Roger L. Simon

The tin ears get worse

Newt Gingrich is not alone. Now another Republican “scholar” Dennis Hastert (no comment) is proclaiming the FBI arrest of Rep. Jefferson unconstitutional. I don’t know about the rest of you but I find this continued charade not only to be tone death, but to be truly morally repellent. In fact, it makes me want to support legislation making any convictions for law-breaking by Members of Congress subject to penalties vastly more extreme than those suffered by the general public. Serving the country is a special privilege. If somone doing that commits a crime, he should serve more time and pay more fines than if you or I committed the same crime. Far more. Not only is the person a public servant, he is supposed to be an example to every school child in the country. That is what Hastert should be thinking about, not about who arrested Jefferson.

UPDATE: Ed Morrissey (via Glenn) has more details of the Constitutional ins and outs here, but since some are complaining the Capitol Police should have done the heavy lifting here, let me tell a personal story. In the mid-eighties I was commissioned to write the screen adaptation of MURDER IN THE SENATE by (then) Senator William S. Cohen of Maine (he had a collaborator whose name has somehow mysteriously disappeared from the Amazon link). Cohen was a friendly, bright guy, but, to be kind, as a mystery writer he was no threat to Raymond Chandler. His plot made little sense (at least to me and I think to the studio mogul who had optioned his book, in part, for the senatorial name value ) and my job was to give it a story. I never could, finally. But in the process of doing my research I did a lot of nosing around with the Capitol Police – met the chief, saw their facilities, etc. Again, to be kind, this was not Scotland Yard. These guys were closer to campus cops at a middling private college – Colgate, say. Even then they were telling me how they called in the FBI when things got dicey. I’m sure they’ve beefed up some in the age of terrorism – but turned into serious crime stoppers? Not bloody likely. In fact, there’s something spooky and beyond the law about the whole thing. The complaints of Hastert, et al, remind me of some rich kid calling out. “Hey, isn’t Uncle Charlie going to arrest me? I want Uncle Charlie!”

Keep the pressure on, bloggers. This one has legs.

MORE: Someone’s calling someone a “blithering idiot.” The first someone is right. The second someone puts me in mind of the famous Woody Allen line: “Those who can’t, teach. And those who can’t teach, teach gymn.” Someone should come up with the equivalent for the Congress.

ONE MORE THING: A lot of people are negative about Third Parties in our system because “they don’t work” or some such. But do our traditional parties “work” when they yield up the likes of Dennis Hastert and Nancy Pelosi as the leaders of the Democrats and Republican in the House? Think about that one, you critics of third parties.