Sunday, January 13, 2008

Can Dan Seals' Anti-War Rhetoric Still Energize Voters? (Scroll down for Monday Morning Update)

After listening to one entire evening (last Wednesday) of Jay Footlik and Dan Seals go at each other in the first of three debates this past week, and watching a bunch of video clips from Seals "coffees" and other events, I am more convinced than ever that Dan Seals is a one trick pony, which of course is to slam the Iraq War (and, by association, the administration of President Bush). Seals' campaign strategy, which was clearly revealed this past week in his debate statements (though it was never really in doubt) is to continue to beat the same anti-war drum that he beat incessantly last election.

Last time, it almost worked. Almost. As we have pointed out on many occasions here, even in the most favorable anti-Republican and anti-incumbent sentiment we have seen in recent history, and with nationwide anti-war sentiment at its peak, Seals still couldn't seal the deal.

Seals seems to think that if he came this/close last time, all he has to do is repeat his same message from last election, add in some real DCCC money early enough to make a difference, and it's a guaranteed recipe for success.

The big problem, though, is that (while something could always turn south, and we all know not much has gone right with the war so far) the war is going a lot better, to the extent that it's pretty much an afterthought with the Democrats on the presidential campaign trail, and the Republicans hardly mention it at all, except for McCain.

No less a biased news source than CNN reported recently as follows:

The war is going much, much better than it was a year ago -- even a few months ago. You might even say we are winning. I fully accept that anytime our young people are dying and civilians are being killed in the midst of combat, it is difficult to even talk about winning or losing. But fatalities for troops and civilians alike are way down.

The Iraqis, no matter how much they have stumbled and failed in the political process, are finally reopening their shops, their schools, and their neighborhoods. They are taking more control of their own country, and long-awaited reconciliation between warring factions is slowly, haltingly getting under way.

Iraq is certainly not at peace, but it is undeniably much more peaceful than it was.

Read the whole article here. The ironic part is, the point of the CNN article was essentially that the candidates should all be paying more attention and discussing it more on the campaign trail. Ah, now THAT sounds a lot more like the CNN we all know. But, the grain of truth that even CNN can't ignore is that the strategy we have now may well lead to eventual victory, and that spells bad news for any Dem that has made the war his or her centerpiece of a campaign. Even the most ardent anti-war candidates are saying little more than we need to accelerate the troop withdrawal (sound familiar, 10th District debate goers?) Seals even muffs this aspect of the issue, as his main emphasis on troop withdrawal seems to be to encourge those lazy, incompetent Iraqis to fix their government. Seals apparently thinks they have no incentive to improve their country while American troops are still there.

Danno still hasn't figured out that the war is continuing to diminish in effectiveness as a political campaign strategy, and even though he is starting to try to address local issues, like transportation, his lack of knowledge and familiarity with the issues is proving to be a serious handicap. As we noted here earlier, Seals' solution to our transportation issues here in Lake County is to obtain more federal funding, not even realizing that the federal funding that DOES exist and is waiting to be used is in jeopardy due to the failure of the DEMOCRATIC-controlled state government to provide federal matching funds. Mark Kirk, as we know, is all over this.

When is Seals going to realize that the pony he rode last election is tired and ready to be put in the barn... or won't he realize this until it's too late? Ellen's team hasn't figured this out, and if anything, is trying to double down on the Iraq strategy. Take a look at her comments in introducing Dan Seals at some event this afternoon. (Note that she has now rewritten history and decreased Kirk's margin over Seals to 3 percentage points, from an actual 6%). She also labels it a "party" for Dan. Are they celebrating victory over Jay Footlik already? Maybe they ought to recall what happened to Barack in New Hampshire when he got a little too confident after Iowa.

UPDATED x1: Here's a late evening update- apparently Seals just released a new poll, showing he's still around 58% (I assume name recognition) and Footlik up only slightly from 6% to 10%. Can't find any more information other than what Archpundit has up; nothing on the Seals website. I assume we'll hear more about this soon. Wonder if Footlik has any polling information showing any different numbers, but we can probably assume not, or he would have released it by now. Can't believe that "meshugana" mailing didn't at least move the name recognition numbers a little more. I know I'll likely never forget it...

Monday Morning Update: Not much in the papers so far this morning, but I wanted to mention that it seems like almost every day for the past couple of days, my Google Alert for Jay Footlik has been lighting up like a Christmas Tree (sorry for the simile, yes, I KNOW Footlik is Jewish, already) with letters to the editor in support of Footlik. See a couple here and here.

