Quicky: What exactly is responsibility? (Updated)

The Chicago Tribune headlines with Hastert’s mea culpa

House Speaker Dennis Hastert offered a public apology Thursday for his handling of a complaint about a congressman’s suggestive electronic messages to an underage page as the House ethics committee opened an investigation into former Rep. Mark Foley’s contacts with pages.

“I’m deeply sorry this has happened and the bottom line is we’re taking responsibility,” Hastert told a news conference outside his district office in Batavia, Ill. “The buck stops here.”

The political damage from the cyber-sex scandal that Republican candidates already had sensed began to show up in polling data, indicating a sharp drop in supI feel soport for the GOP and public distrust of congressional leaders’ explanations for their handling of a complaint about Foley. However, it is not yet clear how lasting the falloff in support will be as lawmakers and the FBI pursue separate investigations of the six-term Florida Republican. Foley abruptly resigned his seat last week.

Hastert won’t resign yet. The pressure will have to build even more. Indeed Bush, the poster child for the politically deaf, is siding with him. I have yet to hear the two really important voices on this issue, Rove and Cheney. They will probably shape this issue on the Sunday morning talkshows and leading into next week.

If you read the article closely, Hastert’s actions this year might even hinder and not help any clarification and justice in this case. His rabid defense of congressional property (you remember the Jefferson case from this summer) now has the Justice Department walking as if on eggshells, unsure how to move forward. Nice job Mr. Hastert!

Further, Hastert keeps claiming he doesn’t know who knew what, when. Well Mr. Hastert, if you were doing your job, if you were a responsible House Speaker, after a week – you should know. What would you say about a Democratic Speaker in the same position? Would you leave the gloves on Mr. Hastert?

I wonder, what – exactly – does Dennis Hastert understand under responsibility in a case like this. An ‘Oops – my bad!’ comment? That just isn’t enough.

Update: The Big Dick Cheney has made some  comments.

I’m a huge Denny Hastert fan — I think he’s a great speaker,” Cheney said in his private cabin aboard Air Force Two. “And it makes no sense at all for him to think about stepping down.”

“I think we’ve got good stuff to work with,” he said during a flight from Houston to Washington. “The Foley thing, again, as to how that cuts, I can’t tell.”

Cheney flatly rejected predictions by pundits that Democrats will take control of the House and Senate in November.

“We will retain control of both houses,” he said.

Oh. Both houses. Gee Mr Cheney, is this like the predictions about WMD? Or Sadaam sleeping with Usama?

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