GOP Seeks To Make Foleygate Gay Inquisition genre: Gaylingual & Hip-Gnosis & Polispeak & Six Degrees of Speculation

Smoke and mirrors strategy

Never underestimate the ability of the GOP to transform scandal into spin aimed to obfuscate fact and shift blame. The latest effort involves the revelations that Republican Congressman Mark Foley sent solicitous emails and instant messages to underage male pages. In the course of the near two week old scandal, the GOP has crafted a message designed to infer that a group of gay staffers may have been responsible for shielding Mr. Foley's actions from the scrutiny of those who could punish his actions. The Chicago Tribune elaborates on this GOP spin in a new article.

More signs of discontent among the GOP's core social conservative supporters also emerged, with a prominent conservative activist questioning in an article whether gay Republican staffers and members of Congress were working behind the scenes to undercut the political agenda of religious conservatives.

Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, wrote in a Web newsletter that the scandal "raises another plausible question for values voters: has the social agenda of the GOP been stalled by homosexual members and/or staffers?"

Several key figures involved in the scandal and its handling are gay or linked to gay causes. Foley has acknowledged he is gay. Kolbe is gay. Trandahl, 42, is a board member for the gay-rights group Human Rights Campaign.

Noting that, Perkins continued, "The GOP will have to decide whether it wants to be the party that defends the traditional moral and family values that our nation was built upon and directed by for two centuries. Put another way, does the party want to represent values voters, or Mark Foley and friends?"

I've previously suggested that the leaders of the evangelical voting block and GOP strategists, under the direction of Karl Rove, work in concert to achieve their individual and mutually beneficial goals. I believe the remarks of Perkins are offered with the approval of the hierarchy of the GOP and are intended to achieve two goals. One, to absolve high level members of the Republican Party from fault (particularly Dennis Hastert) and two, to reframe the issue into advantageous campaign rhetoric designed to motivate their all important conservative religious base.

Perkins comments are specifically designed to infer that the real problem is the gay lifestyle and that the only fault that rests with the GOP leadership has been their overly compassionate approach that has included employing a number of gay staffers. The exposure of Foley as gay along with the revelation that numerous staffers are also gay has the potential to damage the GOP's relationship with evangelicals and now that their disingenuous rhetoric has exposed their underlying hypocrisy, they are prepared to toss these gay staffers under the bus to retain their all too important voting block.

Patrick Sammon, executive vice president of Log Cabin Republicans, a gay Republican organization, said the connection was spurious.

"The anti-gay groups are trying to spin this into some kind of gay cover-up," Sammon said. "But I don't think any of this had anything to do with sexual orientation."

I would caution Democrats to temper their optimism that this issue will continue to provide an advantage for the Party as we approach the November election. I view the reported bipartisan effort on the part of the ethics committee that included a somewhat unprecedented news conference may be part and parcel of a GOP strategy. Note that Hastert and the vast majority of Republican operatives are now touting the investigation and supporting its efforts to provide a rapid response to the scandal. I suspect that the plan is to shift blame to a number of GOP gay staffers in order to absolve elected Republicans and to reframe the scandal as an advantageous campaign talking that reunites the evangelicals with the GOP in a belief that they must oppose the gay agenda.

The bottom line is that the GOP isn't going to stand by and watch their constituent base fall apart. With that in mind, look forward to the GOP doing whatever it takes to turn this scandal into an opportunity to reassure these voters that they are united in their committment to a values agenda.

Daniel DiRito | October 11, 2006 | 9:24 AM
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1 On October 11, 2006 at 8:41 PM, Sonja Mitchell wrote —

Reprofitans vs. Demorats. Hard choice; however, a Demorat sweep would at least interrupt the corrupt inertia of the past 6 years. It is time the people divided and conquered their own governance. With a new balance in DC, we will have two years to find a solid, honest, and pro-people independant to elect for president. Is Ross Peirot still available? Ross, can you hear me?

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