Saturday, October 07, 2006

Iraq < Foley < North Korea

As any comedian can tell you, timing is everything. Only I'm just not sure where - or what - the punchline to this joke is.

Nearly two weeks ago, ABC News broke the story that Republican Mark Foley of Florida had lewd conversations with a young congressional page. Foley resigned, the exchange was printed, and hilarity ensued. Startlingly, no one seems much to care that Foley is gay - the issue here is that Foley was sending lewd IMs to underaged pages. It's interesting to note that the age of consent in Washington D.C. is 16, but since Foley was using the Internet he was subject to prosecution under a law that he in fact helped pass.

But the timing was almost immediately an issue. Despite the fact that it was a Republican aide that broke the story, Republicans called foul and claimed the Democrats timed the story to hit before the election - despite another fact that news sources - including Fox News - have had details of the story for months, and that Congressional pages were warned as early as 1995 to stay away from Foley, and that many House Republicans have known about Foley's indescretions.

Following Foley's resignation, the spin machine started - with Foley himself. He claimed he was an alcoholic and checked into rehab, following the Conservative pattern behavior of not taking personal responsibility and accountability for your actions, but blaming them on something else: parents, alcohol, Lib'ruls, Saddam, Islamofascists, the Lib'rul Media, the Feminists, Satanists, violent video games, rock and roll music, whoever. Hardly surprising. Fox News contrbuted to the effort with graphics reporting that Foley was a Democrat and stories whose language tried to disassociate him from the Republican party. Bill O'Reilly, himself known (at least among those who care) for his lewd advances to underlings, joined the party (YouTube link) too.

The word that comes to mind here is clusterfuck. And it's just getting warmed up.

But the timing is interesting here. I noted yesterday to Seth that North Korea's announcement of a nuke test seemed oddly timed to return some Good 'Ol Fear to the American consciousness right before an election (again.) Fear means vote for safety, and we all know that safety is keeping Republicans in office, right?

Seth brought up a much more compelling point, especially considering that the Foley sex scandal seems just as useless and stupid as any other sex scandal from Lewinski to Caligula - the Foley story broke a couple of days after a the intelligence report that indicated the war in Iraq has actually strengthened terrorism - a report that has now completely dropped from the headlines. In fact, ask yourself honestly whether you've thought about that report in the last three or four days, and then ask yourself how much you thought about a Florida Scientologist sending lewd emails to underaged boys.

I now wonder if the timing of everything isn't even a more elaborate machine designed not only to have us remain scared before an election, but to intentionally make us ignore a factual report that may very well have a deep and meaningful impact on who we choose when we vote in a month.

But at this point, the web is so twisted, I'm just not sure anymore.

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