A good "letters" campaign to show support and get people thinking that there is a groundswell of support for the candidate is essential in any grassroots campaign, and so far, Footlik appears dead-on with timing and numbers of letters. Haven't seen as much from The Pup's supporters yet, except for this ironic letter that I've already mentioned, from a typical out-of-district Seals supporter who thinks we need to know that people from Chicago all support Seals and that Seals has a nice mom.

I would probably be remiss if I didn't mention that Pioneer Press has already endorsed Seals. The endorsement was published in the Highland Park paper, but not sure where else. Figures. The interesting things to me about the endorsement was, first, that since the endorsement came our on Jan. 10th, it's clear no one from the paper bothered to keep an open mind and go to any of the three debates between Footlik and Seals last week before making a decision; second, according to the Pioneer Press, we should vote for Seals because he's the best chance to win against Kirk, not because he's the best person to represent the 10th District; and third, the Pioneer Press continues to perpetuate the alleged credential of Seals as an "adjunct professor" at Northwestern, which I think we have thoroughly discredited. It appears to TA that Seals knows he's caught, as he called himself a "LECTURER", not a "professor" at the Wednesday debate last week, and I understand he didn't mention it at all in the next two debates. I am still prodding the MSM to take a look at this issue before the rest of the newspaper endorsements come out, but we'll see what happens this week, maybe.

Finally, the latest Seals strategy appears to be to paint Footlik as a closet Kirk insider. Seals' people practically accused Footlik of being a plant right from the get-go this summer, but now they are spreading stories of Footlik practically high-fiving the Kirk supporters who went to check out the Footlik-Seals debates last week. I was at the first debate at least, and I consider myself a Kirk supporter (though not attached to the campaign) and I didn't get a high five. For added laughs at Ellen's check out failed former congressional candidate Lee Goodman (who actually got more votes than Seals did in the last election) whining about how he was not allowed to video the League of Women Voters debates.


Old Viking said...

TA: Great analysis, as usual. Dan "Baby" Seals is going to have a tough time campaigning on the war when everyone is going to be talking about the economic downturn (maybe even recession). And what has Seals said so far about such matters?

1. That everyone in the Tenth is a millionaire and 2. That he's against all "earmarks" for the district, including our Navy/VA hospital and various transportation projects, all brought to us courtesy of Congressman Kirk.

I suspect that messaging is not going to play very well come November.

old viking said...

TA: I almost forgot. You missed one key point. Didn't Seals lose by SEVEN points in 2006?

(Kirk got 53.37%, Seals was 46.62% for a difference of 6.75% -- with rounding, that's seven percent!)

Team America said...

Old Vike- you're right, of course. But I deserve some slack on the numbers... after all, the reason I went to law school in the first place is that they promised there would be no math.

Maybe Ellen went for the same reason. Although I doubt her slip of three points instead of seven can be attributed to bad math. She (and Dan) must be haunted by those numbers down to the second decimal place every night...

Anonymous said...

To be fair to Ellen, Dan did send out an e-mail a few weeks back with the 3% number.

Team America said...

Anon 9:52- we try to be fair to Ellen and the rest of the 10th Dems only when absolutely necessary. She knows what the results were.

Do you have a copy of that e-mail to post? We love to catch Seals in lies/exaggerations/mistakes. We're building up quite a collection.

Anonymous said...

"Professor" Dan was hosted in the party room at Coramandel, home of Ms. Shrill. Yes, OV and TA, Dan continues to be the broken record from the past, but he's in great company with Shrill and her forces.

Shrill and her forces are clueless about all that Mark Kirk HAS delivered to and for this district over the past 7 years. How do they account for the double-tracking of the North Central line out in the western part of this district? But wait. They are also clueless ABOUT the district so how could they understand this. Earmarks, used appropriately, are what has given the district many of the advances we now enjoy thanks to Mr. Kirk being an Appropriator.

These folks are so out of sync that they fail to realize, or will just not acknowledge what our Congressman has just accomplished with the Impact Aid legislation. But again, how could they know this when they sing one 'song' and show their total ignorance on issues that truly do matter out here. The Route 60 Bridge project is something to talk about. In a creative public/private venture this traffic nightmare is now underway and we can look forward to less congestion when it's completed. I wonder if her team even knows about Route 60.

