Compare and Contrast

I wrote about the media’s steadfast insistence on keeping the Eric Massa story alive a little while back. Although I think there are some interesting parallels that bear mentioning (which I’ll do in a second), I don’t want to let the MSM off the hook just yet. There are also some important differences between these new developments on the Democratic side and past behavior from Republicans.

For starters, just look at the statements from Pelosi’s office in the AP article. They’re freely making themselves available to questions. Nadeam Elshami, a spokesman for Pelosi, said ‘members of Pelosi’s staff have already met with and fully cooperated with the committee’. The right, aided and abetted by cable news, would love to make this a juicy scandal so they can point to the Dems and say, “see? Their indiscretions are no worse than ours! Yargle bargle!” It’s not a ringing endorsement of their own behavior but it sounds pretty good in a sound byte.

But let’s take a look at how Republican leadership responded when a similar story broke in their own caucus.

When the Mark Foley scandal first appeared in 2006, then-Speaker Dennis Hastert denied knowing anything about what Mark was sexting from the cloakroom. Of course, Hastert retired after that term, after defending Foley the whole time and later being accused of holding up a corruption probe. He was, all in all, mired in controversy throughout his career and retired in disgrace. The Republican congress he presided over was wallowing in filth itself, but that’s another story. The point is that his first inclination was to deny, evade, lie, lie, or lie again. Sound familiar? Sure Mark Foley was forced out and Denny retired, but it was a web of evasion from the get go and part of a pattern that seems to have evolved into full-blown psychosis on the right. Look at the impunity they show when they just lie their asses off now. On the other hand, Pelosi and Hoyer seem to be working their asses off to help the American people.

Now, if the FBI investigation turns up wrongdoing, then I will be the first to call for consequences. I made light of the Massa situation but I don’t endorse the behavior or the conduct at all. I’m also not going to argue that corruption isn’t bi-partisan. The traps and trails coming from K Street and donors can infect both houses. But the two responses say a lot about who has faith that government doesn’t have to be that way. It may be inept at times and shrewd at others but you can’t say Democrat leadership over the past two years hasn’t tried to to do something other than lie. In fact, I’d put the Democratic majority’s record up against the Bush-Boehner  years any day. You can never repeat enough who caused the problems this country faces right now and it isn’t the Democrats. The piles of lies told in the last decade by the GOP (and continuing until this very moment) could form a shield over the earth so large and so thick so as to wall us off from the universe as we know it and ensure our complete subsistence on the flesh of our neighbors until all that was left was an inky, cold black hole of rock and deceit. Or something.

We’ll have to wait and see what happens with the investigation but I put odds on there being much different conclusion with Nancy Pelosi and a lot less, well, lying.

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