Hastert can’t last

By DALE McFEATTERS

In the national capital, denials of a rumored resignation are always strongest just before the actual resignation and, if that remains the case, Dennis Hastert’s tenure as House speaker may be nearing an end.

The instant cause of his departure will be his handling of the case of Mark Foley, the gay Republican lawmaker who abruptly resigned after it was disclosed he had been hitting on young male congressional pages in sexually charged e-mails and that Hastert’s office had known of it for as long as three years.

Even Hastert’s top lieutenants, including Republican leader John Boehner who is in line to succeed him and the party’s House campaign chief, Rep. Thomas Reynolds, say the speaker had been warned, in their case, earlier this year.

Most tellingly, key Republicans are distancing themselves from him. Having forewarned Hastert, Boehner said, "My position is it’s in his corner, it’s his responsibility." And the House’s third ranking Republican, Joe Barton of Texas, told reporters that he would have handled the whole matter differently.

Hastert’s explanation for this scandal exploding on his watch went beyond lame and into the realm of the weird. Who is responsible? According to Hastert, it’s the Democrats. Also ABC News and the media generally. But mostly the Democrats, former President Clinton, liberal billionaire George Soros and unnamed Democratic "operatives."

The speaker told Rush Limbaugh, "We have a story to tell, and the Democrats have _ in my view have _ put this thing forward to try to block us from telling the story. They’re trying to put us on defense."

This is doubly damning. As conservative commentator George Will and others have noted, it effectively concedes that there was a cover up and further noted that the cover up would have worked if only the Democrats hadn’t ruined everything by shooting off their mouths.

Hastert might get a pass if that were the only blot on his record. But he has presided over one of the most dilatory, unproductive House sessions in modern history. Three senior Republicans have resigned in disgrace, one of them is in jail and another is headed there. Top aides to the GOP leadership pled guilty in a lobbying scandal. Reform bills intended to prevent a recurrence languish still.

The speaker’s answer for the Foley problem has been to call for investigations, four of them so far, perhaps in the hope that the whole mess will disappear into Investigation Land and he can change the subject.

In a brief press appearance Thursday, Hastert said he plans on being House speaker in the next Congress. It’s a form of denial. The Republicans know they badly need a fresh start.

(Contact Dale McFeatters at McFeattersD(at)SHNS.com.)

16 Responses to "Hastert can’t last"

  1. carol  October 6, 2006 at 4:29 pm

    Not only Dennis Hastert, but every scumbag, Rebugger or Dummycrat who voted for that vile Military Commissions Act. Throw every one of the slimeballs out!

  2. Fred P  October 6, 2006 at 5:23 pm

    @carol-
    I’d use somewhat politer terms, but I agree with your sentimant. I think that the Military Commissions Act of 2006 is the worst piece of legislation in over a century; only some of the legislation around and immediately after the Civil War/War Between the States is comparable, in my view.

  3. Sandy Price  October 6, 2006 at 5:56 pm

    I heard a number of Republicans last night claim that none of this would have happened had DeLay been able to keep control of the GOP. He apparently is the poster boy for a moral majority.

    Now that right there is not funny.

  4. Bill Robinson  October 6, 2006 at 6:46 pm

    I beg to differ. Illinois Politicians do last and last and last. The only way you will get rid of him is by force feeding him until he bursts like an overstuffed Thanksgiving Turkey. Remember Richard J. as all his soldiers fell around him and he remained resolutely untainted. Hastert will remain corpulently clean and rotundely reluctant to relinquish the #3 spot to the Oval Orifice. President-to-be-Dennis if King George takes a tumble and Deadeye Dick, AKA Cunning Cheney, has a coronary isn’t going without us finding him with one hand caught in the public till and the other caught in an aide’s bottom.

  5. David Rice  October 6, 2006 at 7:05 pm

    What you are forgetting about Chicago politics is that the republicans are practically non existent. .a rare animal indeed. There is still only one party and it’s a democratic party. .if it’s time for Denny to go. .no one there is going to offer him a ‘lifeline’ they’ll simply smile and watch him go under for the third time.

  6. Hoser  October 7, 2006 at 12:14 am

    Why do we give Jack if these narrow-minded assholes resign or not. They are doing a great job of showing their constituanceis that they are more interested in protecting an obvious pervert than doing what is right. Have faith in Joe Public, they will speak up at the polls. If their votes are really counted.

    Hoser

  7. Jack  October 7, 2006 at 4:49 am

    Out with not just Foley but also Hastert all other politicians and any FBI that obfustacted this investigation. Whatever million buck PR firm that came up with the tactic to portray kids as perpetrators vs being victims when treated inappropriately in a sexual manner by any in power, was far overpaid.

    No part of these rationalizing efforts to project what is NOT ok to do as being ok leaves me more angry than victimizing the kids.

    How low can you go is now clearly shown–by the GOP

  8. Sympathos  October 6, 2006 at 3:35 pm
  9. carol  October 6, 2006 at 4:29 pm
  10. Fred P  October 6, 2006 at 5:23 pm
  11. Sandy Price  October 6, 2006 at 5:56 pm
  12. Bill Robinson  October 6, 2006 at 6:46 pm
  13. David Rice  October 6, 2006 at 7:05 pm
  14. Hoser  October 7, 2006 at 12:14 am
  15. Jack  October 7, 2006 at 4:49 am
  16. Sympathos  October 6, 2006 at 3:35 pm

    Oh…Im sooo sorry Denny. You have to resign? You mean you can’t be part of a party that has relished the screwing and deception of the middle class? It’s really a tragety you have to resign your post. You won’t be head of a duplicitious Republican party anymore that has existed for NO other reason in the last 6 years but to obfuscate, lie, deceive, exclude, divide and rape the American voter. With your nod, the Republican party stole two elections, and are working on a third. Go sell used cars–at least you won’t be doing the damage you have done over your tenure.

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