Monday, June 30, 2008
In yesterday's parade in Waukegan, Mark Kirk had, by all accounts, somewhere between 200-250 supporters marching with him, many of whom were Latino, and who are turning out to be a huge base of support for Kirk. In fact, Kirk had so many marchers that, in the words of one Kirk observer, it "was actually kind of ridiculous."
Dem challenger Dan Seals, on the other hand, apparently had about 15 folks marching with him. Seals had more people marching in Libertyville, so I have no idea why he'd have less in Waukegan, unless it simply shows that his base of support in what ought to be Dem territory is pathetically shallow. And, it's likely some of those 15 were bussed up from Chicago, like this fellow.
Given that the Dems in Waukegan have already had it up to here with Dem Chairman Terry Link and his political power-plays, not to mention petition issues, maybe this is a sign that the Dem establishment is vulnerable in an area that they have pretty much taken for granted for years.
In the same context, check out a brand-new blog started by the Waukegan GOP Township Organization (the what? yes, Waukegan has Republicans, and they are coming out!). It's got some more pictures of the parade and the GOP float, featuring our challenger to Terry Link, Waukegan businessman Keith Gray. Love those blue T-shirts, Keith!
Here are some more shots of the Kirk army marching down the streets of Waukegan:
Saturday, June 28, 2008
BARACK OBAMA: Have you noticed the simultaneous tack to the center, and the increasing reticence to take a tough (or even clear) stand on the issues, that seems to define Barack Obama lately? Many people have, including Politico.com and the Tribune. So much for his courage to take the country in a new direction. If only I thought his soaring rhetoric might have matched what he could do for this country, even I might have voted for him. But, even those that fell for his spell may be coming around to reality, and it's going to get worse for Obama as this race goes on.
DAN SEALS: As TA regulars know, Michelle Obama will be featured at a fundraiser this coming Monday evening for 9th Congressional District resident Dan Seals (who, as you also know, is running against 10th District Congressman Mark Kirk). But, it looks like Seals' big moment to bask in Michelle Obama's reflected glory is going to be a bit less impressive than we were first led to believe by the Journal & Topics news article that appeared last week, which was the only MSM (if you can call it that) that the event received. We suspected that Seals was keeping a tight lid on the media attention for this event, since he was likely to be asking a top dollar donation to keep his campaign afloat... not something that really meshes well with his typical populist Dem platform. And, turns out we were right, given that Seals is asking $1,000 a head.
But, it also turns out, as reported by the Tribune Clout Street Blog, that contrary to what the Journal & Topics paper reported, Mrs. Obama will not be coming to the 10th District. No, as typical for Seals, he needs to run home to Chicago for his support, and that's what he will be doing this time as well... the event will reportedly be held at a private residence in Chicago. And, not only does it turn out that Seals isn't really responsible for snagging Mrs. Obama as the event headliner (Rahm Emanuel did that), the event is a shared event for 11th District Dem candidate Debbie Halvorson. Regular Cap Fax Blog readers know that Halvorson has been locked in a battle with Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr., and also has baggage from her tenure in the Illinois State Senate as one of Emil Jones' primary hatchet-men (women?).
Seals apparently finally woke up and noticed that the Q2 campaign finance disclosure deadline (June 30th) was right around the corner, and scheduled a bunch of events in a flurry. As a few commenters here have pointed out, you don't haul out your big guns in the middle of the summer, unless you're desperate. And desperate he does seem, as a new web ad just put up a few days ago begs for money by June 3oth. TA thinks that the Seals numbers for his quarter will be very telling, and even if the Obama event is a success, he still only gets half the take (at most).
TERRY LINK: I noticed this morning that back in the news is Rodney McCulloch, who was convicted of election fraud in March (specifically, he signed off as a petition circulator for petitions that had been circulated by paid circulators (one a homeless person who lived under a bridge in Oswego) not by McCulloch personally). McCulloch received two years' probation, rather than up to five years in jail (as well as a fine and community service), apparently because of his lack of a criminal record (except for a DUI in 1980).
We here at Team America have been watching this story with interest, as it bears a lot of similarity to the allegations brought against Terry Link's right hand man, "Sneaky" Pete Couvall, who Link's primary challenger Jerry Johnson accused of coordinating a scheme to forge petition signatures on Link's nominating petitions. As we know, the Lake County State's Attorney is investigating, and TA suspects that we may hear something regarding the criminal investigation quite soon. We also hear that GOP challenger Keith Gray is making Link pretty nervous. I'd be nervous too, given the circumstances.
