Weigand Running Oberweis’ Campaign

The interesting bit here is that Family Taxpayer Network founder and money guy Jack Roeser seemed to be leaning towards Rauschenberger early on–which was news at the time since Roeser was a supporter of Patrick O’Malley in 2002. In an article he referred to the smart money being on Rauschenberger I believe.

While Weigand joining up with Oberweis doesn’t necessarily mean Roeser is going with him, it’s an interesting tea leave to read. The Leader tracks down other personnel moves in the GOP Governor’s race.

The move by Oberweis to separate himself from Rauschenberger would be to run hard on vouchers, which Rauschenberger has strongly opposed in the past, but Roeser is a strong supporter.

Much of Rauschenberger’s role in attracting Alan Keyes to Illinois appears to have been done in consultation with Roeser, in an apparent bid to secure support for a run for Governor.

And Dan Curry has made appearances in comments on behalf of Joe Birkett.

Hynes’ Future

Rich Miller covered Dan Hynes’ future a couple weeks ago in a good column.

While it might not seem like it to some of his campaign workers from the Senate primary, I really like Dan Hynes. He’s smart, honest by all accounts, and has been a strong steward of the state finances through two guys who always were looking for the easy way out.

What was baffling about about the Senate Primary campaign was why he ran without a reason. I’m sure he had strong reasons to run, but he certainly didn’t communicate them very well. His commercials with his wife were awful. Both are telegenic, but they had no chemistry together and I didn’t even realize it was his wife on first viewing even though I had seen pictures of her before. Most strange about this is that they are very close and apparently adore each other, but somehow in the handling, it all got lost.

With the primary loss the biggest problem is now where to go. There simply aren’t open slots. The Senate seats are filled for years. The Governor’s race in 2010 is going to feature Lisa Madigan at least and while they’d be evenly matched, who wants to take a chance on that sort of bruising race. Congress would be somewhat of a step down for him from being a statewide office holder. He could move up to Secretary of State when Jesse retires or AG, but that is an awful long wait for a guy who was nicknamed Governor in waiting.

The Problem of Amtrak

Steve Chapman makes a pretty reasonable case as to why Amtrak should be defunded, but the reality of single member districts with Amtrak stations is that isn’t going to happen. The larger problems with Amtrak primarily have to do with the long range routes that are enjoyable from what I hear, but economically disastrous to the agency. Shorter runs such as the Chicago-St. Louis run aren’t profitable, but the subsidy is of the type that the states and federal government aren’t put too far out to continue the service. Where the economic problem comes in is on long run routes such as routes that cross the country.

Amtrak isn’t going away because Members of Congress have lots of constituents who like it, so instead of getting rid of its funding, forcing the agency to restructure into shorter routes and perhaps providing infrastructure money to make it faster and more attractive is far more likely to produce an agency that isn’t going to be self-sufficient, but will provide regional transportation.

First Rule When You Find Yourself in a Hole

Stop Digging.

Ponder this: Next year, the Bush administration will phase out the $2,000 tax credit for buying a hybrid vehicle, which gets more than 50 miles per gallon, but will leave in place the $25,000 tax write-off for a business owner purchasing a Hummer, which gets 10 to 12 m.p.g. That’s truly crazy, and that’s truly what the whole Cheney energy policy is.

We don’t even have a fight over how to best conserve energy and reduce our dependence on foreign oil, we have a fight over how much to continue subsidizing wasteful energy practices and maintaining our dependence on foreign oil.

Via Eric.

G-Rod and the Foundation Formula

The Governor wants to increase the amount going into the foundation formula through gambling expansion (of course, it’s really not an expansion in his world, but whatever)–the real problem isn’t putting more money into the foundation, but reformulating it to better provide minimum levels of support for poorer inner ring suburbs and rural areas. Increasing the Foundation by $300 million doesn’t solve the root problem and while nice, it’s akin to rearranging the deck chairs.

Increasing funding isn’t the most important part of the Illinois problem, but redistributing the formula in a way to help the Districts with the most needs (while forcing reforms like consolidation) is the key. The state needs to keep pace with inflation for funding overall, but the bigger problem is the disparity between wealthy and poor districts.

Sneedling on Kirk

He might run against Durbin

Sneed is told U.S. Rep. Mark Kirk is heading to the top of the GOP list of emerging future leaders.

*To wit: “Kirk is highly respected by the senior leaders of the National Republican Congressional Committee — and is being eyed as a candidate to run against U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin down the road,” said a top D.C. source

If he didn’t think he’d have a conservative posse running against him in the primary. He’d have to have the field cleared for him, and that isn’t going to happen since he’s pro-choice.

Hastert’s Conundrum

It seems the moderates in the House are reasserting themselves just as Tom DeLay is having ethical problems surface on several fronts.

