[Poll] Would It Be Better For Dems If Hastert Doesn't Resign?

Last night, Jerome wrote that he thought it would be better for Democrats if Hastert stays, because then the Republican leadership would be tainted with scandal all the way through the end of the elections. An hour ago, Markos wrote pretty much the same thing. I can see their points. If, for example, Francine Busby was somehow running against Duke Cunningham in CA-50, that would be a guaranteed pickup. Unfortunately, right now that is a longshot pickup for Democrats. We see much of the same situation when it comes to Jodi Rell in Connecticut. Had disgraced Republican Rowland not been thrown in jail, that would also be an easy pickup for Democrats right now, instead of a severe longshot. It does seem advantageous to have the person who is the focus of a scandal still around come election time.

When it comes to Hastert, however, I think the situation might be different. If the Speaker of the House were to resign in disgrace, that would be the biggest political resignation in this country since Nixon. Hastert and the Republican disgrace would dominate the news for at least a week, and any replacement election for Hastert would also dominate the news. Both events would keep the focus on the Foley scandal, probably to a degree that we will not be able to achieve with Hastert still in office. Also, it would put a lot of pressure on the rest of the Republican leadership to resign, and any Republican who would run for the new Speaker spot would have to publicly repudiate the entire Republican leadership for covering this up. All in all, it seems to me that Hastert resigning would keep the story in the news longer, and keep the Republican leadership incapacitated for the duration of the election. It would even force numerous endangered Republican incumbents to return back to Washington and leave the campaign trail for a significant portion of the final, crucial weeks of the election.

I think there are good arguments on both sides here, so I am going to put it to a vote. Take the poll in the extended entry. Is it better for Democrats in these elections if Hastert stays, or if Hastert goes?

Update: Faux News reports that an internal Republican poll shows that Republicans will suffer massive losses this year if Hastert stays on as speaker for the rest of the election. Of course, this is Faux News, and we haven't seen the poll, so I don't think this settles the debate either way.

Tags: 2006 elections, Republicans, strategy (all tags)

Comments

61 Comments

Re: [Poll] Would It Be Better For Dems If Hastert

I think that Hastert resigning would keep the story in the news primarily because the story would then move to the internecine warfare that would break out among Republicans for power.  I think that's already going on, to some extent between Hastert, Boehner, et. al.  If he stays in office, and says 'Sorry, I didn't cover anything up but I dropped the ball -- practically anyone would have dropped the ball" (Rumsfeldism) -- and promises to investigate, etc, etc., then I think the captivating part of the scandal will pretty much go away and be a memorable cloud over the party.  I wouldn't hitch my wagon too much to the scandal.  I would segue back to Iraq etc., as part of the general incompetence of Republicans to do anything right.

by SaratogaProf 2006-10-05 09:24AM | 0 recs
Re: [Poll] Would It Be Better For Dems If Hastert

I agree that Hastert resigning is a better option.  Another reason his resigning would be bad for the GOP is that it would be a tacit admission of guilt.  You can then start calling them the party of perverts every time they bring up family values.

by pjv 2006-10-05 12:30PM | 0 recs
Play it out

Whether or not Hastert resigns is one question to consider, but I think the timing of it is actually more important -- if he were to resign immediately, I think there would be positive benefits for the GOP.  Yes, it would suck for them this week, and yes, there would be a power struggle, but ultimately, it's possible they could be perceived as "doing something about the problem."  

The best-case scenario for Dems, whether Hastert resigns or not, would be that he does not resign right away.  Keep it in the news for at least a few more cycles, particularly with many on the right calling for Hastert's head -- let the GOP feed on each other.  If he doesn't resign, fine -- there's a big target for November.  If he does, the longer he takes to do so, the more this stokes the perception that the GOP cares more about power than about doing what's right.

So think it over, Denny, and take a long time to do so, please.

And I don't think anyone should underestimate the attention span of the American public when it comes to anything pubic.  This will play for a long while.  (Except on Faux.)