Enjoy your weekend!
Friday, June 27, 2008
Lake County IL Ballot Update: Mark Beaubien Prevails Over Rich Garling; Dan Sugrue Survives Challenge by Kathy Ryg
In a nutshell, Garling filed his nomination papers but eventually realized they were defective, as the committee that met to nominate him allegedly met more than one month before the papers were filed with the State Board of Elections (the papers must be filed within three days of the meeting). Garling then executed papers to withdraw his candidacy, but the nominating committee then met to re-nominate him before the withdrawal papers were filed with the SBE. The hearing officer ruled that while the right of the candidate to withdraw is not in question, the withdrawl was not effective until the papers were filed with the SBE. Thus, when the nominating committee met for the second time, they tried to fill a vacancy that did not yet exist.
The hearing officer's decision must be confirmed by the State Board of Elections, and no word on whether Garling will appeal, but it looks like he spent a lot of money on his campaign website, so what a shame... not.
Meanwhile, in the 59th District Race, GOP challenger and Green Oaks attorney Dan Sugrue has beaten off a challenge by Dem incumbent Kathy Ryg. The Sugrue decision is here. Ryg's challenger claimed Sugure's nominating papers were defective because Sugrue's home address (where the nominating committee met) was listed on one or more of the papers as "Libertyville", which is not in the 59th District. However, the testimony established that Libertyville and Green Oaks share a zip code, and that the meeting did indeed occur at Sugrue's home in Green Oaks, which is in the 59th District, and therefore such papers were valid.
TA hears that the appeal hearing on State Rep. Sandy Cole v. Terry Hall will be next Tuesday in front of Judge Ray McKoski.
For those of you keeping score at home, the Lake County GOP is also 3-for-4 in its objections to county board ballot challenges. This week, incumbent GOP candidates Suzi Schmidt, Bonnie Thompson Carter and Diana O'Kelly each won the appeals of their successful objections, and thus their would-be Dem opponents will not be on the fall ballot. The only unsuccessful objection was by GOP county board member David Stohlman, whose opponent, Davita Siegel, will appear on the ballot.
MORE VIDEO FROM THE 10th: If you liked the other Dan Seals videos, you'll love this one. Dan and his "Chicago Connections." If the audio doesn't start playing when you click on the video below, click again and watch it directly from YouTube. The music really makes it.
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Check out a video homage to Dan Seals' recent 'carpetbagger' article in Roll Call.
MEANWHILE, Q2 FUNDRAISING DEADLINE APPROACHING: I got a pretty pathetic e-mail solicitation from Dan Seals today begging me for $47 to pay for a video message. How they got my e-mail, I have no idea, but several other Republicans who attended the Lake County GOP Golf Outing this afternoon also got the e-mail, so we had fun chuckling over it while reading our Blackberries.
Speaking of fundraising, the Michelle Obama event has got to be the best kept fundraising secret ever. Check back here tomorrow for the reason why.
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Regardless of whether it's a few blocks or miles, the bigger issue to me is that Seals hasn't made any contributions to the community that he aspires to represent, except of course, to amuse us by spending the past few years running a campaign and paying himself a salary to do so. As we've said before, running for Congress should not be a credential for running for Congress.
I can't wait until November when Seals will just be an amusing memory and we can look forward to the return of Jay Footlik, perhaps, as the next sacrificial lamb the Dems offer up against the formidable Mark Kirk.
Sunday, June 22, 2008
Dan Seals Looks for Help From Michelle Obama; But Did Her Vetting Committee Get the Memo? (UPDATED- x3)
Well, this is no doubt a coup for Seals, who badly needs to fire up his campaign and catch up in fundraising with incumbent Republican four-term congressman Mark Kirk. However, it frankly shocks us here at Team America's Blog, given Seals' own checkered associations, poor judgment, and his penchant for stretching the truth (until caught) on a number of occasions. You would think Team Obama would have more thoroughly vetted any candidates that he, or his wife, would allow themselves to be associated with.
Many people believe that Team Obama wisely told embattled Governor Rod Blagojevich to stay the hell away from a meeting of Democratic governors held in Chicago this past Friday (not the first time, either, since Obama doesn't need to be seen with anyone so closely tied to Tony Rezko). And, Obama's troubles with his questionable associations with people from the Reverend Wright to Bill Ayers have led Obama to a now-familar refrain of 'that's not the man I used to know', or even, 'these aren't folks who are working for me' (in the case of Obama's veep vetter Jim Johnson). You'd think Barack Obama would be a tad worried about tarnishing his brand with any association with anyone else that isn't above reproach at this point. Of course, Obama has had some problems keeping good vetters on his team, so maybe they haven't gotten around to taking a good look at Seals yet.
