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Dennis the menace?

With all the calls for Dennis Hastert to resign, I figured that -- even though I find such finer details of our government crashingly dull -- I better weigh in.

(Quick disclaimer: I am writing this Sunday evening. The latest is that Hastert is declining to comment, as there is a current investigation by the House Ethics Committee. If anything develops between Monday at 8:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m., I won't have a chance to update it.)

Right now, there is considerable dispute about "what Hastert knew, and when he knew it" about former Representative Mark Foley. The last version I heard was that Hastert had been told about some semi-creepy e-mails between Foley and some pages, but nothing remotely actionable. So Hastert told him to leave that particular individual alone.

If that was the extent of Hastert's knowledge, then his failure to more closely watch Foley -- or even move to get him out of office -- is excusable. The standard for conduct by politicians has been greatly eroded over the years, especially when it comes to sexual peccadilloes with subordinates. In the 80s, it was worth a censure. In the 90's, it was "no big deal" -- one could even lie about it under oath, and even statutory rape was forgivable. For better or worse, that was the precedent Hastert had to work with.

But if Hastert knew more about Foley's activities -- the gossip about him among the pages, the truly salacious instant messages, and the like -- then he SHOULD have dug a bit deeper, and it is to his eternal disgrace that he did not.

But I find it really hard to get too worked up about whether Hastert should remain as speaker or not. Because I lost all respect and interest in him months ago.

When Congressman William Jefferson Clinton (dammit, I've GOTTA stop doing that) was exposed as being horrifically corrupt, he tried to hide evidence in his Congressional office. The FBI worked for months to gain permission from Jefferson to search, but he hid behind his "Congressional immunity" and the "separation of powers" argument. Finally the FBI, fed up with the delays and worried about a "shredding party" in the Congressman's offices, went to extraordinary lengths to make sure Jefferson's office was searched in as non-intrusive and minimally-invasive way as possible. First, they got a federal judge to issue a search warrant -- meaning that it was two branches of government (the FBI, as part of the Executive, and the judge, as a member of the Judicial) acting together and in concert against the third (the Legislative). Next, the actual material taken was examined by agents from outside the investigation, agents who had the authority to exclude anything that might be politically sensitive or not critical to the case.

And how did Hastert react to this prima facie example of rank political corruption in the House he oversaw? Did he work with the FBI to see that the full truth was out, and the potential shame of the House was properly investigated and the micreant (if proven so) was properly removed from office?

In a word, no. In three words, he went apeshit.

Hastert loudly denounced the "intrusion" and "violation" of the FBI, and threatened dire political consequences for the affront. He had no words of condemnation for the actual cause of all the problems -- the Congressman who stalled and delayed and denied with the FBI for months, but instead laid all the blame on the FBI -- and, by extension, the president.

It took some skillful politicking by President Bush -- including an intervention into an ongoing criminal investigation -- to avoid a major Constitutional crisis -- and it was one that nearly everyone predicted that Hastert would lose. For if he had won, he would have established the Congress as a law unto itself, utterly exempt from justice (and the Justice Department). Eventually, enough people talked sense into Hastert, and he "allowed" himself to be talked into a face-saving compromise.

There's a part of me that is a bit of a "purist" when it comes to justice. I tend not to favor people being punished for things they didn't do, even if they did escape punishment on prior misdeeds. It's that -- and that alone -- that keeps me from wanting to see Hastert fall over the Foley thing unless there is solid evidence he knew just how far Foley was willing to go to sate his urges.

Until then, Hastert remains in solid possession of my contempt, disdain, and utter disinterest.


Comments (34)

We'll being as Foley has no... (Below threshold)
914:

We'll being as Foley has not even been charged with any crime yet,I dont see how Hastert would have to resign??

I guess it would almost be fair if say Joe Biden would resign because slick was accused of raping Juanita Broderick.

Then it would make perfect sense.

It only took one post for t... (Below threshold)
Hugh:

It only took one post for this wingnut loonie to mention Clinton. It brings the number of average posts (about anyhting) till Clinton is mentioned down to 1.374995.

And it only took one mentio... (Below threshold)
Sheik Yur Bouty:

And it only took one mention of Clinton for one leftwing loser to whine like a baby about any negative mention of Clinton, which brings that particular average to 1.0001.

