Quin, I missed Hastert's press conference but I'm not surprised in the least nor do I doubt your assessment of it. He doesn't get it. The issue isn't about when he knew about e-mails, IMs, or when and whether he did or didn't decide to do something about them. The issue is that the Foley disaster represents one more in the long list of ethical breaches (Cunningham, Ney, Abramoff, etc.) on his watch, not to mention the abominations of legislation (like the prescription drug program, earmarks, No Child Left Behind, etc.) that he has pushed through his chamber. In short, it's an absence of leadership, and if the buck truly stops with him as he says, he should step down.
More evidence that Hastert and other Republicans don't get it (courtesy links from Drudge):
Baltimore Sun article on Hastert: "When the base finds out who's feeding this monster, they're not going to be happy. The people who want to see this thing blow up are ABC News and a lot of Democratic operatives, people funded by George Soros." - This comes off as just so much whining. You had an aspiring pedophile in your midst, and you expect your political opponents and the media not to hammer you? The only points the Republicans ought to be pressing is that they are shocked this individual could do such a thing; that they want him fully investigated; they want the page program fully evaluated; and they want any criminal behavior prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. In other words, they need to exhibit a large dose of humility.
Newt Gingrich, who reportedly told a South Carolina audience that Democratic sex scandals have been far worse: "What we don't have to do is allow our friends on the left to lecture us on morality. There's a certain stench of hypocrisy." - There is plenty of evidence of hypocrisy to heap upon both parties, so this is another example of GOP whining. "He did it too, and worse" playground-type fingerpointing won't resonate with a public (electorate) disgusted by Foley's actions. And since when are Democrats a measuring stick for behavioral standards?
Vice President Dick Cheney in the Washington Examiner: "I'm a huge Denny Hastert fan - I think he's a great speaker. And it makes no sense at all for him to think about stepping down." - I really like and respect the vice president, but he is misidentifying greatness in leadership here.
Let's hope whoever the next Speaker is demonstrates strength and authority, lays down the law that no unethical behavior will be tolerated, and that a renewed effort to adhere to conservative principles will be followed.
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