So much blackmail

So much blackmail

by digby

There's a lot of talk about Denny Hastert, of course, and some people are looking back at his handling of the Mark Foley affair in 2006 in which he was said to have sat on the information that Foley was harassing and molesting male teen-age congressional pages. People are wondering who knew about all that and I was reminded of the stuff Howie wrote at Down With Tyranny at the time.

This is a story I have been looking at since Dave Lutrin [running against Mark Foley at the time] started telling me how Emanuel and his bullyboys were trying to drive him out of the Democratic primary. At the time I was very aware that the entrenched incumbent in a very Republican south-central Florida district was gay. But it was no secret from anyone, except of course the suckers and rubes who vote in the district, that Foley was a homosexual who was out of control and couldn't keep his hands off young men. It was over a year ago I started writing about Foley and young military boys. What I didn't know at the time-- but, we now find out (despite his earlier public denials on TV)-- is that DCCC head Rahm Emanuel was aware at least since 2005 that Foley was molesting young male pages.

Emanuel, every bit as bad a scumbag as Foley and the GOP leadership who covered up for Foley, did nothing to protect the young pages from predators like Foley and Arizona Republican Jim Kolbe (who was also preying on them). Instead he decided to use the info as ammo in his partisan war to win a seat from the Republicans. I was scatching my head at the vehemence Emanuel employed in the run up to the primary in trying to drive Dave Lutrin out of the race. Lutin is a school teacher and union member and a good family man. He's also an independent-minded progressive, passionate about Democratic ideals and values-- exactly the kind of Democrat Emanuel loathes. Lutrin opposes the systemic corruption that allows weasels like Emanuel to thrive in DC and he opposed the war in Iraq that Emanuel was warning Democratic challengers to be quiet about.

Last June the current Emanuel-backed congressman-elect, Tim Mahoney, was a rich country club Republican and a corrupt businessman, Emanuel's cup of tea. Emanuel, already aware that he could force Foley to resign, convinced Mahoney to switch party registration-- although not values and principles; I mean there is a difference between Democratic values and Republican values... right?

Far be it from me to question whether Rahm, being a bigshot Chicago insider just like Hastert, might have also known about Hastert's "problem" and used it for his own purposes. But you can't help but wonder about that episode in light of the revelations of blackmail of the last couple of days. Lot's and lot's of blackmail...