Margaret Carlson of Bloomberg News — no fan of conservatives, to be sure — has identified, I think, the reason that sex has become the No. 1 media issue in the Dennis Hastert controversy/scandal.
Hastert, the former speaker of the U.S. House, has been indicted on a felony charge of making illegal hush money payments to someone.
It’s the reason for the hush money that’s become the focus here, not the charges spelled out in the indictment, according to Carlson.
Hastert allegedly sexually abused at least one young man when he was a teacher and coach in Yorkville, Ill. There could be more, the late victim’s sister alleges.
Why the keen interest?
It’s the context of how Hastert became speaker of the House.
He succeeded a serial adulterer, Newt Gingrich, who had to quit his position after admitting to an affair with a staffer — all while he was ranting, raving and railing against President Clinton’s indiscretions with a White House intern.
Then came Bob Livingston, another Republican from Louisiana. Livingston was supposed to succeed Gingrich as speaker. Oops! He, too, fooled around with women other than his wife. Multiple times. One of his paramours was a lobbyist. He was out.
The House then looked for a Boy Scout, a man whose reputation was beyond reproach. Poof! There was Hastert. Hey, he’s as clean as they get.
Except that he wasn’t.
Hastert didn’t make a big show of his reputedly upstanding past. He didn’t prance around proclaiming himself to be without sin. He allowed others to say it.
Carlson, though, does say that Hastert proved to be as duplicitous about morality as Gingrich and others in Congress: (H)e followed in the hypocritical footsteps of his predecessors, devoting much energy to shaming others about their sexual behavior. He advanced the anti-gay Defense of Marriage Act through the House and proposed a constitutional amendment to annul same-sex unions in states that allowed them.”
Therein, throughout all of this, likely lies the reason for the fixation on the sex and not the money.