While the winds of change are blowing in from Novembers much hyped mid-term elections, it can't quite cover up the stench that is the Republican controlled Congress this day. On political blogs and in the mainstream media, on national television and in the homes of many Americans both liberal and conservative, the spectacle of corruption and paid lobbyists has taken a back seat to the most potent of weapons a political party may have -- the sex scandal.
Republican Representative Mark Foley of Florida has been accused by some of being a pedophile, a child predator by others and a sex offender by still more, and in the words of White House Press Secretary Tony Snow, of writing "some naughty e-mails."
Resigned in disgrace, the Justice Department is intrigued. Evidence in hand, the FBI was stagnant. Scandals everywhere, responsibility nowhere. Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert doesn't remember; President Bush doesn't care.
Republicans accuse Democrats of ignoring past transgressions committed by their own, while Democrats remind Republicans that the last sexual scandal involving their own resulted in an impeachment, not a pat on the back by the Press Secretary and a cover up by senior Democratic leaders.
Today we learn that the third most powerful man in the government -- third in the line of succession should the President and Vice President perish -- might have heard about it, but he doesn't quite recall. Under pressure he refuses to resign, but will not rule not not seeking the position again after the elections.
One can't help but wonder what laws were violated, if any, and what new laws are certain to result from a Congress more interested in writing laws for show than for addressing real problems facing us all.
House Republicans were unlucky enough to have this scandal break while Congress sits in recess. No investigations will take place, and no feel-good but do-little laws can be passed to calm the public furor; without debate, without consent, and without purpose, they are stuck with only themselves to blame.
To compare Mark Foley -- who has never been accused, tried nor convicted in a court of law, of having inappropriate physical contact with a minor -- to the real pedophiles of the world that stalk, abuse, assault and molest and murder actual children, is itself obscene at best, and ridiculously insincere about the problem of sex offenders at worst.
Abhorrent as it may be, the age of sexual consent in the District of Columbia is exactly the minimum age of congressional pages. As is the case with over one-third of the country, Representative Foley's alleged crimes may in fact not be violations of law, but of taste and extremely poor judgment.
In the midst of the revelation that Congress is full of dirty old bastards, we have over five hundred elected representatives that could not pass legislation to curtail illegal immigration, save social security from insolvency, lower the domestic crime rate, unite the country over common cause nor hold the administration responsible for its failed conquest of the Middle East.
Eighty days on vacation, and they fight over flag burning. Two-thousand and six-hundred dead American soldiers, and they lie on the graves of heroes, still just a hole in the ground where those great towers once stood.
One trillion, eight hundred billion in national debt, and they can't even balance their check books. Ten thousand Katrina refugees still living in hotels and trailers, and they are banning online gambling.
What ever have they done for their country, than serve their own interests, political agendas, their ideology and their crusades.
The greatest Republican failure has not been to cover up Mark Foley's detestable actions with young staffers, nor was it cutting taxes for the most favored among us while thirty million Americans live in poverty and can barely afford to put food on their tables. It was not even starting an unnecessary war that has cost fifty thousand Iraq civilians their lives.
It was the self righteous sense of entitlement to rule, and not to lead, that has given this country to its most divided generation since the civil war.
This country and this government were built to thrive on the responsibility that checks, balances, and oversight bring. We've had none of these things from our elected officials and is it any wonder why Congress and the administration can never get anything done other than disappointing the American people.
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