Friday, October 06, 2006

New Offices




The Congressman Mark Foley scandal in the US House of Representatives has dominated media outlets most of this week for various reasons including -- Foley's alcoholism, House Pages being pursued sexually, and arguments between Republican leaders regarding who knew what when.

I have to admit that I shed a few tears of joy in November 1994 when the Republicans finally won control of the US House after nearly 50 years -- 50 years!!! -- of Democratic Party control. I distinctly remember Congressman Jim Nussle (Republican of Iowa) being quoted months later as he worked on the transition to Republican control as saying, "........we are discovering offices we never knew existed..........." Of course, if you are in power for 50 years like the Democrats were why bother letting the minority party use "your House".

Another moment in US House history that I remember well is the combined House Bank/House Post Office financial scandal during the 1991 to 1994 timeframe. These now defunct functions of the US House essentially provided supplemental income for House Members via a slush fund whereby postage stamps allocated to House Members' offices could be "exchanged" for cold, hard cash which Members could simply pocket and walk away -- perhaps to buy Senator Ted Kennedy a drink!!

So it was the House Bank/House Post Office -- http://politicalresources.com/members_misbehaving.htm - that put the final nails in the Democratic coffin which led to their loss of power in the 1994 elections after nearly 50 years of essentially total power over the chamber's business. So now we are 12 years into Republican control of the US House and I see essentially no way the Republicans will retain control of the House for another 2 years since the "wink and look the other way culture" of the Bank/Post Office years have apparently returned in the form of "go ahead and flirt with the underage pages Mark since a gay drunk is entertaining". There is nothing like homophobia to keep such actions buried in the House Closet.

Speaker Hastert might survive this Foley scandal but I fear the Democrats will get all of their office space returned in January 2007.

30 days until Election Day,

Todd

1 comment:

jdsqrd said...

I believe the Iowa Legislature had a similar page scandal in the late 70s/early 80s - I remember being called a "page" in 5th grade (or there-abouts) was considered an insult of high magnitude. Shows how ignorant we were at that age; to inflict real verbal damage we should have used the word "congressman" instead.