Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Unsatisfactory: Mark Foley is a sick puppy, we all know that. Instead of just accepting this, Republicans feel they need to mount some sort of counterattack. So they complain about how this is a last-minute surprise before the upcoming midterm elections.

Something like this seems to happen every election year. It usually involves a legitimate scandal, such as this one with Foley and his sexual messages with teenage boys. The only defense the other side can muster is to say the accusers are using such-and-such as a political ploy.

Republicans have already tried this several times this year, and it's still early October. They accused Bob Woodward, whose reporting previously made President Bush look good, of being a partisan hack who unleashed his new book on Iraq just in time for the election. Now some conservatives are accusing Democrats and the media of withholding information about the Foley exchanges in time for the election -- as if the Democrats created this mess.

That's just pathetic. News breaks all during the year. When it does, politicians are expected to deal with it. We shouldn't hold all breaking news the weeks before an election. That's when it's most important.

And sometimes the media actually does wait. The New York Times investigated Bush's wiretap program for a year before going to print. The paper could have rushed it before the presidential election, but instead decided to get the facts right.

Democrats have made the same lame argument for "election year" votes in Congress. Republicans demand votes on immigration reform and funding for Iraq, and someone complains that it is an election-year game. Every other year is an election year. You can't expect Congress to do nothing for half the time (although that wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing).


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