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Are the Republicans Planning an October Page Surprise?

October 21st, 2006

Republicans are self-destructing over the Foley page scandal, and have desperately, crazily been trying to find some way, any way at all, to smear the Democrats with this so they can say, “See? It’s not Republicans, it’s the Congress as a whole!” This way, voters will not be turned away from Republicans at the polls any more than they’ll be turned away from Democrats.

This technique worked like a charm with the Jack Abramoff scandal. Abramoff worked exclusively for Republicans, and because the GOP runs both houses of Congress, almost all the graft was Republican. But there is always graft on both sides, no matter how lopsided, and so Republicans didn’t have much trouble portraying the whole thing as a problem the Democrats somehow shared in equally. Since the media is always afraid to be tagged as “liberal,” whenever a conservative scandal breaks they are more than willing to trump up any Democratic involvement, no matter how minor, as somehow being equal; this they did in the Abramoff scandal, and the public bought into it.

The Foley scandal is different: a Republican committed the initial offense, Republicans leaked the story, Republicans accused each other, and Republicans covered it up–Republicans were the only ones involved in the commission and publication of the scandal, from beginning to end. Conspiracy theories blaming Democrats failed for lack of any evidence whatsoever. Attempts to smear Democrats with the same Bush sounded lame, as you had to go back decades to find a Democrat guilty of the same offense as Foley–and the main charge against Republicans is not just the emails and IMs, but that the Republicans knew and covered it up.

But recently, there are hints that Republicans might try to accuse a Democratic politician of having his own page scandal. So far, the hints have been nebulous, and do not even mention party affiliations–only that the congressman is male and the page is female. It started less than two weeks ago when Tucker Carlson leaked that a new scandal may be breaking: “Foley’s not the only one who behaved in an inappropriate way with pages – there is at least one other, a heterosexual, and his name, I believe, will come out.”

And now, today, Republican congressman Jerry Weller of Illinois is saying that he has information on inappropriate actions by a fellow congressman with a page. Again, no party affiliations are mentioned.

This might not be the same thing Carlson was talking about, and Carlson may have just been repeating a wild rumor without foundation. But seeing as how Republicans have been trying every conceivable sham to smear some of their own excrement onto their Democratic colleagues, I would not be in the least bit surprised if this were building up to something. And the fact that this is coming only from Republicans also smells suspicious. When they accuse their own, they blurt it out, they don’t build up to it for weeks.

The fact that it is taking so long to be revealed makes sense, especially if it’s a bogus charge; it would benefit Republicans to wait until the last week before elections to spring this, so they could go full-force with a campaign to say, “See? Democrats are just as bad!” without giving enough time for the truth about the allegations to come to light.

Hopefully, I’m just being paranoid. But when it comes to Republican election tactics, being paranoid is usually a pretty safe way of seeing things.

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