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Closeted Gay Republicans and a Party in Political Free-Fall

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The LA Times has outed Kirk Fordham today. He will not be the last closeted gay Republican outed by this scandal.

Today's NY Times has a chart that outlines the "key communications" in the House of Representatives about Mark Foley's inappropriate contact with pages. More than one of the names in the chart, which includes Kirk Fordham, are rumored to be closeted gay Republicans who have been working at the highest levels of the Republican leadership. They have been looking at their names in print for the last couple of days and no doubt fearing for their futures in a Party that is in political free-fall.

Are ambitious closeted gay Republican officials, the most reliable people Speaker Hastert could have delegated the Foley problem to last year? Obviously not. Heat on a closeted gay Republican in the House is heat on all closeted gay Republicans in the House. The most innocent Foley emails were enough to worry the parents of the recipient. They were enough to worry the closeted gay Republicans too. But the closeted gay Republicans were perfectly positioned in the House to make the problem disappear.

Now two Republican staffers are locked in a credibility contest: it's Kirk Fordham v. Scott Palmer, Hastert's chief of staff. Palmer flatly denies that Fordham warned him about Foley. Hastert's political life depends entirely on Scott Palmer's credibility. I can't find anyone in Washington who knows Palmer who thinks his credibility can survive this test.

It's no accident that the first call for Hastert's resignation came from Tony Blankley, Newt Gingrich's former press secretary. Tony knows that the scandal cannot die as long as Hastert and his staff are still in the building.

The Republican base--the Evangelical get-out-the-vote troops--are going to be devastated when they discover how many closeted gay Republicans were involved in policing Mark Foley in the House of Representatives. Republican House members know this. That's why momentum is building for a very quick House cleaning and a new Speaker by next week.

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