It was Representative Joe Barton (R-TX6) who, perhaps subconsciously, compared the Republican defense of House Speaker Dennis Hastert to the stand at the Alamo when he wrote last Thursday:
We, the House Republican Conference, ironically a little over 200 strong, have a decision to make, just like the defenders of the Alamo some 170 years ago. We can cross the line and stand with our Speaker in defense of conservative values and common decency, or we can retreat.
But Hastert's boys at the Alamo are decidedly skittish and more than a few are sneaking out of the garrison, at least until they see how the political winds are blowing.
Already, at least four Republicans (Ron Lewis - KY2, Mike Sodrel - IN9, Joy Padgett - OH18 and Shelley Sekula Gibbs - TX22) have cancelled campaign appearances with the House leader.
Republican representatives Martha Rainville (VT1), Rick O’Donnell (CO7) and Peter Roskam (IL6) said they would await results of the Justice Department investigation before deciding whether to support Hastert as leader, according to The Hill. GOP candidates Gus Bilirakis (FL9) and Randy Graf (AZ8) have refused to comment on Hastert.
Rep. Jim Gerlach (PA6) cancelled an appearance with Republican House majority leader John Boehner.
Rep. Christopher Shays (CT4) issued a statement saying, "I will not vote for any leader who knew or should have known about Mark Foley’s conduct." That would seem to cover Hastert.
Senate GOP candidate Thomas Kean, Jr. from New Jersey will presumably not be invited back to the Alamo after calling yesterday for Hastert's resignation. "Hastert should resign as speaker. He is the head of the institution and this happened on his watch. I urge House leaders to go further by appointing an outside panel to review the matter immediately," Kean said.