Speaker of the House… Doc Hastings?

I scratched my head reading this now out-dated and irrelevant editorial — titled in the Yakima Herald “The Wrong GOP Congressman is in Political Trouble”, titled in the Seattle Times “This GOP waterboy should go”, a shrug at Reichert and a slap at Hastings.

The line I’m scratching my head at is: And there’s speculation he’s on the short succession list for speaker of the House.  Saints, preserve us.

Huh?  What?  Did I miss something?  Apparently I did…

The list is controversial and, at least one congressional scholar says, may be unconstitutional.  It was devised to ensure a calm transition if terrorists were to hit the Hill and Congress couldn’t quickly elect a new speaker, as spelled out in the Constitution.  But these days, the disaster most likely to hit Hastert, R-Ill., is the Mark Foley scandal involving sexually explicit e-mails to underage congressional pages.  The speculation is that Hastert, who likes those who like him, named reliable GOP members to the list.  At the moment, Hastert is in a public dispute with the House Majority Leader, John Boehner of Ohio, and not exactly hugging the next most powerful Republican, House Whip Roy Blunt.  But when members say “Hastert loyalist,” they frequently say “Doc Hastings.”  Hastings, R-Pasco, became Hastert’s protégé several years ago.

All of which is meaningless today.  Dennis Hastert is now perhaps not a back-bencher, but a mid-bencher.  If it would have taken a nuclear strike on Washington, DC to make Doc Hastings the unconstitutional Speaker of the House in the new post-armegeddon America, that chance is now completely gone.  (And I like the idea that “Hastert loyalist” is/was synanomus on Capitol Hill with “Doc Hastings”.)

Likewise, the other, more traditional means that Doc Hastings would have gotten to the title “Speaker of the House”:

Conversely, in Eastern Washington, Bush Country, Rep. Doc Hastings, who might have wound up House speaker if his Republican Party hadn’t lost its edge,

Maybe Doc Hastings will be Speaker of the House yet.  See, the Republicans will lose the next few elections, to the point where Doc Hastings is the only Republican Representative left.  And, the tide will turn in the next election, where the Republicans will take back control of the House and Doc Hastings will be the only Republican with any type of Seniority.  His dream is there yet!

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