The good news in all of this is that whatever Hastert and the GOP decide, they are ultimately choosing between a bunch of really unappealing options.  There's nothing positive in this for them at all, no matter what they choose (deck chairs ... Titanic ...).

by Ms Bluezone 2006-10-06 04:36AM | 0 recs
Re: [Poll] Would

Please, the answers is.... (drumroll)-too speculative.

by RAULC 2006-10-05 09:25AM | 0 recs
If Hastert Stays

It makes embattled Republican Incumbents look completely ineffective when they call for his resignation.  Two Republicans just called for Hastert's resignation in Ohio.  If he doesn't resign, they look like they aren't going to be able to get anything done in Washington.

Resign or not, I think this story has a lot more details yet to be revealed.  If Hastert refuses to resign, the GOP is split.  If he resigns, they can all rally around the new speaker, someone who looks and sounds completely different from Hastert.

I rather have the GOP split over "how corrupt their house speaker really is" than rallying around a new, most likely flashy speaker.

by andy k 2006-10-05 09:28AM | 0 recs
You mean since Jim Wright?

Or Bob Livingnston?

by Hesiod Theogeny 2006-10-05 09:30AM | 0 recs
My take

If a new Speaker and new leadership are elected, they then have the ability to position themselves as "reformers" of this mess, and possibly congressional corruption. We all know that won't be true, but it will take the spotlight away from democrats as the opposition and the party of reform. The "rebel" republicans allowed the torture bill to pass because they were seen as the only credible opposition. The way will win this election is if we are seen as the only alternative to get things back on track. If voters get the impression that "rebel" republicans can do it, then we won't stand a chance.

by who threw da cat 2006-10-05 09:30AM | 0 recs
Yes, exactly

We'd be handing republicans an incredible opportunity--they get to pose as "reformers" and we won't even have any voice in the process. They'll have their own in-house election, complete with tons of favorable coverage, and Democrats wouldn't have any roll in it.

A bunch of back-stabbing republiclones-turned-"independent conservatives" will duke it out for the speakership, and once the election's over, the GOP House caucus will re-brand itself as newly united and ready to get to work "cleaning up D.C." They'll be saying, "Look at us: we cleaned house internally and have fresh, new leadership ready to move America forward!" or some such crap.

Although Hastert's resignation would help John Laesch, it wouldn't help Democrats as a whole. Hastert must stay.

by Johnny Gentle Famous Crooner 2006-10-05 09:57AM | 0 recs
Re: Yes, exactly

I'm not even sure that it would help John Laesch. Right now, he is getting a lot of free anti-Hastert publicity. Also, would Hastert step down as Speaker and keep his seat? Stay in the body where he once led? Or would he resign totally? In that case, The R's could put up a last minute replacement. If he could get on the ballot, a fresh (R) face would win in this heavily (R) district. John Laesch has run a strong race, but picking up votes primarily because of every voter's unuse about Iraq. A new name wouldn't have Hastert's baggage. It must certainly help John to have the nightly news associate Hastert with covering up pedophilia.

by antiHyde 2006-10-05 11:58AM | 0 recs
Re: Yes, exactly

unease, not unuse

by antiHyde 2006-10-05 12:02PM | 0 recs
GOP agrees with you

Here's RCP

FOX News is now scrolling an alert that says "GOP Poll Shows Massive Losses if Speaker Stays Till November." Bill Hemmer then quoted a report from Major Garrett saying prominent internal GOP polling suggests Republicans could lose up to 50 seats were Hastert to stay on through the election.

I find the 50 number just a bit over the top, but what I think this leak shows, is there is now a coordinated plan within Republican ranks to dump Hastert.

The Speaker is about to have a press conference, where from all the news reports he insists he will not step down, but I don't see how he can put this fire out at this point.

by BriVT 2006-10-05 10:45AM | 0 recs
Re: GOP agrees with you

Well... the poll shows massive losses if Hastert stays, but I suspect they're facing massive losses anyhow.

If Hastert stays and they lose less than 50 seats, are they setting this up as a 'win'?

Of course, now they can say all the Republican losses in November will be squarely Hastert & Foley's fault, and not related to their wrongheaded policies in Iraq, Social Security, port security, etc, etc...

by Nina Katarina 2006-10-05 11:08AM | 0 recs
Re: GOP agrees with you

Not saying they're right, really, just that there seems a significant faction of the GOP that believes he has to go.

