Tom DeLay has some kind words about Dennis Hastert.
A Genius for Service
Denny Hastert never met a problem he couldn’t solve. He was so good at legislating that it’s possible he would have been just as successful in his career had he never been Speaker at all. That is to say, Denny didn’t need the gavel to lead, but to a greater degree than many know, Congress needed him to govern.[...]
He was always Speaker of the whole House, not just the Republicans, and however much they may have grumbled about their treatment in the minority, Democrats never had a better friend in leadership than their Speaker. He took every part of his job seriously and worked as hard to mend fences between Democrat and Republican leaders as he did to help an elderly constituent sign up for the right Medicare prescription drug program. No national crisis – not impeachment or 9/11 – was beyond his ability to work through, nor any legislative minutiae beyond his capacity to master.
As is so often the case, you don't know what you got 'til it's gone.
I admit, I've had my share of negative things to say about Denny Hastert. Some of them having to do with some questionable earmarks that might have personally benefited him in the long run. Sometimes I thought Hastert wasn't partisan enough in his dealings with the democratics. I often thought he didn't vociferously enough defend the House GOP Caucus against attacks from democratics. But, in reality, that wasn't his job as Speaker. That's the job of the House Republican Leader.
It will only be after Dennis Hastert is gone from Congress that the institution, and his constituents, will fully appreciate all he did for our country. The man is just a genius for service.
Compare Hastert's conduct as Speaker of the House to that of SanFranNan's. Quick, tell me who the House democrat Majority Leader is. It's not Nancy Pelosi. But you wouldn't know that from the amount of time she spends in front of the camera, microphone or in the news. She is the face of the democratic House Caucus.
The Hammer is right. The Speaker is not supposed to be a totally partisan position. It's title, Speaker of the House, should say it all. Sometimes people are put in positions of leadership that requires them to rise above partisan politics at times. It sounds as if Denny Hastert took that to heart.
Oh, if you didn't know, the House democrat Leader is Steny Hoyer. That probably isn't readily apparent from day to day reporting. Her Speakerness and Mad Jack Murtha definitely overshadow him as the public face of the House democrat Caucus.