Is Hastert decompensating, too?

Dennis Hastert’s attack on John McCain isn’t just disgusting, it’s dumb.

Looks as if you don’t have to be a Democrat to have your patriotism questioned by the chickenhawks. Not only is this disgusting, it’s downright dumb, given how popular McCain is among swing voters and how much damage he could do to the GOP, even short of actually bolting the party.

If the first boldfaced passage below doesn’t imply that McCain is indifferent to the suffering of our wounded soldiers, I don’t know what its meaning might be. If the second boldfaced passage below isn’t the potential core of a great 10-second spot, I’ve never seen one.

HASTERT QUESTIONS McCAIN’S GOP CREDENTIALS

WASHINGTON (CNN) — In a rare public swipe at a fellow Republican, House Speaker Dennis Hastert on Wednesday questioned the GOP credentials of John McCain, a U.S. senator who has often challenged party orthodoxy.

Talking to reporters, Hastert pretended not to know who McCain was when asked about a recent statement by the GOP senator from Arizona.

As other House GOP members stood behind him laughing, Hastert, R-Illinois, then expressed doubt that McCain was indeed a Republican.

The exchange started when a reporter asked: “Can I combine a two issues, Iraq and taxes? I heard a speech from John McCain the other day…”

Hastert: “Who?”

Reporter: “John McCain.”

Hastert: “Where’s he from?”

Reporter: “He’s a Republican from Arizona.”

Hastert: “A Republican?”

Amid nervous laughter, the reporter continued with his question: “Anyway, his observation was never before when we’ve been at war have we been worrying about cutting taxes and his question was, ‘Where’s the sacrifice?’ “

Hastert: “If you want to see the sacrifice, John McCain ought to visit our young men and women at Walter Reed and Bethesda. There’s the sacrifice in this country. We’re trying to make sure they have the ability to fight this war, that they have the wherewithal to be able to do it. And, at the same time, we have to react to keep this country strong.”

Walter Reed Army Medical Center and Bethesda National Naval Medical Center are two military hospitals in the Washington area.

McCain, a prisoner of war during Vietnam, later released a written statement, taking issue with the spending habits of Republican lawmakers.

“The Speaker is correct in that nothing we are called upon to do comes close to matching the heroism of our troops,” McCain said.

All we are called upon to do is not spend our nation into bankruptcy while our soldiers risk their lives. I fondly remember a time when real Republicans stood for fiscal responsibility. Apparently those days are long gone for some in our party.”

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com

One thought on “Is Hastert decompensating, too?”

  1. Cannibals, Jacobins

    It's fun to watch the House Republicans, the Administration, and those Senators who have joined their tribe (Inhofe springs to mind) cut into principled conservatives, because it really highlights their own lack of principle. Of course, they're blind…

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