A fresh editorial from the National Review online about former Congressman Mark Foley’s revolting e-Mails to boy-pages, continues the failure of Conservative attempts to grasp the real cost of the scandal, come Nov. 7. The editorial faults Republican leaders for “their mishandling of the initial warnings about Foley,” then goes on to counsel them about moving forward in the aftermath.
The more disturbing truth, however, has nothing to do with “initial warnings about Foley.” Let’s say for the sake of argument, Republican leaders did in fact hear about Foley years ago. Further, let’s suppose that they immediately got him out of there. O.K. They probably would have had to deal with some rumblings about homophobic witch-hunting, since the initial e-mail(s) had nothing of later graphic details.
In the end Republicans would have weathered the storm and a “safe” Republican seat would have certainly stayed safe. Especially, if Republicans articulated a pre-emptive intervention with regard to pedophilia, of all things, stressing that the party of family values was not going to take “liberal” chances right under its own nose with children entrusted to its care, just so as to avoid labels of bigotry that it suffers daily anyway.
So the real question is: why didn’t Republicans exercise such an obvious option? I have no problem with Conservatives who want to move forward. What I will uncover is a deep denial that will shed powerful new light on what awaits Republicans in the imminent Congressional elections such that even if they retain both Houses, something of the Foley stench will linger in their reach.
The Queen of denial herself bequeathed to us her immortal lesson in the craft: if you clasp an asp to your bosom, something of the venom will take hold.
This is not about costs and consequences. Cleopatra was a creature of instinct. Razor-sharp instinct, yes. But she was no Sheila Fraser. Cleopatra’s basic lesson to us was not about calculation but co-optation. It was not about lying and cheating, or spin. Denial, you see, is a state of mind.
When Republicans clasped Foley to the fold—even as he swished about the notorious West Palm Beach—they embraced a way of looking at and thinking about gay and Conservative that came straight out of the queerest closet of liberal distortion.
Liberals have so successfully conflated gay-bashing with anything less than full acceptance that even raising questions about any aspect of the homosexual lifestyle is seriously suspect. And Republicans are no less reeled into this seamless web of diabolical deceit than anyone else.
What should have happened is that Foley should have felt that, closet or no closet, the bottom line in the Republican Party is that the very mention, never mind proclamation, of homosexuality would be an absolute non-starter in the context of anything that even smacks of pedophilia.
Republicans failed to maintain the right moral and political atmosphere with regard to attempts to broaden the party’s appeal. They continue to allow themselves to be baited and battered about by liberal shenanigans with language and logic.
But what this really means is that Republicans do not realize the extent to which they themselves have absorbed this serpent-winding of conflations and distortions. They are in denial about the extent to which the venom has taken hold. Deep within, they believed that indeed anything that smacked of a “litmus test,” exposed a point of Conservative vulnerability.
Observe, of course, that Democrats suffer no reciprocal vulnerability. Name the issue, and the most so-called “moderate” liberal is ever-ready to spout an utterly uncompromising liberal loyalty. Oh, sure they know how to cloak it in liarful “pragmatic” lingo, they know how to sound conciliatory, but even that simply underscores my point about professional deceit.
That’s why Republicans quite rightly are asking: when did Democrats find out about Foley? What did they keep quiet about? And why?
Consider, in particular, that since the “initial rumours” about Foley, going back almost a decade now, there have been three tight, fiercely fought U.S. federal elections (2000; Congressional mid-term 2002; 2004 Presidential). Could it be that Democrats said nothing until they could be sure that their cousins in the media could present the e-mails and related details as a matter of Conservative hypocrisy and pedophilia, not homosexuality as such?
Almost a decade ago now, it was one of our own, a very liberal MP, who exposed this relentless testimony at the pin-point of social tolerance. 1990s Nova Scotia MP Roseanne Skoke, as I wrote in a Province op-ed from that time, understood that “two men and a baby” was much more than a Hollywood comedy. She took on gay adoption and the rest of what she called the “unnatural homosexualist agenda.”
Her concern was about imposing a minority lifestyle in the form of social experimentation and political policy. So she was given the boot by her own party as belligerent homosexualists went on to discover a new National Geographic pseudo-ethnic type, namely “gay Americans,” a group now uniquely protected in the liberal habitat that equates criticism of lifestyle with nothing short of a hate crime.
There are not enough words in the language, or theorems in logic to allow Republicans to play catch-up this time around.