For the GOP, when it rains it pours.  Tom DeLay, Duke Cunningham and Bob Ney, meet Mark Foley.  Resigning in disgrace and/or being indicted or convicted is becoming quite the habit with these folks.  The funny thing is that Bob Ney still hasn’t resigned in spite of his guilty plea in a corruption case; Foley is resigning over some (decidedly inappropriate and disgusting) electronic chat and email.  The Republicans still have a decent chance of retaining Ney’s seat, while they have relatively little hope of holding Foley’s.  As the Russian Tocqueville of our time says, what a country! 

With the GOP majority-led Congress already fighting high disapproval ratings in a very difficult election year, each and every safe seat counts, so it is with some interest (and not a little Schadenfreude, I’m sorry to say) that I read of the resignation of Mark Foley over his, er, ethical lapses in chatting up underage Congressional pages online.  Besides the twisted irony that a man such as this was part of the Missing and Exploited Children Caucus in the House, which has been remarked on elsewhere, the political consequences of Foley’s resignation right now are noteworthy: under Florida law, once the primary election votes have been certified, the nominee’s name cannot be removed from the ballot.  That will assuredly reduce the chances of the relative unknown who will take Foley’s place of pulling out some kind of miraculous upset.  It is impossible to build up meaningful name recognition when your name will not be on the ballot in any case.  The district has been Republican-leaning, though before the resignation it was as safe an incumbent seat as any, which makes any chance of a Democratic pick-up here a disaster for the GOP.     

After going on for some time about how the real problem in all this is how being “closeted” harms gay men, Andrew Sullivan, as only he could, concludes his response to the Foley resignation with this remarkable line: “Better to find integrity and lose a Congressional seat than never live with integrity at all.”  So where exactly in all this has Mr. Foley found “integrity”?  Is it the part where he was found out to be a liar, or where he was discovered chatting up underage boys?  Note that in the entire thing Sullivan never said a word about the attempt to sexually pursue a minor–that might raise rather unfortunate questions about the relationship between homosexuality and pederasty that Sullivan has been keen to avoid.