House Speaker Dennis HastertAs I sat in my office on Capitol Hill on Thursday, watching House Speaker Dennis Hastert’s [pictured] press conference to “accept responsibility” for the scandal with former Congressman Mark Foley, it became very clear that he was accepting responsibility the same way President Bush does: be sorry for the fact that the event happened, and then find every other possible person to lay blame on.

So, should it be a shock to anyone that Hastert laid the blame for this scandal on the Democrats?

Hastert said in his press conference that he would accept responsibility, but made it very clear that he feels this entire scandal has political motives and that it is convenient that this has become an issue a month before the Congressional elections. He suggested that the Democrats needed this issue to get the “upper hand” next month, and proceeded to discuss all of the wonderful things that the Republicans have done for America, specifically in terms of the economy, border security, and the war on terror. He said that the Republican Party has “a good story to tell” and left the press conference with the smug, holier-than-thou attitude that pervades the Republican Party, particularly those who rank near the top.

From someone on the front lines of this political struggle, I can assure you…the Democratic Party has no need, and had no need before the Foley scandal broke, to get the “upper hand” in this election. The Democrats have had it now for months, and even if this scandal had not become public this week or anytime over the next month, the Democrats had a very safe chance of taking over leadership in the House, and a reasonably good chance of either closing the gap or taking leadership of the Senate as well. This scandal may help that effort, but if the Republicans are mad about that, they should look at it from the flip side.

It has become obvious that knowledge of Foley’s actions was available to the Republican leadership many months, if not years, before now. Hastert said in his press conference that he does not know who knew what when, which would show an acceptance that this information was available long ago, but that it just did not end up being directed through the right channels of communication. Maybe Hastert personally did not know about this until this week, but if that is the case, that shows the system broke, because if anyone should have known, it was him.

Following that idea, if anyone knew, and had it been brought to the leadership’s attention long ago and addressed at that time, chances are the scandal would have blown over long ago and would not have had the possibility of having such a direct effect on the upcoming elections. To imply that the Democrats held onto information about this with the intention of releasing it a month before the elections implies that the Democrats have a death wish, because such withholding of information would surely come out in any investigation and would only serve to backfire on the Dems. With such a great chance to take over leadership BEFORE this scandal, pulling a stunt like that would be political suicide, and no matter how much anyone doubts the ability of those leading the Dems, nobody is that stupid.

When the Republicans lose control in November, they will blame it on this and will be muttering under their breaths about it for the next few years. I am confident, however, that any investigation into this scandal will show that the Republican leadership was negligent in dealing with Foley’s inappropriate conduct and will only serve to further buttress the case for a change in leadership in our legislative branch of government.

  1. I’ll say this. When you have 15 seats and only six of them are in question, and a scandal like this blows up in your face, that six turns into 11 or 12 because now people are wondering “who knew?” and will think in part, by association.

    It’ll be fodder for Dems to use, it’ll be fodder for the media to salivate over, and the American public simple HATES stuff like that. Nevermind the fact it’s so hypocritical, guy like Foley in a position to protect kids actually doing what he did… The American public will revolt against normal party lines, and thus will use this as a reasoning to change their votes.

    I’m pretty sure you’re right, they’ll find it was some kind of neglect on the GOP, but not enough to warrant the kind of backlash voters will give in November.

  2. Ugh who gives a shit. this is given more press than it should be. the guy is gone. out of mind

  3. Ugh who gives a shit. this is given more press than it should be. the guy is gone. out of mind

    That’s exactly the attitude that keeps these repugnant fucks in office. If we start giving a shit, maybe there’ll be a tiny, tiny chance at electing people who don’t want to fuck children. Is that too much to ask of our politicians?

    No doubt this scandal has been perfect timing for the Dems, and I believe Dave is wrong where he says they didn’t need the help. They can use all the help they can get… and frankly, if there is anyone on earth who could screw up this incredible gift the GOP has given, it’s the Dems. Seriously, they could screw this up. They’re that incompetent.

  4. All I’m going to say is that it was mighty convenient that this came to light so close to election time. I want to know who knew and who SAT on this information before so convienently “leaking” this to ABC News when they did.

    And I really don’t think this is going to have the effect people (democrats) want it to have. Why? Because the Dems are going to beat this like a dead horse. People are going to get sick of hearing about it. Others, like myself, are just going to tune it out and ignore the shit. Because that’s all it is – pure shit. It’s a little bit of selective criticism going on here, isn’t there? Who was that DEMOCRAT in the House who had sex with a page?

    Some people are acting like this man drove his car off of a bridge, killing his passenger, and then fled the scene…

    Oh… Wait…