--Entertainer Oscar Levant, quoted in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
Did you hear that House Speaker Dennis Hastert's vacated seat was lost to a Democrat in a special congressional election? It appears to me that the neocons are finally getting what was coming to them all along. In Illinois a Bill Foster, a physicist and businessman, campaigned on a theme of "change" and featured Obama in his ads. According to the report I read in The Week Hastert's favored candidate, a wealthy Republican named Jim Oberweis, "relied largely on a negative campaign" and lost big.
Hastert confirms that there was some mud slinging:
I was amused to find with a quick search that Dennis Hastert RATES as the #1 Worst Congressman according to Rolling Stone, who calls him The Highway Robber. It's no wonder the seat was lost to Democrats. According to the article, Hastert and Frist (corrupt doctor from Tennessee) teamed up to sneak a provision into a supposedly final defense bill that shields pharmacautical from legal claims that their mercury-laden vaccines cause autism. It's law now. Until we undo all the crappy laws that have been passed in the last 7 years, we can't do much else.
Nothing political about medicine, now, is there?
Here's the Rolling Stone article by Tim Dickinson, from http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/story/12054520/the_10_worst_congressmen/1
The Highway Robber
Hastert could well be the weakest House speaker in history. Tapped by Tom DeLay to serve as the mild-mannered frontman for the GOP leadership, the former wrestling coach ceded most of his power to the now-disgraced majority leader, allowing Republicans to treat the Capitol as their private piggy bank. Last year, Hastert got in on the action himself, secretly inserting $207 million into the budget for the "Prairie Parkway" -- a highway that will speed development of 210 acres he owns in Illinois. Before the year was out, Hastert sold part of his land -- soon to be the site of a sprawling subdivision -- for a profit of $2 million.
"Here's a guy who saw a chance to profit from his official acts and took it," says Bill Allison, who uncovered the late-night earmark as a senior analyst for the Sunlight Foundation, a nonpartisan watchdog group. "Most of us aren't speaker of the House, and most of us don't have a $200 million earmark running through our back yard. Hastert does, and he made a fortune from it."
The speaker at least functions as a bipartisan defender of congressional corruption. In February 2005, he purged the chairman of the House Ethics Committee for daring to admonish DeLay. And after Rep. William Jefferson's offices were raided by the FBI last spring, it was Hastert who lodged the strongest protest on the Louisiana Democrat's behalf.
Hastert is especially good at turning a blind eye to scandal: An aide says the speaker's office knew about Rep. Mark Foley's penchant for page boys three years ago, yet Hastert took no action to protect minors working for Congress.
In another secret budget deal, Hastert and Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist joined forces last December to give the pharmaceutical industry a Christmas gift worth billions. After the "final" version of the defense budget emerged from conference, the duo added a provision that gives drug makers immunity from liability lawsuits -- shielding them from claims that their mercury-laden vaccines sparked the current autism epidemic.