I wonder if Mrs. Obama is really going to make it, however. As far as I can tell, the Seals press on what you would think would be a major event has been pretty understated... in fact, the Journal and Topics (the what?) news article is the only one I've seen. There wasn't even anything on his website when I checked this evening. I would assume, however, that there will be a lot more press to come, if this event is for real.
But, Michelle Obama seems to be pretty busy right now on a whirlwind tour to re-make her image, armed with handlers and a full-court press no doubt led by David Axelrod (who seems to deny any calculated effort to remake Mrs. Obama is needed or is actually happening).
And, once Mrs. Obama's feisty new campaign team takes a little closer look at what Dan Seals has been up to for the past couple months, we'll see if Mrs. Barackstar actually shows. Heck, if she does, maybe TA will even buy a ticket (if they'd let me in... apparently Michelle Obama thinks all bloggers are liars). Betcha no video will be allowed, though. Never know how such associations can come back to haunt a presidential candidate later on, if Seals pulls any more flubs...
JUST FOR LAUGHS: Go check out Dan Seals' campaign website and check out the Virtual Dan that pops up to give a guided tour of the webpage, including pointing out the contribution button, just in case you'd miss it. While you're watching, ask yourself if this is the guy you want representing you in Congress. If I could figure out how to make the animated Dan appear here, I would, but you'll have to visit his website for the yucks.
UPDATED x1: IS SEALS KEEPING MRS. OBAMA ALL TO HIMSELF AND HIS BIGGEST DONORS?
I was talking to one of my political buddies about the Seals/Michelle Obama thing, and he figures that (if it actually happens) it's going to be a super-high-dollar, exclusive fundraiser, and not open to the unwashed masses. Thus, camp Seals may have an interest in keeping it low profile (which explains why only a small local paper had a story, which might have been inadvertantly leaked), as the Dem rank and file who would no doubt give their eyeteeth to bask in the presence of Mrs. Obama are going to be shut out because they can't come up with a grand or more a head, or whatever the ask is.
This might be pretty close to the truth, in typical hypocritical Dem fashion- they claim to be the party of the people, except when they are not.
Well, Dan, if this thing goes, I hope all of your supporters who can't afford the event are really pleased with you for keeping Mrs. Obama all to yourself and your 'super donors', rather than make her accessible to the hoi polloi of the Dem party. So much for "change".
UPDATED x2: I spoke to one of my sources today who indicated that Team Seals was definitely trying to get some media attention on the Obama fundraiser, and it was they who called the Journal & Topics--so it wasn't an inadvertant leak as far as I can tell. So why no other media coverage? Either they don't know how to place a story, or no one else in the MSM cares, or both.
UPDATED x3: Here's the first reference to the Seals/Obama thingy next Monday that I found outside of that news article. There's no disclosure of location or donation levels listed. I guess if you have to ask, you can't afford it. Congressman Rahm Emanuel is also listed as hosting. See here for some grief Rahm took after last election for not supporting Seals 'enough'.
Until recently, Rahm was reluctant to choose sides between Obama and Clinton. Wonder if there is ice there or not. Well, it's good Rahm will be there in case something "comes up" with Mrs. Obama's schedule and she has to duck the reception at the least minute.
Friday, June 20, 2008
But what you read in the papers is only about 5% of what's really going on down there. Readers of Capitol Fax Blog, one of the very best sources for political information in Illinois (which I truly mean, despite my occasional digs at and debates with Blogfather Rich Miller, both here and over at Cap Fax), understand much better than the common Illinoisan the inability of the Democratic leadership to move anything in this state forward, due in large part to the clash of egos involved in the otherwordly love/hate triangle between Blago, Jones and Madigan. Just this week, even the Chicago Sun-Times, a Dem paper if there ever was one, finally had enough and encouraged voters to vote Republican (!) this fall, in order to cure some of the ills of one-party rule.
But things are better up here in more sensible Lake County, right? Wrong.
In fact, it seems that the local Dem egos and power plays are, in some ways, simply a microcosm of the nuttiness down in Springfield.
This morning, the Waukegan News-Sun reports that the evil chessmaster, State Senator Terry Link (D-Waukegan) is at it again, moving to block HB 2088, sponsored by State Rep Eddie Washington (D-North Chicago). According to the News-Sun:
Sponsored by state Rep. Eddie Washington the bill calls for a prohibition on any plans to dredge the harbor in an attempt to decrease the channel depths. The Waukegan Democrat's bill calls for a commercially navigable harbor with a minimum depth of 23 feet.
