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Hastert Resigns Tonight

After months of playing coy about when he would depart, Rep. J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) bid his official farewell to the House today.

The speaker for eight years, Hastert wrote letters to Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D-Ill.) officially resigning his congressional seat in a move that has long been anticipated but with the timing in question because of internal Illinois politics about when to hold a special election to pick a successor.

In a bit of historical coincidence, Hastert's resignation, taking effect at 11:59 pm EST tonight, comes on the same day that Sen. Trent Lott (R-Miss.) announced his plan to resign later next month from the Senate. For four years in the late 1990s and earlier this decade, Hastert and Lott served together as the top Republicans in Congress, legislative point men for the early days of President Bush's tenure.

Hastert gave his farewell address to the House before the chamber broke for the Thanksgiving recess, but held off on specifying his departure. In his letter to Blagojevich, Hastert said he chose today because it allows the governor "sufficient time" to schedule a primary election for Feb. 5 to select Republican and Democratic nominees to compete in a special election later next spring.

Illinois Republicans have been wary of an earlier Hastert resignation and holding the special general election on Feb. 5 for fear that the presence of Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) on the ballot in the presidential primary would bring Democrats out in droves to the polls, potentially threatening what otherwise would be a safe Republican seat.

In his letter to Pelosi, Hastert thanked her for the "courtesies" she has shown him during his unusually long goodbye to the chamber. While most ousted speakers retire shortly after giving up the gavel, Hastert has remained a back-bench member all year.

By Paul Kane  |  November 26, 2007; 8:58 PM ET
Categories:  House  
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Its hard to escape the "rats leaving a sinking ship" appearance of this Congress, where so many are resigning they have to stand in line and say goodbye in turn.
Some changes are happening behind scenes which will become apparent later to the American citizen, the person who is always told last. God help our country, this administration has almost destroyed it.

Posted by: zaney | November 26, 2007 9:19 PM | Report abuse


Illinois Republicans have been wary of an earlier Hastert resignation and holding the special general election on Feb. 5 for fear that the presence of Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) on the ballot in the presidential primary would bring Democrats out in droves to the polls, potentially threatening what otherwise would be a safe Republican seat.

it's up to you to take by your country and legislate for the citizenship,

not for the monied elite and their INTERNATIONAL MONIED PALS....that are taking your companies, then your jobs and now your home and lands....


don't let it happen to what used to be the strongest, most honest, big hearted country in the world...

now being slaughtered by a bushCO and CRONY fascist near you, hunt them down and restrain them with lawsuits and jail time.

.to the HAGUE withthem.


Posted by: so here's the ticket | November 26, 2007 9:53 PM | Report abuse

The system of checks and balances is an essential element of our government. Both the House and the Senate forgot their responsibility for much of the past 6 years.

Speaker Hastert set aside his role as a steward to an adminstration whose judgement has been proven to be flawed.

I hope the lesson learned is that regardless of party loyality, the american people need the voice of all the elements of the government to be heard and considered.

Posted by: oldgeek | November 26, 2007 10:06 PM | Report abuse

Ill. Gov. Blagojevich (D) has all the cards here, despite what Hastert says, as Blago could easily schedule the special GENERAL election for Feb. 5, when the Democratic turnout will be especially high and the Dems will have a much greater chance of winning this seat. There's no reason why the special primary election couldn't take place, say, Jan. 5, which would be "sufficient" time from now.

Ha, ha, Hastert, you may yet be foisted by your own petard.

Posted by: verasoie | November 26, 2007 10:09 PM | Report abuse

rats, ships, sure. But never forget it was always a simple plan to provide for lucrative retirements by helping the big boys loot the ship.

It sure wasn't about 'rule of law' or 'governing', because they just couldn't have done more damage if they had been trying (you think they might have been trying? nah, they aren't that competent.)

I hope they all find a nice place to hide somewhere in Idaho.

Posted by: Frivit | November 26, 2007 10:22 PM | Report abuse

They want to get out before there are more restrictions on leaving office to become a lobbyist and/or before the ethics committee finally gets a backbone. I hope more Republicans follow.

Posted by: Steve Baran | November 26, 2007 10:35 PM | Report abuse

Too funny- look at all the GOP grifters leaving office ahead of the change in the lobbying rules, so they won't have to wait TWO years before they start bribing their buddies in Congress.

Why don't we pass a law to make all these Bush supporters in Congress spend a year taking care of our wounded soldiers in VA hospitals after they leave office, since they are so proud of sending them to Iraq for no reason?

Hastert- leaving with a whimper. And a cheeseburger.

