Hastert scandal drips with irony

If you think for a moment about the scandal involving former House Speaker Dennis Hastert, you come away scratching your head at the incredible irony.

A grand jury has indicted Hastert on charges that he spent money illegally to keep someone quiet about an alleged sexual encounter between Hastert and the then-student at the high school where Hastert was a teacher and a coach.

That part of it is weird enough.

But consider the context of the time he was selected to become speaker of the House of Representatives.

* The House had impeached President Clinton for lying to a federal grand jury about an extramarital dalliance he was having with a White House intern.

* The then-speaker, Newt Gingrich, who railed incessantly against the president for his moral failings, resigned from public office after it was revealed that he, too, was fooling around with a woman who wasn’t his wife.

* Up stepped Rep. Bob Livingston, who was set to become speaker. But oops! He dropped the effort because he also was involved in an extramarital affair.

Man, sex was in the air.

Then came the Boy Scout, Denny Hastert. He was chosen to become speaker — and the first person, after the vice president, in line of succession to the presidency of the United States of America.

I guess they didn’t vet him at all, let alone thoroughly.

Thus, the irony.