What's with these trial balloons for an "independent" ethics Commission for Congress?
As the excellent Glenn and everybody in the world except the perps (the "willfully ignorant" Republican leadership) and the people who should be bringing the perp's protectors and enablers to justice (the Democrats), the House Ethics report on Mark "Don't forget to measure for me" Foley's pursuit of the young pages in his care is a travesty. Ruth Marcus opines:
Pelosi should ask herself: What would she think if the pages whom Foley pursued with his smarmy e-mails and even worse instant messages were her own children?
Would she be satisfied with the ethics committee's conclusion that no House rules were broken by any of the lawmakers or staffers who had ample warning of Foley's problem and failed to do anywhere near enough to stop him? As a parent, does she think that their actions complied with the rule requiring members and staff to conduct themselves "at all times in a manner which shall reflect creditably on the House of Representatives?"
These are good questions. So, what's the best way to hold Foley and his protectors accountable?
Ironically, the committee's performance could be a blessing in disguise for those who believe -- as I do -- that the ethics process ought to be strengthened with some kind of independent investigative arm. As the 110th Congress takes up the ethics mess that the 109th failed to fix, the question of adding an independent ethics enforcement process is going to be front and center.
The ethics committee's performance on the Foley matter reinforces the need for such a change -- and for the new speaker to use her "mother-of-five" voice, loudly and firmly, to get it done.
How does this conclusion follow from the premises of the article? Because the Republicans didn't investigate their own, we need an independent process outside Congress? Why not let the normal course of legislative action proceed, and let the Democrats do it?
And where is the down side for Democrats in holding pedophiles accountable? We know Democrats were excluded from the process, and when the Republicans warned pages about Foley, they didn't warn Democrats (leaving them open to abuse!)
Republican abuse of power is a seamless garment. It's all about the abuse of the weak by the strong.
That goes for Mark Foley preying on pages, and it goes for Christianist officers preying/praying on their subordinates.
The war is an abuse of power, torture is abuse of power, warrantless surveillance is abuse of power, signing statements are abuse of power, the theory of the unitary executive is abuse of power.
Abuse of power is the essence of Republican rule, because that's what authoritarians do. Abuse of power is in their hearts.
So, I don't see that holding Foley accountable is a "distraction" at all. In fact, making people think "abusive" when they hear "Republican" is at the heart of destroying the Republicans thirty-year campaign to replace Constitutional governance with authoritarian rule.
What I can't understand is why the Dems don't see this. One reason, and I hate even to think this, could that some Democrats were involved in the same kind of behavior. But so what? Hold them accountable, too. Nothing could demonstrate more clearly the difference between the two parties than that. A second reason, and I hate even more to think this, is that the Democrats have bought into Republican's authoritarianism, and only wish they held the whip hand (Hillary, because after putting the word VRWC into circulation, she's gotten all to comfortable with it).
And surely--even on the most crassly pragmatic political grounds, Rahm--the Dems must see that an "independent" process is the last thing that we want? Sweet Jeebus, the last time we had an independent counsel, the Republicans abused their power to bring about the Clinton impeachment.
Do we really want this to happen again? Nancy, I love you, but WTF? Please, hold Mark Foley accountable through normal, Constitutional, established procedures!