Friday, January 30, 2009

Congratulations to new RNC Chairman Michael Steele

The Republican National Committee (RNC), after a somewhat arduous voting process, has elected Michael Steele as its Chairman.

Among other notable career highlights, Steele is the former Lt. Gov of Maryland, and he came to speak at the Spring Dinner of the Lake County Republican Federation a few years back. He was great.

More like him, please.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Terry Link Feels "Duped" By Governor; Seeks to Remind Voters of George Ryan

No one ever said State Senator Terry Link was stupid, but it appears he may want us to think he, and the rest of the Illinois Democrats, are. He realizes that, just as the conviction and imprisonment of former Governor George Ryan cast a pall over the entire Republican Party, so too has the conviction and removal from office of just-now-former Governor Rod Blagojevich will affect all Democrats. So, it appears he wants you to think he's stupid, because that's probably better than being labeled as a Blagojevich supporter and enabler, now that Blago's been kicked out of office.

So, what's Link's spin?

Well, it's twofold: first, act shocked, SHOCKED, I tell you! Link bemoaned the fact that the darned governor DUPED them (the Democrats), for criminy sakes! Next, in fact, in the very same breath, remind everyone that the very last governor that is now sitting in prison was Republican George Ryan.

Of course, now that a Dem has been removed from office and may well be headed to jail, it's not the GOP's fault that George Ryan was a crook... they were DUPED too, and all of a sudden, not all Illinois Republicans are bad... they were victims too, just like us Dems are now.


There's a huge difference between Ryan and Blago. Ryan knew he was under a cloud when it came time for his re-election, and the GOP knew it too. The GOP polices its own, and Ryan knew he wouldn't survive a primary if he ran.

Conversely, who stood behind Rod Blagojevich in 2006? The very same Democrats that are now condemning him, since it's only recently become politically necessary. Where was Pat Quinn in 2006? Right behind Blago. Same for Madigan, Link, and the rest of the Dems. For anyone who might otherwise be fooled, check out the list of what was known about Blago's issues BEFORE he ran for another term in 2006.

Let's not let them think for a second that we've been fooled. We know that when Link, Senator Michael Bond and the rest of the Blagojevich 26 had a chance to vote to adopt a recall provision for the governor, they passed. For every story about federal subpoenas, investigations, etc., there was dead silence.

Now Link's playing the victim. He was DUPED, he says! Poor Terry. His own campaign workers DUPE him, the leader of the state DUPES him, what's a Dem to do?

Senator Dan Rutherford Keeps Us Updated on the Blagojevich Impeachment Trial Front Lines

Here's more video from Senator Dan Rutherford, trying to make the bizarre and sublime proceedings in Springfield make some sort of sense.

Here's yesterday's lunchtime update:

Rutherford predicts that the vote may well happen on Thursday, although you already know, if you've been keeping up with developments, that Blago is expect to actually show up and address the Senate 'jurors', when he has thus far repeatedly shunned the entire process as unfair.

Over at Capitol Fax Blog, speculation has been rampant about what the goofy governor is up to this time. Will he resign at the end of his speech? Will he name names, or subtly threaten too if the Senators vote to impeach him? Or might he even call for a secret ballot, in the hope that there is enough support for him that might vote against impeachment if such Senator were free of the political repercussions that would inevitably flow from a vote not to impeach.

Here's the afternoon update, talking about the conclusion of all of the witness and evidence, and also talks about Blago's expected closing statement. Rutherford explains that since Blago's speech is a 'closing' and not testimony, the Senators will not be able to ask him any questions.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Senator Terry Link's Campaign Worker Pleads Guilty in Petition Fraud Case (UPDATED)

This just in...

The Daily Herald is reporting that Kenneth Davison, one of the two campaign workers hired by State Senator Terry Link's campaign to pass nominating petitions last year (some of which included the "signatures" of dead people), has plead guilty to nine counts of perjury.

More as this develops...

UPDATED: Here's a short article from the News-Sun.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Illinois Senator Dan Rutherford Updates Us on Day 2 of the Impeachment Trial of Rod Blagojevich

Here's the next two installments of Illinois Senator Dan Rutherford's video update of the impeachment trial (in abstentia, of course) of Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich.

