Saturday, October 21, 2006

Surprising Fall

The Science Museum of Virginia's clock
When one political party has control of both houses of Congress and the White House, it should be hard to blame catastrophic failures of planning and/or execution on the other party, the party not in power. But until quite recently the Republicans seemed to be pulling it off, anyway.

Some of us have been looking at the mounting budget deficits, the foreign policy debacles, the pathetic Homeland Security Department, and wondering for a good while why any fair-minded person would continue to support the Bush administration’s agenda. As we watched the scandals of Jack Abramoff, Randy “Duke” Cunningham, Tom DeLay, Lewis “Scooter” Libby, Robert Ney, Ralph Reed, et al, parade by, we scratched our heads and wondered what the hell it would take.

Well, it took the hellacious scandal of former Florida congressman Mark Foley. So, as the days grow shorter time may finally be on the Democrats side this fall.

Foley resigned without warning on Sept. 29, when news surfaced of his record of flirting -- via electronic messages -- with boys serving as congressional pages. Now that sleazy revelation, along with evidence of a cover-up by his GOP colleagues, seems to have been the straw that broke the camel’s back. In the weeks since Foley’s fall from grace, the polls indicate a lot of folks have at long last lost their patience with the GOP’s blame-shifting denials.

Update: See the Washington Post’s in-depth article by Amy Goldstein and Elizabeth Williamson, “How Foley Skirted Rules To Pursue Relationships.”

In spite of the national trend, on Thursday well-heeled Republicans converged on the Science Museum of Virginia, located on the rim of Richmond’s Fan District, to applaud President George Bush’s appearance. Bush was there to praise the incumbent in Virginia’s senatorial race, Sen. George Allen, and raise a little money.

The crowd that showed reportedly dropped something like a half-million dollars into Allen’s war chest.

Allen might have avoided being pulled down by sinking GOP approval ratings, in general, but he’s generated his own disapproval numbers in Virginia with a series of gaffes and clumsy damage control episodes. Now Allen is locked in a tight race with Democrat Jim Webb, a political novice. In fact, Webb has the momentum.

Thus, this year’s October Surprise -- so far -- has been the nosedive into a freefall that Republicans running for reelection have taken this month. Time is running out. Will Bush’s master strategist Karl Rove produce a trump card, his own October Surprise, in time enough to save the day?

So, as a ploy, no one should be all that surprised to see the official White House Fear Code color raised from yellow to orange.

Tick, tick, tick...
Photo: SLANT

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