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The Foley Distraction

The Democrats are lucky to have had the Mark Foley affair thrown in their laps. Now, we will see how not different they are from the Republicans. This scandal has about as much to do with Dennis Hastert as it does with Tip O'Neil. Of course, in a certain tacky way, the GOP deserves whatever it gets, and this is because--had Foley been a Democrat--the Republican Party would have foisted responsibility for the whole embarrassment on Nancy Pelosi.

Without Foley, the midterm elections (or those few seats that are truly up for grabs in the House and Senate) might have turned on which party has a persuasive analysis of and solution to aggressive Iranian nuclear ambitions, the North Korean atomic arsenal and--forgive me--the Islamic mobilization against the West. The Republicans, from the White House to the congressional candidates in which the party has invested so much, talk in forked but sonorous tongue. The Democrats want more and more and still more diplomacy, and all of that will amount to nothing.

Earlier yesterday it appeared for a few hours as if the Chinese and the Japanese had rescued us from the North Korean predicament. The prime ministers of both countries had warned Pyongyang that an atomic test would be intolerable. Strong talk. Well, now we'll see exactly how intolerable it is. At about 11 p.m. eastern daylight time, as I was writing this Spine, I turned to the New York Times and Boston Globe online. There was the bad news that Kim Jong Il had an hour-and-a-half before conducted his test, and to hell with Beijing and Tokyo. To say nothing of Washington, D.C.

This is a turning point in world affairs. Thank God we have Mark Foley to deflect the voters from what is really important.