The Washington Times, the Moonie-owned newspaper in the nation's capital, an outlet closely tied to the Christian right and other ultraconservatives, issued a stunning editorial today calling for House Speaker Dennis Hastert to resign over the Mark Foley scandal. Here's the money quote:
House Speaker Dennis Hastert must do the only right thing, and resign his speakership at once. Either he was grossly negligent for not taking the red flags fully into account and ordering a swift investigation, for not even remembering the order of events leading up to last week's revelations — or he deliberately looked the other way in hopes that a brewing scandal would simply blow away. He gave phony answers Friday to the old and ever-relevant questions of what did he know and when did he know it? Mr. Hastert has forfeited the confidence of the public and his party, and he cannot preside over the necessary coming investigation, an investigation that must examine his own inept performance.
Of course, if Hastert quit, it would throw the entire Republican party into chaos just five weeks before the elections. That the Times would even suggest it shows how devastating the scandal is, so far. And we only know the tip of the iceberg.
Lots of other right-wingers are piling on, too. The Christian right, always up for a good gay-bashing, is outraged that Foley's antics with young boys were known for months, if not years, and left untouched. Republican election strategists are warning that the GOP's hard-core base, the evangelicals, may be so disgusted with l'Affaire Foley that they may just stay home in November. And Jon Stewart had fun last night with White House spokesman Tony Snow's comment that it was all about some "naughty e-mails." Uh huh.