Washington gathered support, including co-sponsorships by local Republican representatives JoAnn Osmond (Antioch) and Sandy Cole (Grayslake), to pass the bill on May 29. But it was snatched the very next day after a tip to Link, D-Waukegan, who submerged it in Rules Committee on May 31.
Link is backing an effort by the city to "recreate the lakefront into a recreational, residential area," as stated by Ray Vukovich, Waukegan's director of governmental services.
Washington insists, along with lakefront companies National Gypsum, LaFarge, Bombadier and St. Mary's Cement, that residential, commercial and industrial can peacefully co-exist.
As TA regulars know, Eddie Washington fell out of favor with Terry Link some while back, and Link backed County Board Commissioner Angelo Kyle in the recent Dem primary. Washington squeaked by with a win, and now the gloves are clearly completely off. As stated in the article,
Washington accuses Link of conspiring with state Rep. Kathy Ryg, D-Vernon Hills, to kill the bill.
"This was collusion," Washington said. "If he (Link) has opinions, argue it on the floor like a gentleman. Why not just let it move through the Senate and rise or fall on its own merits?"
Now, I'm not entirely sure about the merits of Washington's bill, although I do know that if JoAnn Osmond and Sandy Cole support it, it likely is the right thing to do. But, the point is, that the do-nothing Dems who are running the state into the ground are likely to do the same thing to Lake County if we can't correct this trend.
That means supporting GOP candidates Keith Gray against Terry Link, and Bill Anderson against Eddie Washington. While you're at it, add in Dan Duffy (to fill retiring State Senator Bill Peterson's seat) and Dan Sugrue, who is running against State Rep. Kathy Ryg.
I never thought I'd say this, but go with the Sun-Times, and vote Republican!!!
Saturday, June 14, 2008
Among the GOP candidates walking the parade route with supporters were 10th District Congressman Mark Kirk, Senate Candidates Dan Duffy and Keith Gray, State Representative Ed Sullivan Jr., State Rep. Candidate Dan Sugrue, and Judge Valerie Ceckowski.
The festival itself was quite successful, the rain holding off until the evening. From what I could tell, the parade route was lined with a ton of people, most of whom appeared to stay until the last float had gone by. I don't have the exact number of parade entrants, but I believe it was over 70!
The Dems had a number of people in the parade to support their candidates, including Dan Seals, although the only candidate I saw with a float was Amanda Howland, who is challenging Sullivan. Dan didn't give out any free gas, but I saw a bunch of Seals stickers and "Dan Fan" fans. Interestingly enough, most of the fans were being held by kids, and a lot of the kids also had Mark Kirk stickers on them, which pretty much means kids will take any free stuff you hand them. The Libertyville Township Dems had a booth across the park from the Libertyville GOP, which has been a steadfast presence at the event for years.
While there's no question the Dems were out in force (a commentor stated s/he saw only 15 people marching for Seals, but I thought it was considerably more, though not as many as Kirk), I have no question the GOP has better candidates. I think it's no shock to most people in the know that the battleground for the 10th District, and perhaps the county, will not be the party faithful, but the so-called independents or ticket-splitters. Thus, while finally getting some people to show up and march in a parade is a good start, the Dems fall short, I think, when it comes to their slate. It's up to us to reach the voters and convince them that the GOP has the edge when it comes to casting those votes in November.
Also Seen at the Festival: A few petition passers were out trying to get a new independent candidate on the fall ballot. I forget his name, but I'm sure his one or two supporters that monitor my blog along with Capitol Fax Blog will remind me in comments. While I am disappointed that a group of right-wing Republicans would be trying to undermine Mark Kirk, I will say that the petition-passers seemed very careful to verify that those they asked to sign the petitions actually resided in the 10th District (must've seen how having non-residents (not to mention dead folks) sign for Terry Link worked out). I know, because they asked my wife to sign. They asked if she was sure she lived in the 10th District, and offered to show her a map, but she was like, "BELIEVE me, I know I live in the 10th District..." She politely declined to sign, however.
