Tag Archives: Bob Livingston

Sex takes center stage in Hastert drama

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.


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.

Hastert indictment turns stunning

Did the planet just reverse its rotation, causing the sun to rise in the west?

Has the world spun off its axis?

Did the Easter Bunny really just appear?

I am still trying to get a grip on an indictment that alleges that former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert — a Boy Scout, or so I thought — paid a student back in Yorkville, Ill., to be quiet about a sexual episode involving the then-wrestling coach who went on to become second in succession to the presidency of the United State of America.


Hastert became speaker after Newt Gingrich resigned and after Bob Livingston, who was next in line to become the Man of the House, admitted to an extramarital affair, forcing him to drop out of contention.

So the House picked Hastert, a virtual unknown outside of Illinois.

He’s a lot more well known now.

The federal indictment alleges hush money and tax fraud involving the former speaker.

Good grief in heaven, this is going to get weird.

“It goes back a long way, back to then,” a source told the New York Times. “It has nothing to do with public corruption or a corruption scandal. Or to his time in office.”

Well, these things have ways of developing lives of their own.

I’m willing to bet real American money this one will linger for a long while.