Wednesday, October 04, 2006

The Speaker Should Resign

Denny Hastert’s dysfunctional leadership and Tony Blankley’s terrific column, “Its Never Too Late to Do the Right Thing”, are the two significant themes in the Foley scandal story today.

A hundred kudos belong to Blankley for his ethical approach to Foley and Hastert in his latest column. (And also for the Washington Times editorial yesterday calling for the Speaker’s immediate resignation.)

“[W]e Republicans can only be responsible for our own conduct and conscience” he wrote, along with, “[D]efending Denny Hastert’s decisions is ethically wrong.” Bravo to my old friend Tony Blankley.

As for Hastert’s dysfunction, a few gems:

In his Hugh Hewitt radio interview, Hastert said he was too busy with Katrina, deficit reduction, and Tom DeLay a year ago to pay any attention to the Foley emails. Huh?

Hastert also refused to deal with Tom Reynolds’ assertion that this spring Reynolds took the email to Hastert. But of course the Speaker took no action.

And then the John Boehner line: “I believe I talked to the Speaker and he told me it had been taken care of…and my position is it’s in his corner, it’s his responsibility.” (That was last spring; around the time Reynolds went to Hastert.)

These are examples of dysfunction, bad ethical judgment, and bad political judgment. To top it off, Bob Novak cites Hastert asserting that “I just don’t recall or remember” the Reynolds red flag on the Foley email this past spring.

Another gem from the Hugh Hewitt interview was that Hastert let John Shimkus handle the red flag email problem last year. All this shows why Mr. Hastert must go. He is a poor manager, poor administrator, and a poor leader who will only hurt the GOP.

In fact, were it not for Mr. Hastert’s ineptness in dealing with these red flags, the Foley sex scandal might have been only a 2 or 3 day news story, rather than this colossal mess with a national impact on congressional races.

One final point—the mealy-mouthed defense that the instant messages weren’t known until recently is nonsense. Foley’s earlier emails were more than sufficient to sound the alarm that a huge problem was brewing. The IM defense of Hasert is a loser.

Either the Republican Party stands on principal, or it collapses under its own immoral weight.

Mr. Hastert should resign now.