From the Ministry of Truth

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.

Charles Pierce says,

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?

12 thoughts on “From the Ministry of Truth

  1. Foley? Didn’t Florida have a family values Congress critter by that name who had a fondness for Congressional pages. You know, the one who did the disappearing act when his sexual preferences came to light.. He left so fast the I didn’t get to remember his name, but I think it was something like Foley. Boy, it’s not easy remembering things as you grow old.

  2. Except Tom Foley’s day wasn’t that genteel, either.

    Yeah, it wasn’t that genteel in those days, but at least the racism was suppressed. Maybe because they didn’t have an object to direct their racism toward at the time, but now it’s risen to the surface.
    I might be a little hyper sensitive in my observation of the current undercurrent of racism going on in the political arena. Today I read where a Democrat representative from Wisconsin by the name of Nolan made a criticism of Obama for the failure of the ACA health. gov website.
    He made a statement to the affect that Obama should ‘man-up” and admit the rollout is a failure. Again, it could be an over sensitivity or perhaps a lack of understanding on my part of the common usage of language. It seems to me that the implication of telling another male to man-up is to imply that they are a boy.
    Even if that particular understanding is wrong it would still be considered an unfounded attack on Obama’s character in whatever context it was delivered. Had that statement come from one of the more overt racists I might not have been surprised by it, but coming from a Democrat it made me think….What’s behind those words? And for some reason racism popped into my mind.

  3. Swami, you’re thinking of Mark Foley from Ohio. He was the last nail in the coffin of what was a horrible mid-term election cycle for the repugs in 2006. I heard about the comments from Nolan but didn’t think they were racist any more than there’s a general disrespect for Obama. A legitimacy issue, if you will, which I think goes back to race.

  4. Hmm…
    I must have missed all of Tom Foley’s appearances on the Sunday gabfests, and him being interviewed on all of the news networks and channels to get his opinion on the temperature of today’s politics.

    It would only have been fair, to have another former SotH on, right?
    I mean, every time I turn on one of the Sunday gabfests over the last 15 years, there’s Ol’ Newt, opining like he was some kind of a prophet, instead of the worst kind of kind of immoral weasel and degenerate politician.
    And now he’s on CNN.

    If anyone ever wonders why I don’t believe in a God, I submit that as evidence.

  5. Buckyblue ….I think you are incorrect about Mark Foley being from Ohio. I know Ohio has turned out its fair share of degenerate politicians, but it’s got a long way to go before it can match the level of hypocrisy that any Florida politician can generate. Hypocrite by birth, Florida hypocrite by the grace of God. It could be that the nearer to the equator a politician gets the slimier they become. Sort of metaphysical. At least it seems that way.

  6. Couple of Googling clicks and found out you’re right, Swami. Could have sworn he was from Ohio. Maybe I was thinking of Bob Ney, who served time for corruption. I don’t think Foley served any jail time since he was very, very careful what he texted and when he met the pages for some further ‘Congressional instruction’, shall we say.

    • When I lived in Cincinnati, ca. 1980, I remember my representative in the House was some right-wing anti-abortion “family values” Reaganite. Turns out he had a proclivity for groping young women in the congressional elevators. He was not re-elected, I don’t think. Don’t recall his name.

  7. Well, here we see Matthew Lyon and Roger Griswold trying to murder each other on the House floor in 1798. That wasn’t very genteel.

    It’s a common right-wing myth, I’ve noticed, that our political and cultural divisions are of recent origin and are the work of ungrateful degenerates who somehow suddenly appeared in our midst. I remember reading a quote somewhere from said N. Leroy Gingrich–who is allegedly a historian, let us note–that Americans used to basically agree about things, that we all shared common values and goals, until the filthy hippies came along in the 1960s and ruined it all.

  8. Newt was shagging Callista when he was Speaker of the House. You’d think the rug burns would be worst of it for her…but actually the cost of replacing torn panty hose was.

  9. “Newt was shagging Callista when he was Speaker of the House”

    Why does everyone remember the Blue Dress, but that little gem is forgiven?

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