It isn't just Bob Woodward's book regarding how George Bush lied (no avoiding the word, journalists), and continues to lie, to the American people (and maybe to himself). it's the GOP Congress, now recessed, and claiming to be on top of things. Uh-huh. let's see how it's playing.
Just hours before Congress closed down for the midterm elections on Saturday, Republican leaders threw together a ceremony to celebrate the passage of what they hoped to promote as their singular legislative accomplishment — a bill to bring terrorism suspects to trial. But after House and Senate leaders formally signed the measure for the cameras, the only questions they faced from assembled reporters pertained to Representative Mark Foley, the Florida Republican who had just resigned after accusations that he sent sexually explicit Internet messages to teenage pages. “None of us are very happy about it,” Speaker J. Dennis Hastert said before abruptly calling a halt to the questions, and the ceremony. No doubt.
You especially, Dennis. You were in leadership, and apparently leadership has been enabling Foley for some time.
The highly publicized case of Mr. Foley, who served in the House leadership as a deputy whip, threatened to build into an institutional scandal as House leaders acknowledged that they had known about the messages for nearly a year, but had relied on Mr. Foley’s word that nothing inappropriate had occurred.
Now, as the Times articles notes, there's more.
Republicans were unable to win final approval of a bill to regulate domestic wiretapping, which Democrats feared would become a political weapon more potent than the bill governing terrorism suspects. The disclosure of a National Intelligence Estimate saying the war in Iraq was fueling terrorism called attention to the issue Democrats most want to campaign on — discontent with the administration’s handling of the war. A new book by Bob Woodward did the same, claiming that the administration had ignored high-level warnings that it would need more troops. And Republicans wrapped up the way they started the year, with new revelations about Jack Abramoff, the disgraced lobbyist whose guilty plea on Jan. 3 roiled the party and set off the events that led to the resignation of Representative Tom DeLay, a powerful party force. “It was not a graceful exit,” said Representative Jeff Flake, Republican of Arizona, as events swirled on Friday.
Not a graceful exit? Let's be clear here. As rotten a week as the GOP had, the big story is that GOP leadership in the House did nothing about a pedophile for nearly a year. That's a huge state of denial, and an unforgiveable breach of the obligations of leadership. Mark Foley isn't the only resignation that's called for. Hastert, Boehner, and anyone else involved is going to have their head on the chopping block as well. See emptywheel's active post below for comments on the Foley situation.
But acting as if this Congress did anything useful for the country this week is even more denial. The torture bill was meant by the GOP as a weapon to hit Democrats with and nothing more (and that plan was shot by internal GOP bickering). Instead, they given the SCOTUS a hot potato and the country a black eye. It's good the week is over so that they can't do any more damage to the USA than they already have.