Hugh, give it up ...<... (Below threshold)
Martin A. Knight:

Hugh, give it up ...

There's no way either you or your Leftist friends can convince anybody that there is anything wrong with mentioning Clinton's peccadilloes.

I really can't understand this Leftist obssession with shrieking that any mention of Bill Clinton (unless to praise him to the skies) is out of bounds.

Heck, you can't even write an article about the Presidency in the 1990s without Hugh rending his garments if you mention the actual President's name.

But, maybe it's just that he's our first "black President" and as usual, Hugh can't see beyond his "race".

Hey Hugh the brainless! An ... (Below threshold)
914:

Hey Hugh the brainless! An apt statement needs no excuse. You however are a liberalpheliac. Which require's a brain transplant.

Martin:Now remembe... (Below threshold)
Hugh:

Martin:

Now remember, I said a pot about anything. That said, by god Clinton got exactly what her deserved for Monica. I've said it before on this site. But you loons are so crazed you can't see beyond the nose on your faces.

ooops, a Freudian slip? I m... (Below threshold)
Hugh:

ooops, a Freudian slip? I meant a post, not a pot

Even Bush thinks there is a... (Below threshold)
BarneyG2000:

Even Bush thinks there is a cover-up. From the NY Daily News:
"While publicly embracing House Speaker Dennis Hastert, sources close to Bush say he thinks Hastert and other GOP House leaders have bungled their handling of the Foley affair and look like they've been engaged in a coverup."

the next phase will be to g... (Below threshold)

the next phase will be to go after hastert as actually being gay. it's already started. interesting how the party who decries the use of sexuality in any way shape or form against it has no compunctions about using it against their enemies. and spare me the talk about it being only used against hypocrites who espouse anti-gay policies while doing little boys in the house coat check room. it's just as bad.

Ironically, Hastert stood s... (Below threshold)
Proud Kaffir:

Ironically, Hastert stood shoulder to shoulder with Pelosi in denouncing what they ridiculously stated was an intrusion into Jefferson's privacy. I said at the time, if the shoe were on the other foot, Pelosi would be screaming cover-up and corruption at the top of her lungs. Now Pelosi wants to execute Hastert and dance over his corpse to the Speakership for failing to read all of a Congressman's communications with next to no probable cause or any standing complaint.

I think that Hastert is an honest man, probably way too honest to ever be an effective political leader. He takes people at their word and attempts to act in good faith. Pelosi is a political wench who would sell her grandchildren for political power.

Finally, the only thing Republicans should ask regarding this matter is whether voters want a party in charge who immediately forced someone out of office for sending sexually explicit e-mails to minors (Foley) or a party who puts someone in a position of leadership after the person admits to having sex with minors (Studds)?

My guess is that Hastert de... (Below threshold)
Lee:

My guess is that Hastert defended Jefferson because he (Hastert) has skeletons of his own, or knows where there are Republican skeletons, that he doesn't want coming to light.

It's clear this is yet another corrupt Republican "on the run". The pattern is unmistakable - we've seen so many Republicans hiding their dirty laundry lately -- this is all very familiar.

Now, with the Ethics Committee on the job, the weeks leading up to election day will be very interesting as well as we learn more about what Mr. Hastert knew, and when he knew it.

Prediction: Foley is just the tip of an iceberg that will, within a year, bring down the Bush presidency, and set the conservative political movement back 30 years.

I'd just like to thank Kevi... (Below threshold)
Mike:

I'd just like to thank Kevin for the new tags ( Posted by: Lee ) that indicate the stupid posts.

Mike,That feature'... (Below threshold)
Sheik Yur Bouty:

Mike,

That feature's been around for awhile now.

Hey "pucker puss" (lee lee)... (Below threshold)
jhow66:

Hey "pucker puss" (lee lee) want to bet on that? We can let Jay Tea hold the money. But tell me what the ^&%$ are we so upset about some frigging fag talking to some "boy" about his likes? Has he been charged with anything? NO. Then why the h$%& is Barney boy still in his seat, or the Stud not in prison? Oh I know forgot that I can't mention anything about that "blue dress" guy because "hughie" cries like a wampus cat when you do. The problem is that you lefty wimps are afraid you are going to get your ass handed to you on a platter in Nov. that you have to try to keep this lowlife queer in the news. Get off it --it AIN"T going to make a differance. How much "pucker"?