As for what they blame their loss on ... I really don't care. I only care that they lose. They'll try to spin a loss any way they can. If they want to talk about this scandal for months after the election ... that's fine by me.

by BriVT 2006-10-05 11:12AM | 0 recs
Re: My take
You have a good point IF the new leadership elections were to go smoothly.  I have a feeling that if Hastert stepped down, all hell would break loose.
Boehner is somewhat tainted by this Foley thing too.  Blunt's certain to point that out.  Blunt's too cozy with the DeLay crowd.  That's sure to be noted.  I bet a dozen candidates would try to claim the throne.
So it's my suspicion that a leadership vacuum right now would result in such finger pointing that they'd do the Democrats job for them, right up to election day.  And they'd be so busy tearing each other apart, they'd forget about everything else (like GOTV).
by ChgoSteve 2006-10-05 12:12PM | 0 recs
Re: My take

I agree there would probably be a lot of entertaining infighting and turbulence following a Hastert resignation, but as the faux-resistance to the torture bill showed, internal infighting magically disappears from public discourse once a tidy solution is arrived at. Once he resigns and is replaced the rest of the Repubs can wash their hands of it, passing blame and uniting under new and improved leadership, potentially taking steam from Dem calls for new and improved leadership. If Hastert stays I think there is more chance of continued dissension in the ranks, leading to useful questions to individual candidates such as do you support speaker Hastert and will you vote for him for speaker again next term?

However, rather than get into whether Hastert should stay or go, Dems should use this as a point of departure to address real issues:
"This scandalous coverup is simply another example of the Republican congress' massive failures over the last few years: failure to oversee the war in Iraq, failure to hold anyone accountable for anything, failure to protect the middle class, failure to address our dependence on foreign oil, failure to make our country safe..."
If this can be use to remind voters of other scandal, insider trading and ineptitude, it will be useful, however I think Dems are better off letting Reps do the calling for Hastert's resignation. Which hopefully he will fight tooth and nail in a dragged out bloody scrape.

by jujube 2006-10-05 02:12PM | 0 recs
Re: My take

Also, I meant to add, I think it's wishful thinking to hope anything will distract GOP GOTV. These are paid operators with a lot of money to spend and merciless organizers at the helm, hoping they will get distracted and drop the ball will only encourage laxity and distraction on our part.

by jujube 2006-10-05 02:18PM | 0 recs
Re: [Poll] Would It Be Better For Dems If Hastert
i hate to be flip, but i think that the answer is that it would be "good for America" and so by the transitive property it is "good for Democrats."  I think it's important for democrats to push for his resignation not because it's good politics, but because it's the right thing to do (the politics will sort itself out...)  
Sorry if that all sounds preachy.  Of course, i think the chances of Hastert resigning are quite small - the one thing that Bush/Delay/Chenay have demonstrated repeatedly is that loyalty is the only trait that matters and the only way to loose ur job is lack of it.   (Of course i hope i'm wrong and that the repubs will finally do the right thing, but i doubt it...)
by DanD 2006-10-05 09:31AM | 0 recs
Re: [Poll] Would It Be Better For Dems If Hastert

You are right, now is the time to take the moral high ground.

by pjv 2006-10-05 12:34PM | 0 recs
Re: [Poll] Would It Be Better For Dems If Hastert

First off, asking this question is like asking what flavor of frosting you would like on your cake.  You really can't go wrong.

Given that, I agree with Chris.  If Hastert resigns, in effect it would be an admission of guilt.  The population of Republicans and press that is holding on to the fiction that this is somehow an evil Democratic plot would no longer be able to pretend that somehow the Republican leadership is innocent.  It would be yet another nail in the coffin to the Rebub GOTV.

by peter0118 2006-10-05 09:32AM | 0 recs
Hastert _should_ go

OK, there's an election coming up, political considerations are magnified. . .

BUT: It's better for Dems (and everyone else) if Hastert resigns because, basically, Hastert should resign.

If Hastert stays on through the election,  the Reps lose the house (!), Denny boy  steps down from his leadership position and never really has to acknowledge that he's responsible for enabling the sexual abuse of minors. By a member of Congress.

