Passing the Joe Buck


The Cincinnati Enquirer reports on perpetually tanned Rep. John Boehner's (R-Ohio–or perhaps a planet closer to the Sun than Earth) fan dance around oversight for the Foley situation. Boehner, one may recall, is House Majority Leader, which is no small deal, especially for a guy who won that position promising reform and all that jazz. Reports the Enquirer:

Boehner told WLW that Rep. Rodney Alexander, R-La., told him of Foley's contact with the page earlier this year "in passing" on the House floor but that no specifics were mentioned, so "the conversation didn't raise any alarms."

Boehner said he spoke to [Speaker of the House Dennis "Coach"] Hastert about it and was told "it had been taken care of."

"In my position, it's in his corner. It's his responsibility. The clerk of the House, who runs the page program, the page board, all report to the speaker, and I believed it had been dealt with," Boehner said.

A few hours later, Boehner rebuffed the Washington Times' call for Hastert to resign in a letter to the editor, saying "no one in the leadership, including Speaker Hastert, had any knowledge of the warped and sexually explicit instant messages."

OK. So Boehner had learned of Foley's behavior, but there was no reason for alarm, and in any case, he had already told Hastert about it (because, really, there was no reason for alarm), and it's Hastert's responsibility anyway, or maybe Rodney Alexander's, not that any of the GOP leadership had ever heard about any of this anyway, right?

More, including Hastert's deep musings on Rush Limbaugh's radio show about why someone might "drop" the F-Bomb on "last day of the session before we adjourn in an election year," here.

It's not exactly clear what effect the Foley scandal will have on the midterm elections (and there's something disturbing to me about reducing an abuse of power story to a political horse-race story), but this much seems certain: The Republican leadership has really responded in a way the belies their insistence on responsibility, personal, moral, fiscal, and otherwise.