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My Prediction: Hastert Will Step Down

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An internal GOP poll shows massive discontent with the Speaker over the page scandal:

WASHINGTON � House Republican candidates will suffer massive losses if House Speaker Dennis Hastert remains speaker until Election Day, according to internal polling data from a prominent GOP pollster, FOX News has learned.

“The data suggests Americans have bailed on the speaker,” a Republican source briefed on the polling data told FOX News. “And the difference could be between a 20-seat loss and 50-seat loss.”

A difference of 30 seats? Wow. That’s crazy.

Now of course they’ll do more polls, but this page scandal feels like the straw that broke the conservative base’s back. They’re already very unhappy with their leadership, and this one last slap in the face has sent people over the edge.

So more specifically, I expect Hastert to be out by next week.

Also, George Will has a good editorial on why this “one last thing” is such a big deal to an already disgruntled base:

Their story, of late, has been that theirs is the lonely burden of defending all that is wholesome. But the problem with claiming to have cornered the market on virtue is that people will get snippy when they spot vice in your ranks. This is one awkward aspect of what is supposed to have been the happy fusion between, but which involves unresolved tensions between, two flavors of conservatism — Western and Southern.

The former is largely libertarian, holding that pruning big government will allow civil society — and virtues nourished by it and by the responsibilities of freedom — to flourish. […]

To a Republican Party increasingly defined by the ascendancy of the religious right, the Foley episode is doubly deadly. His behavior was disgusting, and some Republican reactions seem more calculating than indignant.

Well said Mr. Will.