Here's the lunchtime status:

And here's the day's wrap-up:

Monday, January 26, 2009

Illinois Senator Dan Rutherford's Video Update of the Senate Trial of Governor Rod Blagojevich

State Senator Dan Rutherford (one of the hardest-working members of the General Assembly that I know) gives us a video overview of the procedure and issues of the State Senate trial of Governor Rod Blagojevich. Dan promises to update us with further videos as the proceedings continue. Great idea, Senator! h/t Illinois Review.

Please use this as our impeachment trial open thread for today. Also, be sure to check out Capitol Fax Blog for the best coverage as we continue with the Blago circus.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Dick Durbin to Mark Kirk: Don't Worry, We Have It All Under Control

U.S. Senator Dick Durbin today told the voters that Congressman Mark Kirk's recent stimulus bill amendment to block impeached Governor Rod Blagojevich from being able to access or disburse any stimulus funds that the State of Illinois might receive from the federal government was unnecessary, since the Illinois Senate would doubtless remove Blago long before any stimulus money was available to Illinois.

Swell. Given the way this thing has been going, first, I'd say there are no guarantees about anything having to do with Blago. Second, and more importantly, Dick Durbin's credibility on just about anything is shot, considering he: asked for convicted former governor George Ryan to get out of jail early; was the first to call for a special election for the Obama senate seat, only to back away once he realized Mark Kirk could win a special election; and then stated emphatically that there was no way the U.S. Senate would seat a Blago appointee, until, whoops, they did. (Durbin has been giving people all sorts of useful advice lately, whether the issue really concerns him or not.) For a compilation of the many changing moods of Dick Durbin, see here.

Lest we not forget, this is the same Dick Durbin who said he was "stunned" upon learning of Rod Blagojevich's arrest by the Feds. Apparently the poor man was so clueless he had no idea what a crook Blago was, nor of all the warning signs leading up to Blago's eventual arrest (of course, Mike Madigan apparently was clueless too, and don't forget Pat Quinn, so perhaps this is an endemic "hear no evil, see no evil" problem among all the Dems).

But Durbin now wants us to believe he's got it all under control, thank you, no need for Mark Kirk to help. Durbin even takes a dig at the drafting of the Kirk amendment... perhaps Durbin didn't know that Democratic Conggressman Bill Foster also sponsored the amendment.

Ah, I feel so much better, Mr. Durbin, now that you're on the job.

Cleaning Up Illinois... One Tollway Booth at a Time

The best dividend from ousting Governor Rod Blagojevich may be getting rid of those irritating Open Road Tolling signs that went up shortly before he was last up for election in 2006. In case you forgot, those signs were installed at a cost of around $15,000 each, for a total of almost $500,000 cost to the taxpayers. And for what, exactly?

Of course, now that Pat Quinn is poised to be guv, he's attacking the low hanging fruit (I mean, signs), and eliminating the tollway signs, as one of the most obvious examples of Blagojevich's egomanical tendencies, will get Quinn some good initial press. But, where were Quinn's protests in 2006, when Quinn was behind Blago 100%? Remember that Quinn said in 2006 that Blago was "a person who's honest and one of integrity" and that "I have confidence the governor does the right thing all the time."

Where was Quinn's objection back then, pray tell?

Friday, January 23, 2009

Lake County Young Republicans Sponsor Impeachment Forum to Packed House in Libertyville

As we've been plugging for a few days now, the newly-rejuvenated Lake County Young Republicans sponsored a forum on the impeachment and trial proceedings against Governor Rod Blagojevich at Austin's in Libertyville. The event was well attended by many Lake County Republicans, young and old, moderates and conservatives. All were united, however, in their desire to get the inside scoop on the deliberations and procedures used by the House in their review of the evidence and vote to impeach the Governor.

YR President Collin Corbett emceed the program, which first featured State Reps. Ed Sullivan, Jr., Sandy Cole and Suzanne Bassi, who discussed the impeachment proceedings in the House. Next, State Senators Dan Duffy and Matt Murphy addressed the crowd, although they were not able to talk about the trial in the Senate, since they are essentially the jurors in the trial. Q&A followed.

All in all, a fantastic and well-attended first effort by the YRs. We look forward to much more from this new generation of Lake County Republicans in the weeks and months ahead.
Here's Thursday's front page write-up in the Daily Herald about the YRs, in case you missed it.

Some pix:

YR President Collin Corbett warms up the crowd.

The crowd.

Keith Gray, Senator Dan Duffy and Steve Greenberg.