Thursday, June 12, 2008
Lieberman surprised many in December when he endorsed Republican John McCain for president, but others dismissed it as just another step in Lieberman's march to the right, spurred by a mix of support for the Iraq war and frustration with Democrats who did not support him after his primary loss. The real confusion, however, has come in recent weeks, as Lieberman has gone on the offensive against Democratic candidate Barack Obama, suggesting he is "naive" on U.S. policy toward Iran and its president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
"If... anybody thinks you can go over there and sort of talk reason, and hug and kiss Ahmadinejad, and he's... just going to act better, that's just naive," Lieberman told FOX News on May 20. "It's very naive of Senator Obama."
After Obama spoke to AIPAC last week, Lieberman participated in a McCain campaign conference call with reporters, where he said Obama was blaming American foreign policy for the current situation in Iran.
His comments play into hesitation some Jews already have about Obama's commitment to Israel and his policies toward Iran, raising hope in Republican circles that McCain can garner more American Jewish support than the 25 percent President Bush won in 2004.
"Lieberman can certainly help with those who are teetering and normally vote Democratic but have some concerns or questions" about Obama, said Jay Footlik, who served as Lieberman's liaison to the Jewish community in his 2004 presidential bid and later played the same role for Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass.
So does that mean that Footlik is stumping for McCain? By extension, does that mean he'd support Mark Kirk?
Not so fast. The article concludes:
Jewish Democrats say they will showcase other Jewish senators who are actively backing Obama and perhaps paint Lieberman as a Republican in Democratic clothing. But it may be hard to attack someone who once held their highest esteem.
"I have great respect for him," Footlik said. "I just disagree with him on this."
Looks like Footlik hasn't grown any smarter since getting trounced by Dan Seals. Wonder if he'll resurface in 2010 as Kirk's next opponent.
Seals better have a better strategy than simply reminding voters at every opportunity that he thinks he looks like Obama. Voters in the 10th District are way too smart, as a group (and love to split their tickets to prove it), to simply go like lemmings over the cliff for Seals, even if Obama wins the district handily.
The Dems wasted no time trying to spin their way out of this, and claim that Kirk's 53 percent simply must be his ceiling, while Seals' abysmal name recognition (30 points lower than Kirk's) simply means Seals has plenty of room to grow.
Update on Obama's stutter-stop explanation of his VP team: As we noted yesterday, the video of Obama bumbling his way through his explanation of why Jim Johnson's reported receipt of preferential loans from Countrywide Financial Corp. was no big deal (among other gems, the 'they're not really working for me' is a classic) is really making a hit, at least in the Blogosphere.
But it's not the just the Internet political junkies who have noticed, as it turns out, because it was only a short while before the Obama bus ran right over Johnson, barely slowing down. For those of you keeping score, this is the first corpse hit by the bus in the general election, but the body count runs way higher (as Michelle Malkin puts it, it's getting awfully crowded under the bus) if you've been keeping up with this, including Reverends Wright and Pfeleger, as well as grandma.
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
Dan Seals Throws Iraq War
Veteran off November Ballot
Kirk breaks ground on Navy/VA Hospital, votes for new GI education benefit ILGOP: "Voters should know this is how Dan Seals treats our veterans."
CHICAGO – Illinois Republican Party Chairman Andy McKenna released the following statement on Dan Seals' treatment of Iraq war veterans:
"Yesterday, Dan Seals and his campaign succeeded in kicking Iraq war veteran David Kalbfleisch off the November ballot. David Kalbfleisch fought to defend Dan Seals' freedom and all he asked in return was a chance to participate in our democratic process. Unfortunately, Dan Seals cares more about himself than Iraq war veterans. Voters should know this is how Dan Seals treats our veterans."
In March, Northfield Township Democratic Committeeman Michael Kreloff filed an objection to Kalbfleisch's nomination with the Illinois State Board of Election. Kreloff is a member of Seals' inner circle and helped recruit Seals to run for Congress. McKenna noted the stark contrast on veterans issues emerging in the Tenth District race for Congress.
"An 18-year Navy combat veteran, Congressman Mark Kirk voted for the largest funding increase for veterans in history, supported the first expansion of the GI education bill since World War II and secured funding for a brand new Navy/VA hospital. All Dan Seals can say is that he kicked a veteran off the ballot. The contrast between these two men could not be more clear."
AND, JUST FOR FUN.... SEE OBAMA WITHOUT A TELEPROMPTER - Check out Barack Obama when he's not reading from a script. Where's the soaring rhetoric now, buddy? h/t ReverseSpin
SEALS RUNS ON THE ANTI-SPRINGFIELD TICKET: Well, isn't this the pot calling the kettle black? Dan Seals, darling of the Democratic party, thinks we need "adults" in Springfield. Brilliant deduction. Here's a newsflash--the leading 'kids' are all members of the party you belong to and support.
