Totally fucking wrong. Saying Hastert is about to become the longest-serving Speaker in history is like saying that Joe Martin was a great Speaker.
Who? You ask?? Exactly.
The longest-serving Speaker in the history of the Republic was the great Samuel Rayburn, who led the House of Representatives through nearly all of the 1940s and 1950s, and served a total of more than 17 years. Rayburn also holds the distinction of being elected by his peers more than any other Speaker - 10 times. He died not long after his last election.
Joe Cannon, cited in the errant UPI piece, was the longest-serving Republican House Speaker prior to Hastert's tenure.
In all, 4 Democrats can claim 8 or more years as Speaker. Ahem.
In the 20th century alone.
Champ Clark served as Speaker from 1911-1919, and (undid much of Joe Cannon's misdeeds and power grab for the Speakership).
Rayburn served as Speaker from '40-'47, '49-'53, and from '55 until his death in 1961.
John McCormack served from '61-'71, and The Speaker, Thomas P. "Tip" O'Neill, served from '77-'87.
Democrats led the house and held the Speakership for 62 years of the 19th century, and for an astounding 70 years of the 20th century.
It's also important to note that old Smokin' Joe Cannon was first turned on to politics as a young man by another Illinois Republican politician - Abraham Lincoln. Putting the pieces together on this yet?
In our third century as a nation, only two Republicans have led the House for 8 years. Joe Cannon and Denny "J. Dennis" Hastert. Two forgettable names in history.
There's your story. Ouch. And your history lesson, UPI.