Denny Hastert's World of the Unknown


For those of you who missed House Speaker Dennis Hastert's hamhanded smear of George Soros yesterday, here's Lloyd Grove's account in the New York Daily News:

On "Fox News Sunday," the Illinois Republican insinuated that billionaire financier George Soros, who's funding an independent media campaign to dislodge President Bush, is getting his big bucks from shady sources. "You know, I don't know where George Soros gets his money. I don't know where—if it comes overseas or from drug groups or where it comes from," Hastert mused. An astonished Chris Wallace asked: "Excuse me?" The Speaker went on: "Well, that's what he's been for a number years—George Soros has been for legalizing drugs in this country. So, I mean, he's got a lot of ancillary interests out there." Wallace: "You think he may be getting money from the drug cartel?" Hastert: "I'm saying I don't know where groups—could be people who support this type of thing. I'm saying we don't know."

In addition to being baseless, Hastert's accusation doesn't even make sense. Drug prohibition acts as a price support and a barrier to entry; it helps the cartels maintain their market position. They're about as likely to fund a legalization campaign as they are to give Denny Hastert an all-expenses-paid vacation in Bermuda or—as long as we're throwing around groundless insinuations—a free sex tour in Thailand.

Come to think of it, there's an awful lot we "don't know" about Speaker Hastert. Readers are invited to speculate in the comments section. But please, don't levy any unsupportable charges! Stick to the things we don't know.