Saturday, December 15, 2007

Jay Footlik v. Dan Seals: May the Better Meshugana Win! UPDATED x1

I spent this snowy evening going to a few holiday political events, including an event in Long Grove featuring Congressman Mark Kirk and his wife Kimberly, and then trekked out to Lake Zurich to an event for Dan Duffy, candidate for the 26th State Senate District (which is being vacated by Bill Peterson). Despite the crappy weather, both events were very well attended (Duffy's featured former Speaker of the House Denny Hastert, who is looking slim and trim these days), and I meant to do a post tonight focusing on Dan (a former college classmate of mine). The focus of the post was going to be why we need energetic people like Dan, with genuine business experience, in Springfield to fight against Blago's economic voodoo death spells like the ill-fated Gross Receipts Tax (GRT), which Dan was instrumental in defeating. But that'll have to wait.

Instead, while I was catching up on my blogs tonight, I came across yet another post by Dan Seals shill Bored Now of Chicago, which is worth sharing. TA's sources are usually good at sending along the latest mailings by Jay Footlik (and I assume they would also send along Dan Seals' mailings, if he ever sent anything out), but Bored Now beat me to this one. It's really an embarassment for Footlik, I think. Here are the pix, lifted from Prairie State Blue:

As I was saying, Bored Now has a good discussion started at Prarie State Blue, but he has a decidedly anti-Footlik tact, and goes so far as to call the mailer "offensive." Since everyone knows that Kirk is the favored son here, it puts us in a slightly more objective position to judge exactly just what the heck is going on with the Footlik campaign....?

Footlik is clearly not reluctant to spend the money he's raised. This is the third or fourth significant mailer, and he has done at least two cable TV ads, including the famous (or infamous) "Brady Bunch" ad, which we discussed previously. But, come on now, is this the same guy whose tagline is "Serious Experience"?

Being the kind of guy that tries not to take himself too seriously, I have a certain amount of respect and affinity for the somewhat off-beat humor and angle that Footlik is apparently trying to use to reach out to his audience. But, hey, buddy, this is the big time. It's a multi-million dollar race for Congress in the North Shore, not library board in Kickapoo.

And, we all know you're Jewish, already. Even assuming that this mailing only went to Jewish households, how is the average Jewish voter going to react to this? Does the average Jew identify with the mope in the picture? If not, I would think it's just as easily a turn-off as a endearing light-hearted dig at one's own ethnicity. But, being a goy, I have little insight as to whether Jewish folks will see this as a insider's clever use of ethnic humor or whether it will backfire as a reminder of sterotypical disparagement. Certainly the term "meshugana" itself seems to be one of those terms that Jews use to laugh about themselves. But, maybe not everyone is laughing, and few probably expect to see this usage from a prospective future congressman.

Footlik only has about 45 days to get it together. Despite Dan Seals' penchant for putting his foot in his mouth (read about his insecurity complex about millionaires here) Ellen Beth Shrill and her crowd are already scouring the Internet to try to tie Footlik's recent lobbying jobs and his company DiNovo to all manner of shady foreign lobbying and military contracts (look in the comments). Whether it's true or not, it's obvious Ellen has been released to start firing the big cannons. Footlik may be seriously outgunned, no matter how much the Illinois Federation of Teachers likes him.

In fact, by the time I got finished with this post tonight, Ellen had the mailer up and was panning it already. As usual, Ellen tries to look for the deeper meaning and wonders if the Footlik mailer is yet another sign of the apocalypse and the breakdown of civilization begun by George Bush and Mark Kirk. I, on the other hand, just want to know if this is going to get Footlik any votes, or lose them.


PS-> A big shout-out to the government class at Stevenson High School in Lincolnshire where TA has learned the Team America Blog is required viewing (!). Thanks, and we'll try to keep it up on our end.

UPDATED 12/16/07: 7:50 a.m.: IF SEALS BUYS, WOULD FOOTLIK GET THE COMMISSION? Looks like Jay Footlik has picked up another tip from our commentors (I think I recall "BD" suggesting something along these lines), but Jay has taken this one step further and provided Dan Seals with a little free real estate research and located several homes under $400,000 that Seals could probably afford (he now lives in Wilmette in a decent pad, just a few blocks over from the 10th district boundary). Check out the Sun-Times article here. Hat Tip: "I am Sparticus".

Seals' response was stock and pretty lame-- Oh, this is all dumb and 'I want to focus on serious issues like Iraq and health care.' Well, that's what happens when you throw around the "renting" stone while living in a glass house (and one outside the district to boot). At least Seals didn't accuse Footlik of practicing real estate brokerage without a license. Wonder who gets the commission.


Anonymous said...

I can't imagine that EBG constitutes "big cannons." Does anyone take her seriously?

