Obituaries for former House Speaker Tom Foley, who died Friday, included mention of the scurrilous 1989 GOP-orchestrated whispering campaign about the Washington Congressman's sexuality: A Republican National Committee memo, ostensibly about Foley's voting record, was entitled "Out of the Liberal Closet"; a Newt Gingrich aide encouraged reporters to investigate the supposed issue. (Foley had been married since 1968.) Eventually, President George H.W. Bush was obliged to repudiate his fellow Republicans' behavior.
Obituary write-ups of the campaign against Foley, rightly characterize it as reprehensible. Or do they? The Foley obit in the print version of The Washington Post, which stresses the Speaker's reputation for bipartisan collegiality, also includes this most unfortunate headline: