Will the Sea of Galilee skinny-dipping incident swing the House?


Politico reports that House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) believes that her party has a path to take back the House (expert opinion to the contrary notwithstanding).

But does she really think the infamous Sea of Galilee skinny-dipping incident is going to meaningfully help her party’s chances?

“Seven weeks ago, we were 50-50,” Pelosi said. “Since the selection of Ryan, and his being the agent for the destruction of Medicare, that has changed things much more to our favor. And other, shall we say, indiscretions — whether it’s the Sea of Galilee or statements by Congressman Todd Akin, etc. — that resonates with the American people. So that has worked in our favor.”

Now, I can see the Democrats getting some traction on Ryan, Medicare, and Akin. But a naked congressman’s dip in a foreign lake? What would the campaign commercials be like?


A quick refresher on the non-incident that the press went nuts over: On a 2011 educational trip to Israel, some Republican members of Congress, their aides and family members took a nighttime dip in the Sea of Galilee. One member of Congress jumped in naked. The trip’s senior Republican (and chaperone?) House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) apparently scolded his charges for the skinny-dipping and some apparent over-imbibing.

A year later, Politico breathlessly reported on the antics and made the logic-defying claim that the FBI had investigated. But subsequent reporting found that the FBI was actually interested in other things and could care less about skinny-dipping.

Anyway, various media outlets followed Politico’s initial framing and treated it like it was a genuine scandal, as if anyone who took an innocent dip was in hot water. Some Democrats tried to make political hay. And some Republicans who say they weren’t even in the water at the same time as the (now penitent) skinny-dipper were stuck trying to explain that swimming is not a federal offense.

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