Anonymous said...

I'm Jewish, I don't find Jay's latest mailing piece "offensive" but I do think it's a waste of money to send something that is devoid of anything we don't already know, or have seen, from Jay. These are the same photos he's had out there since day 1. To the piece would have to say, to be correct, I'd have to be A Meshugana.....To use the stereotypical pictures of what we're supposed to look like is not funny, at least not to me. In the "Squares" TV spot it IS offensive to hear his mother say that she wanted him to be a doctor.......that's just plain silly. Jay has obviously taken a rather carefree and rather laid back approach to getting out this message. To your point, TA, he's running for a seat in the United States Congress and that should require a very serious message and not this silliness with no real content. I agree with Anon...nobody with brains would ever think that Ms. Shrill is "big cannons". I think she must have run out of her meds and is running on empty. Her most recent posts are evidence of that. Her guy is so quiet as to be non-existant. If that's his strategy, so be it. Then again, what can Dan Seals say that we haven't already heard. So, TA, you ARE right. In this Primary it is one "meshugana" facing another one. I'm not laughing.

I am Sparticus said...


First off, hot off the press this morning in the Sun Times:,CST-NWS-10th16.article. Looks like Jay is growing some "baytzim" (look for that word in the next mailer).

Second, I actually need to disagree with everyone's analysis on the Footlik mailer. Did this go to all Democrats or did the copy you acquired have a Jewish last name? There are services nationally that track and sell lists of people by zip code who give to Jewish causes (implication being probably Jewish).

I know we like to think this is not true anymore, but many people will vote for someone based solely on shared religion, ethnicity, race, gender, etc. My parents were never big political players, but they'd make it a point to vote in a primary if there was a known Jewish candidate "who needed the community's help." This mailer is targeting that older, primary-voting, Jewish demographic -- which still exists.

Is this mailer a key to victory or a message in itself? Obviously not. Will it take votes away from Seals? Absolutely.

Anonymous said...

To "I am Spartacus". You are correct in noting that many, not all Jews will vote for someone just because of the religious tie. You also know that many Jews, again, not all, choose not to vote in Primary elections because they don't like to declare a party choice. This is particularly true among older Jewish voters. Will Jay Footlik benefit from mailing and focusing on Jewish voters in this district. Absolutely. Will most be pleased with the content of his TV spot "squares" or this latest mailing piece. NO. He's neither clever nor smart to be "cutsey" about his being Jewish. I'm waiting to see, hear and read something with real value and not just one-liners that say nothing. And Dan Seals has said and done nothing that would show his understanding of the serious issues facing the district, the country or the world. With him it's the same old, same old. Maybe his new Dem talking point manual is still in the mail.

Team America said...

Just wanted to thank everyone for the thoughtful comments so far on the mailer. One of the nice things about the crowd that has gravitated to this blog is that the vast majority of people have something thoughtful to say and are respectful and fairly open-minded in responding to comments, even those people that have an obvious agenda.

For comparison, check out some of those "other blogs" commenting on the Footlik mailer, and you will see the basic jist of the comments are "Your guy is an idiot!" and "No, YOUR guy is an idiot!"

Glad to see we've got a brighter bunch of folks here. Keep it up!

Anonymous said...

TA, Ms. Shrill and her posters are single-minded folks who are always angry, always negative, always willing to say that when the sun isn't shining it's because Mark Kirk and the Republicans ordered it NOT to shine. You have attracted some posters who are far more reasoned and willing to dialogue supported by evidence in most cases. In this district the voters have never gone over to the dark side when it comes to evaluating candidates for office, but rather have shown the independence that has characterized the 10th.And then most people are not even tuned into her blog, or most blogs for that matter. I think that Ms. Shrill and many of her buddies are new to the area, including Ms. Shrill who comes from the 9th district. I did read the posts on her blog concerning Jay's "meshugana" mailer. These folks don't understand what "I am Spartacus" states so well. Like it or not, right or not, many will vote for Jay Footlik because of his religious background. That's a proven fact. Look at the former Seals supporters who are now front and center in the Footlik campaign as max contributors and workers on his team. That's also a fact. If Seals was their guy last time because he was the best hope for this district, what happened? So yes, I'd say that "Spartacus" is right. Does this mean that Footlik can win? He surely will give Dan a far closer race than expected.

Biggus Dickus said...


I understand that Dan Seals claims at events to be working part-time as a professor at Northwestern University. I'm not sure why I haven't asked these basic questions before -- and maybe you know more -- but what is he teaching and where?

I present the following link to the Northwestern directory, performing a search for "Seals."

As you can see, this search comes up empty. All adjunct professors are listed in the directory.

Is it possible that Dan Seals was invited by someone to do a guest lecture one time? Did he give a presentation for a campus group and then claim to be a professor?

TA -- this is serious!

Team America said...

BD- I will do some checking; I seem to recall at least one time I looked into that and his name came up on the Northwestern site in a plain old Google search. I forget whatever the course title was supposed to be. If I recall, that's when I also found out about with the same search, and that turned out to be much more interesting at the time.

It's perfectly possible he taught one class and was never scheduled again. Let's see what I or my research team can dig up...

Unincorporated Middle said...

So there is no listing of Dan as an Adjunct Prof at the NWU site abd yet his Seals for Congress website bio, http://, reads:

"Currently, Dan is a business consultant and adjunct professor at Northwestern University."

Lying on your resume has got a lot of people in trouble. But I guess he can't say my job is running for public office - and losing!

But no listing for him at NWU?

emtae said...

Apparently, Dan Seals time as an intern with Joe Lieberman has paid off. He is teaching a class a Northwesten this Spring on Federal Policy Making.

MPPA 490-0 ( Elective )
Special Topics: Federal Policymaking

TBA. Counts toward all specializations.

Spring 2008 CH Tu 7:00 - 9:30 PM Sec. 50
4/1/08 - 6/3/08 Instructor: D. Seals

I'm not sure how to insert the link, but here is the spelled out version.

Team America said...

Good sleuthing, emtae. Now the question is, what in the world qualifies Seals to teach such a class? Footlik I can maybe see doing that since he has Washington experience, but Seals???

If I was a grad student at NW, I would seriously question why I was shelling out big bucks to have a course taught by a guy like Seals with absolutely no practical experience in this area.

Wonder how much it costs to audit a class just for laughs?

Publia said...

I coudn't find any good internet evidence that Dan Seals is an adjunct professor at Northwestern, just as I couldn't find any good internet evidence that Dan Seals was employed by GE at the time of his first run. This is not indicative of anything other than I was unable to find anything that backed up his resume, not that it doesn't exist. About all I found of interest is that his wife was applying for US citizenship when he first ran in 2006.

i could be potus said...

It should take more than a pulse to be a speaker at NU. As an NU alum, all I can say is, what a sad day for a great school. The guy can't hold a job and has never (repeat with emphasis NEVER) been elected to even be a boy scout troop leader.

Publia said...

Sorry the previous link was too long for comments. This link should work:

Team America said...

Ah, now it makes sense... I have to confess I'd completely forgotten that Seals did have some Washington experience as an intern of some kind, I believe. But, that's because he worked for Lieberman, which is a qualification Seals carefully omits from his website and his stump speech (as I understand it), since the majority of knee-jerk liberals now are Lieberman haters. Here's the Seals bio from the NW website:

Former finance director of marketing at GE Capital, Wilmette, Illinois businessman Dan Seals is challenging Republican Congressman Mark Kirk to represent Illinois' Tenth District in the U.S. House of Representatives. Seals has spent time on Capitol Hill, serving as a fellow in the office of Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman, where his primary focus was on economic development and policy. He is now self-employed as a consultant. Seals earned a master's in public policy at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and his MBA from the University of Chicago.

I still don't know whether I'd considering him qualified to teach a course like this at a school like Northwestern, but perhaps standards for adjunct faculty aren't what they used to be.

emtae said...

TA, if you notice, the class is scheduled to begin AFTER the primary. If he hasn't actually started teaching the class, is he an adjunct professor, or just one waiting in the wings? But if he loses to Footlik, he won't have to worry about not having the time necessary to learn about Federal Policy Making from his class books.

Willy the Wildcat said...


Is it even legal for NU to bring on a candidate for Congress while he's running to be a teacher to potential voters?

SCS is the School of Continuing Studies -- these are not 18-22 year olds in Evanston. These are real people from throughout the Chicago area, many of them 10th District residents.

Isn't NU a charitable organization? Does Dr. Bienen even know about this? It would seem Dan Seals is going to be paid by Northwestern University to campaign for votes among 10th District residents in a real credit-given class.


Anonymous said...

I read the bio on Dan Seals that accompanies the course description. Something is VERY wrong here, TA, and I hope that your super sleuths can help get to the bottom of this one very quickly. The people who register for these classes are NOT the regular NU students but rather older folks who just want to continue learning. Learning WHAT from Seals is a mystery. That aside, when you read his bio, what jumps out is the fact that he's running in the 2008 cycle against Congressman Kirk. Like others, I am questioning the legality and just the plain good old common sense of offering him up as a "professor" whose out there running for office. Sounds very odd for a university like NU to do this. And to his experience in being able to teach such a course? A few months in the office of Senator Lieberman would hardly qualify one to be a NU professor. TA, let's get to the rock bottom of this one.