I suppose that means you won't accept any support from those 'kids' down at the state capitol (all Democrats) that have screwed up this state so badly, including locals Terry Link, Michael Bond, Kathy Ryg, Karen May, and the big boys, Michael Madigan, Emil Jones and the soon-to-be-indicted (hopefully) Rod Blagojevich, and all the others. Hey, wasn't Barack Obama one of those kids not too long ago?
Monday, June 9, 2008
Meet Dan Seals' New Out-of-District, Earmark-Loving Friend - Florida Congresswoman Wasserman-Schultz
Dan Seals recently asked for the help of Rep. Wasserman-Schultz (D-FL) at a Winnetka fundraiser last Sunday. Like many other of Dan Seals' friends (convicted felons Dan Rostenkowski who taught Dan's class, and Robert Creamer who trained his campaign workers), Wasserman-Schultz is well known for having a few ethical screws loose.
In the recently published major book, Pennsylvania Avenue Profiles in Backroom Power (Harwood/Sieb, Random House, 2008), she was quoted as saying, "I could kill somebody and still win reelection."
Wasserman-Schultz "makes no apology about the role money plays in the process calling allegations of corruption on Pennsylvania Avenue 'overrated'. " Wasserman-Schultz amazingly continued, "campaign donations simply become one device among many that help Members decide how to spend their time."
Wasserman-Schultz loves earmarks of taxpayer money, especially for political supporters. She sent a February memo to other Democrats on how to request earmark spending in what one group called a "Pork Valentine." Wasserman-Schultz told the authors "the thing that bothers me is when the media says there is something wrong about pursuing appropriations for supporters. I have pursued appropriations for contributors but I put my name next to them."
Well Dan, that clears that up. TA readers note our Congressman, Mark Kirk, is backing an earmark moratorium and reforms, while not supporting any such requests.
Danno, we just thank our lucky stars that your patron, Florida Congresswoman Wasserman-Schultz, is only (for now) the Chairwoman of an Appropriations subcommittee in charge of $1.5 billion of our money. (Although, she may not be all bad, as Kos thinks that DWS is not partisan enough...)
Way to charge down that road to change Washington, Dan!
PS- TA hears that DWS was really, really late to the Winnetka event... apparently leading some event attendees to wonder for a while if Seals' disastrous gas stunt meant DWS was having second thoughts about showing?
ROTTEN TOMATOES OR SOUR GRAPES? Just for kicks, I dropped by Ellen's Blog to see if she had put up a post blaming the recent national outbreak of salmonella poisoning of tomatoes on Mark Kirk yet. So far, nothing on her blog, but I figure it's only a matter of time since it seems like he's been blamed for everything from lead paint in toys and tainted pet food, to high gas prices and the stripping of the ozone layer. If western California disappeared in an earthquake tomorrow, he'd get the blame for that, too. Hey, isn't Pelosi from California???
Saturday, June 7, 2008
Gray (left), who is also a District 72 school board member (vice-president, actually), has momentum coming off his successful defense of Link's challenge to Gray's nomination papers. He and his counterpart in the 59th State Legislative District, Dan Sugrue (lower right), are kicking off their "Fix Illinois" campaign with a joint fundraiser at Opa! in Vernon Hills, this Tuesday from 5:30 to 8:00. The keynote speaker will be former State Senator and gubernatorial candidate Steve Rauschenberger. Download more information here.
Keith also had a letter to the editor published in today's Daily Herald. Gray notes that a number of prominent Democrats like Terry Link were suspiciously silent this week amid the Tony Rezko conviction and the growing sense in Springfield and the state that U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald will very quickly turn his attention to indicting Governor Rod Blagojevich.
I think that, despite Barack Obama's current popularity, even if he carries that into the fall election, Democrats such as Link, who is under his own cloud of suspicion over his petition scandal, will face a challenge by the GOP as being too tied to the Governor, and frankly, being a do-nothing state legislature marked by political infighting more than any accomplishments.
So far, Gray and Sugure have been getting a very positive response from the people they have talked to who are plain sick and tired of the state legislature doing little-to-nothing to fix our roads, pass a capital plan, and improve education. If you're sick of it too, come out to Opa! on Tuesday and support Keith and Dan, enjoy some great Greek food, and kick off the campaign to Fix Illinois!
