Alamo' Than a Feeling

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Congressional scandals can be boring, sure. They can also produce wonderful documents like this letter from oily Texas Republican Joe Barton [PDF link], comparing the plight Dennis Hastert's flock faces to that of the heroes of the Alamo.

Today our Speaker, Dennis Hastert, is suddenly surrounded by a besieging army, but of a different sort. It is not a military army, but a political and ideological army of the left, demanding his unconditional political surrender. We, the House Republican Conference, ironically a little over 200 strong, have a decision to make, just like the defenders of the Alamo some 170 years ago. We can cross the line and stand with our Speaker in defense of conservative values and common decency, or we can retreat.

Emphasis (and enmity) mine. Proof, if any was needed, that "common decency" is a meaningless buzz word that politicians toss around like soda companies toss "half the calories" and "to the eXtreme."

Related news: the dynamos at the Josh Marshall TPM dynasty have a robocall Dennis Hastert's campaign is chucking into answering machines across his Illinois district. Long story short: "Liberals suck. I suck less."

(Via The Hotline.)

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NEXT: The Tip of the Iceberg, or, Barbara Olson Held Hostage, Day 378

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  1. “Liberals suck. I suck less.”

    Kinda like in Americathon when John Ritter’s Chet Roosevelt won the presidency with the campaign slogan, “Im Not A Shmuck.”

  2. Should Tip O’Neill or Jim Wright have stepped down when Gerry Studds was reelected?

  3. I loved the little story on NPR this morning:

    “Hastert says that he accepts responsibility for the scandal, but in response to calls for his resignation, he asserts that he has not done anything wrong.”

    Now, correct me if I’m wrong, but doesn’t “accepting responsibility” for a problem inherently mean that you’re admitting that you’ve done something wrong!?

  4. A conservative is being attacked by liberals, and that is all the matters to these people. The underlying facts are simply not important. Team A, Team B, my party right or wrong.

    Paul, “Should Tip O’Neill or Jim Wright have stepped down when Gerry Studds was reelected?” Is there any evidence that either one was told of the problem and covered it up? And what does reelection have to do with their culpability?

    This is what cornered rats do.

  5. It used to mean that Evan!, before Janet Reno. Since then it’s means the opposite.

  6. joe the republicans tossed Foley overboard. The dems only censured Studds. He served 6 more terms until 1996. How was his behavior different than Foleys? And it was your state that kept reelecting him.

  7. Evan!

    Not if you’re a politician. They’re exempt from the rules of normal English usage. 🙂

  8. Joe Barton is right: Jim Bowie was always having to cover up Davey Crockett’s flirtations with the stable boys.

  9. Paul,

    “joe the republicans tossed Foley overboard. The dems only censured Studds.”

    And the Republicans only censured Crane. Different times, I guess.

    Now you’re changing the subject, away from Hastert and his actions when confronted with the problem. In 1980, the Congressional leadership took immediate action when the charges were raised. In 2001, 2003, and 2005, when similar charges were raised, the Congresssional leadershiop sat on it.

    Also, Janet Reno handed her resignation to Bill Clinton after Waco.

  10. I don’t know Paul. Sounds like you’ve been drinking the Kool Aid. There’s a story in all of this if you look really hard.
    Seems to me that there are several reasons why this is news:
    One, Foley was the head of the Caucus of Missing and Exploited Children when this happened, the irony of which pretty much left me incapacitated with laughter;
    Two, it looks like leaders in the Republican Party covered his ass, without even so much as a Catholic-style change of diocese solution;
    Three, (most important) these fucking morons–meaning the current Republican leadership–are the self appointed “decent” “values” folks among us, which means that want us to do things like bash fags, worship pieces of cloth, and grandstand about “animals” who stalk children.
    Really Paul, you can’t possibly be that much of a moron.

  11. the story is Foley would still be in Congress if he was a democrat, like William Jefferson, like Studds was for so long, like Ted Kennedy still is. None of them should be. Crane got tossed by his Republican district when he ran for reelection. Studds got 6 more terms from his Dem district.

    “In 1980, the Congressional leadership took immediate action when the charges were raised” 7 years after it happened. no sitting on it there. Don’t get so touchy joe, were you a Studds voter? I think Foley and Studds are perverts. I’m just pointing out it is not unprecedented and Dems keep their pervs close.

  12. “the story is Foley would still be in Congress if he was a democrat”

    Oh, see, a few minutes ago, the story was that Tip O’Nel and Tom Foley’s reaction was the equivalent of Dennis Hastert’s. Now you’ve switched to criticizing the voters. Probably a wise retreat, because you’re on much more solid ground. Yes, he shouldn’t have been reelected.

    “7 years after it happened.” And immediately after finding out about it. Do you have any evidence at all to suggest otherwise, or is it one of those things that you conservatives “just know?”

    “Don’t get so touchy joe, were you a Studds voter?” Nope, never lived in that district.

  13. Disclaimer – Foley should be gone and it’s possible Hastert should be gone also. I haven’t read enough to prove “coverup” in my mind to go that far, but I certainly agree the possibility is there.

    But… this consistent argument seems illogical:

    Three, (most important) these fucking morons–meaning the current Republican leadership–are the self appointed “decent” “values”

    This isn’t important at all, much less “most important”. I agree it reeks of hypocrisy, but I haven’t met an adult yet that isn’t slightly hypocritic on at least one issue.

    And, as others have pointed out before, hypocrisy is not a reason to ignore a moral argument.

    If OJ said, “don’t murder people” would you disagree with it simply because he’s a hypocrite?

