Denny Hastert and corruption: ‘If angels were to govern men’

Thursday, a federal grand jury indicted Danny Hastert on two counts proving once again that absolute power corrupts absolutely

U.S. Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert (R-IL) waves to supporters during a Mid-term election night party in St. Charles, Illinois November 7, 2006. REUTERS/Frank Polich (UNITED STATES) - RTR1J4PA

WASHINGTON, May 29, 2015 – Former GOP House Speaker Denny Hastert, who served from 1999 to 2007, was a guy who got things done. On the day Hastert assumed the top leadership position in the House, he said, “We [Republicans] can come from all edges and work together to get a product done, the job done, that the American people want us to do.”

The Associated Press noted that “Hastert’s comments reflected the disagreements that rage between conservative and moderate Republicans over subjects such as the budget and abortion that have at times blocked legislative achievement.”

As current House Speaker John Boehner once said, “The value of the [congressional] majority lies not in the opportunity to wield great power, but in the chance to use power to do great things.”

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Modern Republicans flatter themselves in claiming the ideological pedigree of Ronald Reagan. In fact, Republican voters are more likely to elect GOP politicians who closely resemble the affable nonentity Denny Hastert. This explains why the national debt and entitlement spending has ballooned no matter which party controls Congress or the White House.

Thursday, a federal grand jury indicted Hastert on two counts: 1) for his alleged illegal withdrawal of $3.5 million from various bank accounts “in order to compensate for and conceal… a criminal extortion related to, among other matters, his prior position in government”; 2) that he “knowingly and willfully” made “false, fictitious and fraudulent statements and representations in a matter within the jurisdiction of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.”

More fascinating, however, is the indictment’s contention that Hastert paid hush money to a yet-to-be-identified individual for, well, getting “the job done” while serving in Congress.

Unrestrained government is an outward expression of the most damnable idea: That human beings are by nature good and that corruption is the exception.

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Founder James Madison wrote, “If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary.” And so, the father of our Constitution helped establish a government of limited power.

Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely, even when bipartisan, big-spending, big-government politicians claim to use said “power to do great things.”

Recently, a Gallup poll found that 77 percent of Americans disapprove of the corrupt miscreants they keep sending to Washington – a clear, if indirect, expression of much deserved self loathing. The real corruption is in the hearts of those that elect politicians to surve as surrogate thugs and plunderers.

No one Washington shot their way to power.

“In questions of power then, let no more be heard of confidence in man,” said Thomas Jefferson, “but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution.”

And that restraint applies not just to cretins like Denny Hastert, but to you.

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