When Ray LaHood becomes too liberal to be a GOP candidate, I’d just like to thank the Illinois Republican Party for shutting out the lights at HQ since they have clearly packed up and gone home for the cycle.

Administrative Contact:
Leubscher, William ****************
9559 S. Mozart Ave.
Evergreen Park, IL 60805

Pic is available here. Scroll to the bottom.

Via Bill at Peoria Pundit which was via the Capitol Fax

To add to Bill’s comments, Peter Fitzgerald had horrible poll numbers and he didn’t like being Senator. The reason he didn’t run again is Karl Rove laid out the problem to him and he saw the light. Being Senator is a grueling job and I don’t begrudge anyong giving up that job, but saying it is LaHood’s fault misses that Fitzgerald was a pain in the butt even if you agreed with him.

After looking at the site, I’d create a conspiracy theory behind the site with me behind it other than I’m not. Looking at the list of potential candidates ‘better’ than LaHood, four of the five are wet dreams of Democrats and Blagojevich. Only Rauschenberger would be a serious challenger and he still has to explain why he thought Alan Keyes was a good idea.

Birkett is one of the sourest and most unlikeable politicians in Illinois. Pat O’Malley is the right wing version of The Blagorgeous. Shimkus has what appeal above Springfield? And Jim Oberweis? Uh, no.

In case anyone forgot, John Kerry won the state by 10 points. Why does anyone think a right wing Republican can overcome a 10 point deficit to start.

None of this is to say LaHood is the answer, but the wisdom of the Median Voter Theorem is ignored at your own peril.

Even more interesting is that the site appears to be ready to become registered as it has a solicitation for funds. Most interesting is it’s parent site:

And that the guy involved is from Evergreen Park which, of course, is no where near the 18th CD.

And he had a role in Spanky’s campaign

Keyes for Sosa?


Inspired by the Cross guys

Lifetime Batting Average:
Sosa .277
Keyes .000

Musical Taste
Sosa: Salsa on a loud boombox
Keyes: Rage Against the Machine in a mobile mosh pit

Clubhouse Behavior:
Sosa: Leaves the grounds before the last game
Keyes: everyone wishes he’d leave before the game–OR AFTER

Sosa: Managers say a prayer when the ball heads his way, Sosa blames the Sun
Keyes: Party Leaders Hide behind plants, He biffs a softball question just so he can blame the media

Presidential View:
Bush actuall misses Sosa
Obama wishes they could all be that easy

How History will treat them in Chicago:
Sosa: He’s no Mark Grace
Keyes: He’s still here?

Just leave.

Hynes to G-Rod: You Can’t Be That Stupid, Can You?

So if we lose the soon to be filed lawsuits, it’s all The Blagorgeous’ fault.

“As a matter of sound business or governmental practice, we find it hard to believe that the state would agree to such an obligation that is entirely dependent on the approval of the federal government, or any third party,” Hynes chief of staff Keith Taylor wrote. Blagojevich and Hynes are both Democrats.

I thought it was a good idea, but I figured the Administration would be smart enough to have an out if the Feds dragged their feet.

The Excitement Brigade

I can’t think of a more boring way to start off the announcements for the Republican nomination for Governor than Ray LaHood and Ron Gidwitz. While some in the Party are trying to be hip, it appears that a good percentage of the old guard are still wondering why Oldsmobile needed to try and relabel itself with”Not your Father’s Oldsmobile.”

They’re probably also grumbling about having to look at Buicks now that their car isn’t being made anymore.

If We Are Stuck With Him

He could make up nicely with this as an initiative

For months, advocates of early childhood education have been buzzing that Gov. Rod Blagojevich plans to announce a bold initiative to vastly expand public schooling for preschoolers–provided he finds the funding for it.

It’s expensive and it’s worth it. And it hits that median voter perfectly. I’d love to see the polling data on it. While that isn’t the reason I support such a plan, it’s got to be good enough to make The Blagorgeous blush.

The Trib’s editorial sites the basic idea pretty well, but to give you some idea of how significant a decent early childhood education plan can be…

Take a look at the dummy version of the Minneapolis Fed work the Trib mentions–I’ve seen Grunewald present on this.

The challenge is that the industry as currently funded and organized is largely maintained by poorly trained and poorly paid staff who have little understanding of child development. For those with a decent income, one parent can stay home or they can afford a Center that has strong staff and faculty. For those who aren’t well paid, their kids may end up in a good center, but are just as likely to end up in a mediocre center.

The insidious element of this system is that it reinforces class structures that inhibit upward mobility at the very beginning of a child’s life when that child is incapable of making her own informed choices.

A serious effort towards a universal system that provides quality care to all children, would go along way to making the Governor seem palatable to many in the Center and on the Left.

Hence, I have little hope for it coming to be.