I can't wait for February 6 to roll around and get the REAL campaign going. Mark Kirk will be out there defending and defining his positions and his votes. Perhaps by that time we will have some answers about Dan's teaching career at NU and his past positions as well.

i could be potus said...

The Pup says he has "changed the District" and made it better in the last two years.

Well, I thought it would be fun to head out onto the internet and see exactly what "change" The Pup got credit for these past two years. Surely, such great accomplishments (similar in stature to becoming a Professor at NU) could not have gone unnoticed by the media.

Let's start with Google. Here is a summary of all the stories that turned up for our Pup "changing" the District and making it a better place: zero, zip, nadda, zilch.

Here's the Yahoo summary for The Pup: cricket chirp, cricket chirp, owl hooting, soft silence with a cool breeze.

Blogs? Lots of talk, but basically the same thing, nothing tangible. And the list goes on and on...

Try it for yourselves folks. Search for "Seals" and see what you come up with. There is simply no escaping the fact that from the period of time that the media announced his first loss to Kirk, until his announcement that he was running again, there is a big blank space. Nothing. No stories at all.

Now, do the same for Kirk. There are literally hundreds of stories about his hard work and dedication that have made this District a better place. (I wonder if this a vast right-wing conspiracy on the internet?)

Sorry, Pup, just like you're no "professor," you haven't really "changed" or done anything to make the 10th District a better place over the past two years.

Team America said...

ICBP- you're right on, as usual. Seals was better off when he stuck to the mantra of "Kirk takes bad votes, so vote for me because I'm not Kirk (or Bush)." Now that Seals has stuck his neck out and tried to claim the "change" crown, he is obviously in way over his head.

Since, as you point out, ICBP, Seals has done absolutely NOTHING to benefit or even be involved in the community aside from simply throwing his hat in the ring for congress, he has absolutely no actual accomplishments that he can tout as a 'change agent'. His feeble gasp of "I'm a teacher and I've changed thousands of lives" is not only a gross exaggeration of the number of kids he actually may have taught (no idea there, but doubt it was any more than a few hundred, much less "thousands"), how exactly does changing kids' lives over in Japan teaching them English serve to bolster his change credentials here at home in the 10th Dist.?

And how did he "change" the district? He campaigned on the national anti-war sentiment and raised some money, and put out a bunch of yard signs. THAT'S change???

Is this the best Seals can do? Probably so...

Anonymous said...

TA (Must be Total Asshole?) Do your homework! A swing of 3% can turn a 53/47 to 50/50. Doesn't take a math degree. You must have enough contacts to know that all 21 Pioneer press editions carried the same endorsements.

I know you won't print this since only your flunky folk get comments to appear.

Team America said...

Anon 1:37- I'll overlook your locker room language this once, since it pretty clearly shows the typical intellectual level of some Dems. But please try to clean up your act, or you will be banned. Ellen doesn't like potty talk on her Blog and neither do I.

I suppose you can say that a shift of 3% points would have made a different result in the election, but that's different than the implication that Kirk won only by 3% of the vote, which is not the case. For example, if 6%=10,000 votes, that of course means Kirk got 10,000 more votes that Seals. Throwing around the 3% number instead of the 6% number makes it sound like the total gap between the two candidates was only half as big as it was.

I don't know how many Pioneer press editions carried the endorsement, nor do I care. I would assume that the newspapers not in the 10th District would have no reason to print it, but whatever.

professor peabody said...

Anon 1:37,

What, no response to the ICBP post above at 8:14? No long, rambling, foul-language filled list, setting the record straight on all of the things that Seals has done for the District over the past two years since loosing the first time?

Didn't think so.

Anonymous said...

you have a weird obsession with ellen in the tenth and dan seals.

if he's no threat to mark kirk, then why do you care?

heck, you seem to think that footlik will beat him.

but you're obsessed with him.

it's rather pathetic, or quite telling.

by the way, the obsession with ellen in the tenth is really twisted. you need help.

Unincorporated Middle said...

Have you looked at the Ellen of the 10th site? Talk about obsessed. Not to mention delusional, illogical, dishonest, and poorly written.

TA provides a refreshing balance, posting the dissenting opinions she regularly blocks with her free-speech-as-long-as-you-agree-with-me approach to blogging.

Team America said...