Posted by: Anonymous | November 26, 2007 10:38 PM | Report abuse

Does everyone see WHAT they just pulled off and HOW MUCH they made? Phrases like "state expropriation", "offshore banking in Russia", "natural monopoly", "weapons of mass destruction", "managed democracy", "private meetings", "drug czar", "energy czar", "gas cartel", "war against terror", "war against drugs", " warrant-less wiretap", " no presidential term limits", "no bid contracts", and too many more bad policies for one voter to even why these people now have the luxury of retirement. How rich is finally rich enough? I'm surprised George isn't handing in his letter also.TO THE HAGUE!

Posted by: IvannaTheTerrible | November 26, 2007 10:39 PM | Report abuse

"NOW" on PBS last week showed a picture of GOP lawmakers including Hastert, Lott, Stevens and Craig on an Alaskan fishing trip as a guest of former Veco oil services CEO and confessed felon (bribery, conspiracy) Bill Allen. Coincidence about the timing of the resignations? Maybe, maybe not...

Posted by: Fred | November 26, 2007 10:49 PM | Report abuse

They are running because they know the total collapse of this country as a viable nation on this earth is over. They have plundered it in every way imagineable and it will never revive. The will has been sapped from the people and there is no trustworthy leadership. It seems the corruption only begets more corruption. Perhaps it is time for this country to die!?!

Posted by: Dan Smith | November 26, 2007 10:52 PM | Report abuse

I agree with the comment above: The American Citizen is the last to know. What scares Me the most about that is the doggedly way the Republicans have stood behind Bush and His false "War on Terror" and NOW, the "ship" has sunk or is seen to be sinking FAST and there is a rush to make sure the Republicans aren't around to go down with it. As for the changes We'll learn about later, THAT thought makes My skin crawl because I'm already disgusted with the "changes" I've seen! whatsyourlifeworth2dotinfo

Posted by: Ron D. Maxwell | November 26, 2007 10:53 PM | Report abuse

Idaho isn't big enough to hide in for a herd of asses this big.

Posted by: fieldmouse | November 26, 2007 10:54 PM | Report abuse

Every comment above is right on target which means that together we Americans can and must get our country back by finding a way to get millions of us to find a way to keep in touch with one another.
Come up with ideas for pititions with over a million signers all at the same time.
And do it a few times a month. Not asking congress but teling them that they must do as we DEMAND. They work for us. we have the right to fire them. (YES) force them f office.
We can demand that our publicly owned air ways (radio, TV) give free and equal time for everyone running for office that can get 5000 signaturs. The time to be 1 hour every week every station and 3 hours a week near election times.
Thw license to operate radio and TV to have that condition or no license. They can take it or leave it...The money says thay will take it and will wonder why we the people did not demand it long ago.
I'm just plain me. nothing special in any way, can;t even spell very well.
BUT I bet all of you can and many more that would join us would too.
Think about it.
Peace can be had...

Posted by: DanC | November 26, 2007 10:52 PM

Posted by: DanC | November 26, 2007 10:55 PM | Report abuse

I hope this network of resigning American lawmakers and administration executives, in all their savvy dealings, gets treated like two-headed hillbillies in Europe's highest places, and their money is forever cursed. I hope the Swiss lose their numbered accounts and the French serve them sauteed S#*T!

Posted by: LeChef | November 26, 2007 11:16 PM | Report abuse

They champion the philosophy that government is evil, corrupt, wasteful and interferes in the lives of the people. The Republicans have done everything to make their rhetoric about government a reality. Our country has been sacked by a gang of thugs with pin stripped suits and large vocabularies (except Bush). While they were screaming crime and punishment to a guy who steals a burrito from 7-11 the were committing wholesale plunder of the American treasury and starting a war for profit. They hate gays but every other week one of them gets busted for some wide-stance activity. They hate affirmative action because its unfair but they give each other important jobs based on cronyism and political favor. They have no respect for their own constituency because how could your respect anybody that can be lied to in their face, have the lie proven to all beyond a reasonable doubt yet the Republican authoritarian follower supports his master like a crest-fallen dog who misses his abusive owner. The GOP to the average Republican voter is life a cowardly fighting dog to Micheal Vick. They use them up and put them to sleep. Unfortunately, we all have to deal with the pile of crap these Republicans and their sycophants have left in the middle of the kitchen floor.

Posted by: Ron | November 26, 2007 11:22 PM | Report abuse

SPEAK and look back, and pry on every side...

King Richard III

Posted by: William Shakespeare | November 27, 2007 12:28 AM | Report abuse

Hastert's departure is just one more telling sign that the Bush administration has failed in its obligaitons to protect the nation and serve the people.

