July 27th, 2010
04:50 PM ET
4 years ago

Former GOP House Speaker sounds off on midterms

Former GOP House Speaker Dennis Hastert, center, spoke with CNN Tuesday about his Democratic successor Speaker Nancy Pelosi, foreground, and the upcoming midterm elections.
Former GOP House Speaker Dennis Hastert, center, spoke with CNN Tuesday about his Democratic successor Speaker Nancy Pelosi, foreground, and the upcoming midterm elections.

Washington (CNN) - Former Republican House Speaker Dennis Hastert has some advice for Democrats if they want to remain in the majority: stop the squabbling.

Hastert was on Capitol Hill Tuesday meeting with former colleagues when he told CNN that the Democrats' agenda and leadership style are adversely affecting their prospects in the November midterm elections.

"I had a philosophy of leadership," the former high school wrestling coach said. "If the coach is in the headlines every day, the team is in trouble. If the team is in the headline everyday, then you're doing alright."

The recent tussle between House Democrats and White House press secretary Robert Gibbs over the likelihood of losing big in November and the renewed press coverage of Rep. Charlie Rangel's problems with the House Ethics Committee have taken their toll on the Democrats coordinated messaging efforts, making top House Dems focus on issues they would rather not have to discuss.

But Hastert had kind words for his Democratic successor, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, saying "she's got a lot of talent," while also blaming her for creating a leadership structure that is top heavy. "All the decisions are coming from one point. They're not bubbling up."

With the current House's passage of a health care bill and vote in support for climate change legislation known as "cap-and-trade," Hastert contends that the ingredients are there for a scenario similar to 1994, when Democrats lost their majority to Republicans for the first time four decades. During the 103rd Congress, which preceded the 1994 midterm elections, House Democrats also supported a controversial health care measure and voted to tax carbon emissions.

"All those things are there now. So I can't say it will be identical, but the contents are a recipe," he said.


Filed under: 2010 • Democrats • House
soundoff (33 Responses)
  1. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    Really? Dems are supposed to take advice from republicans. That's like asking R. Kelly to babysit your teenage daughter.

    July 27, 2010 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  2. REG in AZ

    The wealthy investor and businesses, big and small, WON'T invest in expanding business, in creating jobs UNTIL the market justifies it – that is simply sound business and economics 101. That also is the reason why giving them more tax cuts and credits and so on, by itself, just doesn't work to turn the economy around, to create more jobs (the 'trickle down' theory is severely flawed). Giving more money to those who already spend all they want (the wealthy) doesn't do anything either and neither does giving more to businesses who have and are shipping jobs abroad. The 'catch 22' = a good growing economy stimulates economic growth (and the creation of new jobs)! Government needs to spend to 'prime the pump': creating more spendable money with the poor and middle class, who then actually spend it and stimulate the economy which benefits everyone (including profits for businesses and investors); and to spend on government sponsored programs that create jobs and income for workers who then spend it and stimulate ....... The deficit is a problem that definitely needs to be addressed ... but if government spending is curtailed before stabilizing the economy, the problem won't be inflation but rather deflation and depression. It represents a tight rope that must be carefully walked and that can't be done by politicians who put their political ambitions above all else and just block and criticize everything while offering nothing to resolve the problems. Their are those who pursue their self-interests without hesitation or responsible thought and their subterfuge has to be recognized and rejected by the people, by the voters. The Tea Partiers and the Republican Party are totally focused on their limited private agenda which includes returning to "more of the same', and that just can't be tolerated.

    July 27, 2010 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  3. ib

    I sincerely hope the democrats lose big time in Nov. We can't keep spending the way they are. For the sake of our country we need to vote anyone out who has been for all this spending and that includes democrats and republicans.

    July 27, 2010 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  4. Dumbasrocks [R]s

    There's little to distinguish Hastert's talk from a belch or a fart. He should excuse himself after making his embarassing sounds.