GOP County Chairman Dan Venturi, Joseph Mancino and County Board Member Michael Talbett

Rod Drobinski, Aaron Lawlor and Kelley Folino.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Mark Kirk: Blagojevich Barred from Stimulus Funds

I'm in the middle of processing video from tonight's YR event on the impeachment/trial of the guv, so I'm just pasting in the press release direct from Congressman Mark Kirk's office, as follows:

Kirk: Blagojevich Barred from Stimulus Funds

Kirk-Foster Amendment included in House economic stimulus package; Illinois General Assembly to appropriate billions until Blagojevich removed from office

WASHINGTON – U.S. Representatives Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) and Bill Foster (D-Ill.) successfully attached their bipartisan amendment to President Obama's economic stimulus package yesterday blocking all federal funds to Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich. The Kirk-Foster Amendment directs Illinois' share of the stimulus to the Illinois General Assembly until Governor Blagojevich is removed from office. The Kirk-Foster Amendment was attached to the "American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009" during a full meeting of the House Appropriations Committee late Wednesday.

"Rod Blagojevich has consistently refused to do what is in the best interest of the people of Illinois and resign," Congressman Kirk said. "As the Congress prepares to approve billions of dollars for Illinois, we must ensure the governor is not allowed to use these funds to give himself or others a parting gift. The Illinois General Assembly will be the steward of the stimulus funds until Governor Blagojevich is removed from office."
"The allegations that have been made against Gov. Rod Blagojevich call into question his fitness to distribute federal funds in an effective, fair and ethical manner," Congressman Foster said. "I am proud to work with Rep. Mark Kirk to ensure that the Governor does not have the opportunity to misuse stimulus funding at the expense of our constituents in Illinois."

According to the Congressional Research Service, there are broad powers for the Congress to attach conditions to federal spending to states. In the 104th Congress (1995-96), Congress enacted the Brown amendment allocating TANF funding to the respective legislatures – not the governors. Additionally, state supreme courts upheld state legislative control for federal block grant funds. In Shapp v. Sloan (1977) the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that the legislature has ultimate authority to appropriate federal block grants.

The amendment text is below.


Page 11, after line 10, insert the following:

None of the funds provided by this Act may be made available to the State of Illinois, or any agency of the State, unless (1) the use of such funds by the State is approved in legislation enacted by the State after the date of the enactment of this Act, or (2) Rod R. Blagojevich no longer holds the office of Governor of the State of Illinois. The preceding sentence shall not apply to any funds provided directly to a unit of local government (1) by a Federal department or agency or (2) by an established formula from the state.

Congressman Mark Kirk: No Dough for Blago!

Well, since Blago's own party so far has been a miserable failure at reigning him in and keeping him honest, to say nothing of allowing him to saddle us with a new U.S. Senator that he hand-picked (after being turned down by at least one wiser and less egomanical person), it looks like the GOP has to step in. While the trial of Blago in the state senate finally gets underway, Blago's still Blago, and he's still the governor, so there are obvious concerns as to what he might do if he has control over the millions (billions?) of dollars of federal stimulus (read: debt our children and grandchildren will have to work to pay off) that is expected to be flowing Illinois' way.

Enter Congressman Mark Kirk.

Yesterday, members of the House Appropriations Committee moved to block Blago from having any control over the stimulus money, via an amendment to the stimulus bill that was sponsored by Mark Kirk and Dem Congressman Bill Foster. The amendment requires that the funds be distributed by the state legislature, not the governor. See more background here.

Of course, with the inept Dem-controlled General Assembly, that's perhaps not much of an improvement, but it least it keeps Blago's grimy paws off the dough.

We also note that Kirk's position on Appropriations is definitely a powerful committee position that comes in real handy, as we see here. We look forward to Kirk's continuing advancement in Congress, which can only benefit us here back in Illinois and the 10th District.

REMINDER: The Lake County Young Republicans will be hosting a great event tonight at 7:00 p.m. at Austin's in Libertyville, featuring a plethora of our GOP state GA members---including the newly-minted Senator Dan Duffy---to discuss the impeachment (and presumed conviction) of the guv. Click here for more details.

The event, and the rejuvenated YRs, have gotten the attention of the Daily Herald. Read about them here.

Monday, January 19, 2009

A Few Nice Things to Say About Barack Obama From the GOP

With the historic day now upon us, we thought it was the least we could do to say a few nice things about Barack Obama, the 44th President of the United States of America. We probably owe it to him after some of the less kind things we've said over the last year, although I stand behind everything we've said.

