I’ll write more on this later — much more — but I just wanted to go out on a limb and say that if the GOP was not guaranteed of losing control of the House of Representatives before Rep. Mark Foley’s sudden resignation, the scandal erupting in the wake of his departure will almost certainly seal the deal. This scandal is big. Big, big, BIG. The repercussions will be felt nationally… and by that I of course mean locally.
As Josh Marshall has already pointed out over on Talking Points Memo, the Page Boy Scandal has effectively “decapitated” the House Republican leadership.
What do I mean by decapitated? […] Rep. Tom Reynolds (R-NY) is in a tight race for reelection and he’s chairman of the NRCC, the Republican House campaign committee. He’s in charge of the effort to keep the majority.
What’s the number one thing on his mind right now? I doubt it’s the NRCC or even his race for reelection. I think Reynolds is, to put it mildly, distracted right now.
How about Denny Hastert and John Boehner? I don’t see them going on shows or making any public appearances for a while. They’ll get asked awkward and possibly unanswerable questions about Foleygate. I’d say they’re out of commission for fundraisers too.
And pretty much any campaign joust or jab at the Democrats from one of these guys, on whatever issue, will be instantly transformed into some sex-with-pages snark. “How can we trust them to protect America when they can’t even protect the summer interns on Capitol Hill.”
The simple fact is that to the extant campaigning determines the outcomes of elections, the race goes to the side that can remain on the offensive most consistently and define the national debate on its own terms. Foleygate has made it very hard for the leaders of the House GOP to go on the offensive on anything relevant to the election. For political purposes they’re basically out of commission. And they’ve given Democratic challengers in every district around the country a slew of questions with which to pummel GOP incumbents or any Republican, for that matter, who puts his head up on television. This is in the context of an election that was already going very badly for House Republicans. Foleygate has now made them all but politically defenseless in the final stretch of the campaign. And that is a very big deal.
It certainly is.
And as always… it’s the coverup, stupid.