Hastert should go not becau... (Below threshold)
avgourmet:

Hastert should go not because of Foley, but because of the fact he belongs to the incumbent party, not the republican party. The bit with Jefferson was ridiculous on the face of it. The news that he folded against independent investigation due to Pelosi's objection only underscores the lack of political will against an opponent that will prey on any weakness and pounce on any opprotunity, no matter how un-gentlemanly or un-ladylike it happens to be. Democrats and Republicans quit playing by the same rules long ago, yet the house leadership on both sides of the aisle is strangely united

"Prediction: Foley is ju... (Below threshold)
P. Bunyan:

"Prediction: Foley is just the tip of an iceberg that will, within a year, bring down the Bush presidency, and set the conservative political movement back 30 years."

I wouldn't call that a prediction, I'd call it a secular-socialist wet dream.

Hey Hugh, Clinton ranks al... (Below threshold)
Bob Jones:

Hey Hugh, Clinton ranks almost to the top of Presidential Embarrasments, right behind Jimmuh Carter. Both are a disgrace and both did considerable damage to this country.

Oh yeah, Clinton did lie and thousands of people died.

Hey "pucker puss" (lee lee)... (Below threshold)
janew:

Hey "pucker puss" (lee lee) want to bet on that? We can let Jay Tea hold the money. But tell me what the ^&%$ are we so upset about some frigging fag talking to some "boy" about his likes? Has he been charged with anything? NO. Then why the h$%& is Barney boy still in his seat, or the Stud not in prison? Oh I know forgot that I can't mention anything about that "blue dress" guy because "hughie" cries like a wampus cat when you do. The problem is that you lefty wimps are afraid you are going to get your ass handed to you on a platter in Nov. that you have to try to keep this lowlife queer in the news. Get off it --it AIN"T going to make a differance. How much "pucker"?
Posted by: jhow66 at October 9, 2006 01:42 PM

If there was ever any doubt that apologists for Monkey Ears Bush are idiots, we can now rest our case on the post above.

When Bill Clinton has consensual sex with an ADULT, republicans were apoplectic that he was a "moral leader" but when one of their own is caught sending preverted messages to a MINOR, it's suddenly no big deal. Funny, that.

What crime is no big deal? ... (Below threshold)
914:

What crime is no big deal? He's outta there actice immediately! What happened when Bubba lied and covered up? He hung in there like cancer with the support of all His enablers..

Pretty clearcut difference here.

Thats active immediately th... (Below threshold)
914:

Thats active immediately that is.

This morning, in Denver, I ... (Below threshold)
nogo postal:

This morning, in Denver, I helped set up the EYES WIDE OPEN traveling exhibit..let me tell you walking within over 2700 pairs of boots..set up by State with the name rank and age at death is powerful..as Denver is the 100th city..many of the boots had personal messages or pictures..(sealed)

While I was there a couple wanted to find the representation of a Marine from CA..this person died in their sons arms..we found it..I left as they prayed..this exhibit is one of respect for the fallen..we added small Co flages to those from our State..if the next of kin requests..the boots remain but the name is removed..there were only about 20..if this exhibit comes to your city visit it..it is more powerful than small crosses..
watch the video at this link
http://www.afsc.org/eyes/

This election is about..the real cost..

Please..save your comments ... (Below threshold)
nogo postal:

Please..save your comments until after you watch the video...no matter our views..we can share the common ground of lives lost..

Yeah, nogo...Real good visu... (Below threshold)
Clay:

Yeah, nogo...Real good visual. I sure hope that nobody is trying to make political hay out of the lives of those who no longer have a voice. But, your comment has me puzzled: "This election is about..the real cost..". You wouldn't be arrogant enough to think that all of those boots represent folks who would agree with that statement, would you? My brother is over there right now, and he believes very strongly in the reason he's there. I don't think he'd want his boots there...but, at least I'll ask.

I don't think he'd want ... (Below threshold)
Clay:

I don't think he'd want his boots there...but, at least I'll ask.

On second thought, that's dumb. Of course I won't ask. I'll just pray that he's kept safe. Look, I know that he believes in why he's there because he's told me. If you read his words you'd know how important his duty is, how much he loves his family, his buddies, and his country. Each pair of boots represents someone who had something to say. I pray that these boots aren't being used to say something that they wouldn't say themselves.

