Who is Dennis Hastert? Sounds like a question Jay Leno would ask people on the street. I suspect he would probably get the "RCA Victor dog" look. Most people would be puzzled.
Well, in case you are puzzled, he is the new Speaker of the House. That doesn't answer much, because you probably would like to know what he will be like. When I was on the Johanna Fisher Show a few weeks ago, Johanna asked me the same question. I gave a short answer then. Here is a longer one.
Dennis Hastert is a former high-school wrestling coach, who is an absolute nut over classic cars. He owns a 1941 Lincoln and a 1953 GMC fire truck which he rides in parades back home. He is 57 years old and from Illinois.
In many ways, he has been groomed for this job. One of his early mentors was former House Republican leader Bob Michel of Illinois. He has been the GOP deputy whip since 1995 under the leadership of Tom DeLay.
He has been a leader on various bipartisan compromises including the census, the environment, and health care. He also has a very conservative voting record, receiving perfect ratings from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Christian Coalition, and the National Federation of Independent Business.
His style will be the polar opposite of Newt Gingrich. Don't expect him to issue book lists to the Congress, make up policy while on TV talk shows, or attract as much media attention and criticism. He is known as being disarmingly Midwestern.
He has his job cut out for him. He presides over one of the thinnest majorities this century. And the Democrats are not likely to want to make his job any easier as he must tackle such difficult topics as Social Security, education, and Medicare. He has a tough job, and I wish him well.
I'm Kerby Anderson of Probe Ministries, and that's my opinion.
© 1998 Probe Ministries International