Eyes off the prize

The sentiments I’ve been thinking about the Foley scandal have been eloquently voiced here by Barbara of Mahablog. As I said, the most critical issue of the day, in my view, is that our Senate Majority leader has just told us that he wants to invite the people who harbored those who attacked us into the Afghan government, followed closely if not a toss-up with the revelation that Incompetetentalleezza Rice seemed to be warned about an imminent A.Q. attack on the United States two months before it happened (in addition to the August warning we already knew about). (I consider what this Congress has done to us all re: habeas corpus and torture to trump all of this, but, of course… no one else does, so we’ll just move on to what the voters think.)
In short, those stories are “urgent and important”. Why? Because they relate to the national security theme, that voters have shown, in their view, trumps (if not highjacks) all other issues. And on these critical issues, we now KNOW– as in for sure, beyond a reasonable doubt– that the Republican approach under GW Bush has been (1) incompetent (we lost the war on terror, according to Frist, and should just give up to the Taliban in Afghanistan) and (2) duplicitous (Rice had always insisted to us that the 9-11 attacks were absolutely unforeseeable, and she and her boss did everything to mislead us about the state of their knowledge). Those two facts are now undeniable.
So… as Barbara observes… how to get the public to stop thinking about those two key facts? Throw a Congressman (or two… or all of them…) under under a bus, with the only thing the media (not necessarily the public, but certainly the media) cares about: a sex scandal. And a stupid, unimportant sex scandal at that.
Thing is, it might be urgent, but it’s not important. It reinforces the bogus priorities of our media (and too many of our people). In this case, the subject, ex-Congressman Foley (who Fox News has occasionally put up graphics depicting as “Rep. Marc Foley (D-Fla.”, which not only misleads as to his party, but to his status as a Congressman, which is no longer the case), is just that: out of Congress. He will probably cost his party that seat, which had heretofore been considered safe. And insofar as he has taken key GOP leaders (like Hastert and Reynolds) and forced them into defending their conduct in this
asinine scandal rather than toward campaigning, may well cost the GOP the House. Or not.
But think about what is not getting talked about: the Bush Administration and the Republicans are neither competent nor trustworthy enough to lead us in the war on terror, or protect us from terrorists. Their incompetence and duplicity contributed to our getting attacked, and their incompetence and duplicity led to our failure to defeat them (and our imminent surrender in Afghanistan). And that’s more important to me than all the salacious e-mails and IMs ever sent by Congressman Foley. (On this one, I suspect the voters may agree with me.)