Chicago Sun-Times
The scoop from Washington

Hastert: Should he resign as Speaker now because of Foley? If GOP keeps Congress--should Hastert remain Speaker?


President Bush gave embattled House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) a vote of support on Tuesday. (click below for transcript.)

Hastert is unlikely to step down just weeks before the November election. The calls are coming from the GOP right. A resignation would send more shockwaves through the rank and file and may not help keep GOP House seats.

Question 1. Should Hastert step down now in the wake of the Foley page sex scandal.

Question 2. If the GOP remains in control of Congress after the November elections--should Hastert remain as Speaker?

President Bush on Tuesday....

PRESIDENT BUSH: We also had a reminder of the need for people in positions of responsibility to uphold that responsibility when it comes to children, in the case of Congressman Mark Foley.

I was dismayed and shocked to learn about Congressman Foley's unacceptable behavior. I was disgusted by the revelations and disappointed that he would violate the trust of the -- of the citizens who have placed him in office.

Families have every right to expect that when they send their children to be a congressional page in Washington that those children will be safe. We have every right as citizens to expect people who hold high office to behave responsibly in that office.

I fully support Speaker Hastert's call for an investigation by law enforcement into this matter. This investigation should be thorough, and any violations of the law should be prosecuted.

Now, I know Denny Hastert. I meet with him a lot. He is a father, teacher, coach who cares about the children of this country. I know that he wants all the facts to come out, and he wants to ensure that these children that -- up there on Capitol Hill are protected. I'm confident he will provide whatever leadership he can to law enforcement in this investigation.

Again, I want to thank you for your hospitality. It's an honor to be here. Appreciate your time. God bless.



If this had been a democrat they'd have crucified him at the first hint of scandal.

The Republican leadership now shows what hypocrites they are protecting "family values".

Hastert should resign now. He doesn't have to wait until the Dems win in Nov!

Hear, hear...

I really enjoyed your article.

You are right. This is a disgrace.

You know the top Republicans knew about this.

And I cannot believe the media is not investigating and reporting anything at all about my opponent, Roy Blunt's, direct connection and involvement with Foley.

Consider these facts:

A year ago, when these emails became available to the Speaker, my opponent Roy Blunt was the acting Majority head of Congress. The top guy under the Speaker. And Foley was right under him, as Blunt's deputy whip for the Republican leadership committee.

And Roy Blunt knew nothing?

I hope Americans get to know the truth by election day next month. We deserve to know better. We deserve to know about the job that has been being done by who we elected that represents us in Washington.


Jack Truman
Jack Truman for U.S.Congress
Democratic Candidate 7th District Southwest Missouri

Back to Tradition
For the People

Truman for Congress

I think its foolish for Democrats to act like Hastert was protecting his own career by not doing anything sooner. Their release of this information is obviously politically timed. Who knows how long they knew about this stuff before they released the info at a politically opportune time. Or perhaps they just urged the guy at ABC to publish it since he had the story back in August. No one is yelling at him. I don't like Hastert a bit, and its nice to see Bush supporting him, unlike the period of time when the White House was trying to flay him for interfering in the Jeffersen cash scandal and resulting search. The GOP has nailed their own coffin long ago obviously. The GOPs Rep. candidate in Vermont, attempting to fill the seat of outgoing socialist Bernie, was caught plaigerizing Hillary Clinton speaches. Things are becoming laughable for the ole grand party.

This event makes a great case for term limits. We should vote all these guys who claim to love America but in fact love power and money right out of office.


This is only the last in a string of "power before all else" escapades involving Hastert. The land deal he didn't properly disclose, a tenfold increase in anonymous earmarks, slipping in changes to legislation outside conference, suspending the rules that allow reps time to read legislation, etc. etc. It's a particularly sad example, because it involves children and Hastert was a teacher. But it's not the only example of his lack of concern for our nation, and his lust for power at all costs.

It's a sad day, but for the sake of our country, Denny really needs to go.

Hastert should step down and out...the only one he represents is himself.
Let's see him go back to working for a living.

Does fact that Foley "claims" to have been molested as a child make it excusable to be a pervert?

This is sickening. Why will no one report on the fact that a news agency withheld this information and just sat on it? Also, why is Foley not arrested and in jail?

The Miami Herald and St. Pete paper had been unable to prove to their satisfaction there was a problem. They did not have enough to back a story. That's different from willfully withholding information, which is what you suggest.

As a former teacher and coach Hastert had an affirmative duty to make sure that the emails were investigated, not just tell Foley to stop or accept his word that "nothing was going on". As a father and human being he had a duty to protect the pages that were ultimately his responsibility as Speaker of the House.
Trying to weasel out of it now is reprehensible.

