The Hastert Rule . . . Washington Sex Scandals . . . and Hard Ball Politics

The Hastert Rule . . . Washington Sex Scandals . . . and Hard Ball Politics

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Washington is a baseball town.  So let’s talk baseball.  Denny Hastert, the former Republican Speaker, has made himself the “curve-ball” in the Republican play book.  Revelations about a sex scandal involving the former Speaker have served up a pitch that the Dems should be able to drive right down the left field line and over the fence for a home-run.

Baseball pitcher silhouetteThe Republicans currently on base ( the whole “Clown Car”, all nineteen of them)trying to score a run in the primary—all LGBT hating, God-fearing social conservatives—are going to have to go back and tag-up before they try to advance. The stands in the park are going to be full, and it’s going to be interesting to see how the red-shirted Elephants try to play this. How they try to sell it to the fans. I can see a lot of unforced errors coming. Before when the Republicans were in charge, back when Denny was Speaker, there use to be such a thing as the Hastert Rule, a cheap kind of gimmicky parliamentary trick that limits the power of the minority party to bring bills up for a vote on the House floor.  Under the rule, the Speaker of the House will not allow a floor vote on a bill unless a majority of the majority party supports it. Now that’s what I call real representative democracy.  But even that’s not going to help the Republicans now.  Here’s just another sleazy sex scandal for them to mange, and a whole new ball game.

One thing is certain, the Dems aren’t going to be allowing any bases on balls. No easy walks. They’re going to be firing all fast-ball pitches right over the plate and through the strike zone. And I think there are going to be a lot of swings and misses by the Red team. And probably some strike-outs. And some of the base runners in the “Clown Car” are going to get picked-off before they can get across home-plate and score a run for themselves. But that’s why we all love to come to the park isn’t it?  To catch all the action.  Pass me the popcorn please.

If infidelity was a crime, then two-thirds of the people in this country would either be in jail or consigned to the ever-lasting fires of Hell.

The Hastert sex scandal has—in just the last couple of days—erupted like a major volcano on the national news scene, the  the Mount St. Helens of politics.  At first there was just a lot of media conjecture and hushed speculation about what had happened, years in the past, concerning this person whose identity has not yet been revealed.  Everyone’s favorite suspicion of course was that it’s sex related.  Now it’s finally been reported that the person of interest in the case is a male who was a teenager at the time.  Ouch!  Way to go…Coach!   When the story originally broke Hastert’s only legal problem was that he had lied to the FBI when they questioned him concerning the disbursements of cash coming out of his account.  This of course posed an ethical problem for the former Speaker.  But if what’s being reported now is accurate and the boy was still a teenager when he was allegedly molested by Hastert, then this thing takes on a whole new dimension and Hastert is in real legal jeopardy.  Oddly enough, years ago there was plenty of innuendo about Hastert, but nobody wanted to assert positively that they knew anything about what was going on.

Consensual sex between adults (whatever the gender arrangement) is not a crime—even when a politician is involved—and does not rise to the level of a high crime or misdemeanor.  If one of the parties is married to another person, then it’s adultery and a serious breech of trust against a loved one—and that of course makes it wrong.  Republicans should have figured that out before they wasted the government’s time and money trying to impeach Bill Clinton for his affair with Monica Lewinsky.  That should have been a strictly private matter between Bill and Hillary.  But the Republicans wanted to make it into a major scandal and unseat the President.  Sure, what happened with Monica was unseemly, particularly for a sitting President (Bill probably should never have started smoking cigars).  But it wasn’t a crime, and it certainly did not rise to the level of “high crimes and misdemeanors” that the Constitution requires to impeach a President.  If infidelity was a crime, then two-thirds of the people in this country would either be in jail or consigned to the ever-lasting fires of Hell.  It’s something men are prone to do on occasion, the nature of the beast you might say.  Bill only got in trouble when he lied to cover it up.  That’s what catches these cheaters every time—regardless of party—the cover -up.

Republicans like to pretend that they’re as wholesome as mom’s apple pie, and as patriotic as hot dogs and summer baseball.

What makes the Clinton 1998 impeachment trial so interesting is that at the same time it was going on the principle architect of the whole fiasco was Newt Gingrich, the then Republican Speaker of the House.  Hold on, don’t turn that dial, this gets even better!  While the egregious Newt was so profligately wasting the government’s time and the taxpayer’s money trying to impeach Billy for something that was not even a crime (guess what?) he himself was carrying on his own extra-marital affair with a congressional aide.  Isn’t that rich?  The hypocrisy of these guys is astounding.  And that is what really galls liberals the most.  Republicans like to pretend that they’re as wholesome as mom’s apple pie, and as patriotic as hot dogs and summer baseball.  They’re always ready to pillory the Dems for the slightest moral transgression.  But even when they are openly caught with their hand in the cookie jar, or—in this case—the wrong pair of pants, they circle the wagons, wrap themselves in the flag, take up a bible and invoke God, recite some scripture and swear their innocence to the world—and, of course, any nearby press. This is always tacky, but it’s the same hypocritical bullshit that we see all the time from the Republican side of the aisle.