    BTW – This works in reverse as well. For the Republicans screaming, “You can’t stand against Foley/Hastert since you didn’t stand against Clinton” doesn’t mean anything either. If they are right, they are right. Whether or not they are hyprocrites has no bearing on the debate at hand.

  14. Talking points: Janet Reno, Tip O’Neill, Jim Wright, Bill Clinton, Monica Lewinsky, George Soros, Gerry Studs.

    Remember: Democrats are bad = we are the party of God. And if you ever question that, we have your phone records… it’s for the children.

  15. If Hastert was covering up pedophilia, he’s gotta go. Studds should have been forced out too. So should William Jefferson. There’s the difference.

  16. Points for the picture, David, couldn’t have been more spot on if you’d taken a piss on a monument yourself 😉

  17. “the story is Foley would still be in Congress if he was a democrat”

    No Paul, I’ll repeat in case you are actually capable of learning. You can’t write a comedy sketch or fairy tale better than this.

    You see, there’s this fox/chicken hawk/snake (or what have you) that likes to eat chickens.

    This farmer hires the fox to look after the community chicken house.

    The fox, having gained increased access to some toothsome morsels, eats some of those chickens

    Said fox gets caught.

    It turns out the farmer knew that the fox was eating chickens and covered up his crimes.

    The funny thing is that the farmer had all along been the head of the Chicken Defense Caucus. He had spent the balance of his career advocating the death penalty for all chicken killers.

    How’s that?

    Got it?

    It’s a bit more newsworthy than the one about the fox that killed ckickens who wasn’t hired to guard the chicken coop, whose chicken eating didn’t get covered up by the farmer, and who was not an advocate for the death penalty for chicken killers.

  18. “slightly hypocritic on at least one issue”

    And the understatement of the year award goes to…SixSigma

  19. “Studds should have been forced out too. So should William Jefferson.” And Congressman Crane, the Republican who received exactly the same punishment as Studds.

    Also, Jefferson was stripped of his committee seat by his party, as opposed to Delay, who continued to hold onto his after his indictment.

    There is certainly a difference between how Studds (D) and Crane (R) were treated 25 years ago vs. how Foley was treated this year.

    25 years ago, the Congressional leadership took steps to sanction them immediately upon learning about their behavior. Today, Hastert and his team ignored and covered up the scandal for years, taking action only when there was political danger.

    And 25 years ago, the sanction meeted out to the two was less severe than what Foley would have been in for if he had tried to stay on.

  20. Yeah – it should’ve read “slightly hypocritical on at least one issue” but hopefully the point remains.

  21. If Hastert was covering up pedophilia, he’s gotta go.

    Unless Congress is hiring middle school pages now, I don’t think we’re going to see any evidence of “pedophilia”.

  22. If Hastert was covering up pedophilia, he’s gotta go. Studds should have been forced out too. So should William Jefferson. There’s the difference.

    Foley was ousted because he’s totally unelectable. I can hardly congratulate the Republican leadership for removing a completely unelectable congressman right before the election.

    The major difference between the Foley scandal and the Studds/Jefferson scandals is a high level coverup, and that’s a pretty important if you value political accountability. Hastert and the GOP could have claimed the moral highground if they had yanked Foley before the press discovered Foley’s secrets. It looks like they had that chance, but they dropped the ball. Even if Hastert didn’t ‘know’ everything, he certainly knew enough that he should have investigated, but he turned the other way. The Studds/Jefferson scandals just aren’t relevant to this discussion — coverup is the name of the game, and covering up a crime is much worse than allowing voters to decide.

    About Jefferson, yes, he should be removed from office. But this isn’t about Jefferson, and nothing in the Jefferson scandal indicates a high-level coverup. We could about also talk about Bob Ney, but what would be the point? He graciously dropped his re-election bid… as soon at it became clear he was unelectable, just like Foley. So what?

  23. All over academia, Logic 101 teachers are finding it laughably easy to find examples of the “Tu quoque” fallacy to share with their students.

  24. 194 years ago my ancestors burned down Washington.

    Do you need us to drop by once more?

    [Offer valid only if one of your B-52s has a little ‘accident’ over Ottawa.]

  25. test

  26. 194 years ago my ancestors burned down Washington.

    As I recall that was revenge for my ancestors burning down a town that at the time was known as York. Since then the name has changed and it’s grown some.

    I don’t think any of us want a repeat of that little give ‘n’ take.

    Actually it would’ve had to be my Pennsylvania and New Jersey ancestors since my Massachusetts ancestors were camped in Buffalo refusing to cross the Niagara River.

  27. Oddly, the Joe Barton missive does not mention the Republicans in Congress passing the “No Child Left Behind” law.

    I do think Mark Foley voted for No Child Left Behind.

  28. “Today our Speaker, Dennis Hastert, is suddenly surrounded by a besieging army, but of a different sort. It is not a military army, but a political and ideological army of the left, demanding his unconditional political surrender. We, the House Republican Conference, ironically a little over 200 strong, have a decision to make, just like the defenders of the Alamo some 170 years ago. We can cross the line and stand with our Speaker in defense of conservative values and common decency, or we can retreat.”

    I often wonder where people get their moral base.
    People boldly asserting plain wrong doing is right. (covering up evidence, being one example)
    Now it is clear to me.
    It is the Pope defense.
    Played to a tee in Boston with the ever innocent Cardnial Law.

    No need to tell the truth, no need to seperate the wheat from the chaffe ….

    They are on the side of right and might and they will tell you what to believe

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