Breaking: Dennis Hastert, The Longest-Serving Republican Speaker Of The House In History, Has Vanished


Oliver Bateman, a jack-of-all-trades and wrestling historian, will soon debut on this site with a story about the National Enquirer. And by the way, check out my story on the Enquirer from earlier today, where I exclusively reveal that I was almost its Washington bureau chief.

Oliver is a little eccentric and his work may come as a shock to our many serious readers, so I thought I better prep you all before unleashing him on our pages this Friday. So check out his amazing story in Paris Review, “Chasing Amy and the toxic ‘nerd masculinity of the nineties,” for example, or this piece at Pacific Standard on “WRESTLING, POLITICS, AND THE VIOLENT REALITIES OF 2016.”

Then, or even beforehand, make sure to read this wonderful story of Oliver’s on Dennis “Denny” Hastert at Russ Smith’s delightful Splice Today. Here’s an excerpt to get you started — and make sure to check back here Friday for his story on the Enquirer and keep your eyes peeled for a link to Oliver’s recent appearance on the brand new, Washington Babylon podcast, which will be broadcast next week and also features Natalie Shure and Olivia Becker.

Oh yeah, here’s the excerpt:

Now once upon a time, not too long ago, one of the most powerful men in the world was paying millions of dollars in hush money to the victims he had sexually assaulted.

Yet Dennis Hastert, the longest-serving Republican Speaker of the House in history, has somehow already vanished from our collective memory banks. He lingered for a few postmortems in the prestige papers, and then that was that. A colorless, shambling man again faded into the scenery, his departure every bit as unremarkable as his arrival.

Hastert had seized control of Congress in 1999 to bring order to a rowdy Republican Party that had collapsed under the weight of Monica Lewinsky-mania and its consequences. Newt Gingrich, an entertaining but gaffe-prone blowhard who’d failed to deliver on his Contract with America, resigned the speakership after the GOP performed poorly during 1998’s “Lewinsky midterms.” Then Gingrich’s designated successor, Bob Livingston of Louisiana, chose to retire from public life after Hustler publisher Larry Flynt told the media that Livingston had engaged in extramarital relations.

This was the beginning of a real golden age for sex scandals and the subsequent resignations, pleas for forgiveness, and falls from grace. Gary Hart had opened the floodgates in the 1980s, taunting National Enquirer photographers to catch him if they could, but it was only after the Lewinsky liaison leaked that sex between consenting adults became sufficient to torpedo careers. In short order, cads on both sides of the aisle, from cherub-cheeked John Edwards on the left to suntanned Mark Sanford on the right, would bite the dust. As was the case with Sanford and the even randier Anthony Weiner, they sometimes came back—every political hack could come back, it seemed, given enough time, a makeover, and a sufficient number of mea culpas.

Then you had Hastert….

To read the rest of the story, click here.



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