The Watch

The Watch is concerned about the increasing pressure towards feudalism in the United States from corporations, social regressives, warmongers, and the media. We also are concerned with future history concerning our current times, as non-truths which are “widely reported” become the basis for completely false narratives.

Friday, February 07, 2003

Dennis Hastert: Sex-scandal free!

Who is Dennis Hastert? I know, I know, he is the Republican Speaker of the House. But apart from that, the man is a bit of a cipher. He came from obscurity as just a Republican house member from the midwest and rose to one of the most important positions in our federal government. How did he do that? Was he an ideological mover and shaker? Were his machinations behind the scenes enough to propel him into the top spot? Was his leadership potential too hard to ignore? What made Denny Hastert such a red hot commodity on Capitol Hill that he was made the party leader over so many more experienced and more well known Republican personalities?

In the wake of the general failure of the Contract on America and the specific failure to impeach Bill Clinton, Newt Gingrich was forced to step down as the Speaker of the House. The Republicans in the house looked among themselves for a replacement, and they found Bob Livingstone. Now Livingstone had seniority, but he had to step down as well. Why? Well, the most important reason was that he had cheated on his wife. Not usually (mostly never) a disqualifier for high office, but in the wake of the great cry the Republicans had raised over OralSexGate, Livingstone had to step down. Not a big deal, but to avoid the situation of looking like complete and utter hypocrites on this sex-outside-of-marriage thing, they had to find someone who had not had an extramarital affair. No problem, right? Well, they couldn't use Livingstone, or Bob Barr, or Henry Hyde, or Asa Hutchinson, or any of the other impeachment managers. All of those high-minded fellows had documented past (or ongoing) "youthful indiscretions" of their own.

I have to hand it to the GOP. This time they actually opted not to be hypocritical - just cynical. They went down the line and down the line until they _finally_ found Denny Hastert, an unknown, to be Speaker of the House for the entire country. But Hastert, a nobody in the house, was the highest ranking Republican who was not known to be unfaithful in his marriage. So there you have it - a thrilling example of Republican family values at work, which also explains the unexpected rise of Dennis Hastert's star.

With thanks to Bartcop for the original inspiration.

Iraq Watch

I have some longer links today for weekend reading. The first is an amazing interview that Tony Blair did, taking questions directly from citizens of the UK. They can clearly smell a rat, but he defended his position as best he could. But what an amazing occurrence this is. Contrast this with our imperial president, who doesn't bother to take questions from the millionaire press corps, let alone average citizens. And he would never allow people to talk with him in this openly questioning way. Dear Leader must be respected! So, I found this interview pretty entertaining.

Second is the MUST READ piece of the week, a study of just how the war hawks have lulled us all and confused us into transferring our attention from Al Qaeda to Iraq, from Bin Laden to Hussein. It is a call for all of us to wake up. You have to click through a couple of adds for a day pass, but Salon is well worth the 10 seconds this takes.

Finally, this fascinating little piece from Uggabugga, about military spending in middle eastern countries, and what our actual purpose in the region may be.

Big Dog Watch

President Clinton was interviewed by Larry King yesterday. Here is the transcript. Reading it will make you long for the days when we had a president who was elected, who could put two thoughts together, and who could form sentences in english. Clinton's command of the facts, his vision for a commonwealth of nations, and his joy for life make for fascinating reading.

Election Watch

The spin has started on Kerry. The media is claiming that Kerry has identity problems and doesn't know who he is. This is just like Al Gore, who we were told didn't know who he was in the last election cycle (it turns out he was the guy that kicked Bush's ass in the election). Bob Somerby has all of the sordid details, along with the lie of the "earth tones". Read what they are starting to do to Kerry, along with a weird kind of anti-semitism, and how they did it to Gore. Watch for signs of this kind of reporting to crop up against other Democratic candidates. When reporters say a candidate doesn't know who he or she is, what they are really saying is that they don't want _you_ to know who he or she is, so they will play ignorant.

Humor Watch

Madeleine Begun Kane's Dubya's Daily Diary is a fun read. I always get to laughing when "Dubya" calls Ashcroft "Ashy". You'll see what I mean.

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