The grander problem exposed by Foley' (probably) illegal actions  is that the Republican party leadership has never scrupled about lying, hiding information, or attacking opponents.

Accountability, full and public, is the only way to start to heal the wounds that they've inflicted on the country.

It's a 50-state strategy.

by Eqbal00 2006-10-05 09:37AM | 0 recs
Re: Hastert _should_ go

If the Democrats take the house, wouldn't there be a real (or even Dem biased) investigation into the Foley matter?  Wouldn't that make it more likely that Hastert would be held accountable?

by peter0118 2006-10-05 09:41AM | 0 recs
Re: [Poll] Would It Be Better For Dems If Hastert

best if we push for his resignation, but it doesn't actually happen

by PragmAddict 2006-10-05 09:37AM | 0 recs
Exactly.

The longer Haster plays the stubborn "Myself and my office played this whole thing by the book" line, the more Democrat seat pickups will come out from this whole situation.  

The best possible siutation I see is Hastert remaining as Speaker.  This preserves the division that is ever-widening in the Republican community, giving them something to squawk about instead of why they should be re-elected.  

This also preserves the Democrats message of 'Hastert should resign,' an effective message in my mind.  Meanwhile, Boehner and Blunt continue to rally up troops for what they see as an impending resignation.  They will perhaps even publicly call on Hastert to resign, the perfect rallying cry for the developing House Republican power-struggle.  

A House(what an apt metaphor!) divided against itself cannot stand, and a Republican caucus split not only along pro- and anti-Hastert lines but Boehner and Blunt lines will rapidly get off message and begin to attack each other, instead of Democrats.  

This will be the perfect opportunity for Democrats running all over the country to hammer House Republicans on their incredible inability to accomplish anything, point at the horrendous situation in Iraq, and ask- why arent we doing something to solve this situation?  Bam.  +30 seats for the Democrats in November.

by zaust 2006-10-05 01:36PM | 0 recs
Re: [Poll] Would It Be Better For Dems If Hastert

I think it is a mistake to get too tactically cute.  The way to win is by winning.  And getting Hastert to step down would be a definite win.

Inertia is a good thing - We want to convey an impression of a never ending series of disasters for the Repubs over the next weeks.  

As soon as Hastert is out we start beating the drum on Boehner, Reynolds, etc. etc.   It can be the gift that keeps on giving

by sck5 2006-10-05 09:47AM | 0 recs
why are we leaving Gingrich out of this?

A former page says he was warned about Foley in 1995, during Foley's freshman term. Gingrich should have seen to it that someone else ran for Foley's seat in 1996. Don't tell me that rumors never got around to Gingrich's office.

by desmoinesdem 2006-10-05 09:48AM | 0 recs
Would It Be Better For Dems?

I'm sorry, but I don't care if it's good politics or not. I don't want someone who would think it's OK to cover for a pedophile in charge of congressional policy.

by dwbh 2006-10-05 09:52AM | 0 recs
Re: Would It Be Better For Dems?

Do you really thibk his replacement would be better?

by antiHyde 2006-10-05 12:06PM | 0 recs
Can't bring myself to vote.

A "don't know" might make sense in this case. Both scenarios are so good (and so well argued) that I couldn't vote.

On this site we definately wouldn't be polling the "don't know what you're talking about" crowd, we'd be polling a category of people who think either choice is more delicious than a juicy steak.

by PBCliberal 2006-10-05 09:55AM | 0 recs
Re: [Poll] Would It Be Better For Dems If Hastert

I don't think it makes any difference whether he resigns or not. The 35% of braindead Rethugs that will vote for A. Hitler if he was a Rethug could careless and most D's are already voting D. As for the few Indeps. left at this pt. I doubt it will effect them either.

by Blutodog 2006-10-05 09:58AM | 0 recs
If other revelations are out there....

...then it's best that he stays.  If another Kirk Fordham reveals that Hastert knew more, then it keeps the speculation going.

If the well is dry as far as revelations go, then a resignation would be the next best thing.

by magster 2006-10-05 10:01AM | 0 recs
He should go

Why are we asking him to go?

