Among a rash of Republican resignations, Denny Hastert formally announced yesterday that he will not be seeking re-election to the House of Representatives in 2008. Moreover, he is not even willing to say whether he will complete his term according to the LA Times: "...he wouldn't rule out leaving early." It is fair to assume that he will leave early. Whether he does or not, this announcement is good enough for me.
I am calling this yet another correct DWSUWF prediction, and yes I do keep score. Specifically this prediction:
"Denny Hastert will resign in disgrace before his two year term is completed."Which was a repeat of an earlier prediction in an October post here.
Now some may argue, in the glow of fawning home state news coverage, that he is not actually resigning in disgrace, and may yet complete his term. Details. Get outside of Hastert's earmark sphere of influence, and a clearer story comes into focus. Let us not forget, that it is exactly because Denny Hastert was Speaker of the House, that the Rove "fear and loathing" campaign against Nancy Pelosi failed to have any impact on the electorate in 2006. The Hastert legacy is out-of-control earmarks, corrupt land deals, the Foley cover-up, and the continuing Abramoff investigations.
As Denny Hastert rides off into the sunset, let us look back at an excerpt from a post in October, 2006 where we explored the emerging legacy of Denny Hastert's tenure in the context of Honest vs. Dishonest Graft:
That was all I really needed to say in that post, but I said it all again in this video mash-up, for the more video inclined.
Denny Hastert purchased land near Plano, Illinois in 2002 and 2004 for $2.5 million. In 2005 he earmarked $207 million dollars of your tax dollars to build a highway and interchange that passed within a few miles of his property. Four months after GWB signed the bill into law containing that earmark, Denny Hastert sold his land for almost $5 million dollars.
This is a perfect example of what George Washington Plunkitt (a corrupt turn of the century Tammany Hall politician) called "dishonest graft". Wikipedia helps clarify Plunkitt's distinction between "honest graft" and "dishonest graft":The point, is that the 2006 Speaker of the House of the United States of America, the man who was third in line for succession to the presidency of the United States, engaged in activity that would not meet the moral standards of one of the most corrupt 1906 political participants of the most corrupt political organization in the history of the United States."Most of his [Plunkitt's] money was made through purchasing land, through his connections, he knew would be needed for public projects. He would buy such parcels, then resell them at an inflated price. This was "Honest Graft". "Dishonest Graft" according to Plunkitt, would be buying land and then using influence to have a project built on it."
This is why I cannot get very sentimental about Hastert's resignation. His legacy is one of corruption, putting party before principle, the loss of the Republican majority in the House of Representatives, and abandoning conservative principles. Denny Hastert has left the building, and he leaves it disgraced.
Lets update my track record on political predictions by reviewing the current status on all past predictions made on this blog:
- Democrats would take majority control of the House of Representatives in 2006 (HIT)
- Democrats/Republicans would split the Senate 50/50 in 2006 (HIT - depending on how you count Lieberman)
- Rumsfeld was politically radioactive and would be fired or resign (HIT).
- It would happen within two weeks (MISS - It took two months).
- Republicans could not maintain a majority with Rumsfeld as a convenient target during the 2006 election (HIT)
- Rumsfeld will receive the Medal of Freedom (MISS).
- He would be replaced by John McCain (MISS).
- He would be replaced by an "unassailable warrior" (HIT).
- Bush would rhetorically claim a "fresh start when replacing Rumsfeld. (HIT - actual quote was "fresh eyes").
- Republican efforts to mobilize their base and swing the election by demonizing Nancy Pelosi would be ineffective due to the ethically challenged Republican alternative - Denny Hastert (HIT)
- Denny Hastert will resign in disgrace before his two year term is completed. (HIT)
By my calculation, DWSUWF is batting .720 Not bad. So what does the future hold?
- Democrats will retain majorities in the House and Senate in 2008.
- Democrats will extend their majority in the Senate in 2008 but still be short of a 60/40 plurality.
- Hagel would win the general election if he could win the the Republican nomination (We may never know).
- Moqtada al-Sadr will be the leader of Iraq within the next four years if he is not killed first (more on this in a subsequent post).
But the Democratic Congress has already shown that they have not learned the lessons of the Republican mistakes. The much heralded ethics bill was emasculated and the corrupting influence of earmarks continue unabated. Jack Murtha, may not be as "dumb" as Hastert, but he is just as corrupt. One more new prediction - there is a Hastert-esque Jack Murtha corruption post in DWSUWF's future.
Going... Going... Going...