    July 27, 2010 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  5. Jess C

    Right....let's see if I understand this. Coming from the party with no leadership at all or solutions for that matter, this made me chuckle. All the GOP has accomplished since Obama's been in office doing all they can to work against him and the middle class folks like me. Talk about "squabbling"!

    July 27, 2010 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  6. Tom-Vermillion, Ohio

    Advice for democrats, from the GOP? I think the Republicans need advice...big time.

    @ib, REG in AZ,

    Being Fired vs. Being Layed Off. Being fired means that the person has done something against a given company that warrents dismisal without benefits, this is bad for the person (obviously) and good for company in that it minimizes costs. Being layed off means that through no fault of the employee the company has no work for the person to do and the person get unemployment benefits, etc. at a significant cost to the employer. Now, suppose the employer wants to cut costs and chooses to bypass critical steps at the objection of the employee. The employee knows that he/she can get fired for insubordination. So the employee ends up doing what the boss orders him/her to do. Disaster can occure, but then again it may not. Now the CEO, clearly is negligent, is clearly incompetent, and clearly cost the company dearly at the cost of thousands of jobs and livelihoods, perhaps perminately. Can the employees as a group have the CEO or 'boss' fired without fear of being fired themselves? I think not. Tell me, what's wrong with this picture? The CEO gets the goldmine and the employee get the shaft. Now, Tony Hayward gets $18 million and reassigned. Not even fired. I cannot help but wonder how that $ 18 million is going to 'trickel down. And lastly, how much of that $ 18 million is going to end up as a compaign contribution(s). Again, what's wrong with this picture?

    July 27, 2010 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  7. To "IB"

    People like u in this country are delusional!!! the money obama is spending are for things this country NEEDS! you have to spend money to fix the absolute damage that was done by your stupid republican president Bush and the republican party...THEY SPENT THE HECK OUT OF OUR MONEY ON UNNECESSARY WARS!!!! when are you people going to get that! and you didn't complain til it was too late and he's brought this country to it's knees and it's only been TWO years and you expect obama to have fixed everything and made it all better!!!! This isn't a boo boo on the tip of the american finger...it's a huge flesh wound, and it's not going to heal over night! This is what makes me sick to be an american if i'm being honest, all this ignorance that exists here and the bickering, and most definitely the IMPATIENCE!..now onder we're disliked around the world...we're spoiled brats!

    July 27, 2010 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  8. Proud member of Global Zero

    I am really tired of seeing all Republicans on the news. They are the ones that do not want to do their jobs.

    What are we paying for? The kids at my elementary school are so much more mature than any Republican I have seen lately

    July 27, 2010 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  9. Tulsa

    take a flying leap Hastert.

    July 27, 2010 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  10. Wired2theTruth

    Also at Reg:
    As long as they can continue to hire illegal immigrants or ship a job off to china than they will justify their lack of providing jobs any way they want to suit their needs.

    July 27, 2010 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  11. Anne P

    So, "ib", how would you articulate the solution according to the Repubs? Did "trickle down" and the Bush tax cuts work for you? And how do you propose the 10 years of war should be paid for? Do share.

    July 27, 2010 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  12. independent

    Repucracy, when businesses fund campaigns, outspending individual donors and don't have to reveal the sources of their funding. If China, or Columbia, or Venezuala, or Blackrock, or Lockheed, or the Mafia want to fully fund a candidate, no one will find out.

    This situation was brought to you by the activist GOP Supreme Court and the Congressional GOP filibuster.

    While the dunderhead teapartists decry democratic socialism, they get the rug taken out from under them by a GOP industrial dictatorship.

    July 27, 2010 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  13. NYC REPUB

    For all the deficit hawks.........you have lost all credibility......You want to extend the Bush tax cuts, when they knowingly add 2 trillion to the deficit..........A deficit, is a deficit.......

    Obama's spendeing spree as many like to demagogue, has held the states together during the worst economic time since the Great Depression........Yes he created deficits, but that's not what effects the long term deficit. The debt commision will address the structural deficit, and their report will be ready in DEcember.......

    See you in November SUCKERS!!!!!!

