The immoral core of Denny Hastert

Washington's establishment of politicos, lobbyists, and media sparklies are shocked – shocked to its very core! – by Dennis Hastert's sex scandal.
Jim Hightower's Radio Lowdown
Jim Hightower's Radio Lowdown
The immoral core of Denny Hastert

Washington’s establishment of politicos, lobbyists, and media sparklies are shocked – shocked to its very core! – by Dennis Hastert’s sex scandal.

The portly Republican, who’d been Speaker of the House a decade ago, was an affable Midwesterner lawmaker, popular with his colleagues. A former high school wrestling coach in rural Illinois, Hastert was viewed as a salt-of-the-Earth fellow embodying Middle America’s moral values. So his recent indictment for paying $1.7 million in hush money to a man he apparently molested during his coaching years has rocked our Capitol City.

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“I’m shocked and saddened,” said current Speaker John Boehner. Members from both sides of the aisle were dismayed that “our Denny” would’ve been engaged in child molestation and an illegal financial cover-up. “This has really come out of nowhere,” exclaimed Rep. Peter King, a longtime ally of the man whom all of Washington considered a straight arrow.

Before we join these officials in wailing about Hastert’s harboring of a secret past, however, let me note that while they’re bewildered by his sexual impropriety years ago, they find it not worthy of mention – much less condemnation – that Denny has long been immersed in Washington’s immoral game of pay-to-play lawmaking. The guy they profess to love as a paragon of civic virtue – “the coach,” as Rep. King hailed him – was one of the most corrupt Speakers ever.

Hastert openly traded legislative favors for campaign cash, including profiting personally from his powerful position. And, when he was squeezed out because of the corruption, he didn’t return to the home folks – he became a K-Street lobbyist, continuing to profit to this day by doing corporate favors. In case you’re wondering, that’s how he go so rich he could shell out $1.7 million in hush money to the student he allegedly abused.

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