Fasten your seat belt, it's going to be a bumpy ride. Republican operatives have yet another conspiracy theory to rationalize the exposure of disgraced Congressman Mark Foley: Blame it on the gays. Josh Marshall at Talking Points Memo gives an early heads up that his sources indicate the last gambit of Speaker Dennis Hastert and House Republican "leadership will be to blame the Foley debacle on a cabal of gay staffers who hid and/or enabled Rep. Foley's behavior for years. The idea being that they are to blame rather than the leadership."
· Much of the smear will begin around Kirk Fordham, who is openly gay. Fordham was Foley's longtime chief of staff, and, until yesterday, Rep. Tom Reynolds' (R-NY) chief of staff. That is, until he was fired. In 2003, Fordham told Hastert's then-Chief of Staff Scott Palmer there was a problem with Foley and the pages. Fordham's revelations threaten to take down the entire House leadership. Predictably, Hastert and Palmer say Fordham is lying.
· Mike Rogers at BlogActive has documented that as late as Tuesday evening, Foley was on AOL using the now-infamous MaF54 screen name. Far right activists have blamed him for the Foley scandal—possibly because he began reporting Foley's double life years ago.
· Think Progress reports more anti-gay smears from the far-right.
· Wall Street Journal editorial does the Newt Gingrich and claims House leaders did not want to gay bash: "In today’s politically correct culture, it’s easy to understand how senior Republicans might well have decided they had no grounds to doubt Mr. Foley merely because he was gay and a little too friendly in emails. Some of those liberals now shouting the loudest for Mr. Hastert’s head are the same voices who tell us that the larger society must be tolerant of private lifestyle choices, and certainly must never leap to conclusions about gay men and young boys."
· Family Research Council's Tony Perkins appeared on Hardball to parrot the usual right-wing misinformation that "clear research shows" gays are more likely to abuse children.
· But as John Walsh—host of America’s Most Wanted and a child safety advocate—said on Larry King Live the Foley case is not about being gay: "That was always the issue on Capitol Hill and I think that his response in the past was that “That’s my business and would you ask President Bush or would you ask, you know, chairman [sic] Harry Reid if he was straight?” I think in the 21st century, people have a right to keep their sexuality, you know, to themselves. But, you know, making overt advances to 16-year-old boys from a 52-year-old man is nothing about gay. It’s about pedophilia."
Hastert Warned About Foley Two Years Ago (ABC News)
Heads Up (Talking Points Memo)
Conservatives Respond To Foley Scandal (Think Progress)
John Walsh Rebuts Anti-Gay Smears (Think Progress)
Perkins: "Homosexual Men More Likely ..." (Media Matters)
Previously:Vast "Liberal Conspiracy" (Rod 2.0) Repubs Wanted to Avoid "Gay Bashing" (Rod 2.0) GOP Leaders in Foley Cover-Up (Rod 2.0) Congressman Resigns (Rod 2.0) GOP Rep. Emails 16 YO Boy (Rod 2.0)