The key to Democrats being an effective opposition party is to take issues that divide Republicans and make sure as many of them as Dems can muster show up on the President’s desk. Stem cell research is one of the better issues to use since it divides Pro-Life constituencies, business interests, and more moderate Republicans. Close votes in the House also mean that Hastert has to give in to moderates from time to time and that’s when Democrats can plop issues up on the Bush’s desk.

Crock of Crap

Byrd’s by far less than my favorite Senator. He’s a gasbag and he has a horrible record on the environment and acted as a chief impediment to the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments. His record on gay rights is bad to say the least. That he is now a liberal hero cracks me up since it was exactly because he wasn’t liberal that George Mitchell challenged him and beat him.

But let’s be clear, he has a past in the KKK that he has long ago renounced, unlike Strom Thurmond who never renounced his racist positions. Or unlike the current jackass who is the Governor of Mississippi, Robert Byrd isn’t raising funds for segregationist academies. Instead, he got a 100 % rating from the NAACP in 2003-4.

Part of the civil rights story is that we all needed to change and everyone should be given that chance. Overall, Byrd, besides the white n***** episode, has a strong record on civil rights issues and at least understands how wrong he was.

Suggesting that Barack Obama misstepped in this case shows a significant ignorance of the tradition of forgiveness in the black community and how those left of center in the Democratic Party have dealt with racism since the 1960s. The black community has forgiven many segregationists, and much of the reason for this is faith on which the civil rights movement was based. Deep within African-American faith is an understanding of forgiveness and reconciliation–something many white churches could use.

But beyond that the Democratic Party has largely accepted those who changed their views. Fritz Hollings ran as a segregationist in one race and changed. Those who didn’t change their views….left.

When he utters something studid, it’s fine to attack Byrd, but those who think that Barack is hurting himself by helping out Byrd demonstrate how clueless they are about African-American voters. But in many such cases, we already knew that from the Alan Keyes debacle didn’t we?

Remember when Illinois Republicans got a reasonable share of the Republican vote? Edgar had an outreach to the African-American community that did a reasonably good job. Here’s a hint, instead of ranting about 50 years ago, try going into African-American communities and talk about their concerns today.

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2006 GOP Gubernatorial Cattle Call 3-21

1 year out and we have our first cattle call…a couple days late. Might as well start off with that expectation. I’ll move them to Tuesdays from now on out.

1) LaHood. I know. I know. The right hates him. But does the right hate him or a particular bunch of kooks on the right hate him? The guy is pro-life, anti gay rights and generally an aw shucks kind of guy. He certainly annoyed those who were bitter partisans of Peter Fitzgerald, but last I checked Fitz is in Virginia. And LaHood’s guy is Party Chair. LaHood is going to have to be the good soldier for a while, but he has access to money, the basic ideological drift of the IL GOP without being too strident, and he’s a natural counter to the Governor.

2) Topinka. I’m hearing the blowing of stacks from many a social conservatives with these first two, but let’s look at the polling data……. She’s in a better spot than many believe. She has rabid haters, but also a moderate wing of the party that likes her and in a multi-candidate field can probably do well enough to be in serious contention or the nomation. Beyond that she has name recognition that is generally positive, the press generally is sympathetic to her, access to money, and lots of chits to call in for over the years.

3) Rauschenberger. Only two things keep him from being at the top. 1) Alan Keyes 2) Ala—naw, he still hasn’t proven he can raise enough cash. Smart, and a natural antidote to the Governor and one of the best versed State Lege Members on the budget he may be a bit too wonky to pull this off. He strengthened his social conservative credentials (considered weak because he opposes school vouchers categorically) by his support of Keyes, but well, we know how that turned out. Keep the beard this time. I have him pencilled in as the State Treasurer candidate.

4) Jim Oberweis. UBERWEIS JOKES ARE BACK!

I could stay up here all day shooting Hoosiers and there’d still be more coming across the borders. Jim has a shot in a divided primary and, I thank the Illinois GOP for that. It’s not Alan Keyes, but it’s pretty good. BTW, I need a copy of the copter commercial if anyone has one out there.

And remember, no one met my challenge of recording a parody of the song Edelweis with Uberweis. You too can be enshrined as someone having entirely too much time on your hands, but damn funny.

5) Bob Schillerstrom. I don’t think he’s gonna run. Who wouldn’t look at this cast and run away fast?

6) Joe (Concealed-Position) Birkett, the sourpuss’ sourpuss. I know I’m not a Republican, but how is an ethically challenged DuPage County Prosecutor an appealling candidate? To boot his personality is one of complete bitterness.

7) Patrick O’Malley. Okay, so he’s the sourpuss’ sourpuss’ sourpuss. On top of it the True Believer (TM) Brigade thinks he can walk on water. He’s also one of the single most unlikeable politicians in recent Illinois history. His brutal attacks on Jim Ryan will be remembered and payed back by the establishment. Given he will be running against a range of people presumably ahead of him, he’ll have a hard time trying to run solely as an outsider.

