Leaders are supposed to lead. They set the tone for how their organization is to be run. They establish their expectations of what their organizations' moral and ethical standards should be and expect everyone to follow them.
Have you ever heard out of Hastert's mouth "this is the way it's going to be and we will tolerate no less," or words to that effect? Have you heard him make any bold statements against ethical breaches, self-serving pork, or any of the other crap that has taken root under GOP control -- at least any the media has latched on to? Yeah, he's supposedly "taking responsibility" for the Foley lapse, but what the heck does that really mean? Calling for an investigation? Big step! And as far as Hastert condemning it...gee, that's really stepping out bravely when one of your soldiers has been hitting on teenagers.
Sure, Hastert is probably personally ethical (as much as anybody who has to compromise with Democrats on laws is capable of doing)...nice guy...former wrestling coach...but does training grapplers make you qualified for one of the three or four most important leadership posts in the country?
Life is full of leaders taking the fall because of failures amidst their subordinates. Happens in the corporate world all the time. Coaches and managers in professional sports suffer the blame when their players underperform, whether it's their direct fault or not. Joe Girardi got fired by the Florida Marlins this week and his team performed above expectations!
The only difference with Hastert is the imminent election and the distasteful prospect of Democrats in control of Congress. So does the fact that the competition is gaining override the need to replace a leader who has allowed corruption to take root and Byrd-style earmarks to proliferate? And if attempted pedophilia on the part of one of your members, after all the other ethical problems under your tenure, does not make it time for removal, then when is it time?
Besides, Jed, I don't buy the premise that Hastert's removal (or getting a commitment to not run for leadership again) dooms the GOP. There are plenty of good reasons for rank-and-file House Republicans -- many of whom undoubtedly feel the same way that many conservative pundits calling for Hastert's resignation feel -- to move now. No quivering lip or tearful apology needed...just tell Denny "thanks for your service" and let Boehner step in, at least until the next Congress. Hastert is not a good face for the party right now and his Soros/ABC-blaming is proving it. Boehner is still relatively new in his post so for him to take interim control improves the image while controlling the damage.
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