Jeff Kouba at Bachmann vs. Wetterling, brings up a question worth looking at: is the Foley scandal “over” from the point of immediate political benefit? I won’t get into Jeff’s analysis — that’s for Jeff to debate — but the question is a good one. Frankly, it’s one I had today.
When trying to assemble a newscast for the Current.
Face it, we’re the “short attention span theater” in this country and whether you believe the news media leads the people or the people lead the news media, the fact is that scandal only lasts until the next big story.
Don’t ask me to defend it; I can’t. I can only tell you it’s true. In fact, I know there was a “big” story out there just before the Foley incident broke, but I can’t remember what it was. Oh, wait, now I can: the Wetterling “More” ad. Big stuff in local politics right up until the moment when it wasn’t anymore.
And Foley? History. Replaced by North Korea nukes, which — by the way — will be replaced by something else pretty soon. But the Foley story has already reached the point of no understanding by the casual voter.
Want proof? Here’s what the AP ran tonight:
CAPITOL HILL (AP) – Mark Foley’s former chief of staff will tell
what he knows to the House ethics committee later this week. He’s
already on record saying he sounded the alarm about Foley to House
Speaker Dennis Hastert’s office at least back in 2003. Hastert
today says he doubts his staff covered-up anything, but says if
they did, those responsible will walk the plank.
Good story, eh? Bound to bring the Republicans down in November, right? Look closer and pretend you’re a “casual” news consumer. Notice something missing. Here’s a hint: who the heck is Mark Foley and what is it he’s supposed to have done?
Yeah, minor point. The, ummm, story. This is usually a sign that the story is now being driven by the inner-Beltway mentality. And the problem with that — if you’re a Democrat hoping to ride into office on this — is that the inner-Beltway mentality is 12 square miles surrounded by reality.
Stories written like that aren’t going to make many newscasts — it didn’t make mine.
The Foley story — from a political “points” point of view — is now over.
That’s not to say it wasn’t a good week for Democrats. It was. Patty Wetterling, in particular, was able to close a 9 point gap to a roughly 4-point.. at least on the fringes of the margin of error. But whatever bounce the Dems were likely to get from the scandal — or at least publicity about the scandal — they’ve probably already gotten. The scandal itself, is heading for the back pages.
As Stephen Colbert would say…. “moving on….”