As far as we know, George Bush never had an extra-marital affair while in office.  Women are attracted to men with power and money, especially younger women. Witness poor Monica.  George Bush though was an odd duck.  I always figured there had to be something else wrong with him, besides his goofiness and deceit, which was all too familiar.

Near the end of the impeachment attempt, the egregious Gingrich rightly got his comeuppance, being forced—with Republican banners still flying—to resign himself as Speaker.  In the last Presidential election cycle he was vying for the nomination as the Republican nominee.  Pity. He was succeeded by the Republican Bob Livingston who, on the very day of the impeachment vote, resigned himself for—you guessed it!—having an extra-marital affair.  Only the Republicans like to piggy-back their scandals.  But Hey!  This is all good fun.  What politics in this country is all about.

Whatever happens in the U. S. Congress, it’s always about money and sex, and that’s what ultimately gets these guys in the end.

There is it seems—in all this—a tried and true formula.  Whatever happens in the U. S. Congress, it’s always about money and sex, and that’s what ultimately gets these guys in the end.  What else?  You’ll never find a bigger bunch of scoundrels.  Earlier in his legislative career Denny Hastert made himself a multi-millionaire in a land deal in his home state of Ohio.  He and a partner bought some land and put it into a blind trust that later sold the land to the state for a highway development project that Hastert just happened to be promoting in the Congress. Sound familiar?  But that was just run-of-the-mill political corruption of the kind that’s been going on in Albany, New York since the dawn of the Republic.  But still, hardly “Mr. Smith Goes To Washington”.  This is starting to look really seamy, and before this is all over I think we’re all going to learn more about Denny Hastert than we ever wanted to know.

Back at the end of the Clinton administration the righteous Republicans were doing everything they could to impeach Bill over Monica Lewinsky.  While at the same time, amid a host of other Republican scandals ( Tom Delay, Jack Abramoff and the K-Street crowd, John Ensign’s extra-marital affair, and — particularly curious at the  time — the former Speaker’s delicate handling of the sex scandal involving ex-Rep. Mark Foley with the sexually explicit e-mails to young male pages), Hastert—their big-time hitter, the Republican Speaker of the House—had his own lewd little skeleton hidden away in the closet.  I would think that most Americans are now so thoroughly jaded—so  disgusted with the whole Washington scene—that they don’t care anymore what goes on.  But maybe we all need to feel just a little remorse over the whole thing—because we elect these scum-bags.  And then we re-elect them until they become as much a part of the landscape as the Lincoln Memorial.

I think the blue-shirted Donkeys should try to force this game into over-time, maybe make it go fifteen innings. Give the sports-writers something to write about. Take it right out to the fall of 2016, right in front of the election. There could even be an intermission mid-way through so we could all go up to take a pee before the second half, go to the concession stand for a beer, some brauts and some popcorn. Just another fun day at the ball park. Personally I can’t wait. I got my program. All I need now is a new baseball cap and a blue Donkey banner. Batter up!

Hastert in his personal and professional conduct exemplifies everything that is wrong with Washington today.

Hastert in his personal and professional conduct exemplifies everything that is wrong with Washington today. Whatever else he might be—he certainly is an idiot. Ever since the Patriot Act personnel working in financial institutions, banks and brokerages, are required to report suspicious transfers of money—especially cash amounts less than $10,000. This is how Eliot Spitzer got caught. The FBI routinely monitors such things. Of all people Hastert should have known this. He was in the Congress when the law was passed. And then when he was questioned by FBI agents, he lied!  Is this guy stupid or what?

I think there should be a new Hastert Rule. It’s time for the sake of the country—in the interest of good government — that we as voters show a little righteous indignation. Washington is a cesspool that needs flushing. Before the Denny Hastert story is finally written, he will have come full circle from a once powerful, big-time power broker to a broken and disgraced politician making millions of dollars lobbying the Congress. This is an all too familiar old Washington play-book that needs to be discarded. Just as a generality, the new rule should state that any politician  whose been in Washington longer than a quarter of a century becomes—by definition—a political artifact, more appropriately on display at the Smithsonian Institute, and a natural obstacle to good and honest, representative government–no matter the party.  It’s time for us voters to clear off the bench—get the money out of politics and the sleaze-balls out of Washington, finally get rid of the gentrified, entrenched muck that is the good old-boy system—and bring in a new team of players with a precise set of constitutionally enacted term limits on how long they get to play the game. There are already enough out-dated institutions and time-worn monuments in Washington and the Congress — old-style politicians like Mitch McConnell and John Boehner, and to be fair, even Chuck Schumer.  These old dog politicians should all be voted out of office and gotten rid of.

I wonder…is Hastert really a curve ball, or has he always been just a weird kind of change-up?

The Money Trader

2 Responses

  1. Superb blog! Do you have any hints for aspiring writers?

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