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Lott and DeLay are gone, but are Hastert and Rumsfeld next?
Tuesday, October 03, 2006 - reddit
The halls of Congress are being shaken to the core this week as House Speaker Dennis Hastert has come under increasing pressure from both parties to resign for failing to deal with the Foley sex-page scandal. It would mark the third major Washington power broker to resign in disgrace during President Bush's six years in the White House.
In December of 2002, Republican Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott resigned his post (but not his seat) when he made controversial remarks supporting Strom Thurmond's previous run for President, on which Thurmond ran on platform of forced segregation. Lott is also on record as having voted against the Voting Rights Act, and the Martin Luther King Holiday.
After being tied to GOP lobbyist Jack Abramoff, House Majority Leader Tom DeLay was initially protected by other Republican leaders who modified GOP policy that would have forced him to step down as Majority Leader while under criminal investigation. DeLay eventually did just that, resigning as Majority Leader, and then later deciding not to run for reelection.
Hastert would mark the third casualty for a Republican Congress that seems embroiled in scandal everywhere you look. There is ample anecdotal evidence that Hastert and the Republican House leadership knew of Foley's improper communications with underage congressional pages at least one year ago -- possibly longer than that -- and did nothing about it. This has been corroborated by other Republican House members that have stated publicly that Hastert know about Foley last year.
Many past pages continue to come forward, telling newspapers that they were all warned about Foley's activity, but nothing was ever done to remove him from his senior position on committees dealing with child abuse.
With Watergate reporter Bob Woodward's book revealing an incompetent administration that was often strife with internal conflict under the leadership of a man who would not -- and could not lead, and Chief of Staff Andrew Card reportedly lobbying Bush to fire Rumsfeld on no fewer than two occasions -- the mountain of problems for the GOP may finally be too much to overcome.
Reuters is reporting that during a recent conference call amongst House Republicans on Monday, a discussion took place during which an aide specifically said "Somebody has to take the fall." Hastert has been an ally to the President and is one of the most conservative members in Congress, and losing him would certainly hamper Republicans ability to push through partisan legislation. However with a potential Democratic takeover of the House, Hastert's future is uncertain even under the most optimistic scenarios.
This scandal could make a key difference this fall, because conservatives in Congress and voters alike -- those least typically affected by Democrats efforts to regain power, are reaching their limits. Republicans swept into power in 1994 on a message of scandal and corruption within the Democratic party, and these problems may prove true the proverb true that it doesn't matter whom the party is; power corrupts.
Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott; House Majority Leader Tom DeLay; Vice President Chief of Staff Lewis Libby; (Bob Ney has plead guilty to bribery and corruption, but refuses to give up his seat, though he will not seek reelection); and Representative Mark Foley.
Will Donald Rumsfeld and Dennis Hastert be the next to join this list?
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