I had heard from a prominent Democrat that things would change when Congress let out for October. The conversation would go from Iran to Iraq, voters would think less about terrorism and more about the war, and ultimately things would sway in the Democrats' favor. I think luck may have outdone forsight this go around, but my Democratic buddy could not have been more on the money in terms of who would have the upper hand.
Before Foleygate, or Pagegate, or Pedophiliagate - or whatever you want to call it - the Rs had been on a roll. Terrorism and Iran had been front and center, Bush had seen a slight bounce, and GOP strategists starting talking about staying in control of the House after Nov. 7. Things were looking up for our conservative colleagues, and who knows, maybe they'd be able to throw in the capture of Osama as the icing on the cake.
Unfortunately for the party of family values, the house of cards came tumbling down this week. It looked like Bob Woodard was to be the culprit who pulled the rug out. Then came along Mark Foley, who, in a weaker moment, found it appealing to come onto a male page who probably hasn't yet even held a Schick in his hand. The excuses were good: first it was alcohol (which personally I believe, because if he is a Repugnant, he can't be that stupid), then it was molestation by a holy man in a robe; next it will be because Bill Clinton and Air America convinced him it was OK. But Mark Foley is small potatoes. He's (harrassed) just another page in the chapter. I argue the true culprit will be Denny Hastert.
Coach, if you will, and the GOP House leadership, is in deep doo doo. With just a touch more evidence, it will become apparent that Coach's team was aware of the problem, yet decided it was low on the priority chart. That's not good. What's worse for the GOP is that the media will put terrorism and immigration aside for a minute and focus on the fact that GOP leadership knew - without a doubt - that one of their own was engaging in e-pedophilia. If things head down this road (and the AP and Fox News actually get Hastert's and Foley's affiliation correct), Kissell, Shuler, et al will be smiling with the biggest shit eating grin you've ever seen. Vernon Robinson will remain a joke, and the control of the Senate will all of a sudden be up in the air. Ah, glorious times.
For those candidates down ballot, it will be a war of the winds. While Ty Harrell, Greer Beatty, Ed Ridpath, and others within the N&O readership(no other paper has covered the lottery story to the necessary threshold) are likely glad that the rotting core of the national GOP continues to come to light, their attention is also turned to the fact that the (mis)dealings of the state Democratic leadership are under intense scrutiny. Believe what you will about innocence and guilt, there is no doubt that Kevin Geddings, a favorite among the Democratic establishment, is a dirty rotten scoundrel. The verdicts handed down by the legal courts may be not guilty, but the court of public opinion has already declared something smells fishy and it doesn't like it.
Which story lasts longer - the ineptitude of national GOP leadership or the greasiness of the state Democratic leadership - will ultimately decide the fate of several down ballot candidates within the N&O's readership. It's almost a battle of voter supression. Do Dems turn out even though their team looks to have greased the skids for the lottery? Do Rs go to the polls even though their team tried to sweep pedophilia under the rug? These next couple of weeks will bear the answer. Until then, candidates can only cast their sails in hopes to catch the prevailing wind.