Digby has captured a couple of clear examples of standard plays from the Republican playbook intended to shift blame. First up is Drudge:
Clip #1: And if anything, these kids are less innocent -- these 16 and 17 year-old beasts...and I've seen what they're doing on YouTube and I've seen what they're doing all over the internet -- oh yeah -- you just have to tune into any part of their pop culture. You're not going to tell me these are innocent babies. Have you read the transcripts that ABC posted going into the weekend of these instant messages, back and forth? The kids are egging the Congressman on! The kids are trying to get this out of him. We haven't got the whole story on this.
Clip #2: You could say "well Drudge, it's abuse of power, a congressman abusing these impressionable, young 17 year-old beasts, talking about their sex lives with a grown man, on the internet." Because you have to remember, those of us who have seen some of the transcripts of these nasty instant messages. This was two ways, ladies and gentlemen. These kids were playing Foley for everything he was worth. Oh yeah. Oh, I haven't...they were talking about how many times they'd masturbated, how many times they'd done it with their girlfriends this weekend...all these things and these "innocent children." And this "poor" congressman sitting there typing, "oh am I going to get any," you know?
To paraphrase Drudge, the kids propositioned by Foley are "beasts" and "their pop culture" is responsible. They led Foley on, they wanted it, and they brought it on themselves. No word on whether Drudge also thinks sexy clothing had anything to do with the fact that Foley couldn't tell a tenth-grader from an 18 year-old.
Not to be outdone, Rush Limbaugh manages to blame it all on the Democrats who, according to Rush, of course could care less about homosexuals propositioning tenth-graders. We Democrats feel in our crotches it was ok and we condone it. The only reason Democrats are complaining is not because they care about kids, it's because of politics.
LIMBAUGH: I'm just thinking out loud here. What if somebody got to the page and said, you know, we want you to set Foley up. We need to do a little titillating thing here. Keep it and save it and so forth. How would you get a kid to do that? Yeah, who knows? You threaten him or pay him. There's any number of ways given the kind of people that we're dealing with and talking about here.
Now, folks, I don't want to be misunderstood here. I'm not trying to mount any kind of a defense. That's a bad word. I'm not trying to get into a defense of what Mark Foley did. Please don't misunderstand. I'm just telling you that the -- the -- the orgy and the orgasm that has been taking place in the media since Friday and with the Democrats is -- it's all coordinated, and it's all -- it's all oriented toward the election. There's no concern about the kid -- no concern about the children.
There is -- there is -- there's not even any real problem with what Foley did, as we've discussed. In their hearts and minds and their crotches, they don't have any problem with what Foley did. They've defended it over the -- over the years.
Of course, Democrats do not defend the sexual exploitation or propositioning of minors. Never have. But Rush has a problem here. How do you defend a bunch of Republican politicos who sheltered a sexual predator? You've got to make it the other guys fault. Republicans couldn't possibly be responsible for something so base, so disgusting, so sexually avaricious could they? No way. That's the stereotype that is supposed to describe Democrats and come hell or high water they desperately need to keep that stereotype breathing through November. So they lie and they smear. Nothing new here.
Perhaps they can blame it on Clinton? Sure! It's Clintons fault for lowering standards and over-sexualizing our culture! That won't wash? Ok .... it's the fault of the Democrats for coddling homosexuals! Over at TPM Josh Marshall quotes the Wall Street Journal:
But in today's politically correct culture, it's easy to understand how senior Republicans might well have decided they had no grounds to doubt Mr. Foley merely because he was gay and a little too friendly in emails. Some of those liberals now shouting the loudest for Mr. Hastert's head are the same voices who tell us that the larger society must be tolerant of private lifestyle choices, and certainly must never leap to conclusions about gay men and young boys. Are these Democratic critics of Mr. Hastert saying that they now have more sympathy for the Boy Scouts' decision to ban gay scoutmasters? Where's Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi on that one?
Right. The gay-bashing party was afraid to offend gays.
The excuses keep coming but their lameness has been notable. What they need to realize is that you simply cannot defend to American parents of any political persuasion the despicable actions of the Republican House leadership (Hastert, Reynolds, Shimkus) in allowing the sexual predator Foley to continue his attempts to copulate with high school boys. Every parent has had to leave their children in the care of others and every parent expects those caretakers will truly care for our kids. Finding out that high elected Republicans abused that trust and put their own political interest above the welfare of the children in their care is guaranteed to enrage all but the most jaded parents or most ardent Republicans. Most parents will have none of their pathetic excuses and will harshly judge them for their poor morals and low character. When Drudge and Rush and the WSJ try to defend Foley or his enablers they will surely lose stature by trying to defend the indefensible for political reasons.
To win this war of words Democrats need only continue pointing out that the Republicans are scurrying like rats to keep from taking personal responsibility for their own words and actions. Blaming others for your own faults is certainly not indicative of good moral character. Even worse, they sheltered a sexual predator of high-school boys to protect their own positions of power. As a parent I can think of few greater crimes than for someone I trust to shelter and protect my children to abuse that trust. Americans won't stand for that and well they should not.