First, we really do hope that Obama is successful in turning the economic state of this country around. This simply isn't fun for anyone... ask anyone whose house has been foreclosed on, who can't pay a bill, or who has lost a job or is nervous about losing one. No matter what one's political leanings are, we simply can't afford to hope that Obama fails, just to prove we were right. Of course, we can hope that he turns things around and then we vote him out in four years, but that's for another post.

Next, so far, it seems that Obama has done a better than expected job with some of his administration picks. Many of them have issues and to be sure, there are some raving liberals (even proclaimed socialists), but on the whole, I think there is more center/balance there than I figured he would have. If you doubt me, read the news accounts of how some of the real left-wing zealots are bitterly disappointed by Obama's picks so far... if they are pissed off, that's gotta be a good thing.

Also, for better or for worse, Obama is enjoying enormous popularity right now. While I personally think that the mainstream media has driven a lot of this, plus a massive movement of people somehow swept up in a wave of groupthink, or simply desperate for a hero/messiah, Obama has the chance to capitalize on that popularity and do some real good for the country. He's going to need it, if he intends to govern from something closer to the center than the Nancy Pelosi/Harry Reid block of the legislative branch, which is enjoying rock-bottom approval ratings right now.

Finally, it's great that the country has elected an African-American as President. While I firmly believe that voting for anyone because of race is just as wrong as voting against someone for their race, there is no denying that racial discrimination has existed and continues to exist in this country, and the struggle for racial equality has been a long one for many, and we're not there yet. But having the first African-American President goes a long way towards fulfilling the dream that all people should be judged on the quality of their character, not their race.

So, let's all take time to congratulate the new President, who stated in his victory speech that he would be 'our' President, too. I hope he meant it, and I wish and pray that he is successful in bringing this country out of the troubled times we find ourselves in today.

10TH DISTRICT REALITY CHECK: In other news, Ellen of the Tenth thinks that the peanut butter/salmonella outbreak is Mark Kirk's fault. No joke.

ALSO HEARD: Congressman Peter Roskam continues to express interest in running for the 'Burris' U.S. Senate seat in 2010, but acknowledges that Mark Kirk will be a "very, very strong candidate"... would Roskam defer to Kirk? Well, Roskam notes that he's a "big Mark Kirk fan." Draw your own conclusions. Frankly, if Mark is going to have a chance, he will need the full endorsement and help of conservatives like Roskam, so we shall see what we shall see...

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Lake County Young Republicans Land Local Pols for Hard-Hitting Impeachment Update

A newly-rejuvenated Lake County Young Republicans group is starting off the new year with a bang, with an "Impeachment Update" planned for this coming Thursday, January 22nd, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Austin's in Libertyville (just across the road from Lake County Republican Headquarters on Peterson Road).

To help explain the impeachment proceedings and their impact on the state, as well as how they will likely effect the future of the Republican Party in Illinois, the Lake County YR's have assembled an impressive team of elected officials, including Senator Matt Murphy, Senator Dan Duffy, Representative Ed Sullivan, Representative Sandy Cole, Representative Suzie Bassi and others. You can download the YR press release here. The event is free, but the YRs ask that you RSVP.

For more information or to RSVP, contact the YRs at

Hats off to the young'uns for putting this together, and let's hope it's a sign of some badly-needed new blood getting things going for the GOP.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Might It Be Kirk vs. Schakowsky in 2010 for Senate?

Well, now that Roland "Tombstone" Burris has been officially welcomed to the U.S. Senate (by the same Senate Democrats who turned him out into the rain just last week, but hey, all is now forgiven, guys), speculation turns to whether Burris will run in 2010 to retain the seat for a six-year term, and also whether he will face a primary challenge. Once all that is considered, it's time to think about who the Dem nominee might face on the GOP side.

People are now speculating a bit more strongly that Burris may face an inter-party challenge in 2010, but some are not convinced. Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky (IL-9) wants us to remember that she really, really wanted that seat when Blago was trying to sell it (although I have not seen anyone seriously suggest yet that Schakowsky offered or was offered anything for it) and she still apparently really, really wants it, as she appears open to considering a primary run against Burris, per Politico.

