Blankley on Hastert II
Tony Blankley defends his paper’s (his?) editorial yesterday calling for Denny Hastert’s ouster over his cover-up of the Foley affair.
I have known Denny for almost two decades. He is an exceedingly decent man and a hard worker for conservative Republican values and politics. But we cannot deny the fact that he had a sustained lapse of good judgment. The fact that he reportedly has been quite ill for some time may be an explanation — but not an excuse.
Forget the later hideous text messages. When the speaker was told that Mark Foley had sent that first e-mail — the “overly friendly” one that we all saw last Friday — he had to be either obtuse or on notice of the problem. Any father of a young man who saw such an e-mail sent to his son would rightly be disposed to immediately punch out Mr. Foley and warn him to keep away from his son, and then he would call the police. It was common knowledge that Mr. Foley was gay. If he had been straight and asked for a 16-year-old girl’s photo, any sensible person would have concluded the same thing.
But the fact that, according to my best sources in the House Republicans, Mr. Hastert never informed any Democrats of the matter (even on the page oversight board), unambiguously suggests that he knew what was up. Thus began the cover-up. Of course he knew what the Democrats would do with the information. But not only is this not a Democratic Party dirty trick (the facts are real, not made up), but Mr. Hastert had a moral duty to do all in his power to make sure there would not be more victims of Mr. Foley’s alleged sexual predation — or clear potential for such.
I’ve never met Hastert but have read his autobiography. I have never been overly impressed by him as either a charismatic leader or a visionary but never had much reason to doubt his intentions until recently. I just don’t see how his actions in this case are defensible, however.