Wednesday, June 4, 2008
Amid continued criticism of his ill-advised gas give-away, Seals finally came clean on what was in the ‘mystery’ envelope that convicted felon and former congressman Dan Rostenkowski slipped to Seals in full view of Seals’ night class held two weeks ago at Northwestern University. For the full background, see here. There was much speculation that the envelope contained a generous campaign contribution from Rosty, which is the most common sense conclusion when someone hands you an envelope (that’s the Chicago Way, after all) and tells you it will help you in your campaign. The IL GOP called Seals on it, and challenged him to fess up to what was in the envelope. Unsurprisingly, no answer from the Seals camp was forthcoming.
In the long days of silence that followed, the story was largely ignored by the MSM, but it was picked up by a few other bloggers and even inspired a stinging video that continues to get a load of hits on YouTube.
Eventually, Seals must have figured out that the GOP was not likely to let go of this little bit of scandal. It still took almost two weeks for Seals to decide what to do, however.
Seals’ explanation is as follows: Yes, the envelope contained money (TA’s note: shocker, turns out the IL GOP was right). No, the check didn’t come from Dan Rostenkowski… but it did come from his wife (TA’s note: that’s right, his wife). But, says Seals, it’s a non-issue because he gave the check back (TA’s note: sure, after you were exposed), and you can check my FEC filings if you don’t believe me (TA’s note: now, why would we ever doubt you, Dan?).
Here are the salient issues and questions raised by the Seals disclosure:
Point 1: Seals essentially admits that taking money in front of his night class at NU was wrong, otherwise, why return the money? Note, however, that there was no admission of wrongdoing, an apology to his students, or to Northwestern.
Point 2: Seals emphasizes that he returned the check and no money from Rostenkowski will show up on his FEC filings. Again, he appears to admit that taking the money was wrong, but why? Is it because Rostenkowski is a convicted felon? If he’s good enough to come lecture at your class, why isn’t his money good enough to take?
Point 3: The funniest part of this is that the check was from Mrs. Rostenkowsi (I’m assuming that’s the name she goes under). Whose asinine idea was this? Do you think that Dan Rostenkowski is used to politicians being reluctant to accept money under his name, so he thinks that by running it through his wife, that somehow sanitizes the connection? It’s a little hard to even think that it could, considering these days of easy access to campaign finance information (what, we would have noticed a check from Dan R., but not his wife???) Maybe this wouldn’t be so funny if it wasn’t Dan R., not his wife, who presented the check personally to Seals (and in class). Are we really supposed to believe that Dan R.'s wife is a big “Dan Fan” and wanted to donate to Seals, but it just happened to be convenient that her husband was stopping by the class, so she asked her husband to personally deliver the check to Seals? Gimme a break. I don’t know where the Rostenkowskis live, but I bet it’s not the 10th District (just like Seals). And if we are to believe this tall tale, why is Seals giving the check back? If you believe his story, doesn't it seem like he should have just explained this two weeks ago, kept the money, and let the story die? Something doesn't add up.
I could go on, but y’all get the idea. Does anyone really think that Seals would have come clean and returned that check without the scrutiny he received on this? If he wanted to admit he was wrong, why not refuse the check in class, rather than wait two weeks. And if he’s admitting it was wrong, shouldn’t he make an explanation and full apology to the NU administration and get their absolution before going to the press?
As this space has said for months, we simply can’t believe that NU continues to let itself be associated with this clown.
You, the 10th District voters will decide if we send this joker to Congress. Let’s make the right choice, everyone.
GAS FOR VOTES UPDATE: Yesterday, Dan Seals found it necessary to write in to the Daily Herald with a non-apology apology. When you have to write to the press and explain your own stunt, that's a sign of a real disaster. But, if you read the letter, you will notice a distinct absence of any apology to the people who waited in line for discounted gas and were turned away, or an apology to those who wanted nothing to do with Seals or his free gas but were caught up in the huge traffic jam, or an apology for damaging the environment by creating a sea of idling cars.
And today, 11th Congressional GOP candidate Marty Ozinga shows Dan how it's done at the pump. Ozinga wanted to discuss the impact of gas prices with 11th District constituents, so he showed up to a local gas station and offered to pump their gas so he could chat while customers were filling up. Note that Ozinga didn't try to BUY gas for voters, nor did he try to blame any one congressman or anyone for high gas prices. He's apparently smart enough to know (or honest enough to admit) that high gas prices are the result of a lot of different factors, the most important of which is probably the law of good old supply and demand. Seals apparently slept through that course in undergrad, as well as any ethics classes that might have been offered.
Finally BackyardConservative has a great cartoon from the Lakeland Journals (scroll down the page) on the gas stunt, plus commentary on the NU-Rosty donation scandal.
