Foley Versus Clinton

05/25/2011 11:55 am ET

"It's vile. It's more sad than anything else, to see someone with such potential throw it all down the drain because of a sexual addiction." -- Mark Foley, R-West Palm Beach, September 12, 1998, referring to Bill Clinton in the St. Petersburg Times.

Another one-two punch of karmic irony for Republicans. First, there was James West, Republican Mayor of Spokane, Washington, noted for vigorously opposing gay rights measures until he was caught exchanging messages with someone he thought was a 17-year-old boy on a gay website. Then Virginia Representative Edward Schrock, a staunch Republican backed by the Christian Coalition, left a message on a gay phone dating service looking for a partner to "get together with a guy from time to time just to -- just to play... get naked, play, and see what happens." Nothing wrong with that, unless by day you are a howling, vitriolic advocate for a Constitutional ban on gay marriage.

Unlike Schrock, Foley voted moderately on gay rights issues. Unfortunately for Foley, when he got caught IM'ing a teenage Congressional page, he also happened to be Co-chairman of the Missing and Exploited Children Caucus. And the House leadership knew and protected Foley. Which we all know is what this scandal is really about.

It's as if there's some kind of secret Republican Inappropriate Appointment Committee. Let's put the closeted cruiser in charge of gay bashing! Head of the sex offender watchdog committee is a borderline sex offender? Check. Or make that, write him a check!

Today's Republicans don't believe in accountability. Foxes in the henhouse is the rule, rather than the exception. Five-and-a-half years, and they're drunk with power. It's a tragic corruption of the party's cause. And they have no one to blame but themselves. They run all the branches, a majority of the governorships, and have the mouthpieces of talk radio and the biggest cable news outfit to distribute their talking points. Not to mention an enfeebled and confused Democratic party to dominate. Even with an open playing field, they're scoring goals on themselves left and right. Come election day, maybe a few Democrats will show up to claim the forfeit.