Will Burris even run? I have to believe he will, unless his health fails or he makes a supreme gaff or gaffs in the next few months that convince him (and his supersized ego) that he can't possibly win even the primary. After all, he appeared to completely resist overtures by the U.S. Senate Dem leadership that offering to limit his appointment to only one term might be a way to overcome the Dem's objections to seating Burris. Burris never gave in, and Harry Reid and Dick Durbin blinked. So I would give better than even money that Burris will be in the race.

Turning to the GOP, we all know that 10th District Congressman Mark Kirk has been mulling this seat, and it seems clear that if a special election had been held, he would have dived in, as it would have meant he did not have to quit his day job in Congress.

Chris Cillizza at implies that GOP leadership is still trying to convince Kirk to run in 2010, but I'm not sure if Cillizza means state GOPers, national leadership, or both.

So, could this set us up for a Kirk vs. Schakowsky battle in 2010? This would pit a raging liberal female Dem against a moderately liberal GOP opponent. Kirk will no doubt have some trouble with some of the right-wing purists, especially if he's challenged in a primary. But if he survived, he'd probably have more state-wide appeal than a liberal Chicago Dem like Schakowsy and her convicted felon husband Bob Creamer. That ain't gonna play well in Peoria (literally).

Some commentors here have questioned Kirk's ability to raise enough money, especially with the Team Obama apparatus lurking in the background. A valid concern, but Kirk's fundraising prowess is well-proven; it's just a case of applying that on a larger scale.

Should Kirk run? I'm not yet convinced, mostly because we need him here in the 10th (I know, I'm selfish). But if he does, we'll be in his corner here and support him every step of the way.

At least if Schakowsy runs, Dan Seals could run for her seat in the 9th District (where he's at least a resident), and maybe we'd finally get him out of our hair here in the 10th CD.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

New Illinois Blog Rips on Dan Seals: "Not THIS Guy Again!"

Someone brought to my attention a new blog, "Only in Illinois," devoted to Illinois politics. There certainly isn't any lack of raw material to work with, that's for sure.

I like the snarky, edgy tone of this new blog, especially since the post I happened upon dealt with our perennial 10th District carpetbagger from the 9th District, Dan Seals. If you've been following comments here, you know that Seals somehow got the Tribune to give him a few inches of space last week to sound off on the need for campaign contribution reform in Illinois. We could summarize our response to Seals' completely unoriginal rantings on campaign reform by simply saying "Well, Duh!" But this new blog has a more analytical take on Seals' little piece.

Check it out, and welcome to the crazy world of Illinois politics, Only In Illinois!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Michael Madigan's Latest: Don't Blame Us, a Call for a Special Election Probably Wouldn't Have Worked Anyway

Well, the Illinois/Blago/Burris political landscape once again looks a little different this Monday morning than it did even last Friday afternoon. Over the past 24 hours, it seems that U.S. Senator Dick Durbin is signaling he has reduced his reliance on the technical signature requirements of the U.S. Senate (which previously was an unbroken rule that simply couldn't be overlooked) and may now decide that Secretary of State Jesse White's signature on just about any document will do. Yet another about-face for Durbin, who really must be getting dizzy.

But this spells woe for the Illinois Dems, who will be not only dealing with the political fallout from the disgraced governor for years to come (just as the GOP was saddled with George Ryan), but will also face the generally unwelcome situation of having Roland Burris (who not only hasn't won a public election for years, but will be forever known as "Blago's pick") at the top of the Dems' ticket in 2010. And whose fault is that, you ask? Well, the Illinois GOP is poised to make sure voters don't forget.

So, the latest gambit in the Illinois Dems' desperate attempts to shift and escape blame for allowing Governor Rod Blagojevich to appoint the replacement to Barack Obama's senate seat is Michael Madigan's claim that "had a bill gone to the governor's desk providing for a special election, Blagojevich would have vetoed the bill, made his appointment and then there'd be a matter of a motion to override in the legislature. But the appointment would have been made."

The Chicago Tribune, at least, seems determined not to let the Illinois Dem leadership, especially Durbin, off the hook, and continues its call for a special election. But, we must be fair to Roland Burris, some say! The Tribune thinks being fair to the citizens of Illinois is a bit more important, and I whole-heartedly agree.