Tuesday, June 3, 2008
Well, it's official--at least, it's official that the Barackstar now contends he's the presumptive Dem nominee. Hillary is trying to salvage what political capital she can out of this, as she has even stooped so low as to float the hint that she'd take the veep job. Well, I am pretty sure Obama's master plan is to enlist Hillary and her supporters (especially the big money donors), but do it in such a way that he doesn't have to share the White House with Bill and Hill.
Anyway, that's not what I wanted to really dive into tonight. Rather, since it's pretty clear Obama will be at the top of the Dem ticket, the IL GOP must contend with Barack-O-Mania, or risk getting wiped off the face of the fall races. But, there is hope, grasshoppers.
It's no coincidence that on the same day Obama clinches the Dem nomination, yet another one of his spiritual (and make no mistake, also his POLITICAL) mentors, Father Michael Pfleger, has been placed on a leave of absence by Cardinal George. Obama's ties to Pfleger can be minimized by the campaign, but can't be entirely hidden. (UPDATED): The Wednesday Wall Street Journal notes this:
A 2004 Chicago Sun-Times interview with Mr. Obama mentioned three men as his religious guides. One was Rev. Wright. Another was Father Michael Pfleger, the Louis Farrakhan ally whose recent remarks caused Mr. Obama to resign from Trinity, but for whose Chicago church Mr. Obama channeled at least $225,000 in grants as a state senator. Until recently, the priest was connected to the campaign, which flew him to Iowa to host an interfaith forum. Father Pfleger's testimony for the candidate has since been scrubbed from Mr. Obama's campaign Web site. A third mentor was Illinois state Senator James Meeks, another Chicago pastor who has generated controversy for mixing pulpit and politics.
Father Mike's supporters at St. Sabina, of course, think he's done nothing wrong. But, Obama, being a bright guy, has certainly learned a few lessons in this campaign, and one was not to waste any time throwing his former mentor under the bus. The St. Sabina parishioners are sure mad at Cardinal George for giving Father Mike the (at least temporary) heave-ho. Why aren't they mad at Obama for tossing Father Mike away like a used shake-and-bake bag?
But, how many more supporters can Obama toss under the campaign bus before the rest of America takes note that he's disavowed just about every significant associate he's had in the last 20 years? Does this not cast grave doubt on his judgment, at the very least? Will the general public finally start to get the picture that the long line of uber-radical figures that have all made headlines and subsequently been publicly rejected by Obama (some later rather than sooner) are a reflection of who Obama is and what he believes, rather than some kind of 'surprise' that these folks could have harbored these views for all these years, and poor, gullible Barack never knew?
And, better may be yet to come. There's still a little matter of a guy named REZKO, who's guilty verdict should be out any day. And his ties to another mope named BLAGO may well come back to eviscerate any claim Obama tries to lay to an ethical reformer of government, if the sitting governor of his home state is forced to face charges, or even the strong implication that he's going down.
And, I what I want to know is, will Hillary take the veep nomination (at least for now, before the Dem convention) hoping Obama will continue to slide and prove himself unelectable? I have difficulty believing she'd really settle for VP as the pinnacle of her career.
The news about the nomination lock-up, although long-anticipated, is still too fresh to make any valid prognostications about how this is all going to shape up. But, it is heartening that McCain is not waiting around for Obama to bring the fight to him. In fact, Obama really needed to wrap this up so that he could stop fighting a two-front war and concentrate on McCain. So, let's wait and see how this all develops before we GOPers do anything rash...
10TH DISTRICT UPDATE: Meanwhile, in 10th District news, Congressman Mark Kirk keeps doing his thing... Yesterday, Kirk addressed the members of AIPAC at its conference in Washington. According to TA's sources, Kirk spoke before at least 600 people over two breakout panels. The room was packed each time, and people sat on floors and leaned on walls to get a chance to hear him. He got at least six standing ovations, and the buzz around the entire conference is that Mark Kirk is the undisputed leader on U.S.-Israel defense issues.
Kirk has also been in the news lately for a new initiative to extend COBRA coverage beyond the current 18 month period that is allowed under the current law.
Finally, in a bit of a humorous twist, the Seals gas stunt is not one that will be quickly forgotten, at least in Lincolnshire. This week, Linconshire's mayor, Brett Blomberg, came out and endorsed Kirk over Seals.
UPDATED: Michelle Malkin has a good look at Obama's excuses on the bus victims now that the Rezko verdict has come out.