"Hastert Fights to Save His Job in Page Scandal
Backed by measured words of support from President Bush, Speaker J. Dennis Hastert opened an intense drive on Tuesday to hold on to his post, but behind the scenes senior Republicans weighed whether he could survive the scandal surrounding former Representative Mark Foley.
Among the options being considered by senior Republicans is for Mr. Hastert to announce that he will stay on as speaker through this year but not seek re-election to the post assuming Republicans retain control of the House, said people on and off Capitol Hill who were involved in the discussions. They said the advantage of such a step would be to postpone a disruptive leadership fight until after Election Day.
But across Washington, Republicans debated whether the party could begin putting the matter behind it without some gesture to acknowledge the political uproar and demands for accountability, including changes to the House leadership.
But they said the White House was resigned to more political damage as the Foley case played out no matter what Mr. Bush and the House leadership might do or say."
* calipendence said...
Why is it that the right wing (groups and media like the Moonie Times) is more up in arms and wanting Hastert to resign than the Dems or other folks? My gut feeling is that the REAL reason isn't being discussed but is more that they want a "better GOP presidential insurance policy" than they have now with Hastert.interesting. we could perhaps be witness to (presumably) the first ever administration where the top 6 people leave office. champagne for all.
With the way things have been going lately, not only is Cheney going to look bad enough to have to step down soon, but perhaps Bush as well. If the Dems take back the House and perhaps the Senate too, after 2007, it will be Pelosi that's third in line instead of Hastert.
One option the Republicans might have if they know Bush and Cheney are likely to go down to impeachment in 2007 is to have both of them resign during the lame duck session before the new congress goes into session in 2007. Then the GOP could provide the replacement from whomever is Speaker of the House at that point, and it won't be argued about much, since the constitution does list that person as next in line for the presidency. If it's Hastert, he has his own baggage he's carrying, and likely could get impeached as well. The last thing that the GOP wants is Pelosi taking charge as president. Therefore the best thing would be if they could have another "bullet proof" Speaker of the House at that point take charge, which might blunt efforts to do any further investigations in 2007 if he "cleans house" on his own and fires those who are visibly tainted, and therefore quashes any further investigations at that point and saying to the public that the Dems calling for further investigations will be just "playing politics" since "all of the bad guys are out" at that point.
Now some say they could do this also with just Cheney stepping down and them appointing a replacement for VP like they did putting in Ford during Nixon's downfall. However, that be more of a problem if:
a) Bush himself looks guilty as hell at that point and the pressure for him is also to resign very heavily and not stay to appoint a new VP.
b) An appointed VP might take more time to get through congress, as there is no pre-programmed chain of succession for this. Dems might be more apt to fillibuster a selection until the 2007 session happens.
In any case, having a "bullet proof" replacement for Hastert would help them have a better insurance policy to keep the presidency from the Dems in 2007. And if they're going to do it, they'll have to do it NOW so that it isn't a question mark later and a new Speaker is solidly in place when the elections happen. And if the Bush administration know some damning evidence is coming out soon, even more reason to get this done sooner.
That might also explain why the Dems don't want to "rush" Denny out either. They don't want a new Speaker to get approved, etc. before the election to have this scenario play out. They want to keep Hastert in and stay "tainted" until after the elections.
Also, by making it an "ethics" issue, then that might excuse them from having to follow chain of seniority in who they appoint, so that they can appoint someone who really is "bullet proof" rather than Boehner, etc.