Anon 4:47, I don't think it's obsession, although I freely admit to still being peeved that she kicked me off her blog for no other reason than that she couldn't handle the debate, and then lied to her readers about why she did it. And it's not just me. As we have discussed here, she has deleted plenty of comments that she simply doesn't agree with, or constitute bad press for her candidates (not a word over there about Terry Link's petition scandal, for example, though some commentors here have reportedly left posts that were deleted.) For someone who proclaims she believes in free speech, that's not the forum she provides.

In actuality, I owe Ellen some thanks for giving me the impetus to start my own blog.

But, on a more practical level, considering the tenacity and energy which she applied to promoting Dan Seals, pooh-poohing Jay Footlik, and seeking the utter political destruction of Mark Kirk, it's almost impossible to discuss the election and debunk her lies and sedition without discussing what Ellen is up to.

You can hardly search the internet on Footlik/Seals/Kirk without running into her comments on almost every blog that touches the issue (except this one). Check out her busy little comments on other blogs, here, here, here and here. The woman is practially polluting the Internet with her pro-Seals/anti-Kirk and Footlik propaganda, so it's really difficult to keep up.

If there is an obsession here, the really scary one is Ellen's obsession with the annihilation of Mark Kirk. You'd think he ran over her cat or something to cause this level of pure hatred.

Anonymous said...

TA: Where's the video of the seals even handed comment?

Anonymous said...

Ellen's got balls and to be honest thats good. It exposes the fringe left and how they want us to out source our congressional representation to the nameless faceless nutroots of ActBlue who hate Israel as they profess daily and can't wait to raise taxes for more spending on Iowa Rain Forests and federal workers who leave at 3 drunk everyday.

Jay's done and we'll see him on the Hill in a few months lobbying for some gas interest and on fox news ripping Mac Attack for being anti-Israel or something so now onto Dan.

If we want to keep our district an island of sanity in a sea of serially corrupt and gutless liberal chicago democrat leadership we need to start taking dan to task to expose him early.

His neophyte politics have left a treasure trove of dubious delusions , fit for many a letter to Ken Patchen so I say why wait.

Team America said...

Anon 8:26, I only understood about half of what you said, but I appreciate your sentiment.

I have to disagree about Ellen, though. If she had real balls, she wouldn't stifle dissenting opinions on her blog. Her loss.

Anonymous said...

Anon 8:26 I agree with you....I think! Like TA I'm a bit confused with your post but I think I get the gist of what you're saying. There is much to expose about Seals and your point is well taken. There is no time like the present to call his baseless statements into question. What HAS Mr. Seals been doing since November of 06? That's a fair question. He can't say that he's been teaching at NU. He can't say that he's been teaching anywhere. We know that his previous position at GE was not offered to him. I think it's fair to ask what a well educated guy with a family to support was doing all this time. If he couldn't find a paying job, how come a guy couldn't get out there and find some way to use his time and talents to better society.
Lots of questions and no answers. All he knows how to do is trash the record of achievements of Mark Kirk. He hasn't learned anything about the 10th District, that's evident. As ICBP noted in an earlier post, Mr. Seals record of achievements is zilch, zero, nada, nothing. Time to ask the questions but I'm not sure we're going to get answers.

Anonymous said...

I could care less about his job. Everyone's been through that and honestly it takes guts to run, a lot of em and its not easy to raise a family and do it. He's putting himself out there. I have a lot more respect for him than our guy oberweis and our punk party attitude that we buy seats running millionaires. Public service is about sacrifice, he's making it and beating him up on his job is weak when the real issue is his gutless politics. Hastert was a wrestling coach, Jack Ryan had 3 ivy league degrees, a sick i-banking deal and a teaching gig. I'll take the speaker-your job isnt everything.

My issue with Dan reading his opensecret report is that the man is a creation of downtown law firms-read lobbyists since thats where the dough is these days, national nutroots groups, and people outside the district.

This is a problem for me because

We have a chicago democrat us senator, and another democrat senator who votes like one coordinating national dem strategy,
5 chicago democrat statewide office holders,

2 democrat state house leaders,

Jan who's just about the worst thing ever.

Where is there anyone, I mean anyone in that equation who doesn't believe that the taxpayer paying the bills is more important than the bureaucrat spending them?

Certainly not Jan with her plan to get rid of the Bush tax cuts. Certainly not these nutroot groups that want to bury our military, weaken our ability to fight terrorism and hang Israel out to dry because those poor palestinians don't have the whole muslim world and all the emerging nations who want their oil on their side.

That's what this election is about. Dan's made and paid for by someone outside the district and Mark's stand with us for us.