Zeitgeist Checklist, GOP Collapse Edition
What Washington is talking about this week.
By Michael Grunwald
Posted Friday, Oct. 13, 2006, at 6:49 PM ET
La Cage Au Foley
Republicans. After polls suggest that the mess surrounding former Rep. Mark Foley, R.-Fla., is poised to end GOP control of Congress, embattled House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., calls for the resignation of anyone who knew about Foley’s conduct, not including embattled House Speaker Dennis Hastert. Meanwhile, amid allegations that several Republicans knew that Foley had tried to crash a party for teenage House pages, GOP lawmakers demand an investigation of … the Clinton administration’s Sandy Berger? Next month, they may get to watch their own party crash.
North Korea. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., also takes aim at the Clinton administration, which had a foreign policy so diabolical that it allowed Kim Jong-il to develop a nuclear bomb on President Bush’s watch. Bush vows to resolve the crisis through diplomacy, because nothing else has worked. But he also warns that if North Korea remains defiant, he can’t rule out the possibility that the United States will invade Luxembourg.
Scottie and Kirk
Page-gate. GOP staffer Kirk Fordham testifies that he warned Hastert aide Scott Palmer about Foley’s antics; Rep. Jim Kolbe, R-Ariz., and House clerk Jeff Trandahl also had inklings. Incidentally, Fordham, Kolbe, Trandahl, and Foley are all gay, and Palmer is Hastert’s D.C. roommate. Pretty soon, the Republican caucus is going to get its own show on Bravo.
Death by Numbers
Iraq. A new study estimates that the war has caused an additional 650,000 Iraqi deaths since 2003, about 600,000 of them from violence, the rest from imported California spinach. Other studies are less alarmist, suggesting that at the current rate, the war wouldn’t claim that many lives for two more decades. At the current rate, we’ll probably get to find out if that’s true.
Can Rumsfeld Have One?
Economy. Bush heralds the creation of nearly 6 million new private-sector jobs since 2003, not all of them for lawyers in the Foley case. And the budget deficit is at its lowest level since 2002; Bush says this shows the need for more tax cuts. In other news, Paris Hilton and Nicole Ritchie are friends again; Bush says this also shows the need for more tax cuts.
Technology. As the stock market sets another new record, Google announces its $1.65 billion purchase of YouTube, the video-sharing Web site best known for its footage of fat people falling and dogs attacking crotches. Yahoo! is now considering a hostile takeover of America’s Funniest Home Videos, and David Letterman is taking Stupid Pet Tricks public.
Virginia Is for Quitters
Democrats. Former Virginia Gov. Mark Warner, a popular centrist from a red state, announces that he won’t run for president in 2008, because party leaders caught wind of allegations that he may have had a chance to win. Still, thanks to maf54—and colleagues like Rep. Bob Ney, R-Ohio, who pleaded guilty to corruption on Friday but did not resign his seat—the congressional elections are the Democratic Party’s to lose. Don’t worry: It’s had 12 years of practice.
Tragedy. A plane carrying Yankees pitcher Cory Lidle and his instructor crashes into a New York apartment building. Investigators said the accident could have been avoided if Alex Rodriguez had been flying the plane; he hasn’t hit anything in months.
Population. Next week, America is expected to welcome its 300 millionth resident. According to demographic data, he is likely to be an overweight, exurban, Latino blogger who tried to warn House leaders that Mark Foley was acting like a creep.
Celebrities. Mel Gibson describes his roadside observations in Malibu as “the stupid ramblings of a drunkard.” Mel, bubbele, if we described Mein Kampf as “the stupid ramblings of a politician with a bad mustache,” would that really explain it?