Because his irresponsibility in handling the Foley/page issue is:

1) Possibly illegal, especially if he were aware a crime was being committed (statutory rape, child predator).

2) Irresponsible.

3) Distracting.

If we believe these things (by the way, the last two were said about Clinton as excuses for his impeachment) then it is disingenuous to do anything but tackle this issue head on, regardless of the political outcome.

Speaking of...

I actually believe that politically it benefits us... for many of the reasons stated already--

1) Its a huge 1-2 week story that essentially FREEZES races in the house if not hurting the GOP-- and I think we all agree if the election were held today we'd take the House.  Our FEAR is that they'll pull Osama out of their ass on Oct. 30th.  This makes that a lot less likely.

2) Hastert is a turd.  And as much as we like to hate on Republicans and wish them ill will, our country needs to be governed no matter which party is in power.  And I would think that if Hastert goes HIS WHOLE CROWD (Blunt, Reynolds) goes as well.  Who's next in line? Its gonna be someone better.

3) I'd rather have a newbie in as MINORITY leader as opposed to Hastert, who is formidable with regard to strategery, etc. and hold on his caucus.

by jgkojak 2006-10-05 10:04AM | 0 recs
You All Appear to Have It Wrong

I've just been at news.google and keyworded hastert and speakership and I was right.  The call to resign is only for him to resign his speakership, not his seat.

by catherineD 2006-10-05 10:11AM | 0 recs
Slight preference for Hastert to stay...

I like Hastert being the face of the Republican Party, along with Bush.  Hastert doesn't inspire.  Hastert doesn't look confident and competent.  

Let's keep him, to kick around, for a while.

But there are so many other good stories brewing...

e.g., Condi Rice can only hide abroad for so long.  Sooner or later she will have to come home and confront the fact that she lied about the July 10, 2001 briefing.  That will help educate the public that the Bush White House DID KNOW about the terrorist threat and did nothing.

by xtrarich 2006-10-05 10:14AM | 0 recs
All right, sorry.

I've re-read what was said, and I think I got confused by the initial talk of another election required.  

by catherineD 2006-10-05 10:15AM | 0 recs
Re: [Poll] Would It Be Better For Dems If Hastert

You cant watch live stream of Hastert 'taking responsibility at http://www.11alive.com/video/default_liv e.aspx?storyid=85662

by SaratogaProf 2006-10-05 10:17AM | 0 recs
Re: kick him around some more

Now that his name's in the public arena, he's ripe for demonizing.

I'd keep Hastert there, and get the country to feel about him the way they felt about Delay toward the end.

Keep pounding his fat face into their memories as the representation of the GOP's bloated, wasteful, incompetent and corrupt term of leadership.

A speaker resigning is big for political junkies, but the general public will just think of it as another politician moving on.

by Bush Bites 2006-10-05 10:19AM | 0 recs
It depends

I think one of the reason it's hard to say what would be better is because the outcome probably would depend on how the Reps handle the situation.

Let's say Hastert, Boehner, and Reynolds all step down from their leadership positions, acknowledge that they didn't handle things well and promise to help reform the process.  Additionally, Reps have a quick and orderly transition to new leadership clearly unaffiliated with the issue.  It seems to me that this would help stop the bleeding.

On the other hand, if Hastert steps down and lashes out that everybody was out to get him, leaving a leadership vacuum that sets off more internal fighting, that would be a disaster.

If the Reps are unsettled on what to do once Hastert steps down, it's probably best if he just stays through the election.  

Obviously, they're in a terrible position no matter what happens.

by danielj 2006-10-05 10:24AM | 0 recs
First Question: What's Better for America?

Your first question in all of these should be what's better for America?

Every day Hastert is in power America suffers.

by The Cunctator 2006-10-05 10:29AM | 0 recs
Re: First Question: What's Better for America?

I thought that at first to, but then I thought about it.

What's better for America is Democrats taking control of Congress in November. We can force Hastert to resign later if we don't, but we need as much help as we can get--and he's giving us plenty.

by Covin 2006-10-05 10:44AM | 0 recs
Re: First Question: What's Better for America?