Venture Capital Fund

Aaron Chambers has a good interview with Illinois Commerce Director Jack Lavin focusing on the administration’s effort to promote a venture capital fund. For those waiting on me to have a snarky take on this one–sorry, it’s actually one of many issues I think needs to be done in Missouri, but instead Missouri is having foundations push money directly into a single industry (biotech) without enough cash to make a difference and a Lege that might make therapeutic cloning illegal.

The administration’s plan in Illinois doesn’t direct it towards a specific industry and makes it clear that performance is a criteria. Those two issues along with a strong base of research universities make the effort a good bet.

Chambers asks about this in the story, the question is how to get it to pass the Lege. Members will want to reserve a certain portion outside of the Chicago area. While the impulse is understandable, the best bet is to do exactly as Lavin suggests:

The bill calls for geographic and sector diversification on the investments that those funds make. We have, obviously, an issue in Illinois if most of the venture capital is invested in the Chicagoland area and other parts of the state aren’t getting investment. So part of the Opportunity Fund is to geographically diversify where we’re investing.

Q: Is there agreement? Is there a bill ready to go?

A: There is a bill that is almost ready to go. Going into this next session, we’ll have a bill ready to go shortly.

Q: So you do anticipate something moving this session then, this spring?

A: We intend to have the bill move, or introduced again, yes.

Q: Would the measure specifically, statutorily, require that a certain percent of the dollars be invested in startups outside the Chicago region, downstate?

A: There is nothing that specifically defines what will be outside of the Chicago region, though part of the intent of the law is that there will be diversification. So as the board is set up that will be one of their goals, to geographically disperse and diversify where the investments go.

Via Capitol Fax that points out why we see more of these kinds of full text interviews.

Chicago Voting Equipment Decisions

With Help America Vote Act deadlines approaching Chicago is about to make a decision on voting machines. This is a serious issue and I have to say very few of the decisions I’ve seen made to date have to do with accuracy and design checks to ensure fraud can be detected.

Earnest of Deadly Earnest hits the right notes and fills us in on what seems to be the primary choices and the advantages and disadvantages of the systems as well as develops a useful criteria for evaluating which should be chosen.

Then he links to a study by David Kimball, a Professor at UM-Saint Louis-and a friend of mine. The work David has done on the issue is first rate and I’ll invite him to make any comments if he wishes.

The assumption by many is that a Democratic city is likely to want to have the most reliable system possible. But that is a horrible assumption. The Machine, that what is left of it, wants to undercount poor votes–which are black and Latino usually. Encouraging and counting more votes is a bad thing to those in power generally and so public pressure for a reliable system is vital.

Don’t believe me–do you think that Daley and his people aren’t thinking about a challenge from Jackson right now and how voting machines and turnout might affect such an election? I’m not a fan of Jackson myself, but that’s not the point. Election integrity is the point and a bad system will not

The Machine can work with a Republican Governor or President, but it doesn’t want contested city and local elections.

Any reporters who want to talk to David, I’m happy to put you in contact with him. For the activists–send this out on the DFA and Obama listservs and anyothers.

The Illinois Chump Awards

Go to Dave Syverson, Steve Rauschenberger and Don Manzullo for unleashing this idiot on the good people of Illinois

In the article there is some hysterical background:

State Rep. Angelo “Skip” Saviano was mad.

His face red and his nerves frayed, Saviano glared incredulously at the political creme de la creme of the Illinois Republican Party arrayed around the horseshoe-shaped table in the Union League Club, Chicago’s posh and historic rendezvous for the rich and powerful.

The Illinois Republican State Central Committee once seemed as well suited to the Union League as the painting by Monet that accents the club’s wood and leather sitting rooms.

On Aug. 4, though, Saviano and the other leaders of the Illinois Republican Party seemed out of place in the rarefied atmosphere of a club dedicated to ideals like honesty and efficiency in government. The Republicans were engaged in a political scavenger hunt, desperately searching for someone to run for the U.S. Senate after their primary winner, Jack Ryan, dropped out of the race after embarrassing details from his divorce file became public.

“We need a name, we need a name,” state Sen. Dave Syverson, a Rockford conservative and the state GOP treasurer, chanted to his colleagues, urging them to select Alan Keyes, the controversial Maryland talk show host, to embark on the party’s “Mission Impossible”–running for the U.S. Senate against Democrat Barack Obama, who was seen as unbeatable.

But Saviano, an Elmwood Park lawmaker and one of the party’s moderates, would have none of it.

“If you had only recruited better candidates, you wouldn’t need any help,” Saviano yelled as he rose to his feet and leaned across the table. “It’s too late to worry,” he snapped as he stalked from the room.

Saviano gave Syverson the Daniels Treatment. When Daniels was the House Leader he wasn’t terribly popular with the troops, but they feared him because he had the cash. Skip didn’t because his support is pretty strong and localized and whenever Daniels would go to far, Skip would scream at him in front of the House Caucus and Daniels did what? Stood there like a doofus.

