The death of former Speaker Tom Foley has inspired all kinds of nostalgia for the good old days of Congress when legislators were gentle-persons and loved to reach out across the aisle, as opposed to what we have today, which is something like World Wrestling Entertainment but with flabby old men in suits.
Except Tom Foley’s day wasn’t that genteel, either. Steve M catches Brian Williams revising history, and comments,
Foley lost his speakership when an unknown named George Nethercutt beat him for his House seat in the Gingrich/Contract with America Republican wave election of 1994, which was not exactly a campaign full of sweetness and light.
Yes, every obituary of Tom Foley says that he worked extremely well across the aisle. But he did not “serve in a different era.” He served at the dawn of the godawful era we’re living in now.
Steve rightly points out that Foley’s career was demolished, possibly fatally, by some disgusting ratfking out of the office of N. Leroy Gingrich, Definer of civilization’s rules and Leader (perhaps) of the civilizing forces. Foley got fag-baited, and the fag-baiting ended only when Barney Frank, in one of the truly awesome examples of I-Don’t-Give-A-Fk congressional oratory, threatened to out a whole bunch of closeted gay Republican congresscritters unless Gingrich’s people knocked that shit off. Shit was forthwith knocked off, but the damage was done. Gingrich, of course, is now so respected a figure in our politics that CNN went out of its way to give him a gig. CNN is run by moral centipedes.
This kind of swill is reaching high tide these days.
Orwell imagined a totalitarian state rewriting history, but we don’t need a totalitarian state for that. Humans lie to themselves and each other all the time. But it would be really nice if news media at least made an effort to keep things straight, y’know?