Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

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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.

                                        PAINE
                         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
                         altogether–

                                     TAYLOR
                         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–

                                     PAINE
                         How much does the Willet Dam mean to
                         you, Jim?

                                     TAYLOR
                         Joe–I’ve got a lot of people to
                          take care of in this State.

                                     PAINE
                         I know, but is it worth the risk of
                         a scandal now that a new man is going
                         to the Senate?

                                     TAYLOR
                         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
                         can happen–

               There is a pause while Joe looks at a newspaper.

                                     TAYLOR
                         Joe, that’s coming a long way in
                         twenty years since I met you
                         practicing law down there in Main
                         Street.

                                     PAINE
                         Jim–if what you say about the future
                         is remotely possible–why not do as
                         I say–drop things like this dam?

                                     TAYLOR
                         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.

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