for good...but -- speaking of conspiracies of silence -- with the exception of occasional bursts of griping (i.e. occasional bursts of jimjefforditis) these folks have generally stuck with their increasingly freakish and reactionary colleagues in order to reap the benefits of power. did i say conspiracy of silence? i guess i meant faustian bargain.

in any case, here's hoping that (1) this scandal destroys repubs' chances of holding the house and (2) somebody manages to keep these assholes from implying that it's the gay, rather than the kid-cruising, that fundamentally defines the particular foley ickiness.