Which way to Memory Lane…
Posted June 10, 2015on:
Today’s exercise in wasting time by reading my mental meanderings is a little trip down memory lane. With 2016 fast approaching, our collective recall might benefit from a little refreshing. A scenic tour along Memory Lane might be just the tonic we need to ward off the incessant mewling of the media and the ever more righteous right fringers. Allow me to explain.
You have probably seen it too, but the Republicans are nibbling around the edges of a strategy portraying Hillary as unethical. It’s unclear what the actual accusations are, but it seems to be a more recent version of anorexic mentality displayed around Whitewater. You remember Whitewater, the $70 million witch hunt led by the hyper-partisan Kenneth Starr that stained Bill Clinton’s presidency and Monica Lewinsky’s blue dress.
With the Dennis Hastert indictment I was reminded of the ethical quagmire visited upon the country in the late 1990s at the hands and other body parts of the Grand Old Party. Let’s go to the tape of those who are so easily offended and always have their crosses at the ready to lecture us libruls.
First, there was Henry Hyde who admitted to youthful indiscretions at the tender age of 41. Hyde’s troubling infidelities came to light after leading the charge against Bill Clinton. Then came House Speaker Newt Gingrich who was having an affair with someone who was to be his third wife while still married to his second wife with whom he had had an affair while still married to his first wife. In addition, there were those “small” Gingrich peccadilloes of ethics violations piled upon ethics violations piled upon ethics violations that eventually brought him down. Then came Gingrich’s replacement, Speaker Bob Livingston who resigned the day of the Clinton impeachment vote for – wait for it – serial marital infidelities. Then “Hot Tub” Tom DeLay engineered the elevation of Dennis Hastert, the high school teacher turned back bencher Congressman affectionately called “Coach” – the guy who was beyond reproach – the good guy.
To make sure this point is not lost: Leading the procession out of the morality morass, the Republicans turned to an alleged serial pedophile who used his positions of trust and power to abuse young boys. To measure that abuse by the barometer of money, it was abuse serious enough to warrant $3.5 million in hush money.
Those are just the highlights along Memory Lane, let’s be a little more granular shall we? There were other seamy scandals like the 2005 resignation of Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham (R-Calif.) after he pled guilty to charges of conspiracy to commit bribery, mail and wire fraud, and tax evasion. There was the 2006 resignation of Rep. Mark Foley (R-Fla.) over allegations he sent sexually explicit emails to teenage male pages — allegations that, it turned out, Hastert and other House leaders had done little or nothing to address, despite repeated warnings, until they exploded in public.
We can’t forget Hot Tub Tom who himself was indicted on charges of money-laundering and campaign finance violations in 2005. The “Coach” even backed a change in the GOP caucus rules to allow DeLay to retain his leadership post – not exactly a profile in ethical leadership.
Then some of the biggest Congressional scandals in history broke. There was the case of the lobbyist Jack Abramoff, who was convicted along with a raft of other lobbyists and congressional aides in schemes involving Native American casinos. Rep. Bob Ney (R-Ohio) pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy and wire fraud in the case and resigned in 2006.
Then there was Rep. Don Sherwood (R-Pa.) who was defeated in 2006 after revelations of an extramarital affair and allegations that he had physically abused his mistress and Rep. Curt Weldon (R-Pa.) who lost his seat amid a string of controversies and an investigation into suspected illegal ties to foreign companies.
And then there was Hastert’s sweetheart deal of being brought in on a land deal with little contribution beyond the federal earmark for the construction of an interchange on the land allowing him to net millions or at least enough to make $3.5 million in hush money seem reasonable in hindsight.
This isn’t to say there aren’t Democrats who deserve a prime location in the rogue’s gallery of scallywags because there are, but when Nancy Pelosi was Speaker they were dispatched promptly and efficiently.
What is important here is the next time you hear aspersions cast upon Hillary’s ethics you can be sure the glass house from which those allegations are chucked would be well-advised to be fully insured.
Have a great Wednesday and take this conversation in any direction you might like.
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