Is that because Republicans put holding power in front of the public interest?

OK, then, back to the first question. Leave the curve balls to the Replicants on this one ... throw strikes, and give the SOBs the heat.

by BruceMcF 2006-10-05 11:19AM | 0 recs
Re: [Poll] Would It Be Better For Dems If Hastert

First off, he won't resign--it would just open the Republican fight to succeed him and no 'sane Republican' (to use an oxymoron) would want to see that battle for the next week or two. He may decide to promise not to run in the next Congress and that might have some purge value.

But the Dems. are better with him IN office since those who want to get his job from the Republican side will continue sniping in an effort to position themselves for the next Congress. And that has to be good for the Dems.
T.J.

by Pempel 2006-10-05 10:31AM | 0 recs
Better if he stays

I was initially concerned that it might be better for the country if he resigned, but I think that what would ultimately be better for the country is Dems winning in November. Let him be the symbol of Republican irresponsibility that Tom DeLay was supposed to be. Let him bring their caucus to ruin in a desperate plea to remain in power.

October surprise.

by Covin 2006-10-05 10:41AM | 0 recs
Re: [Poll] Would It Be Better For Dems. . .

Not to split the baby here, but the best thing for Dems is for Hastert to resign in about 2 weeks.  Every moment spent on this scandal by the GOP is time spent not attacking the Democrats on National Security, etc.  If Hastert resigns, the story, for the most part, dies.  And that's where I can understand Markos and Jerome Armstrong's point.  We want this thing to go on.

But, at some point, we have to refocus on Iraq, the economy, and the other bread-and-butter issues.  We need closure as much as the GOP on this issue because it'll depress our turnout (not as much as theirs, of course).  So having Hastert resign amid scandal about 2 weeks before the election gives us the best of all worlds.

Another point, and I'm not sure where to go with this, but there's a power struggle within the GOP right now.  Hastert, Boehner, and Blunt are all struggling for power.  With Reynolds fighting for his political life, there may be no leadership to coordinate the actions of the GOP.  Had Hastert resigned today, someone would have emerged as the leader, recapitating the GOP.  But if the resignation occurs 2 weeks from now, does that help or hurt us from that perspective?  I don't know.

by Jim Treglio 2006-10-05 10:55AM | 0 recs
Re: Better if he stays

I agree with those who think that if he stays, it keeps the story in the news as a potential cover-up / corrupt leadership remaining in power.

If he resigns as Speaker (I don't see him resigning his seat itself), then the Republicans can claim they have "addressed the leadership problem" / someone big will have taken the fall, etc.

Either way, this story will remain in the news.

Oh, and regarding your statement, Chris, that "If the Speaker of the House were to resign in disgrace, that would be the biggest political resignation in this country since Nixon..."

... are you forgetting Newt Gingrich's resignation, over the failed Clinton impeachment attempt?

by OH Mark 2006-10-05 11:15AM | 0 recs
Re: Better if he stays
Re: biggest resignation since Nixon:
Perhaps Majority leaders are technically not as powerful as speaker of the house, but since Hastert has consciously maintained a low profile, I think Delay and Lott were at least equal stature disgrace resignations.
by jujube 2006-10-05 02:26PM | 0 recs
Re: Better if he stays

Gingrich was the Speaker of the House when he resigned, both his leadership position, and his seat, after the poor showing by Republicans in the (post-attempted-impeachment) election of 1998.

by OH Mark 2006-10-05 02:41PM | 0 recs
Re: Better For Dems If Hastert Doesn't Resign?

Which is worse for Republicans? That's kind of like asking if it would be worse to leave Iraq. It's a clutserfuck of epic proportions either way.

by Memekiller 2006-10-05 11:18AM | 0 recs
Some data on the way?

TPM cites Fox:

House Republican candidates will suffer massive losses if House Speaker Dennis Hastert remains speaker until Election Day, according to internal polling data from a prominent GOP pollster, FOX News has learned.

