Exactly one month ago today Dennis Hastert made the front page of the Kane County Chronicle, a local paper, that covered Dennis Hastert’s town hall forum on Internet safety.
Protecting children is OK for Dennis Hastert when it is earning him votes, but he doesn’t give a damn when it is a page working on Capital Hill.
The fact that Hastert tried to cover this up is reason enough for him to resign.
This is all of a piece with everything that’s ever been said about Republicans in the past six years, really. The hypocrisy. The incredible ineptitude not just at illicit sex (those e-mails would embarrass a sixth-grade AOLer) but at the cover-up of same. The persistent belief that rules are for other people.
That last is really the part of it that I think plays into everything else that happened this past week, this past month, this past cycle of Republican congressional rule. Rules are for other people. For Democrats. For working parents trying to get out from under credit card debt. For soldiers in Iraq. For prisoners in Guantanamo. For protesters. For the ACLU. For you and me and everyone we know. Rules are for everybody else. And they, because they’re rich, they’re white, they’re in power, they don’t have to follow the laws they write. They can make their own reality.
It’s a pretty ugly reality, and as the day’s gone on it’s gotten more and more ugly. It’s a reality in which the leader of the House can’t remember whether or not he was told about one of his guys cybersexing a teenager. It’s a reality in which, “dude, don’t, like, do that again” is considered an adequate response. That’s the reality these guys live in. It’s a reality so completely without consequences for them that they’ve forgotten their actions affect others, and they’ve done here what they’ve done every time they’ve stepped in their own messes over the past six years: lied, made excuses, and attacked.
In a lot of ways this scandal is the most concise illustration of precisely what’s wrong with the Party of Personal Responsibility.