Novakula discusses Hastert’s woes. He has cancelled a fundraiser for Mike Sodrel (IN-09), and has been disinvited to appearances with Jim Gerlach (PA-06), Ron Lewis (KY-02), Joy Padgett (OH-18), and Shelley Sekula-Gibbs (TX-22). Then he gets to the meat of the matter.
The spectacle of Hastert showing up at political events across the nation where he is not wanted is a by-product of his survival. Early last week after the Foley scandal broke, the buzz on Capitol Hill was that he would be gone within hours. By week’s end, however, Republicans were acting more like Republicans. They had decided Hastert must stay, because it was both fair and politically prudent. House GOP leaders, who had started the week shooting at each other, now were on the same page.
“It’s really moot,” one of Hastert’s most severe Republican critics (who would not be identified) told me. “We are sure to lose the House, and Denny never would want to be minority leader.” With Hastert’s last performance as speaker coming in a predictably do-nothing lame-duck session after the Nov. 7 election, the month of October will be challenging for him and his party as he decides what to do with plans to campaign for challenged House candidates…
The decision to stick it out with Hastert postpones what House Republicans will do about leadership in the wake of probable defeat Nov. 7. Will they look for leaders unafraid of tax and spending reform and who will be more watchful of aberrant behavior by their colleagues?
Now it is the Republicans that don’t seem to stand for anything. Meanwhile, a newly invigorated John Kerry looks set to make another run at the Presidency.