Saturday, June 13, 2015

Hastert's Rules

This looks like something out of a TV movie. An all-American, Midwestern, avuncular "regular guy" turns out to be a creep who sexually abused high school boys while working as a teacher and sports coach.  But the creep is former Republican House Speaker Dennis Hastert, and his attempts to pay someone off to keep his secret from getting out through illegally processed bank withdrawals only underscore what a skank he really was when he ran the House from 1999 to 2007.

As Speaker, Hastert had little regard for Democrats in the minority, instigating the "Hastert rule" that legislation only supported by a majority of the majority Republican caucus could advance through the House of Representatives, sowing the seeds for bitter partisanship and disregarding his own responsibility to be fair to the entire House, not just his party.  He also bought isolated pieces of property back home in his Illinois district and then pushed for a new infrastructure project, a new highway that - lo and behold! - went by his land and promised to make it more valuable for suburban developers looking to expand the Chicago suburbs farther out.  Almost as soon as he became Speaker, Hastert as the Washington Post reported, started "offering industry lobbyists the kind of deal they like: private audiences where, for a price, they can voice their views on what kind of agenda the . . . Congress should pursue."
Yes, you say, Dennis Hastert is a very bad man, and he should be punished for his sexual abuse of high school students and for his banking fraud, even though the "pay-to-play" system he encouraged in Washington was perfectly legal. But, you say, he's no longer in power anymore, he's out of the way, and we should just put ol' Denny behind us and let the legal process deal with him.  Well, just remember this:  He was only two heartbeats away from the Presidency on 9/11.
And even though we no longer have to worry about him becoming President, he hadn't really lost power after leaving public office.  In fact, he gained even more power.
He became a lobbyist himself. 

No comments: