Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert just finished a press conference at which he took no questions from reporters but announced that he had referred the Mark Foley matter to the Department of Justice and the Governor of Florida, Jeb Bush. Hastert — who has taken a lot of criticism for knowing about “improper contacts” between Foley and pages and not doing anything about it — concluded the press conference by saying, “I have known him for all the years he has served in this House, and he deceived me too.”
Meanwhile, the Blotter has more disgusting IMs.
I have to respectfully disagree with some of my fellow conservative bloggers who are rising to Hastert’s defense. How this story got into the media is both obvious and irrelevant. Of course it’s a political hit job. Of course the Democrats and the media are trying to sway the election. So what? Foley has done everything but publicly confess to every allegation.
I don’t care that apparently Hastert was only aware of the slightly creepy e-mails, as opposed to the full-on graphic IMs. If the Republicans thought the e-mails were bad enough to confront Foley about them – which they did — they should have realized they were making a huge mistake by not investigating the matter. Indeed, they protected Mr. Foley from political harm by hiding the story from the Democrat on the page board.
I’m sorry, but taken together with his disgraceful protection of the crooked Lousiana Democrat William Jefferson, it looks like the only thing Speaker Hastert really cares about is protecting other members from the consequences of their actions. Hastert has handled this Foley situation about as ineptly as he’s handled everything else since the Democrats conspired to oust Tom DeLay. If the Republicans retain the House — and they will be lucky to do so — they should start drawing up plans to replace Hastert.