I can't imagine any parent trusting their child to an administration that has consistently demonstrated that they can't be trusted with our children's lives.

Fire Hastert. You can not tell me he knew nothing of this. Pages were warned to steer clear of Foley, and you meant to tell me congressional leaders knew nothing, hogwash!

Hastert needs to go!

Disturbing that this information was known and nothing was done about it earlier.

So Hastert is resorting to the Clintonesque argument: "what do you mean by 'know'?".

Suggestions that calls for his scalp are politically motivated are absurd. Its about protecting children and if he doesnt know better than to play "see no evil, speak no evil" with pedophilic stalker, then shame on him.

Shame on his family for letting him stay in public life too. His reputation, as well as his family's, are shredded. Protecting a predator in the name of maintaining party control is beneath contempt.

It will be interesting to see how the "family values" theme runs this Fall for the GOP. Abramoff, Ney, Cunningham, Foley -- sounds like a dysfunctional family to me... Not to mention some of the allegations in Woodward's book about what was known by the Bush camp prior to 9/11. The end result of all of this will probably be severe voter apathy. Especially if the Democrats drag this story out until election day. The GOP better wish the N. Koreans set off a nuke, to take the spotlight off of them...

It used to be that when these scandals came out politicians would resign so that the scandal would go away. The new method for the neo-republicians is to never have shame and just act like they didn't do anything wrong. And of course those loyal to the GOP will blame it on democrats because of the timing. The problem with these lame arguments is that this is not an isolated incident. This one just happens to stick. The same people who just toe the party talking points just can't deal with the reality. The best is the Christian Conservations who think these people are moral. You are all fools.

The leadership in the House of Representatives dismissed reports about sexual predation of teenage pages by one of their members. The immorality and criminality of that one congressman was facilitated by the irresponsibility of the others. Essentially it is the safety of the vulnerable that we should be concerned about here and certainly our representatives should have taken measures to ensure that safety.
It is a shame that we cannot leave it at that. But Republicans, some implicated in the crime and cover-up, are trying to throw mud at the Democrats by crying about persecution from some bizarre nefarious conspiracy. Our representative, here in Illinois’ 11th, Gerald Weller, instead of concerning himself with the safety of the pages, decries the discovery of one of his cohorts as a lowlife shortly prior to an election, as if he thought it would be best to let the creep continue soliciting for sex from children for another few weeks. And why should we believe Weller would have done anything about Foley? Ever? Remember, the Republicans knew about their “naughty��? friend for years and not only did nothing, but kept him as the Republican co-chairman of the Congressional Missing and Exploited Children’s Caucus, a group whose announced purpose includes fighting against "online child sexual exploitation."
Weller’s negative attacks against his opponent, John Pavich, may be best viewed in the light of how he reacts to his own failures. Like in his reaction to this depravity, he ignores the real issue, choosing instead to invent an obfuscating fantasy.

If Foley were a Democrat the GOP would re-hire Starr and spend 60 million investigating this. Hastert should indeed resign, and Foley should face charges just like anyone else who sent sexually oriented messages to minor would have to.
Bush promised to restore dignity and honor to the government. So far I've not seen this happening.

The Democrats the Republicans you people are fools for thinking anyone of them are different! Mel Reynolds, Foley, Bill Clinton all sexual perverts. We lose the American people! Foley turned the page program into what Clinton did to the intern program what a shame!

I agree with Sparkie.. this makes a great case for term limits. Throw them all out (dems and repubs) and start over.

It's time for a whole new crop of Congressmen and Senators. Get rid of the entrenched privlidged class with the old boy network, pork projects and lies.

hastert should resign IMMEDIATLEY , and in as much disgrace as foley . he has lost what little credibility and respect he had. he is a fat joke. and a hypocrite. as much as i enjoy beating up on obama, it is only fair that i and any other self respecting citizen to call for his immediate resignation. another loser ,do nothing kendall county politician who faked his way into office. kendall county is probably the MOST corrupt in the did he become speaker anyways ? diddn't he write a bunch of bad checks? i do that i'm under the damn jail,oh well . typical. we get the goverment we deserve.

I am surprised Bush did not blame this on "a few bad apples". As he did in Abu Ghraib, only for us to find later that torture is critical to national security and we need a law legalizing it.

Unfortunately, too many people see this as a Republican problem. The pendulum swings both ways. Our federal government is no longer under the control of the American voters. It is under the control of two very powerful political corporations. When the Dems. are back in power, the whitewashes and coverups will still go on.
Only the next time, it will be the Dems. scrambling to spin their failures.

