Thursday, November 9, 2006
Personal Aside: The Big Rumor That Wont Be Dismissed.
Its pretty late at night and Im not going to go into a lot of research but a rumor has been bubbling up that should be recorded even if its knocked down later as more information comes due. The rumor, substantiated by a number of people Ive talked to who know the Denny Hastert people personally is this: Denny Hastert has determined to resign before his term as Speaker expiresfor one reason only. When you step down as Speaker your pension is calculated on your level of pay and Speakers pay is a lot more than that of an ordinary member of Congress. Somebody whos a lot fresher than I am at this hour of the night can check Dennys salary but I think its in the neighborhood of, say, $200,000 plus.
That said, the Hastert people have determined to tap a state legislator for the official nodwith the official imprimatur as the successor. He will be appointed and will actually serve as a Congressman in the interim. The rumor goes on to the effect that under state law the governor must set the date of a special election. And also that state law ordains that Republicans and Democrats all run together rather than in two separate parties, Republican and Democrat. If this is true and I must confess I think its weird but, again, I havent the time to check the statute but if this is true and the Democrats enforce a rigid discipline so that only one Democrat files they can probably triumph over a flurry of Republican candidates including newly-reelected State Senator Chris Lauzen. Since Republicans are notoriously undisciplined witness the March primary where Topinka was nominated because Bill Brady wouldnt run for something else expect the list to be filled with GOP congressional wanna-bes and one Democrat. The Democrat they have in mind is an Hispanic woman, Im informed. She used to be a Republican and who was shunted aside by the party so she drifted to the Democrats.
I dont know the time-frame or the statute but there it is. If it doesnt prove out, its at least checking out. Something tells me that Denny Hastert isnt the kind of man to take a pay cut and simply serve as a Congressman for a long time in the minority in an attempt to prove, as one story has it that his stepping down now would cause his career to end on a sour note. That sounds like a lot of baloney to me. Serving as a minority congressman after having been Speaker automatically means winding up on a sour notre. Why not take the full salary level when you retire?
So have at it lads and lasses.