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Wednesday, 04 October 2006 10:17

Foley Sex Scandal is Just Tip of Republican Iceberg of Failure. Democrats Must Still Focus on the Real Issues to Win

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During his long shot 2004 presidential bid, I asked Rep. Dennis Kucinich what he thought about the calls to impeach President Bush. "Let's just vote him out," he told me. "It would be a lot easier."

We would certainly love the Rep. Mark Foley scandal to end with the punishment and banishment of all culpable individuals from Washington, including House Speaker Dennis Hastert. Yet as repugnant as the whole situation is, Foley is but a drop in the bucket in the greater significance of both the last six years and the next two.

With a month to go before the 2006 midterm elections, the media is crawling all over themselves to get the latest juicy IM or detail of who knew what, when. Now that Foley is hidden away in rehab, Democrats have spent the bulk of their attention this week seeking scalps and as much public scrutiny as possible. Meanwhile, talk about other important issues and news, like Bob Woodward's new book, State of Denial, have been all but forgotten.

Again, plenty of Republicans surely deserve their share of the blame and at least a few pink slips over their inaction. But the national need to abolish the Republican majorities in Congress stems from reasons far more numerous and important.

Remember the other atrocities going on these days as a result of Bush and his cronies?

  • Congress just gave the president the legal authority to torture people.
  • Congress just gave the president the ability to convict suspects without adequate hearings.
  • Congress just gave the president the power to monitor our private conversations without a warrant.
  • Iraq worsens by the day as terrorism, civilian deaths, and American casualties expand daily.
  • Afghanistan has collapsed on itself due to our lack of attention and has once again become safe territory for al-Qaeda and the Taliban.
  • Overextension and misuse are crippling the greatest military in the history of the world.
  • Minimum wage continues to sag at the lowest rates in decades while congressional pay soars.
  • The national debt and deficit are spiraling out of control.
  • The costs of health care have skyrocketed, making it increasingly difficult for seniors to afford medication and treatment.
  • The NSA is collecting records of every phone call made in America.
  • The reputation and image of the United States has been sullied across the world.
  • Osama bin Laden remains at large.
  • Tens of thousands of New Orleans residents remain displaced by Hurricane Katrina.

We could go on, and so could you.

The point is that the Foley scandal must be addressed, but so must the dozens of other pressing problems. Democrats should continue to fight the hard, important battles instead of just settling for the easy slam-dunk (and not just in the George Tenet sense).

The Republicans are having plenty of trouble on their own from internal squabbling, and there is no reason for Democrats to give up on the issues that already had them projected to win the House and close the gap in the Senate. We would rather think about Speaker Pelosi early next year than Speaker Boehner next week.

So let's just vote them out this November.