Wire Tight The Asses, Congressmen, And Pageboy: An Introduction
How do you separate the men from the boys?
Hold mid-term elections.
The Pugs have legendary talents for bringing their wayward pups into line, and it's possible to read last night's LA Times story, in which another ex-page came forward and admitted to having consensual sex with Congressman Mark Foley when he was 21, purely in terms of damage control. The plot line can be further spun into, "See, the ex-Congressman from Florida did nothing wrong, as he did not exercise his attractions until the conditions were consenting, legal, and in good judgement. Indeed he followed restraint, particularly because the age of consent in Washington, DC is 16 years of age. So how dare you for faulting our collective judgement in this matter."
There are a number of problems with how The Base will process the above line of reasoning, and the costs of imposing a cone of silence to develop a unified theme will be steeper than the costs of the scandal itself. With the elections just around the corner, they've had no choice, but now they've had time to come up with a plan. Here's what I think it is:
1) Blunt the edge of the story;
2) Sell ethics committee activity as a real clean-up;
3) Find one or two minor violations, and then:
4) Discover Dim Senator in bed with dead woman or live boy.
You can see how misdirection can make this play work. A thought naturally lingering in mind is, hmm, I wonder if the genesis of the scandal was coming from deep out of Rove's bag of tricks. Or was just an accident. Yet it wasn't a Dim who sent the instant messages (IMs) to Brian Ross, ABC's "investigative journalist." Access to those IMs was only had from inside the Pound. Either way, what's important is Karl Rove can quickly wrap the chaos up tightly in tissue paper, but a bow on it, and turn it into one hell of a long-bomb play. Maybe even achieve an October Surprise without triggering some foreign policy catastrophe.
I am on the record as stating it was a lot harder to find Democratic pedophiles through googling than it was to find Republican examples. But surely there must be something absolutely heinous to be found in the Democratic Congress and played through the Mighty Wurlitzer, and surely it has already been catalogued for future use. To do otherwise would be a shameful waste of the NSA's over-arching surveillance capabilities. In terms of situational domestic politics, the only event which could trump congressional sex scandals at this point would be a nuclear war. I'd like to think there's an Option B we can go with.
Fortunately, there is: back to the basics of Dirty Tricks. I'd look for the real War On Sodomy to start about a week before the elections, when one or more Dims are going to wish they'd never been born.
(hat tip to Christy Hardin Smith over at FDL for the Time magazine graphic. I lifted it from her wrap-up on how things are currently going for the Pugs.)