Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Hastert: Republican Culture of Corruption

howie klein at FDL:

Hastert, of course, loudly denies any and all wrongdoing– he is a Republican politician and "deny, deny, deny" is what they teach them in their version of ethics school– and he is demanding retractions and apologies and everything else that Cunningham said and did (before he broke down and weeped and begged for mercy and wore a wire to help the Feds rat out his crooked associates).

Hastert, of course, has a long history of shady dealings and making vast sums of money through bribes and kickbacks. VANITY FAIR exposed him last year after he took a $500,000 bribe from Turkish agents to prevent the adoption of bipartisan legislation recognizing the Armenian holocaust. With Tom DeLay forced to resign in disgrace, and getting his affairs in order before his inevitable prison sentence (allegedly), Hastert has become the titular head of the Republican Culture of Corruption. And what everyone in DC and back home in Illinois’ 14th CD is wondering is, can he be swept out of office by the son of a preacher man?

The high school ex-wrestling coach-turned-multimillionaire (feeding, greedily, at the public trough for over 20 years), represents a north-central district due west of Chicago stretching nearly to Iowa. (Actually, Hastert represents multi-national corporations and the lobbyists who whore for them but his power derives from his political base in IL-14.) Electorally, Hastert has run far ahead of the GOP ticket, although his vote percentage slipped significantly in the last two cycles (from 74% to 69%) In 2004 Hastert spent $5 million on his campaign while his unknown opponent spent $18,028. Caught up in a more public corruption scandal than in the past– and facing a far more formidable opponent– Hastert is in for the battle of his political life this November.

It is rare– very rare– for constituents to defeat someone whose national power has brought the district so much pork and until 1994, when Republicans started a whispering campaign falsely accusing Speaker Tom Foley of being gay, no Speaker had been defeated for re-election since the Civil War!

If John Laesch doesn’t succeed in dislodging Hastert it won’t be through lack of the personal qualities that define worthy leadership. And it won’t be through lack of motivation. John’s younger brother, Sgt. Pete Laesch, currently stationed in Iraq, asked John to run against the gargantuan rubber stamp who represents their district in Congress.

John is 32 years old and grew up in West Africa where his missionary parents were stationed. They moved to a farm in Newark, Illinois when John was 12. He enlisted in the Navy when he was 21 and served as an intelligence analyst in Bahrain, monitoring terrorist activity and analyzing foreign political and military structures, winning numerous citations and meritoriously rising 5 ranks within 3 years.
John already won his primary and now Democrats are united behind his race to replace an out-of-touch, entrenched, corrupt Speaker of the House with a fresh, energetic young man with integrity, strength and vision. John needs help to get out his message. I can’t imagine a candidate as forthright and independent as John is going to get sufficient help from Rahm Emanuel’s DCCC. It’s up to us.

No comments: