Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Viguerie v Frum on Hastert & Foley

Last night there was an interesting debate on The Newshour with Jim Lehrer about House Speaker Dennis Hastert's handling of the Mark Foley case. Conservative direct-mail mastermind Richard Viguerie said he should go, while former White House speechwriter David Frum argued that Hastert ought to stay:
MARGARET WARNER:Gentlemen, welcome to you both.

Mr. Viguerie, should Speaker Hastert resign the speakership at this point?

RICHARD VIGUERIE, Chairman, I think so. And I think any other of the leaders who were aware of these e-mails and then took no action on it.

In my book, "Conservatives Betrayed," that you referred to, I call for the resignation of all of the Republican leaders in the House and the Senate, of course unrelated to this Foley affair. I think they've been here too long, and the conservatives are never going to get to the political promised land until we have new leaders.

This is the like the straw that broke the camel's back, the last nail in the coffin. I don't see how they can survive this. The Republican Party certainly can't survive this.

MARGARET WARNER: David Frum, your view?

DAVID FRUM, Resident Fellow, American Enterprise Institute: Speaker Hastert should not resign, and he cannot resign. I mean, it's just not -- it's not even feasible for the Republicans at this point to choose new leadership.

There may come a time in the future when they have to choose leadership. It would helpful at that moment to know whether you're choosing a majority leader with the skills required for such a job or a minority leader with different skills.

More to the point, nothing has been shown against Speaker Hastert other than that he failed to investigate and find what nobody had been able to investigate and find, either. And we all have a lot of problems with the House Republican leadership. I join Richard Viguerie in that. But it seems to me, in this case, that there's a danger of joining an echo chamber rather than actually thinking clearly and speaking clearly.