"The data suggests Americans have bailed on the speaker," a Republican source briefed on the polling data told FOX News. "And the difference could be between a 20-seat loss and 50-seat loss."

http://www.talkingpointsmemo.com/archive s/010207.php

by danielj 2006-10-05 11:50AM | 0 recs
Re: Some data on the way?
Don't forget that unnamed Republican source may have an ulterior motive. It's a classic maneuver for an opponent to start stories that his opponent will cause a disaster. Even if it doesn't result in a resignation, loss of seats will fuel another call to replace the Speaker in the next Congress. And who induced anti-Democrat pro-Republican ABC to release this story when every other news organization wouldn't run it? This whole situation reminds me of the BBC's "House of Cards" Netflix_link <http://www.netflix.com/MovieDisplay?movieid=60029605&amp;trkid=189530&amp;strkid=929707882_1_0&gt;
by antiHyde 2006-10-05 12:31PM | 0 recs
Re: Some data on the way?

I think it's possible that this suggests Republican infighting more than anything else.

I highly endorse House of Cards, btw, along with its followups, To Play the King, and The Final Cut.  Francis Urquhart was Ian Richardson's best role since those Grey Poupon commercials.

by danielj 2006-10-05 12:38PM | 0 recs
October Surprise

Could this story be Rove's -"October Surprise"?

by Classical Liberal 2006-10-05 12:20PM | 0 recs
I['m With Chris

I seem to have screwed up my initial comment, so here's the shorter version:

They've got no savior in the wings.  Instead, they've got Boehner, who's just as tainted. If Boehner and Reynolds step down as well, the symbolism's good, but pragmatically, their leadership is decapitated just weeks before the election.

True, Hastert resigning means a lot more to political junkies than to your average American.  But to Joe Sixpack, it still means they admit they did something wrong--not just Foley, but the GOP establishment.  And just when they were forgetting about DeLay.

So, I go with Hastert resigning, because it's an admission of guilt--and actually turns up the heat on Boehner and Reynolds.

by Paul Rosenberg 2006-10-05 12:25PM | 0 recs
it would be better if he resigned...

not only would we get John Laesch elected for sure (which would be a coup in and of itself), people pay more attention when congresscritters resign... it's true.

Plus i'd just like to see him gone.

-C.

by neutron 2006-10-05 12:29PM | 0 recs
From Atrios

"Stay, Denny, Stay...

Seriously. The idea that Democrats actually want Hastert to resign is absurd. Of course, he should resign given what he covered up, but from a purely calculating political perspective the longer he hangs in there the better."

by OH Mark 2006-10-05 01:27PM | 0 recs
No Poll On If He Resigns?

Noticeably absent from this poll is how many seats the internal poll thinks the Republicans would lose or gain if Hastert resigns.

Either way, once GOP voters realize that Foley was hid in part because he was a good fundraiser and in part because he's not the only gay Republican congressman, their base will be demoralized.

Thank God Lee Atwater is dead...otherwise he might have had an aneurysm over how badly things have gone south.

I also think the Hastert resignation is good in that if he's out...there's a new power struggle between DeLay's waning faction and other groups. This totally distracts them from campaigning because they had planned a robust "lame-duck" session had they retained the majority.

by risenmessiah 2006-10-05 02:37PM | 0 recs
Best If He Resigns, But He Won't

From the dollar perspective, I think it's not even a close call: you want Hastert to resign as speaker.  But I don't see how it's possible Hastert resigns.  It's hard to organize a palace coup from the provinces.

You're a GOP Congressman.  Like all the other GOP Reps, you've left home.  If Hastert resigns, you know there's going to be a vicious war among Blunt, Boehner, Shays, and Shadegg to step up.  Some reporters are going to be asking you whom you support.  You won't want to commit.  You don't want Hastert to resign until the war is over and the new king is settled upon.  But that's impossible with everyone dispersed to their districts.  So are you going to call up Hastert's office and demand he resign?  Tell him you're calling for a caucus meeting in DC?  Spend all day on the phone calling your colleagues while your 50-state-Dem opponent is pounding the pavement?

No, you're going to look at it and figure the least of the evils before you is to cross your fingers, and hope nothing else comes out in the next four weeks.  