    July 27, 2010 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  14. Rickster

    Nancy Pelosi is a certified loon.

    July 27, 2010 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  15. mj

    70% of all businesses are small companies. What incentive do they have to hire employees or extend benefits? This is the Heart-Beat of America. Obama wants government control of our Health, Business, and lives. Democrats are no angels: Clinton-Monica, Gore-Hostesses-Geithner-Taxes,Rangel-Taxes,Biden-Campaign Finances, Rangel, Ted Kennedy ... the UK has admitted that Government Run Health Care is NOT Working. Wake up.

    July 27, 2010 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  16. JES

    Pelosi go home you have been the biggest joke of with all your free spending and thinking you are better than everyone else.

    July 27, 2010 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  17. Lori in St Pete

    Here's an idea to stimulate the economy: Start a new national public works program rebuilding and repairing bridges, water & sewer lines and other publicly funded infrastructure. Build a mass transit system connecting local light rail with nationwide high speed rail. Demand that ALL materials used in those projects be made in America by Americans!

    July 27, 2010 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  18. 8 Years of having a drunken driver at the wheel put America in the ditch, why would working Americans return the keys to the crowd drinking at the same bar?

    Oh, please, the only reason Gibbs said that was to not allow the base to become too complacent.

    "I had a philosophy of leadership,"

    Yeah, and it brought America to the very edge of a total financial meltdown, and if cons had won, they would have allowed the financial industry to "self correct",

    33% unemployment and depression be damned!

    Save the economy with a stimulus package?

    Not NO, but HELL NO!

    July 27, 2010 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  19. Truth

    If you find yourself believing their is any difference between R's and D's, you are already lost on the reality of what is. They have both been complicit in the annihilation of everything true red blooded Americans hold dear. America is now a population of brain dead, celebrity worshiping, clueless morons. I apologize to the 5% of you left out there that do not fall into said category.

    July 27, 2010 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  20. W.B

    Here's a philosophy never take advice from a looser.

    July 27, 2010 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  21. lil

    I sincerly hope that republican lose big time in November because they care nothing about the middle class in America. They only care about the
    rich. the didnt even want to give unemployment to the people who lost their jobs to sourcing.
    The jobs that went before Obama was President and the tarp money that
    bush started in august before obama was elected.
    Republicans and some Democrates have forgotten who did these things.
    No way in the world do I want to go back to republican rules.
    It is easy, a little to easy to Blame Obama for what Bush and the republican did. Obama has even been blamed for what a right wing
    blogger did to Miss Shirley.
    Why is that?????????????????????????? Think about it.

    July 27, 2010 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  22. roro

    Pelosi is not the loon. She's looking out for us on Main St. Boner is the loon. Just look at him, and watch him when he's looking at Obama. It's disgusting. He just can't wait to be Speaker so he can bring us back to the dark side, and continue to line his pockets with Wall Street money.

    July 27, 2010 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  23. BeverlyNC

    Speaker Pelosi does have a lot of talent and great leadership skills. She is the reason so much of the important legislation for the PEOPLE passed this year.
    The Democrats should keep the majority in both Houses. They have earned it! They have been the only ones doing any work for the PEOPLE.
    Republicans have done NOTHIING but sit on the sidelines, vote NO on everything, whine, criticize, lie, spread hate and fear, and reignite racism. They have divided the country and worked to keep us from recovering from their giant mess from the Bush years. They are anti-People and anti-American. They are NOT country first. They are Corporation First and to hell with the working families of this country.
    They are destroyers and not builders. We need to rid Congress of these do-nothing America haters.
    No to the Party of NO in NOvember!!! No more GOBPers!

    July 27, 2010 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  24. they call me "tater salad"

    Yep!!!........"FORMER" Republican House Speaker!.......Nuff said.

    July 27, 2010 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  25. key

    Really. What did the RNC pass in the house or senate while he was in charge. Usually the opposition pass something, but they had the house the senate and the WH and still nothing

    July 27, 2010 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
1 2