If the Republicans thought they could skate past the Foley scandal by minimizing its importance, they have badly miscalculated.
That they might have actually considered such a bad idea is evidenced by Speaker of the House Hastert referring to the e-mails as "over-friendly" and White House Press Secretary Tony Snow calling them "simply naughty e-mails." As important as his dismissive euphemism, was the context of Snow's comment, which was an attempt to explain the inaction of the House leadership by suggesting they had more important things to do than stop a sexual predator in their midst.
Snow has already been called on his attempt to minimize the issue and retreated from that strategy:
After a reporter challenged the characterization, Snow admitted, "You’re right. That may sound a little bit too glib – I think I’ve used the words... horrifying, appalling, disturbing. Fill in the blanks," he added. "It’s absolutely inappropriate."
With only five weeks to go till the midterm election, this issue seems to have completely disrupted the Republican strategy. While they will no doubt try to regain some lost ground by getting as aggressive and dirty as possible in the few remaining days they have, we should also expect them to begin preparing their face-saving explanation of why it wasn't their fault they lost. Foley could provide an excellent fig leaf for all their other failures, as in: "We didn't lose because the American people don't want our war, don't want our economy, don't want us to dismantle the safety net, don't want us to sell the country to our corporate croniesand don't trust us or our president as far as they can throw us; no we lost because of Foley."
Update :It looks like Rep. Tom Reynolds didn't get the memo; last night he was still trying to minimize the significance of Foley's communications by calling them “overly friendly chit-chat.”