No question, in my mind, the best thing for us is for Hastert to resign the speakership.  How do you go to your constituents and say, "I f'ed up bad enough to resign from being Speaker of the House of the United States, but not bad enough that you should vote for someone else"?  It's another free seat, but he'd chew up boatloads of NRCC money trying to keep it--people owe him lots of favors and he'd be out to save his own job.

And if Hastert resigns, it's hard to see how Reynolds or Shimkus survive the admission that it was really that bad.  Boehner I think lives to see another day.  But again, he'd burn a lot of money doing it.

And that would all be money not spent in actual toss-up contests.  Just Hastert defence alone probably sucks oxygen from five or six other races.

by Professor Foland 2006-10-05 02:44PM | 0 recs
Re: [Poll] Would It Be Better For Dems If Hastert
I think this analysis is way off. Hastert is one of the top ten biggest fundraisers in congress. He had over a million on hand (having raised close to 4) in July. He will not personally be draining money from other candidates. If he resigns the speakership but not his seat, he probably still wins in a slightly closer race. If he resigns both, the Dems may get a pickup, but that would be a closer and more money-draining race. What drains money is if the scandal puts many other previously safe seats in any kind of jeopardy. So the issue seems to me to be much less about Hastert's race/seat and more about which option hurts others more. I think, since the GOP is always counting on their conservative values base to come out, this scandal hurts most in whatever way depresses their turnout most. This of course is where we get to the big debate point, but I'd say the longer it drags out and the more they minimize it, by squabbling amongst themselves over Hastert's resignation, the more it hurts others.
As Dems, I'll repeat, I think they should avoid getting into calling for Hastert's resignation, and if asked should instead say something like "I didn't vote for speaker hastert in the past and won't in the future, I don't think his resignation will make a difference in the scandalous and oblivious way this congress has been led and managed for the past few years, what is needed is a whole new direction a new leadership from a different party, and that will only happen when people vote for their Democratic congressional candidate."
by jujube 2006-10-05 03:21PM | 0 recs
Re: [Poll] Would It Be Better For Dems If Hastert

I was in Hastert's district for five years until recently.  Thousands of households in the district depend on a single large national science laboratory.   This lab now faces some severe challenges to stay scientifically relevant over the next five years.

Scientists are the most committed "reality-based" community there is, but many in this district have kept quiet over the past five years, recognizing that Hastert's position as Speaker does a lot to protect the lab.  Most vote D but don't want to actively antagonize Hastert.  If he's not Speaker, they'll be not just voting for Laesch, but actively helping him.

In any district, if you can identify a large, specific, organizable group of people like that, you're in trouble.  This district is Republican, but it's not Texas.  He has a real fight if he's no longer speaker.

And as for being a good fundraiser--with four weeks to go, the table is already set.  Hastert can't raise for himself in a couple of weeks the kind of money he would want for defending himself.  On the other hand, he could snap his fingers and call in favors to get the money from places like NRCC.  That money would have to come from elsewhere.

by Professor Foland 2006-10-06 05:51AM | 0 recs
Re: [Poll] Would It Be Better For Dems

Chris handicapped it correctly, much better if he does resign. If that happened it would be automatically mentioned whenever the House is a topic until election day. Even the apolitical types would conclude it was a deep based scandal with the top forced out to coverup anything festering below.

But Hastert will never resign. There are betting odds on some sites and it is more than a 2/1 underdog he resigns. Damn. I was hoping some of the pundits were making the lines and I could jump on the No at even money or better.

One of the few polling edges Republicans have is stronger leaders. Hastert would be handing us an absolute gift if he forfeited that edge by resigning.

by jagakid 2006-10-05 03:26PM | 0 recs
From Lawrence O'Donnell via

Huffington Post:

"It's no accident that the first call for Hastert's resignation came from Tony Blankley, Newt Gingrich's former press secretary. Tony knows that the scandal cannot die as long as Hastert and his staff are still in the building."

by OH Mark 2006-10-05 03:35PM | 0 recs
Hastert Stay/Go

if Hastert resigns now, the boil is lanced and the republican slime machine will seize the political agenda. its better if his fat,florid face continues to be the GOP symbol of this election.

by sinful1 2006-10-05 03:48PM | 0 recs

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