The Hastert story that Bill Allison broke last week has clearly taken on a life of its own. Maybe that’s because, as a conservative friend pointed out, it rings sounds so much like a scene from the 1939 film Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.
Here’s the relevant dialogue from the movie. Read it and judge for yourself.
Jim–suppose we didn’t try to go
through with this Willet Creek Dam–
suppose we postpone it until the
next session of Congress–or drop it
That’d be a crime–after all this
work–getting it buried in this
Deficiency Bill as nice as you please–
approved–all ready to roll–
How much does the Willet Dam mean to
Joe–I’ve got a lot of people to
take care of in this State.
I know, but is it worth the risk of
a scandal now that a new man is going
to the Senate?
Joe–what’s the matter with you–
where you’re concerned, I wouldn’t
take the slightest risk–‘specially
now after the great reputation you’ve
made in the Senate. Why, look at
this campaign I’ve started for you
in all my papers. You’re the logical
man from the West on the National
ticket–at the convention, anything
There is a pause while Joe looks at a newspaper.
Joe, that’s coming a long way in
twenty years since I met you
practicing law down there in Main
Jim–if what you say about the future
is remotely possible–why not do as
I say–drop things like this dam?
We can’t drop it now, Joe. We bought
the land around this Dam and we’re
holding it in dummy names. If we
drop it or delay it–we are going to
bring about investigations, and
investigations will show that we own
that land and are trying to sell it
to the State under phony names. No,
Joe, in my judgment the only thing
to do is push this Dam through–and
get it over with.