Dana Milbank, a political reporter for the Washington Post, has a piece in todayâ€™s newspaper that says a great deal about why the Republican Party is floundering and how their recent history of questionable choices and even more questionable morality is now coming full circle to bite them on the rump:
LA PLUME, Pa., Oct. 19
So it has come to this: Nineteen days before the midterm elections, President Bush flew here to champion the reelection of a congressman who last year settled a $5.5 million lawsuit alleging that he beat his mistress during a five-year affair.
“I’m pleased to be here with Don Sherwood,” a smiling president told the congressman’s loyal but dispirited supporters at a luncheon fundraiser Thursday. “He has got a record of accomplishment.”
Quite a record. While representing the good people of the 10th District, the married congressman shacked up in Washington with a Peruvian immigrant more than three decades his junior. During one assignation in 2004, the woman, who says Sherwood was striking her and trying to strangle her, locked herself in a bathroom and called 911; Sherwood told police he was giving her a back rub.
At a time when Republicans are struggling to motivate religious conservatives to go to the polls next month, it is not clear what benefit the White House found in sending Bush to stump for Sherwood — smack dab in the middle of what Bush, in an official proclamation, dubbed “National Character Counts Week.”
The president encouraged public officials “to observe this week with appropriate ceremonies, activities, and programs” — but public officials responded with some unusual ceremonies and activities: The House ethics committee is holding hearings on the page sex scandal; the FBI raided buildings as part of a probe involving Rep. Curt Weldon (R-Pa.); and Rep. Bob Ney (R-Ohio), the eighth person convicted in the Abramoff lobbying scandal, is refusing to vacate his seat in Congress. [full text]