Hastert could well be the weakest House speaker in history. Tapped by Tom DeLay to serve as the mild-mannered frontman for the GOP leadership, the former wrestling coach ceded most of his power to the now-disgraced majority leader, allowing Republicans to treat the Capitol as their private piggy bank. Last year, Hastert got in on the action himself, secretly inserting $207 million into the budget for the "Prairie Parkway" – a highway that will speed development of 210 acres he owns in Illinois. Before the year was out, Hastert sold part of his land – soon to be the site of a sprawling subdivision – for a profit of $2 million.
Livingston was succeeded by Dennis Hastert, perhaps the most, well, conventional of the GOP leaders of his era. Still, Hastert was a hawk with no military service and a defender of the rich with no money or experience in business.
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