Saturday, June 6, 2015

Dennis Hastert and More Than Just a Little Irony

It isn't really clear why so many conservative preachers, reality TV personalities, and politicians turn out to be smarmy philanderers, child molesters, and deeply closeted homosexuals. There simply hasn't been enough research done on the subject.

The late Hunter S. Thompson speculated their behavior has something to do with the amount of semen backed up in their systems after years of delivering wild eyed sermons, both spiritual and political. I, on the other hand, tend to believe they're a bunch of crude and amoral grifters. As soon as they realize how easy it is to score huge wads of money and dizzying chunks of power during right wing gigs, they're willing to go sub rosa with their desires in order to cash in, no matter what the consequences if caught.

Indeed, strike while the iron is hot. After all, we're talking about the ultimate risk and reward system. As long as you're making your point keep rolling the dice while praying to God you don't crap out. Only the truly brave walk away as winners.

That system certainly worked for Dennis Hastert for a long time. The republican congressman is, to this day, the longest serving Speaker of the House of Representative in the history of the GOP. When the democrats retook the house after the 2006 elections, Hastert handed over the reigns of republican leadership to John Boehner, who became minority leader. Before 2007 ended he resigned from his office. Shortly thereafter he began a lucrative career as a lobbyist.

Now, both the job and his reputation are gone.

Next week Brother Hastert will be appearing in federal court to face charges of illegally camouflaging the amounts of a series of cash withdrawals in order to avoid banking regulations, then lying to the FBI about the reason for them. He told federal agents he was taking the money out because he didn't trust banks. They contend he needed it to keep an unidentified person quiet about what he was doing with some of his students decades ago when he was a high school wrestling coach and teacher.

As a NBC report notes there is more than just a little bit of irony in all of this.

In 2006 another republican congressman, Mark Foley of FL came under fire because of salacious emails sent to male congressional pages and interns, most of whom were high school age. According to Wikipedia Foley's chief of staff says he complained about the congressman's carnal tastes to a senior Hastert aide a full two to three years prior to the scandal becoming the lead on the six pm news. In addition, Boehner and republican congressman, Thomas Reynolds both testified to a house committee they told Hastert about Foley's behavior in the spring of 2005, also well before the shit hit the fan. According to all three parties the speaker, for reasons unknown to them, didn't act on the allegations.
Hastert claimed he didn't know anything about the Foley scandal until the emails became public in 2006. In addition he maintains he doesn't remember Boehner and Reynolds ever talking to him about the gentleman from Florida. A Hastert staffer flatly denied the speaker's people were ever contacted by the Foley aide.

To take it a step further, NBC quoted former MA congressman, Barney Frank, who has always been openly gay, as saying the whole affair is, "...frankly, to me, a reminder of the hypocrisy, especially upon my republican colleagues. Dennis Hastert became speaker to preside over the impeachment of Bill Clinton who was being attacked because he had sex with an intern, of age, with a much less coercive relationship than the teacher-student." Frank went on to point out, Mr. Hastert twice sponsored amendments to the constitution which would outlaw gay marriage.
Yesterday, Jolene Burdge claimed her brother, Steve Reinboldt was sexually abused by Hastert when he was the Yorkville High School wrestling team equipment manager and Hastert was the coach. The former speaker isn't talking, at least not yet and Reinboldt can't. He died of AIDS in 1995, four years before Hastert assumed leadership of the house.

At this time no one except the FBI knows who was blackmailing Dennis Hastert, or whether charges will be brought against that person. Chances are the feds have already cut a deal with the individual which will guarantee immunity in exchange for his, or her testimony.
So there we have it, at least for the moment. We'll just have to wait until next week for the details of this sordid decadence and criminal cover up to become public.

Until then, as always, the bar is open.

sic vita est

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