8) Bill Brady Huh? I don’t get it. Why bother in this race? He doesn’t have a statewide fundraising system. He isn’t the guy who goes out and works the grass roots at the level necessary to pull this kind of upset.

9) Dan Rutherford—only this low because I don’t think he’s crazy enough to enter this race. Look for him to target Treasurer perhaps creating an interesting race if Rauschenberger goes to that spot as well. He wants SoS, taking on Jesse as an incumbent is a fool’s errand.

10) Shimkus–he’s not going this cycle. He’ll sit out this one, keep his pledge to not run in 2006 and take on Durbin in 2008.

11) Gidwitz. Are you kidding me?

The Great White Consultant Gravy Train has been spotted and is being pursued.

For those unfamiliar with the Cattle Calls, they are entirely my biased opinions and for fun and discussion–so discuss.

Ouch–Cattle Call Comment Period

Okay, after installing a new audio system in the new car, I came down with some sort of flu like thing that kept me out yesterday. How out have I been? I didn’t know George Kennan had died. More on that later.

But most important to those who read the blog–Consider this a Cattle Call for the GOP Governor’s nomination to be posted later today. This was supposed to be done yesterday, but I was unable to post it. We are one year out from the election–so drop you comments.

ANWR Cross Party Votes

For the Democrats, the damn Hawaii contingent continued its efforts to declare Hawaii and Alaska as ‘special’. And Landrieu, who everyone should have undertood would vote for this, backed drilling.

In fact, Holy Joe decided to blast her when her position has been consistent for years. She played a smart move to get revenue shairing for coastal protection in Louisiana, but no one expected her to move off her previous votes for drilling. Holy Joe took a swipe at her anyway. I think she is wrong, but I also think Durbin is wrong on ethanol. I don’t have to run for office in Illinois and that’s the difference.

As senators were voting on Wednesday, Ms. Landrieu stood at the back of the chamber, talking to colleagues on both sides of the aisle with a conflicted look on her face. At one point, moments before she cast her vote, she tapped Senator Joseph I. Lieberman, a Connecticut Democrat who opposes drilling, on the arm and whispered to him. He said later that she told him she would be supporting drilling.

“I was disappointed,” Mr. Lieberman said. “I feel it personally.”

Hey Joe–you couldn’t have pointed out Specter’s vote? Or Santorum who is running in a swing state? Or Talent? Or Martinez?

No, you had to complain about the Democrat who has been consistent. As wrong as she is, you couldn’t help the Party out, but instead had to take pressure off Republicans who should have been held to account?

My frustration with Lieberman and Al From of the DLC isn’t ideological. I used to describe myself as a DLC kind of guy meaning I believed in free trade, market incentives in regulation and a respect for more traditional values than many in the Party argue.

My frustration with them and others is that they are happy to sell out Democrats as being imperfect, but don’t seem to take the time to argue that Republican policies are the real problem.

If Lieberman had taken the time to argue that the Republican Party was the problem and then made a small point about Landrieu, I could live with that. Instead he gave the Paper of Record the quote to define the issue for the next couple years.

That being said, the seven Republicans who didn’t vote for a giant giveaway to relatively small corporate interests deserve credit”
-Chafee, R.I.;
-Coleman, Minn.;
-Collins, Maine;
-DeWine, Ohio;
-McCain, Ariz.;
-Smith, Ore.;
-Snowe, Maine.

Coleman waffled previously ‘if he was the deciding vote’, but the other six have been strong opponents and deserve credit. DeWine and Smith usually are ignored, but have been very consistent and deserve more widespread credit.

ANWR Passes Senate OPEC Points out How Pointless Such an Act is

OPEC increased daily production quotas by 1.9% or 500,000 Barrels a day.

While higher output is intended to ease prices, oil climbed near an all-time high in New York on concern that rising demand will soak up all that producers can pump. Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi said consumption in the fourth quarter, the period of highest demand each year, will exceed the third quarter by more than 2 million barrels. The International Energy Agency expects global oil demand to rise 2.2 percent this year.

“Any additional oil will have little effect on prices,” said Nauman Barakat, senior vice president at Refco Energy Markets in New York. “Issues other than current supply are driving the market. There is very little OPEC can do.”

ANWR production is estimated to reach a peak of 876,000 barrels a day by 2025.

So Congrats to the Senate which just passed a bill that will do nothing about the price of oil, nothing to reduce dependence on foreign energy sources, nothing to reduce the impact of carbon emssions, nothing to preserve a unique ecosystem, but will help a small select businesses involved in the extraction of the oil.

That’s doing the people’s business. It’s just a question of which people’s businsess is being done.