Friday, January 9, 2009

To Seat Roland Burris, or Not to Seat Him: What's Dick Durbin Up To? (UPDATED: Trib Continues to Pound Quinn on Special Election)

Illinois Senator Dick Durbin said in a press conference this afternoon that Roland Burris, beleaguered Governor Rod Blagojevich's nominee to fill Barack Obama's U.S. Senate seat, should not be seated in the U.S. Senate, despite a ruling today from the Illinois Supreme Court that says Secretary of State Jesse White's signature on the appointment paperwork is not necessary (White has refused, and continues to refuse, to sign). Durbin on one hand said that the U.S. Senate rule that the Secretary of State had to sign the appointment applies (and has never been waived) regardless of what Illinois law mandates. But Durbin also said that the issue of Burris' appointment should not be filled until the impending trial of Rod Blagojevich concluded, at which point Lt. Governor Pat Quinn would then have the authority to make this appointment "in a clean, legal way and make his recommendation and his appointment known to the United States Senate.''

Of course, this presupposes that Blago will be removed from office after trial in the state senate, although that seems very likely.

So, what's Durbin up to? Let's ignore for a moment that the issue of Jesse White's signature has nothing to do with Durbin's suggestion that the appointment must wait until after the impeachment, unless what he's trying to say is that he assumes that White would sign off on whomever Quinn would appoint, which would then make it a proper appointment under the Senate Rules (uh, does the U.S. Senate really want to say that all state secretaries of state have a de facto veto power over their governors' power to appoint a senator to a vacant seat?).

But the real question is, is Durbin anticipating that Quinn would 're-appoint' Burris to make it all 'nice and legal' (and perhaps attempt to remove the taint of the Blago appointment on Burris to give him a better chance for election in 2010)? Or, and this seems more likely, that the Dem leadership realizes that Burris is vulnerable to a solid GOP challenger like 10th District Congressman Mark Kirk, and they do not want to risk having Burris be the Dem incumbent, who they would have to defeat in a primary.

We the public, of course, are also meant to ignore that at the outset of this whole fiasco, it was Dick Durbin who was beating the special election drum the loudest, until someone whispered "Mark Kirk" in his ear.

Thus, despite the glad-handing that occurred between Senators Reid and Durbin, and Roland Burris the other day, it seems to me that nothing is certain yet. TA is glued to watching this fascinating session of "As Illinois Politics Turns," and I'm sure you all are, too.

Saturday Morning Update: Lots of print news coverage of the impeachment this morning, of course, and you can easily find more yourself (indeed, you can't avoid it), but one thing I wanted to point out this morning was that the Tribune has not let up on its call for Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn to commit to a special election.

The Tribune points out that the seat belongs to the people of the State of Illinois, not Quinn, Durbin, Reid or any other politicians. And, interestingly, if it turns out that the scheme here is for Quinn to legitimize the Burris pick after Blago is removed from office (as we speculated above as one possible reason behind these political gymnastics), the Trib appears strongly opposed to that. The Trib wants Quinn to start showing some leadership, now. Will he?

ALSO- found this analysis of the inter-party gyrations that went on in Washington among Durbin, Reid, and other Dems as Blago's surprise appointment of Burris not only caught them completely off-guard, but then made several flubs as Burris and his supporters managed to turn the issue from Blago to one of race. A good read. If There Is a GOP Candidate Who Can Win in 2010, It's Mark Kirk (UPDATED)

Now that Roland Burris seems to be the de facto new junior senator from Illinois, the debate is already raging as to Burris' chances in 2010 (if he should run), and the likely GOP contender(s). As we've been following closely, GOP congressmen Mark Kirk and Peter Roskam have been making the list of almost every pundit who has addressed this issue. Today, Chris Cillizza of the Washington Post said on his blog that:

If ever there was a time when Illinois Republicans could reverse their long electoral skid in statewide races, the appointment imbroglio surrounding sort-of-senator Roland Burris is it. And, if ever there was a GOP candidate who can win, it is Kirk, a moderate who has held the Democratic-leaning 10th district despite a serious of tough Democratic challenges.

Cillizza notes that Kirk could face a primary challenge from Roskam, but as Roskam just won a coveted spot on the House Ways and Means Committee, TA's money's says he stays put and focuses on his House job, for now.

We like Peter Roskam here, but we think Kirk has the better chance statewide. What to do about keeping the 10th District has been worrying me of late, but we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.

