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Bill Kristol covers for Hastert on The Big Story

Reported by Chrish - October 3, 2006 -

Bill Kristol had a segment all to himself on the Big Story today 10/03/06 from which he defended House Speaker Dennis Hastert for not taking any action on the now infamous Mark Foley emails. Kristol shrugged off any accountability on Hastert's part, asking "what could he have done?"

Host John Gibson read that "a major newspaper" (the conservative Washington Times) has called for Hastert to (in Gibson's words) "take a fall for the Mark Foley mess", i.e. step down for not doing enough to investigate questions about the email exchanges between Foley and an underage page.

Gratuitous video was shown of Bush saying he was dismayed and shocked, disgusted and disappointed.

Kristol, identified as FOX News political analyst and editor of The Weekly Standard (and not as PNAC founder and architect of the mess in Iraq, and head cheerleader for more of the same in other Middle Eastern countries), spoke to Hastert shortly before the interview. First Kristol said he thinks that Hastert was "repulsed" by the behavior - he was a high school teacher and wrestling coach, and the attempts to exploit young boys seems to sicken him. Hastert is angry at Foley for his betrayal of his colleagues, his constituents, and his subordiantes, and he is angry at (wait for it) - Democrats - for trying to politicize it. Kristol said that Hastert says they should be focused on issues that are important in this congressional election.

Hastert - and Kristol - are disappointed in the few conservatives who have come after him in his handling of the Foley issue:

"The Speaker seems to have done what he could have done given what knowledge he had at the time. No one has really proven or even plausibly suggested what he should have done that he didn't do, and I think, he says he's not resigning and he's going to try to get the debate back to the issues." (Maligning Democrats.)


Kristol says he doesn't know what Hastert could have done about the emails - if he was in a similar situation he would tell the guy to stop it - but once the instant messages became public Foley was told to resign or be expelled.

Employing "Democrats did it firstism", Kristol brought up the Gerry Studds incident of 1983, noting that he was allowed to remain in the Democratic caucus of the House, was re-elected
six times, and no-one called on then-Speaker Tip O'Neill to resign. What he failed to mention was that Studds' consensual relationship occurred ten years earlier and only became known in 1983, and he was censured by the House for his behavior. Kristol was either misinformed himself or deliberately misinformed viewers when he said that no-one called on O'Neill to resign in 1983-1984, "when he was Speaker of the House and Gerry Studds committed this, this, this terrible behavior."

At the time Kristol is diverting attention from Foley, Hastert, and Republicans, this graphic appeared:

ssDemscandalsBS.jpg

Kristol thinks a lot of Republicans will say that this was terrible, Foley is a repulsive creep, but he doesn't want them to tar the whole Republican party because one Republican Congressman behaved badly - that, to him, is a kind of McCarthyism.

Gibson asked if Hastert isn't responsible for the "exposure" the Republicans are getting now, then who is? Kristol responds that Foley is, and the voters of Florida who put him in office - they should have known better. He quickly backtracked from that, acknowledging that sometimes people look good but turn out to be creeps. He said there should be an investigation, but there's kind of a feeding frenzy here. Some voters are going to say Foley is just the latest in a long line of Republicans corrupted by Washington DC. Those voters may punish the Republican party, but punishing Denny Hastert is not going to help.

Too bad Chris Wallace wasn't there to ask Hastert "Why didn't you do more when you learned one of your colleagues was approaching pages inappropriately?" Foley's red flag behavior would have triggered an investigation a la Ken Starr if he had a D after his name.
(Which, Deb tells me, he did on the O'Reilly Factor, three times in two different segments!!! Taken with the above graphic it seems that FOX is trying to obfuscate the party affiliation deliberately.)