All four of these GOP leaders in Congress screwed up. They put politics over the safety of the pages. And, they can't even get their stories straight:
Mr. Hastert hardly sounds like an effective leader who intends to investigate the allegations thoroughly, particularly now that the focus is shifting from Mr. Foley’s conduct to whether House leaders covered it up. His remarks struck the same dismissive tone as the White House spokesman Tony Snow’s references to “naughty e-mails.”The first vote cast by House members is for the Speaker. Every GOP candidate needs to say if they'll vote for Hastert again. And, they all need to go on the record about whether they still want Boehner as their Leader.
It is disturbingly difficult to straighten out the basics of who said and did what when. John Boehner, the majority leader, was saying late last week that he did not recall informing Mr. Hastert that there was a problem with Mr. Foley. Now he is insisting he did and trying to dump the mess in the speaker’s lap. Thomas Reynolds, the New York Republican who heads the National Republican Congressional Committee, insists he told Mr. Hastert this spring of his concerns about Mr. Foley. But Mr. Hastert says he does not recall being told.
There are more unanswered questions. When John Shimkus, the Illinois Republican who is chairman of the House Page Board, learned of the Foley problem, he informed the House clerk, but not the Democrat on the committee, or anyone in the Democratic leadership. It is unclear why he withheld the information. The pages’ well-being should have been his primary concern, not partisan politics.
Mr. Reynolds, who was one of the few members of Congress to know about the Foley problem early on, insists he did all he had to when he “took it to my supervisor,” Mr. Hastert. But Mr. Reynolds is a key member of the House leadership, and his constituents need to know whether he knew enough to have done more than he did. We’d also like to know why, in the months when Mr. Reynolds was one of the few people to know of Mr. Foley’s misconduct, Mr. Foley contributed $100,000 to Mr. Reynolds’s Congressional campaign committee.
The way things are going Nancy Pelosi will be Speaker. At best, Hastert will be Minority Leader with Boehner as Whip. But, it's still the first vote. All the Republicans in the House -- and all the GOP candidates -- have an ownership in their leaders. Make them own Hastert, Boehner, Reynolds and Shimkus.