Marc Sandalow at the San Francisco Chronicle doesn’t see any way Hastert can survive (nor does our own James Ridgeway), and I tend to agree.
Even if he manages to deflect blame for the humiliating page scandal, he will be left with a Republican leadership team whose disloyalty and instinct for self preservation have been fully exposed….
The conduct of the House has been so troubling that several Republicans are proposing to abolish the page system (which prompted Democratic columnist Harold Meyerson to suggest in this morning’s Washington Post that, rather than punishing the victims, if House members cannot handle the temptation of young pages: “How about building a 700-foot fence around all Republican members of Congress?”
The only live question, so he argues, is when Hastert goes — that is, how the Republicans’ will time his departure so as to minimize the pre-election damage.
…Hastert is becoming the personification of the very entrenched Washington power that voters turned against when Democrats controlled Congress in 1994. …
Hastert was scheduled to make as many as 30 appearances in the coming weeks for Republican candidates. Don’t be surprised if [he] announces that he can not continue in his current capacity long before that.