Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Washington Times Wants To Scalp Hastert, But Its Conservative Compadres Decide Not to Go Scapegoating -- For Now

Wall Street Journal Says, Sure Foley's Gay and Maybe A Sexual Predator, But Let's Not Rush To Judgment
The Washington Times made some of headlines of its own this morning by calling on Speaker Dennis Hastert to clean out his office for overlooking/covering up/trying to ignore Mark Foley's email courting of teenage male pages.
Give the editorial board credit for ganging up on Hastert, given the also-ran Times' vaunted status as the GOP Beltway house organ.

Mr. Hastert has forfeited the confidence of the public and his party, and he cannot preside over the necessary coming investigation, an investigation that must examine his own inept performance.

That's gotta hurt, Denny.

But Hastert still has some friends -- for now, at least -- over at the Wall Street Journal, where Paul Gigot is likely jabbed with electric cattle prods should he ever stray from the party line. Today is no exception, where an editorial notes that sure what Foley did was "odd and suspect," but:

Some of those liberals now shouting the loudest for Mr. Hastert's head are the same voices who tell us that the larger socieity must be tolerant of private lifestyle choices, and certainly must never leap to conclusions about gay men and young boys. Are these Democratic critics of Mr. Hastert saying that they now have more sympathy for the Boy Scouts' decision to ban gay scoutmasters? Where's Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi on that one?

Where are the Non-Sequitur Police when you really need them?

They're pretty steamed over at the conservative Chicago Tribune, which brings up Hastert's past as a high-school wrestling coach, which should have made him aware of how easily determined predators can get too close to children.

If Foley committed a criminal offense, he won't go unpunished in state or federal courts. But remember, those who knowingly enable predators are guilty of their own sordid offenses. They have to answer too.

The Trib slammed Hastert for running to the Department of Justice for a Foley probe, when he's better equipped to get one done himself and pronto.

Mr. Hastert, you don't need a squad of FBI agents to tell you how you and your colleagues in the House reacted when they first learned that Mark Foley had crossed a line that ought never be broached.

Hastert may have thought he'd get caught some slack by the leading media outlet back home. But cutting slack is why he's in this mess in the first place.

Hastert would be wise to heed the lesson of another Foley, this one Tom, the former Democratic Speaker of the House. Foley had the dubious distinction in 1994 of being the first sitting Speaker to be defeated for re-election since 1860. That was for different reasons, including the GOP tsunami that swept over D.C. during those mid-terms. But still. There's plenty of time until Nov. 7.

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