It's hard to think of a worse week for House Republicans. Between the release of sordid new details of Foley's private life and the inability of the normally disciplined Republican leadership to contain their impulses to point the blame, Congress looks as dysfunctional as ever.

Will things be this bad for Republicans one month from now? We don't know. But it's clear that the longer the spotlight shines on the issues most dangerous for the GOP, namely the dysfunction in Iraq and the dysfunction of Congress, the harder it will be for Republican candidates to change the debate and shape their own individual races.

Republicans have argued for months that they would be able to shade their most vulnerable candidates from the harsh political environment, thanks to a combination of money and smart campaign strategy. Voters in the most competitive races in the country are being flooded with messages from the NRCC and the GOP candidates that seek to undercut the credibility of the Democratic challenger. The goal: prevent Democrats from being seen as a reasonable alternative to the

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