Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Here's What Troubles Me

While I think the Washington Times jumped the gun in calling for Speaker Dennis Hastert's resignation before all the facts are out and analyzed -- ABC is still dribbling them out a bit at a time -- Hastert did his case no favors today in his interview with Rush Limbaugh.

Regardless of whether or not Hastert did or didn't know the content of Foley's emails, or when it was that Hastert learned of the more salacious content of the instant messages -- the fact that parents felt the need to contact Congress to stop a Representative's contact with their son should have set off major alarm bells. It was not enough that Hastert was told there was not sex or explicit language in the emails, it was inappropriate for him to drop the matter at the parents' request, with a word to Foley to knock off the behavior.

Hastert, you see, was responsible not just for that one page, but for all the pages. As Kate O'Beirne writes, "One set of parents, who are only concerned with the well-being of their own son, cannot be allowed to decide how aggressively other parents' children are going to be protected."

John Podhoretz suggests Hastert wasn't Foley's boss and did all he could, but I think that lets Hastert off the hook for his responsibility to those minors employed by Congress. Foley may not have been Hastert's responsibility to watch -- but the pages were.

Hastert owed it to all the children -- and the pages are still children -- to look further into why matters had reached such a state that parents had to reach out to another member of Congress to stop the contact. His lack of curiosity -- perhaps a desire not to know the full truth -- is troubling.

Update: Paul Mirengoff of Power Line is on the same wave length:

"...I believe that Hastert had a moral obligation to take action in the face of reports that Foley may have been making inappropriate comments to underage employees of Congress. Actually, it's clear to me that any member of Congress has such an obligation -- who else but a member's colleagues has the power to protect teen-age kids from a predatory Representative? However, as the leader of the House, Hastert had a stronger obligation.

"Even on Hastert's account...he did not meet that obligation. A report that a member of the House was writing "overly friendly" emails (a characterization that raises more questions than it answers) to a page should have prompted Hastert to seek details. He should not have accepted on faith, or on the vague assurances of others, that Foley had not crossed the line."


Post a Comment

<< Home

Newer›  ‹Older