The Dennis Hastert story is tragic. By ordinary measure he should have been indicted and served twenty years in prison, and would now be living in a tent or under a bridge, or camper on the outskirts of town thanks to Megan's Law. But underlying this all is the suppression of homosexuality, the shame, etc. which dominated at the time. I suppose being a wrestling coach puts you in the presence of a lot of beautiful young bodies: `proximate occasions of sin' they used to tell us. Maybe he struggled with temptation and failed. His ambition forced him to denounce things like gay marriage that in a more open society he would have been free to support - or even embrace? - gwc
The "Hastert' and "Hastertland" Paragraphs from Wooldridge and Micklethwaite's "The Right Nation"
Dennis Hastert, the Republican Speaker... a hulking former wrestling coach, is a fairly straightforward conservative: antiabortion, anti-gay marriage, anti-Kyoto, pro-invading Iraq, pro-death penalty.... Hastert got a 100 percent rating from the American Conservative Union in the days when he voted regularly....
Compared with other “red” districts, Hastert’s (Illinois’s fourteenth) is deep scarlet. It begins in the suburbs thirty miles west of the Chicago Loop and then stretches out through miles of cornfields to a point just forty miles short of the Iowa border. To drive across it takes a good three hours. Hastert’s district can claim to be the most Republican in the country, at least if you factor in length of loyalty to the party Unlike nouveaux droites such as Texas, Illinois has been full of Republicans since the party’s founding in 1854.... Hastert’s district is resolutely “normal.” The local citizens think of themselves as typical Americans, and their geographical vision is often bounded by the Great Plains that surround them.