After a week of playing the blame-game in the saga over who-knew-what about former Rep. Mark Foley and the page scandal, the Republicans have finally hit upon a strategy: Keep House Speaker Dennis Hastert, and hunker down. There are a few reasons they decided not to throw Hastert to the wolves: They like him, but more important, they believe that if he had quit, he would have to admit some form of culpability, and, by the way, they have no one to take his place. After all, who could they name? Most of Hastert's lieutenants have been so busy blaming each other, they all look ridiculous.
So Hastert is here to stay, for better or worse. And the Republicans will try to get back to the message (presumably the war on terrorism, if that qualifies) and hang on to the House. And, yes, by the way, Hastert is not quite as "in demand" as he was before this imbroglio on the campaign trailwith Republicans canceling his appearances right and left. And now they've even decided to go on the attack, as in: How dare Democrats question us on the issue of sexual predators? (i.e., remember Bill Clinton?)
That's not going to work. The voters will have to decide this: Did the GOP engage in a coverup at the highest levels to save a congressional seat? We don't know the answer to that question, but one thing is very clear: The GOP was in charge. Yesterday, Hastert finally said, "The buck stops here." It came a little late, but it's the truth. Now the voters have to decide how much that really matters.