Saturday, October 07, 2006

Foleygate, Polls and Voter Responsibility

While newly released Newsweek poll numbers under the headline How Low Can the Republicans go? provide an encouraging lift for Democratic party supporters, there's still one month to go in this contentious campaign and practically anything can happen before that time.

The Foley scandal, thought to be the final nail in the political coffin of the GOP, is having a minimal impact compared to issues that should really be a major concern for all Americans. When it comes to Republican leadership concerns, they should have been held to account long before this election and the revelations of one man's predatory behaviour towards congressional pages covered up by the Good Ole Boys club. Those Good Ole Boys have been hiding much worse things that that.

Meanwhile, the president’s approval rating has fallen to a new all-time low for the Newsweek poll: 33 percent, down from an already anemic 36 percent in August. Only 25 percent of Americans are satisfied with the direction of the country, while 67 percent say they are not. Foley’s disgrace certainly plays a role in Republican unpopularity: 27 percent of registered voters say the scandal and how the Republican leadership in the House handled it makes them less likely to vote for a Republican Congressional candidate; but 65 percent say it won’t make much difference in determining how they vote. And Americans are equally divided over whether or not Speaker Hastert should resign over mishandling the situation (43 percent say he should, but 36 percent say he shouldn’t).

The ripple effect of Foleygate has placed more Republican seats in jeopardy with much hand-wringing being done over the reactions of so-called embarassed voters who may just choose to hide in their homes with the curtains drawn on election day rather than vote for a party that they had placed their misguided faith in for far too long thanks to slogans like 'family values'.

If the Republicans had every actually stood for that lofty concept, they wouldn't have acted like complete fucking doormats to this president as he has continued to grab as much legal power away from congress as he possibly can - strangling the life out of the people's branch of government that is supposed to act as a check and balance on his dictatorial proclivities. If there's anything Republican supporters should be emberassed about, it's that. The Foley problems are small potatoes compared to the complete lack of oversight of the so-called war on terror, torture and the illegal Iraq war in which tens of thousands have died.

In the end, perhaps Foleygate was the final straw that broke the camel-in-denial's back for some of them, but that it would take a sexually-based scandal to possibly bring down this rubber-stamping bunch of spineless Republicans in congress really is a blot on what democracy and the people's power to direct their country's leadership ought to mean - especially during a time of war.

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