I think I'll take the night off. My heart's not in this.

Foley has not been charged ... (Below threshold)
Scrapiron:

Foley has not been charged with a crime and all indications at this time is that he did not have sex with a teenager. That can't be said for the Democrats that have been caught bonging the teenage page's.
Simple questions (democrats can lie as usual), Would you allow your teenage girl to attend a sleep over at the Clinton's?

Would you allow your young son to attend a sleep over at the home of a homosexual?

If you actually have children and answered 'yes' to either, then the children should be removed from your home.

When I asked about "cost" .... (Below threshold)
nogo postal:

When I asked about "cost" ..there are many who believe it is still worth it...there are many who believe it isn't..I just think this is the issue this election...my personal beliefs are no more or less than anyone else..
I provided the link as a reminder..as I was reminded..that these are more than numbers..thank you for watching the video

Scrap...my brother is a hom... (Below threshold)
nogo:

Scrap...my brother is a homosexual...our son spent countless nights there...in fact, his wife and daughter see more of my brother and his partner of 23 years than us...by the way would you allow your daughter to be on a sports team coached by a man?....after all you know how men lust after young girls...
I am so tired of hatred...
but scrap...if you want me to link where the man here in Colorado ordered the girls out..and kept the boys..or the man in PA..I can't do it..see more young girls are subject to abduction and assualt from men...than boys are from men

Give up you fear and hate...

"janew"--but but but he had... (Below threshold)
jhow66:

"janew"--but but but he had it in the most prestigous office in the world dumbass. I see that you have a bad case of BDS. If you like I can tell you how to cure it. Oh yeah I forgot to mention that old "stud" got convicted of the real "thing" and got pardoned by guess who. (psst need a hint?)

Pardon me for noticing but ... (Below threshold)
Xennady:

Pardon me for noticing but Dennis Hastert was so ineffective politically that Democrats didn't even bother to try and get him bounced until a month before an election.Remember how hard they worked to knock out Newt Gingrich and Tom Delay? If Hastert was effective at advancing a GOP agenda he would have been a target long before now.So I'm not surprised he would be willing to cause a constitutional crisis on behalf of a corrupt Democrat(!) or that he was so dense not to foresee Foleygate and take steps to prevent it.Hastert is the Democratic party's first choice for Republican speaker-and (behind Gingrich and Livingstone) the GOP's third.

To all the lefties and righ... (Below threshold)
Kevin:

To all the lefties and righties out there. I could go on all night about scandal here scandal there. This has got to be one of the dumbest political arguements I've ever heard. We are in the middle of possibly the most important war in our nations history and all people can debate about is whose party is the most sexually perverted. I will go to sleep tonight thinking of Clays' post, and pray for the exceptional men and women in our armed forces tonight. They deserve a Congress that acts in there best intrests and not the political BS I have to listen to day in and day out.

"janew"--but but but he had... (Below threshold)
janew:

"janew"--but but but he had it in the most prestigous office in the world dumbass. I see that you have a bad case of BDS. If you like I can tell you how to cure it. Oh yeah I forgot to mention that old "stud" got convicted of the real "thing" and got pardoned by guess who. (psst need a hint?)
Posted by: jhow66 at October 9, 2006 10:22 PM

Poor jhow69. He just can't admit that the Republican party has backed themselves into a corner by touting themselves as morally superior during Clinton administration, and now make excuses for Hastert, et al who covered up a REPUBLICAN who was soliciting MINORS. You see jhow00, you reap what you sow.

"j"(jack)"a"(ass)new I didn... (Below threshold)
jhow66:

"j"(jack)"a"(ass)new I didn't sow anything. Question. When did the Kos Kiddies give you permission to open your mouth? Oh yeah even if we are in a corner we can still kick the wimpy,asskissing, appeaseing Democraps ass anytime we like.

He's mentally ill, janew - ... (Below threshold)
Lee:

He's mentally ill, janew - just ignore him.

Hey "pucker" I see that I a... (Below threshold)
jhow66:

Hey "pucker" I see that I am getting under your skin. Couldn't stand it any longer could you? LOL Instead of calling me mentally ill, make that senile as I am 71 years young.That leaves me plenty of time to harass your wimpy ass.Glad that you know your "new" post name now. he he or is that snicker anicker?




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