I've heard people wondering whether Foleygate isn't some kind of elaborate nine-bank trick shot, all orchestrated by Karl Rove to: 1) distract the public from the freedoms Bush suspended last week in his updated malleum maleficarum; 2) hit a scandal peak early; which can then 3) be blamed on the Democrats via a campaign of insinuation and outright lies; after which 4) Rove will unleash some as of yet unknown hideously diabolical October Surprise.
Let's stop imputing that much cunning to the guy. Remember, he lost in 2000. And maybe in 2004 too. And besides, the Republicans would much rather be talking about the Democrats being "soft on terror." That's an easier parlor trick to pull off than blaming the Foley scandal, that of a Republican chasing young boys under the nose of the Republican leadership, on the Democrats. Not that they haven't tried. (Type Mark Foley and George Soros into the Huff Po People Ranker and it comes up with an equal number of mentions the past week.) Which reminds me to ask: is there some kind of ultra short wave broadcast frequency distributing GOP talking points that can only be tuned into by the chips planted into the necks of their many minions? Look into Sean Hannity's eyes when starts in about Studds and Soros -- or really, about anything; it looks like he's reading a teleprompter that isn't there. It's a vacant, automatic stare, like Katherine Ross at the end of the Stepford Wives. O'Reilly, for all his flaws, is at least human. Hannity, I'm not so sure. And Kathryn Harris is just plain deranged. "We're going to get to the bottom of this," she says, accusing the Democrats, "because the children are at stake." Yes, that's exactly why it's a scandal that the Republican House leadership did nothing about one of their trying to slip the shorts off of Congressional pages. Harris looks a visitor from another dimension, which would really explain a lot if you think about it.
In general, it seems like the right wing new-reality-generator machine is finally overheating. Sexual misconduct scandals can be understood more easily than the intricacies of poor decisions in a foreign war. But all that "soft on terror" rhetoric is a weak spot too, and I'd like to see somebody bring it to them on that front. The NIE, the entire security establishment, and members of Bush's own staff have made it clear that his decisions in Iraq are losing ground in the war on terror and therefore making the country less safe.
As soon as there's a break in the Foley storm, if the conversation comes back to security, that should be the sole message. In essence, it means being more hawkish than Republicans. We're not doing enough in the war on terror, because Bush got us into a rut and refuses to fix it. He's too stubborn to win. And each day that passes with Rumsfeld still standing, without a real plan to win or go home, is a day our enemies gain ground. It's that simple. As fellow Texan Dr. Phil might pull on his slacks and say: if you find yourself in a hole, stop diggin'!
Bush's sanctioned torture and suspension of habeas corpus are bad, yes, but sadly, that's a loser rhetorically. It's much easier to explain that Bush screwed up his own war. Like Foley the Democrat, Bush the Protector too is a false reality, and it may be coming undone. Let's help it along. It's an extra step of logic to realize that Bush's incompetent prosecution of the war in Iraq is its own security threat, but I think voters are starting to get it. Beneath the continuing Foley headlines today, Jane Harman again asked that that CIA's yet-unpublished intelligence report focussing solely on Iraq be made public. Word is, it's grim, worse than what was in the NIE. That's bad news for Iraqis, the rest of the region, and us. But since it's the Republicans' doing, it should be bad for them too.