Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Shays hits back hard, invokes Chappaquiddick

Let's give Rep. Chris Shays (R-CT) a big "Hooray!" for not taking any guff from Ted Kennedrunk. From the Hartford fishwrap:
When the congressional page scandal broke last month, Democrats across the country saw a chance to lambaste Republican leadership - including Diane Farrell, who called on House Speaker Dennis Hastert to step down.

But when Sen. Edward M. Kennedy came to Connecticut last week to help her campaign, Rep. Christopher Shays hit back.

"I know the speaker didn't go over a bridge and leave a young person in the water, and then have a press conference the next day," said Shays, R-4th District, referring to the 1969 incident in which the Massachusetts Democrat drove a car that plunged into the water and a young campaign worker died.

"Dennis Hastert didn't kill anybody," he added.
They all stopped short of naming names, but Shays went further, drawing a link between Hastert and Kennedy.

"We don't know what he has or hasn't done," Shays said of Hastert. "But she had a fundraiser for Sen. Kennedy, and we know what he did."
Ouch! Damn, got any good comebacks for that one, Farrell? Well, there's always the tried and true leftist tactic of feigning outrage:
Farrell was incredulous - "my jaw dropped," she said, when she heard Shays' comments, and she said Chappaquiddick had nothing to do with Hastert's current plight.

In July 1969, Kennedy drove his car off a bridge on Chappaquiddick Island off Massachusetts. Mary Jo Kopechne, a 28-year-old campaign worker riding in the car, was trapped in the vehicle and died.

Kennedy left the accident scene, waited several hours before telling police, and a week later made a nationally televised speech to explain his actions. He later pleaded guilty to leaving the scene of an accident after causing injury, and received a two-month suspended sentence.

Shays' point is that if Farrell is going to host Kennedy, she has no business judging Hastert at this point. "Democrats keep talking about denying him and others their rights," Shays said.

Farrell blasted back at Shays, saying he "has taken the political approach first" rather than making concern for the pages his paramount interest. Farrell, whose daughter was a page four years ago, said "it's Congress' responsibility" to protect not only the pages, but the parents "like me and my husband."
Farrell says that "Chappaquiddick had nothing to do with Hastert's current plight." That is true. However, if you're going to lean on a party heavyweight ("heavyweight" in more ways than one!), Ms. Farrell, you open yourself up to the same "guilt by association" that you're trying to tar your opponents with. You know, "those who lay with dogs wake up with fleas"? It's as if Farrell is saying "'Tis preferable to be buried alive inside a watery tomb over a stretch of a few hours than to live life under a Republican Congressman!" Here's guessing that the Kopechne family disagrees with that assessment.

While I and scores of like-minded individuals routinely slap Kennedrunk around for Chappaquiddick (and we should, since the left and the MSM (pardon the redundancy) have given him a pass for his murder of Ms. Kopechne), it sure is nice to see an elected politician at the national level finally do the same.

By the way, how's that "guilt by association" thing looking as a long-term prospect for the Dems?
The GOP had seemed to be in deep political trouble a week ago, when many Democrats were stridently insisting that Hastert quit - and pressing their Republican opponents to make the same demand.

But so far, the Democrats' idea to make Hastert the villain has not worked.

An ABC News/Washington Post survey taken Oct. 5 to 8 found that three of every four respondents did not think Democrats would have handled the Foley matter any better, and roughly two in three thought Democrats were pursuing the matter for political gain, not to raise legitimate concerns.

"The Foley scandal has not earned the Republican leadership any goodwill, but neither does it look like a point of differentiation for the Democrats," poll director Gary Langer said.

A Pew Research Center survey taken Sept. 21 to Oct. 4 had similar findings. Before the Foley scandal broke, voters preferred Democrats to Republicans by 13 percentage points - and after the congressman resigned Sept. 29, the margin was the same.

Job approval of Republican leaders, 33 percent before Foley quit, went up 1 percentage point afterward.

In the days ahead, said some analysts, Democrats need to be careful they do not appear to be leading a lynch mob.

"It could look to some people like they're not interested in due process," said Richard F. Fenno Jr., professor emeritus of political science at the University of Rochester. (Yeah, really! The next thing you know, we'll be hearing that the Dems knew about this for months, thus further subjecting the kids to further predatory advances that the Dems seem to suddenly care about! - Ed.)
Analysts warned that Democrats need to be circumspect as the House Ethics Committee and the FBI continue their probes.

"Democrats need to be careful," said Lance deHaven-Smith, professor of public policy at Florida State University. "This could backfire on them."
What? You mean Dems might have to run on...issues? Why, that's just crazy talk!