From Foley to Field

I was quite worried about the Democratic base after the torture debacle last week, but Mark Foley's flirtations with teenage boys has created a great symbol to showcase the anger, the frustration, and the bitterness that Democrats and Independents feel towards the current Republican leadership.  It's not just that they are corrupt, or criminally incompetent.  It is that they are morally and ethically perverted, both in their personal behavior and in the way their gang-like cult covers up for the worst among them.

But let's get to 2006, and a subject we don't cover much because it's almost impossible to figure out what's going on, the field campaigns.  Field is weird, because it's a mixture of message and logistics, carrying the right messages to the right people through the right social channels.  It's something we used to be really good at, but between 1988-1992 the party stopped paying for good field because the media consultants took over.  From 1998 onward, there has been positive movement on the field front, in fits and starts.

My question is, have you seen a pickup in the field from the Foley debacle?  The netroots page crashed $1 million this week, so we're certainly noticing an uptick in activism from our end.  But I'm curious about what's going on 'out there'.  I know there are field people reading this blog, who are writing mailers, doing voter targeting, working phone banks, cutting walk lists, etc.  You are doing the real work at this point, the important work.  Has this scandal altered the landscape for you?  Are you seeing more volunteers, more donations, different targets, higher voter registration, increased or decreased interest, more/less attendance at events, etc?

Email me at matt at, or put it in the comments.

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Foley's Follies, Public Coverups And Moral Panics

Cross-posed from Patterns That Connect

For almost a year--no, make that five years, maybe more, the GOP's top leadership hid a sex-scandal from the American people, involving Congressman Mark Foley cyberstalking House pages.  Now, over the past three days, the GOP's top leadership has been involved in a public coverup of that longterm private coverup.  It's not the first example we've seen of a public coverup by the GOP.  Indeed, the seemingly paradoxical notion--a public act of concealment--dates back, in it's current incarnation, to Gerald Ford's Watergate pardon of Richard Nixon, the man who made him President.  But unlike most GOP coverups, this one is about SEX, and for that reason, if no other, it has to be handled extremely delicately.  Like a finicky explosive, it could easily blow up without warning.

Woops!  It already has. But the GOP is still hoping against hope that they can control this thing, somehow, someway. Which means it's a good time for some historical and cultural perspective.

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FL-13: Tom Reynolds Came to Town Today

Greetings from Jennings HQ in sunny Sarasota, Florida.

My name is JR, and I'm with the Christine Jennings for Congress campaign.  I'm a longtime poster at dKos, and a longtime lurker on MyDD, and I signed up tonight to let you know about what's going on in what's shaping up to be the most expensive House race in America.

By now we all know that Rep. Tom Reynolds, head of the National Republican Campaign Committee, has known about Rep. Mark Foley's excruciatingly improper relationships with House Pages for months.

We know that, after learning of Foley's indiscretions and failing to alert proper authorities or take appropriate steps to protect the 15 and 16 year-old Pages, Rep. Reynolds accepted a $100,000 contribution for the NRCC from Rep. Foley's personal PAC.

So, given that Rep. Reynolds is clearly implicated in a scheme to protect a predatory Congressman at the expense of the safety of children who wanted to serve their country, one would think that perhaps having him at a political fundraiser might not be the best idea.

Tell that to Vern Buchanan.

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NY-26 Jack Davis, Reynolds' opponent, speaks out

Rep. Tom Reynolds (NY-26) is the Chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) and one of the people who knew about Mark Foley's emails to 16 year old Congressional interns before they were made public.  Reynolds is locked in a tight race with Democratic-Working Families Party candidate Jack Davis.

Here's a statement from the Davis campaign's Communications Director Curtis Ellis:

"No issue is more important than the safety and security of our children. Like all of us, Tom Reynolds has a moral obligation to protect our children. Reynolds should have been demanding accountability from Mark Foley. Instead, he was demanding a $100,000 campaign contribution - and took it."

More from Davis after the jump.

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Congress, Settle Your Unfinished Ethics Business

Most people who follow the news on Capitol Hill are generally not surprised by what they see and hear in the news. But the developing story around former Rep. Mark Foley, R-FL, who resigned Sept. 29 after news broke that he had sent sexually graphic e-mails and instant messages to a House page, left me even more shocked.

First, there's the spectacle of the co-chairman of the Congressional Missing and Exploited Children's Caucus talking about masturbation with a boy less than one-third Foley's age.

But the more disturbing thing is that several members in the House Republican leadership apparently knew about Foley's actions LAST YEAR, and did virtually NOTHING to stop it. Those members include House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-IL, House Majority Leader John Boehner, R-OH; and Reps. Thomas Reynolds, R-NY (the chairman of the House Republican Congressional Committee) and John Shimkus, R-IL, who heads the House Page Board.

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