Dennis Hastert's Crow Plate Special

Hubris. (Hyoo-bris) — noun. Excessive pride or self-confidence. Arrogance.

That's the dry dictionary definition. But if you want to see hubris in all its gooey partisan glory, check out the machinations Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert is going through as he twists and turns like a Chinese acrobat in zero gravity reacting to the Congressional page scandal.

His first vault into the Olympics of sleaze was picking up the phone. Why? To express his outrage at Florida Republican Mark Foley's inappropriate overtures to young boys? Unh, no. Okay, to console the families of the children ensnared in these lurid imprecations? Well, no, not precisely that either. Then, to demand an investigation into why the report on Foley's behavior was buried by his office? Well, unh, no, no, not really, no. Wait! Wait! Let me think. Unh, no. No. 'Fraid not.

He called to demand an investigation into who leaked the report. In the face of overwhelmingly lurid evidence, his major priority was to cover his ass. This guy is so transparent I'm surprised he hasn't leased himself out during winter recess as a storm window. By refusing to investigate, he allowed a sexual predator to remain chairman of the House Caucus on Missing and Exploited Children, which would be funny in a sad and degrading way if only it weren't. But it does give a whole new meaning to "no child left behind."

After receiving a quick pep talk from Team Bush about the best defense being a ludicrous offense, Hastert next began to lash out at the liberal press and claimed the scandal was a plot engineered by Democrats. His proof: with just a month before the election, the timing is too pat, AND it's the perfect political strategy. Let me see. Good timing, perfect political strategy. Naw, doesn't sound like any Democrat I know. This charge is especially amusing when you realize what he's saying is "hey, it's how we would have done it."

The sticky questions facing the Speaker now are threefold. What did he know, when did he know it and has he ever eaten a meal with less than a pound of red meat covered in bearnaise sauce on the plate? I'm not saying he's guilty simply because he bloated up like a poisoned toad, but dude, have you ever heard of vegetables? Carrots: supposed to be good for the eyes and might help you see the story you've been peddling is slipperier than the sweat on a wire-wearing lobbyist's palm. First your office knew about Foley's hinky emails a few weeks ago. Then it was earlier this year. Or was it last spring? Early 2005? Just answer this: first or second season of "Lost?"

Now a former aide to the Prince of Pages himself says he warned the Speaker's Office three years ago that odd behavior was afoot. Did the House office supply clerk deliver defective calendars? We all know why Foley got a pass. Hard to rally the base when the Family Values Party morphs into the North American Man Boy Love Association Party. Especially during an election year. And since the Speaker is destined to spend an inordinate amount of time in front of cameras explaining his calenderic malfunctions, I'd suggest he'd lose a couple of pounds and try a salad with that hubris pie and side of crow he's about to get stuffed down his throat. Maybe a raw wilted Spinach salad.

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