UPDATED: Here's $0.02 from John Fund, who is a Wall Street Journal editorial writer, weighing in on Mark Kirk's chances. Athough, contrary to the article, I don't think Mark has $5 million left in his campaign funds at the moment, though it won't take long to replenish the war chest.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Well, Illinois, Get Ready for the Fork - The Guv is Just About Done

Yep, it appears that the appointment of Roland Burris was sure an interesting sideshow for a while, but now that the House impeachment committee has voted 21-0, it looks like the train to impeach Governor Blagojevich is pretty much unstoppable. Next stop, the full House, then trial in the Senate. It's sad for the state, but for the revitalization of a viable two-party system in Illinois, perhaps it simply had to come to this.

Frankly, the electorate in Illinois is not blameless. If you keep sending the same corrupt officials back into office (especially, you folks in Cook County listening?), you get what you deserve to some degree.

People have an awfully short memory. How else can politicians like Dick Durbin make a boldfaced lie about what their position on Burris was last week, and then do a complete flip-flop, and pass it off as the truth. Sadly, he'll probably get away with it.

The Governor won't. But look what it had to come to. As my old high school football coach used to say, pitiful, boys, just pitiful.

FROM THE "JUST CURIOUS FILE": Anyone now think that if Lt. Guv Pat Quinn gets in after Blago is impeached, he would appoint another person to 'compete' for the title of rightfully appointed junior senator from Illinois? That sure seemed like a viable, even likely, scenario, just a few days ago. Now, not so much.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Don't Let Senators Link and Bond, and the "Blagojevich 26," Off the Hook

According to State Senator Terry Link and some others, it looks like Governor Rod Blagojevich's appointment of former AG and comptroller Roland Burris to Barack Obama's vacant sentate seat may actually stick. Yesterday's defection of U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein from the solid ranks of Dems who oppose seating Mr. Burris may add to Burris' momentum (such as it is), who by many accounts was appointed in a perfectly legal manner, since the Democrat-controlled Illinois General Assembly failed to strip Blago of his appointment power when they had the chance.

Heck, they also muffed their opportunity to push forward an amendment to the state constitution that would have provided for a recall provision like they have in California. As noted recently by the Chicago Tribune, the Burris fiasco is simply the latest daffy stunt pulled by a governor that can't be controlled by his own party (including the president-elect, mind you), and a party that can't be troubled to take charge and stand up for the people of Illinois. The Trib dubbed the state senators who voted against the recall amendment the "Blagojevich 26", and State Senator Michael Bond tops the list (OK, so he's first alphabetically), and includes State Senator Terry Link as well.

Terry Link, for his part, is trying desperately to shift the blame, and whines that he got no support in the state senate for a bill that would have taken the appointment power from Blago and given it to IL Secretary of State Jesse White. Oh, so it's all the fault of those who opposed your brilliant solution, Senator Link? Puh-leeze. You wanted to take the appointment power from a goofy Dem and give it to another insider, because the Dems in the state senate were scared sh*tless that a Republican like 10th District Congressman Mark Kirk would have won a special election, if the power to choose the next U.S. Senator from Illinois was given to the people. Sorry, Senator Link. You get no pity points for offering a crappy solution and then crying when no one supported it.

If Burris' appointment stands, I don't know if he will be a good, bad or mediocre U.S. Senator. What I do know is that the Dem-controlled General Assembly helped get us into this mess, and absolutely refused to give the power of choice to the people by voting to hold a special election. Maybe the impeachment vote will help assuage some voter anger, but it's possible they'll screw that up, too.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Chicago Tribune Names State Senators Terry Link and Michael Bond to the "Blagojevich 26"; Plus, the Saga of Roland Burris; Why Dan Seals, Why Now?

Well, here's a list that no one among Illinois Politicians really wants to be on: the Chicago Tribune's list of the "Blagojevich 26," which is a list of the State Senators who earlier last year voted against a measure to add a recall provision for the governor to the state constitution. Lake County's two Democratic state senators, Terry Link and his 'mini-me,' Michael Bond, both made the Tribune's list of the governor's enablers.

Swell. We're definitely very proud here in Lake County to have these two elected officials to thank, in part, for the current disaster in state government.

The "Blagojevich 26": Now THAT's going to look good on some opposition campaign literature.