Sort of like Syverson.

The weird part of the story is that conservative candidates weren’t hurt by Keyes much–but helped by Bush. Keyes alienated a record number of Illinois voters in both raw numbers and percentages, but the grassroots conservative support for the President seems to have stopped the Illinois GOP from imploding. With the broad effort to turn out votes decentralized to conservative evangelicals, any drop off that might have happened with that loon running around the state was staved off.

But don’t worry, Keyes decided to stay so there will be plenty of time for him to screw up more elections.

Interested in being Governor, Alan?

It’s Olgivie’s Fault

The Republican Party’s problem in Illinois is traced back to Richard Olgivie by Pearson and Chase.

Errr…sort of, but not really. The article is good overall and it mentions most of the important issues for the Republican’s problems, but I think the focus of the story is too forced into a historical narrative.

The problems isn’t Olgivie losing patronage as much as the interests of city dwellers and suburbanites diverging from the national Republican Party and those groups gaining in relative import. The authors mention this, but it’s far less emphasized than it deserves in comparison to Olgivie.

As Republicans moved rightward on social issues more space opened up between Republican statewide candidates and national candidates. Slowly, the grassroots organizations that mobilized socially conservative voters moved the State Party rightward starting as early at 1990 with challenges to the establishment.

The Republican Party saw an opportunity to attack Democratic majorities through social conservatism and as time went on–the activists spread to all of the states. In a socially moderate state like Illinois, this led to a split within the Party between powerful social moderates and grassroots social conservatives that continues to this day. I put my money on the conservatives. Ultimately, it is hard for moderates like Beth Coulson to run as a Republican and not be tied to an agenda that isn’t right wing in an area that is socially liberal.

The same happens in reverse in rural areas, but there are more people in urban and suburban areas.

“It?s also worth noting that the General Assembly and the governor have not achieved the previous EFAB recommendation yet.?

The Governor’s (his spokespersona actually) reason why it isn’t important that he didn’t appoint members of an advisory board that is required to issue a report on the state of school financing.

Senator Miguel del Valle criticizes the Governor pointing out the statutory requirement, but the real criticism should focus on The Blagorgeous’ inability to even address the issue forthrightly.

But most importantly, an updated report could have addressed how the $600 difference in recommendations and actual increase affected school performance. Now, there is no information to draw upon and that seems to be by design.

Who wants to be that if, as Aaron Chambers reports, Senate President Emil Jones pushes for a tax swap, the Blagorgeous says we should wait to hear the recommendations of the panel?

The most important quote is from Tom Cross who says the issue is dead unless the Governor makes a move. Republicans and the Speaker aren’t going to stick their heads out there only for the Governor to chop it off. He’s going to have to lead on the issue or nothing will get done.

Good to See that Quinn isn’t the only clueless one

In a rather hysterical whine to Don Wycliff, Pat Quinn suggested that the Trib acted like the Pinkneyville Bugle and in one swipe offended the public editor of the major daily in the state and the good people of Southern Illinois.

Not to be outdone, Brad Tusk of the Governor’s office gets in on the act in the Southern Illinoisan

“One of the most interesting aspects of the job, he said, is getting to know the people in the state, as he did last week when he accompanied the governor on a two-day swing through Southern Illinois. The trip helped clear up what he said was his biggest misconception about the state.

“I just didn’t realize how diverse this state was. Southern Illinois is almost like the South. Central Illinois is more like Middle America. Chicago is like most big cities and its suburbs are sort of typical of most American suburbs,” he said. “It’s almost like four different worlds in one place.”

The best part is that he talks about shaking things up in the State Board of Education, but doesn’t seem to clue in that the SBOE’s biggest challenge to come involves those Southern Illinois schools.

and from Vasyl:

Oh, and doesn’t he sound a bit defensive?? How many times does he repeat that Blagojevich makes the decisions?? Why state the obvious — unless it’s not

Yes Rich, That’s a Flip-Flop

Via Capitol Fax

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. Just a year ago, Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich (bluh-GOY’-uh-vitch) said he wanted to end exceptions to daily physical education classes in public schools.

Now his State Board of Education is suggesting ways to make it easier for schools to eliminate P-E. A report to the Legislature says state law could be changed to allow automatic exemptions in certain cases like for kids who play sports.

Spokeswoman Rebecca Rausch (ROWSH’) says Blagojevich is not reversing his position. She says Blagojevich believes schools should require physical activity but he is willing to help them eliminate bureaucracy to cut PE classes.

How about this–enforce the current law. P.E. has long been poorly done, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a good and necessary idea. As a young kid I was always one of the last kids picked, but I was kept active and became a relatively inshape guy by 15 and kept up with that until I had twins. P.E. could have been structured better, but the idea of daily exercise in an increasingly lethargic society is a habit that needs to be taught-and it improves the mind.

And Blagojevich caved.