I do not think it is too large of a logical leap to say that unless the Republicans put some MAJOR spin on the whole scandal, the longer this plays on the news, the more advantage the Democrats can reap without actually doing anything. While Hastert and several conservative media figures (most notably Rush Limbaugh and Bill O’Reilly) have been struggling to spin the scandal and throw mud on the Democrats (O”Reilly even going so far as to label Foley a Democrat on the graphics on his show), I think the effort is doomed to failure. Due to the amount of immoral behavior we have seen out of these chuckleheads their lame attempts to point fingers at the Democrats and say, “But they knew about it too,” is not going to serve as a distraction any more.
Imagine what would have happened if rather than engaging in bad politics Hastert conferred with the Republican leadership and then made the following announcement:
In 200* my office was made aware of a complaint which had been lodged against Representative Foley regarding some emails which at the time were characterized as over-friendly however due to the concerns of the persons involved in the matter I did not pursue it at the time. Additionally since I had not received any further information regarding this type of behavior on Representative Foley’s part I believed this to be a one-time indiscretion and therefore put it from my mind to continue with the business of government. Therefore it saddened me to learn over the last few days that this incident was not isolated but rather part of a pattern of behavior and in light of this I truly regret that my office did not take further steps to investigate the original complaint. Regardless of the wishes of the parties involved this failure to investigate was my decision and my decision alone, thus it is with a heavy heart that I must announce I am stepping down as Speaker of the House. I cannot continue, in good faith, to lead the House under the onus of my inaction and Representative Foley’s actions. Furthermore I will be canceling all of my planned public appearances so I can take some time to consider my future as a representative of the people of Ohio. However in the end these are just gestures, many will say empty gestures, and nothing I can ever do can illustrate how truly sorry I am that this was not addressed years ago. Thank you.
While this statement would have been shocking because it shows a politician standing up and taking responsibility for something he did or did not do, it would have taking the wind out of the scandal’s sails. Yes Foley would still be in the hot seat, however by merely stepping down as Speaker of the House, Hastert would have limited the usefulness of the scandal to the opposition and thus limited the damage to his party. Heck, after a statement like that I think a lot of people could have forgiven Hastert and anyone else who knew about it. We all make bad decisions and mistakes and the boys parents had given the leadership the out by saying they did not want an investigation, all someone had to do was admit to a mistake and appear to be apologetic rather than go on the offensive.
Besides, I have a feeling Hastert is not going to be Speaker of the House for much longer anyways, this seems like the perfect opportunity to give up nothing for some political gain.