THE SAGA OF WOULD-BE SENATOR ROLAND BURRIS: Well, Mr. Burris is headed to Washington, D.C., where most news reports indicate that he will show up on Tuesday and attempt to be seated, and most reports also agree that the Senate Democrats will refuse to seat him. Mr. Burris apparently has said that he does not intend to cause a fuss, but that's clearly what the Senate Dems are preparing for. You can read much more about this whole debacle elsewhere, but for my money, what I want to know is why no one is calling for the impeachment of Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White for refusing to sign the appointment paperwork. It's his duty, after all, and almost everyone seems to agree that the law gives White no discretion in the matter. It's strictly an administerial duty, and is already the subject of a lawsuit by Burris. Thank goodness that White is black, so that White's refusal to perform his duty, thereby temporarily stymieing Burris' entrance to the U.S. Senate, can't be painted as racism by folks like Bobby Rush, who set a new world's record for claiming pre-emptive racism against anyone who dared to oppose Burris' appointment.

Rush was quoted by the AP as saying that the U.S. Senate is the "last bastion of plantation politics" and that "we are just faced with a hard-headed room of people in the Senate who want to keep an African-American out of the Senate." Come on. Does anyone really think those that are opposed to the appointment of Roland Burris are against it because he's black? As we have said before, it's stupid claims like this by African-American leaders that tend to dilute the attention paid to claims of real racism when it happens. Apparently Bobby Rush never got the "Boy Who Cried Wolf" read to him when he was younger.

WHAT'S UP WITH DAN SEALS? YOU LISTENING, SENATOR REID? My silly Google Alerts keep going off lately with the mention of Dan Seals' name in relation to the Obama senate seat.

You remember Dan Seals, right? The guy who has never been elected to so much as dog catcher and was labled a "carpetbagger" by Roll Call, who lost the 10th District Congressional race to Mark Kirk (twice), who ran out of money at the end of his last campaign and was reduced to pitful begging, who used a 9/11 conspiracy theorist in one of his campaign commercials, who couldn't make up his mind on the financial bailout package, who cuddled up to the much-investigated and seemingly destined for indictment Charlie Rangel. Remember now? Yes, the Dan Seals who misleadingly claimed to be a adjunct professor at Northwestern University before he ever got in front of a student (and was chastised by real professors), who took campaign money from convicted felon and disgraced former Congressman Dan Rostenkowski in front of Seals' night class at NU (once Seals finally started as a lecturer), the Dan Seals who caused massive traffic jams and was fined by the Village of Lincolnshire over an ill-conceived gas-for-votes stunt, and who famously said that in the event of an attack on Israel, you come down on the side of "Peace". Yep, that Dan Seals.

Well, his name was mentioned on a few days ago, and somehow that has morphed into speculation that Senate Dem Leader Harry Reid is prepping Dan Seals behind the scenes to step into Obama's shoes once the Dem powers-that-be can get rid of that pesky Blagojevich and his star-crossed appointee Burris.

Those that are better informed seem to think this notion is ridiculous, and it's not just me. Most of the serious news articles that discuss the issue of whether Reid pressured Blago behind-the-scenes to make a specific appointment seem to point to him favoring Tammy Duckworth or Lisa Madigan.

So, I'm relatively sure that Seals is thankfully still relegated to the dustbin of Illinois politics, where he belongs, and that the current spate of Google Alerts bearing his name seem to be outgrowths of an errant mention by Politico. Note the Politico appeared to use Seals' name as an example of a type of candidate that might be appealing and successful, not that the Pup was Harry Reid's favored son. They obviously didn't look at Seals' vapid mug as shown here at Team America, or they might have thought twice about suggesting that this guy could ever survive any serious vetting process.

Ugh, what a laugh that would be for us here in the 10th District! I do admit that I got a few yucks tonight in doing this post and strolling down the TA archives regarding the mis-adventures of Dan Seals.

Senator Reid, hope your folks are TA readers before you do something really stupid...

UPDATE: Here's a link to a D.C. blog with some video of Harry Reid discussing the issue. The blog suggests that Reid is far more concerned about positioning the Dems for not losing the seat to a guy like Mark Kirk, than Reid is concerned with following the law. Big shock.

UPDATED x2: Here's a Pioneer Press article that clarifies, as we suspected, that Seals' recent filing as a candidate for the 1oth District race in 2010 (mentioned in comments) was simply a campaign finance paperwork issue, and not a committment to run. He'd be starting from almost zero funds, if the news article is correct about his campaign bank balance only being slightly above $5,000.

Also Randy Blaser at the Pioneer Lake Affect blog takes note of TA's scathing diatribe against the Pup, and makes fun of Seals to boot. Glad someone out there is getting the message.