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GOP Scandal Shows Dangers of Stifling Dissent

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Judi Lynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-08-06 02:48 AM
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GOP Scandal Shows Dangers of Stifling Dissent
Edited on Sun Oct-08-06 02:48 AM by Judi Lynn
GOP Scandal Shows Dangers of Stifling Dissent
Robert Brownstein
October 8, 2006

If there was an Olympic competition in closing ranks, surely the Republican Party would take the gold.

Prominent conservatives and House Republican leaders tumbled over one another early last week to complain about the way House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) handled the sex scandal that forced the abrupt resignation of Rep. Mark Foley (R-Fla.).

In a private poll of top Republicans, Hastert still might not be their first choice to serve as speaker next year if the party retains its House majority. But by week's end, the public rebellion against him had almost entirely dried up. With leading conservative voices such as the Wall Street Journal editorial page insisting that any leadership change would only embolden Democrats, the flood of criticism thinned to a trickle.

At the revolt's high tide, House Majority Leader John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) and Majority Whip Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), jabbed at Hastert. By week's end, both looked like Chinese officials summoned to a self-criticism session during the Cultural Revolution: Each issued submissive statements praising Hastert and abjectly pledging their support. Even Paul M. Weyrich, a shrewd and independent conservative strategist, reversed his call for Hastert's resignation after an impassioned phone call from the speaker.

The pirouettes might be especially pronounced, but these are familiar steps for the GOP in recent years. Marginalizing internal dissent and promoting party unity have been hallmarks of the Republican governing strategy under President Bush.
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mcscajun Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-08-06 07:43 AM
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1. So much for Hastert's departure. He appears to be dug in,
and the ramparts are being built high and deep by those around him. I hope it all comes back to bite them in the ass in a couple of weeks. :)
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