Grave error in judgment for Hastert

Since the advent of TV, the backdrop featured in a staged speaking event has become as important as the actual speech itself.

Since the advent of TV, the backdrop featured in a staged speaking event has become as important as the actual speech itself.

From the authoritative presidential emblem at White House press conferences to an environmentally-minded politico standing behind a polluted, skunked lake, context and symbolism matter.

With House Speaker Dennis Hastert's (R-IL) recent taciturnity about what he knew regarding the Mark Foley-page scandal, answers about why he chose to hold a press conference in front of cemetery may not be forthcoming. So we can only turn it into a parlor game.

I'd like to give Hastert the benefit of the doubt - that he was saving fuel by taking a walk on his way to feed the homeless - but there's a podium and all. Just what was he trying to say? Was it symbolism that the party has decided to forfeit the House, as laughably reported by conservative columnist Bob Novak? Was it a subtle reminder to citizens, portending the future if the darn liberals take over? Must he feed on the dead to survive?

Hastert is the king of nuance. When he said, re: Foley, "the buck stops here," he didn't specifically point to himself. In the same breath he both asserted that everyone on his staff acted correctly, but has threatened to punish the chimerical staffer who actually did wrong. One might think Hastert would be crazy to hold a press conference in a cemetery. Exactly.

PR Play Rating:

1. Clueless
2. Ill-advised
3. On the right track
4. Savvy
5. Ingenious

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