I'm just one of many writers and commentators who predicted that the GOP rats would leave the sinking ship of State while they could still carry their loot.

President Bush's family will most certainly have the money to weather the coming economic downturn that their son has brought upon us.

We're about to get the government we deserve.

Posted by: Justin Oldham | November 27, 2007 4:03 AM | Report abuse

Denny was always a back bencher, a non descript political hack who was thrust into the Speakership by GOP powerbrokers looking for a "yes man". In that regard the old wrestling coach was the perfect fit. Despite his amiable, if not befuddled demeanor, Hastert did the republicans bidding with impunity. What a disgrace to such an honorable office. The Speaker of the House...addled Denny should never have held that office. His behavior while Speaker was deplorable. You can take a dimwitted imbecile off the farm, put him in a suit and give him a nice office but he remains an imbecile. Go back to whatever little hamlet in Illinois you crawled out of, drink beer, enjoy your hefty government pension. The party is over Denny. Return the never fit well anyway.

Posted by: BC | November 27, 2007 8:47 AM | Report abuse

The ship is sinking and the rats are running. A crying shame the whole group is not already in our court system for treason or, better yet, on their way to paying for their crimes.

Let's remember, though, Denny will likely be setting up speaking arrangements for several grand a pop, "consult" for one or more of the corporate sharks who owns the "law" and enjoy the unlimited cash residuals funded by the taxpayers.

One more peg of proof: There is no justice in this System.

Posted by: rockylrue | November 27, 2007 9:26 AM | Report abuse

And a great 8 years it was too, eh Denny? Served your country proud. Ignored the world's problems to go after Clinton, blindly supported boy Bush allowing him to mis-lead the country into War, protected pedophile congressman, overseeing the collapse of America's standing in the world....heck of a job Denny. Maybe you can get a part-time job coaching teen-age boys in wrestling.

Posted by: thebob.bob | November 27, 2007 10:10 AM | Report abuse

Bankruptcy Attorneys Call On Congress To Save Homes From Foreclosure

A trade group of bankruptcy attorneys is calling on lawmakers to act on legislation that would save homes from foreclosure in their specific districts.

Posted by: Anonymous | November 27, 2007 11:35 AM | Report abuse

As a voter in Hastert's congressional district, I say teh time for his replacement cant come soon enough. His seat has been virtually unchallenged for years. And while the district remains heavily Republican it has become less so in recent years, and I think the Dems may have a chance for once.

Posted by: Anonymous | November 27, 2007 3:51 PM | Report abuse

Nixon Library To Release More Than 100,000 Pages

The Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum will release on Nov. 28 approximately 122,800 pages of historical materials from the Nixon presidency at the National Archives in College Park, Md.

Posted by: Anonymous | November 27, 2007 3:59 PM | Report abuse

The image of rats leaving a sinking ship is seductive, since it wipes the smug smiles off a lot of right wing faces.

But the reality is, the country does not just return to normal, the damage does not get magically undone, the missing funds and trust and decency are not recovered somewhere; the recovery may not happen at all, and if it does, will not be rapid or pleasant or complete.

The damage is staggering and much of it will likely never be fixed.

Hastert and Lott and their ilk may just walk away. The body politic, not so much.

Watching Hastert and friends leave their supposed revolution in ruins, is not such a thrill. At the same time the national decency is in shreds. The national treasure is in hock. The nation is on the wrong path, everyone knows it, but it does not just get re-oriented when the drunk pilot leaves.

Posted by: jpk | November 27, 2007 6:17 PM | Report abuse

Well I am not the ONLY One with this tought.The RATS are leaving thE Ship! NOW that the Monies is Overseas in Banks out of the Americas....Wall street and the TrEAchery just pumt $ 41 Billion and more to come.SO SOME ONE IN CHARGE STOP THIS NOW. Give $ 41 Billion to the SENOIR and VETERAN to hold the Bottom place..
Love your country

Posted by: sigup | November 27, 2007 6:23 PM | Report abuse

Impeach-how aboot treason, war crimes, WMD-Du & White sulpher phosprorous-both banned by the UN, crimes against humanity, rape, torture, redition, quantimo, perjury to the Oath of the President & kinda "funny" the election fraud by jeb boosh & then the S Ct electing resident boosh-how many S Ct judges r selected by Boosh Sr, which would require recusal for a conflict of interest. Nor is there any Constnl provision allowing the US S Ct to select resident boosh as the President-the 'decision" by the S Ct is not the will of We the People & denies Our Right of freedom of coscience/will-FTG