It's not the Dem's or the Rep's. It's our system which reqires that candidates raise gadzillions of dollars to be elected or re-elected. Certainly, Hassert, if not more Rep house members should go,but the underlying reason for all of the problems nagging at both Congressional parties is the need to raise so much cash just to survive. The English do it on a shoestring and seem to get by and so should we.

The speaker should step aside because as a leader we have responsibility. Our children are the future and should always know that our goverment will protect them.
It is the responsibility of the constituents in spaeker Hasterts district to make the call of rather he should totally be removed from his seat.
I am a republican slash Independent and I can not justify the way the leadership handled such an important situation

"Hastert is unlikely to step down just weeks before the November election." DOES HE HAVE A CHOICE? This situation is spinning out of control. His head will not be the only one that rolls from the House leadership...

Unless there's a thorough housecleaning, my party will soon become known as the party of Gross, Older Perverts. I am appalled by what has happened to the GOP. It seems to prove the rule that power corrupts.

Anyone in government that would put something like this on the backburner or hide it should no longer be allowed to sit in the position they have now. It shouldn't be a thing of resigning, it should be that the person no longer deserves to hold the office and should be terminated regardless of what party they belong to.

This scene is like pulling a wisdom tooth out. Congress needs to get on to more pressing matters. We need better roads, efficient mass transportation--a train from Los Angeles to Las Vegas, maybe?--health care for all, a president who has something else to say other than I-r-a-q.

In order for nations to jump on "our" boat, why can't we use our dollars and sense and lead the way to energy efficency and a global environment where our children can live without either drowning or baking from global warming.

Anyone ever heard of due process? Also, what if it turns out that some Dimmocrats knew and held it back to time it for max political effect? Their asses should be canned, too, along with any Republican who knew. To keep it quiet while this pervert could have been escalating to actual sex with these kids (and he may have) is inexcusable and criminal. But, given the history of the Dimms with sex scandals, any who are exposed as the political hacks that they are aren't like to bow out gracefully as the admittedly creepy Foley, they'll whine that it is now a "witch hunt" and be re-elected by their morally bankrupt constituency. It's not an anomoly with the DNC, it's the status quo, and is regularly overlooked and even rewarded by them.

How about Liberal publications and bloggers who had the information and sat on it to blow it out of the water after Foley's name was irrevocably on the ballot? They should be brought up on child endangerment charges for it. Why is the press never called to task for BREAKING THE LAW over and over again...leaks, exposing classified information, and now this. They need to be reigned in, and quick. They think they're the fourth branch of gubment.

Term limits NOW!

He should step down. I live in his district, an because he knew, an didn't act, I would vote for anyone, but him. It just proves that party politics are more important than doing whats right. As one poster stated, this is a another great reason for term limits. Beyond these issues, is a even greater issue. The ugly image that it presents to the world about the United States. Can you imagine what our friends in the world are saying. What happens next time our leader refers to the axis of evil? Will they want to follow us then? Here we are attempting to spread our influence and "values" to places like Iraq, an we come off looking like immoral fools. Political leaders who has the ability with a vote to tax,declare war and reshape the world are focused on getting sex from teenage boys. An we wonder why they call us "Infidels".

RE: Foley Scandal - No Real Surprise

The Foley scandal shouldn’t be surprising. Principals in positions of power who knew about the problem looked the other way, a cover up was launched much like the Catholic Church protected pedophile priests, protection of children received the lowest priority in a mix of competing interests, and even after the last page scandal effective reporting channels weren’t installed. Thus, at the highest levels of government history repeats itself because the same enabling factors and conflicts of interest still exist, only the circumstances are different. One thing is clear, the usual cycle of expressed disgust/ investigation/ new legislation/ and possible telephone hotlines aren’t enough. Unless the underlying processes and communication channels are structurally improved, this will surely happen again !

Important issues like these are illustrated in my book, along with specific reporting structures, checks and balances over conflicts of interest, and elimination of information barriers – key measures that would effectively deal with pedophiles. But they can only help our children when finally implemented.

Today, this is precisely where media and leadership attention should be focused – on the underlying factors and fundamental changes that will prevent future occurrences, not simply spinning sensational daily events.

Industrial Age Governance is a must read for journalists, educators, activists, and policy leaders.

Leave a comment

Get the Sweet widget

More widgets


Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

Stay in touch

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on October 4, 2006 7:17 AM.

Washington Times calls for Hastert resignation. Conservatives biggest critics of how GOP leaders handled Foley e-mails. was the previous entry in this blog.

Sweet Column: Even if GOP retains House, Foley flap may cost Hastert speaker job. is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.