Posted by: Petesfarm | November 27, 2007 8:19 PM | Report abuse

If we are to thrive and survive as a republic , we will need to revert to a Swiss Canton or 17th Century form of government. We need to re-instate the abrogated 10th Ammendment. Each state would be a semi-autonomous region, populated by citizens with similar political philosophy. People would be free to congregate into regions with others of similar values, There would be no ned to worry about a monolithic supra government forcing anf foisting laws and dictates that one finds odious. Abortion, gun control, gay marriage and universal health care would be the prerogatives of the state. Liberals and conservatives could amicably seperate into states and accept the vox populi of that particular culture imbued within each stae government.One person's freedom is another person's tyranny. We can leave each other alone.
The other facet that we would need to develop is the Pertinent-Germaine law, regarding federal expenditure. The pork barrel earmarks are a travesty of legislation. This ystem was endorsed and presided over by the likes of Nancy Pelosi and Denny Hastert. Each ammendment or earmark would have to be a seperate piece of legislation. No more expenditures and legislation hidden within a Bill whose topic is not within the parvue of the Bill's title. This is especially important since we have an Executive who has abrogated his line item veto right.
I am glad to see those Neville Chamberlain imitators and appeasers of the pernicious progressive party leave. Those who compromise with those neo-Jacobin liberals are imitaing the patron saint of the Republican Party: Pontius Pilate. The ACORN/MOVE ON , George Sorros financed radicals in Congress are not collegues but communist. Just as Robbespiere, Danton, Lenin and Hitler used a socialist party to overthrow the Parlement,Duma or Reichstag of a representative republic, so are Nancy Pelosi, Ted Kennedy and Hillary Clinton. While the Democrats seek to force us to become a re-colonized fief of foreign despots, the Republicans wash their hands and fill their pockets.

Posted by: chemistmike | November 29, 2007 11:46 AM | Report abuse

2008 Presidential Election Weekly Poll

The Only Poll That Matters.
Results Posted Every Tuesday Evening.

Posted by: votenic | November 30, 2007 3:00 PM | Report abuse

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Posted by: Brin | December 1, 2007 8:09 PM | Report abuse

We can all thank the thoughtless Supreme Court. All we hear from the Republicans is Islofascism. While they sprew such nonesense our (so-called) Supreme Court Said it's the right of the very large and rich corporation to buy our elected officials(THAT'S FASCISM) It did not bother the Supreme Court that it cost a billion dollars to run for president, they the isolated court is helping corporation buy our goverment and they see nothing wrong with it SHAME SHAME SHAME

Posted by: Harvey | December 3, 2007 1:25 PM | Report abuse

YEA. He couldn't even read his own mail anymore, to many "offocial" dinners I'm sure. Take a look at him in about 1992 when I voted for him. That's called going to hell quickly.

Posted by: Dennis Duewel | December 3, 2007 3:14 PM | Report abuse

Its a shame so many of you have difficulty showing respect to Congressman Hastert. But, I applaud you for noticing the 110th Congress is a sinking ship. Republicans are smart to get out now because Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid have done nothing but make the "do nothing Congress" sink even deeper. I suggest finding some bipartisan solutions rather than jump all over the other party.

Posted by: house1 | December 3, 2007 5:56 PM | Report abuse

We shoould all be aware of certain facts: (1) The Demo's do control Congress since Jan 20 of 2007 but with such a slim majority that they are unable to pass legislation without some GOP support which is not forthcoming. Remember, the GOP did not provide a single vote for the Bill Clinton budgets which had the USA in a nearly 300 Billion dollar surplus when Bush II took over. (2). Bush is complaining this week about the Demo's not passing a budget for this fiscal year. Be advised that from 1994 when the GOP took over Congress they NEVER passed the 13 Spending Bills required by law. Instead, they opted for something call an "Omni-Bus Reconcilation Bill" which in a more than 10,000 page document hiding their expenditures from everybody not reading and understanding the document. (3) The GOP spent more than $100 Million trying to unseat Bill Clinton based on a $60,000 investment in a Real Estate Venture BEFORE he became Arkansas Governor. (4) Duya Bush started his term with a $3.8 Trillion Dollar deficit from 250 yrs of history. Bush recently asked the GOP Congress to increase the US legal debt limit to $9 Trillion dollars so he could spent more in his last year of office.....(4) Don't be surprised about GOP resignations now. Their staying in office until the end of their term would allow the Democrats to point to the dismal GOP records of this administation. Vacancies will allow NEW GOP faces to be candidates in 2008......Think a complete change with large Democratic majorities in both houses.....

Posted by: Old Hal | December 6, 2007 2:30 PM | Report abuse

Good riddance. Now if he would just take Ted Stevens with him...

Posted by: Allan | December 7, 2007 10:51 AM | Report abuse

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