PPP on General Election Matchups for US Senate

Via Capitol Fax

Polling Memo:

Raleigh, N.C. – Roland Burris is so unpopular that even as Democratic as Illinois is, he
trails Republican Congressman Mark Kirk 53-19 in a hypothetical 2010 contest, the
newest survey from Public Policy Polling finds.

Even among Democrats Burris leads only 34-27, and among independents he trails 62-8.

Of course Burris is not likely to be the Democratic nominee next year.  But even with
him out of the picture Kirk looks competitive in some early match ups.  He is tied 35-35
with Alexi Giannoulias and leads Jan Schakowsky 37-33.

Those numbers aren’t quite as encouraging for Republicans as they may seem to be
though.  In each case only 19% of GOP voters are undecided, while more than 30% of
Democratic ones are.

“Right now there’s a lot of uncertainty among Democrats about their choices for the
Senate next year with an unpopular incumbent and candidates seemingly entering or
bowing out of the race on a daily basis,” said Dean Debnam, President of Public Policy
Polling.  “Once they’re actually settled on a nominee next year that’s likely to change.”

Lisa Madigan, who has not shown interest in a Senate run, easily dispatches Kirk by a
margin of 49-33.

Madigan and Pat Quinn would also start out with strong advantages in the Governor’s
race.  Madigan leads Bill Brady 46-27 and Quinn has a 39-32 edge.  61% of voters say
they have no opinion about Brady one way or the other.

PPP surveyed 991 Illinois voters between April 24th
and 26th.  The survey’s margin of
error is +/-3.1%.  Other factors, such as refusal to be interviewed and weighting, may
introduce additional error that is more difficult to quantify.


General Election:

Burris  19%

Kirk   53 %


Schakowsky  33 %

Kirk                   37 %


Giannoulias 35 %

Kirk                35 %


Madigan  49%

Kirk           32 %


The one thing I’ll say, I don’t think Kirk wins in a race with Madigan for Governor given these numbers.  Madigan has numbers that are pretty damn amazing at this point. I don’t see how anyone beats her. I am uncomfortable with daughter father team, but it simply isn’t an issue for her and while it might be raised in a campaign, it’s not worked before and people know her better now.

Kirk’s problem–especially against Giannoulias in these numbers is that Kirk is about at the ceiling with black and hispanic voters for a Republican, but there are a quite a few undecideds in both categories.  Those are likely to disproportionately go to Giannoulias or even Schakowsky with a President Obama’s endorsement.   I just don’t see his winning coalition unless he can sweep all of the white voters and that’s not terribly likely given he cannot play on the wedge issues of gun and abortion.

Durbin on Cramdown Amendment

Last night on The Ed Show:


Last bit from today on Youtube:



One other argument that I think takes the cake: “Senator, you understand the moral hazard here.  People have to be held responsible for their wrongdoing.  If you make a mistake, darn it, you’ve gotta pay the price.  That’s what America is all about.”  Really, Mr. Banker on Wall Street?  That’s what America is all about?  What price did Wall Street pay for their miserable decisions creating rotten portfolios, destroying the credit of America and its businesses?  Oh, they paid a pretty heavy price.  Hundreds of billions of dollars of taxpayer’s money sent to them to bail them out, to put them back in business, even to fund executive bonuses for those guilty of mismanaging.  Moral hazard, huh?  How can they argue that with a straight face? […]

At the end of the day, this is a real test of where we’re going in this country.  Next up, after mortgages, credit cards.  Next week, the same bankers get to come in and see how much might and power they have in the Senate when it comes to credit card reform.  And the question we’re going to face, is whether or not this Senate is going to listen to the families facing foreclosure, the families facing job loss and bills they can’t pay, or whether they’re going to listen to the American Bankers Association, which has folded its arms and walked out of the room.  Well, I hope that we have the courage to stand up to them.  I hope this is the beginning of a new day in the Senate, a new dialogue in the Senate, that says to the bankers across America that your business as usual has put us in a terrible mess, and we’re not going to allow that to continue.  We want America to be strong, but if it’s going to be strong, you should be respectful, Mr. Banker, of the people who live in the communities where your banks are located.  You should be respectful of those families who are doing their best to make ends meet in the toughest recession that they’ve ever seen.  You should be respectful of the people that you want to sign up for checking accounts and savings accounts, and make sure that they have decent neighborhoods to live in.  Show a little loyalty to this great nation instead of just your bottom line when it comes to profitability.  Take a little consideration of what it takes to make America strong…

I’ll offer this Durbin amendment as I did last year.  When I offered it last year, they said, “Not a big problem, only two million foreclosures coming up.”  They were wrong.  It turned out to be eight million.  And if the bankers prevail today, and we can’t get something through conference committee to deal with this issue, I’ll be back.  I’m not going to quit on this […] At some point, the Senators in this chamber will decide, the bankers shouldn’t write the agenda in the United States Senate.

Kirk Set to Jump in Illinois Senate Race

So sayeth Lynn Sweet

The assumption of the establishment of the Illinois GOP is that Kirk is a perfect candidate and they will throw their weight behind him.  The problem is that they’ve been dieting for a long time and the establishment isn’t what it once was.

The start of the Illinois Republican civil war really goes back to the 1990 election for Governor.  That year Jim Edgar, a moderate establishment type, was challenged by Steve Baer in the primary.  Edgar won that election and the 1994 primary against the other crazy Roeser–Jack. But the conservative challenges would continue and begin to be much more successful.

In 1992, five conservative GOP Senators were elected who challenged the moderate leadership:  Peter Fitzgerald, Chris Lauzen, Patrick O’Malley, Steve Rauchenberger, and Dave Syverson.  After 1994, we see the top of the ticket–either US Senate or Governor going to pro-life establishment types or conservative challengers have prevailed with the lone exception of Topinka who had multiple conservative opponents.

In 1996, conservative State Representative Al Salvi defeated  moderate Lieutenant Governor Bob Kustra for the US Senate nomination and in 1998 Peter Fitzgerald won the primary against moderate Comptroller Loleta Didrickson.  Even when conservatives haven’t won primaries, they have hobbled the more moderate establishment candidates.  Patrick O’Malley ran a scorched earth campaign against then Attorney General Jim Ryan in 2002 and Jim Oberweis ran a harsh campaign against Judy Baar Topinka in 2006, though the conservative vote was split between a few candidates.  The 2004 US Senate campaign was won by Jack Ryan who was conservative, but straddled the line with the establishment.  The US Senate campaigns in 2002 and 2008 were largely non-factors though the ultimate nominees were slightly more moderate.

Kirk is seen as a magic cure to the ills of the Illinois GOP that has been shut out of statewide office since 2006, has a Senate minority against a veto-proof Senate Democratic majority, and a Republican minority in the House in which the Dems are only a few seats from a veto proof majority.  And on the surface he probably is their best bet in a general election.  While one can (and I do) argue that he is far less indepedendent than he lets on, on four critical issues he sets himself apart from the national Republican Party (guns, gays, abortion, and the environment).

However, early signs point to social conservatives in the party to not be willing to go along with a Kirk candidacy and an insurgent conservative candidate seems likely to appear.  Yesterday I pointed to Tom Roeser explicitly rejecting Kirk and saying social conservatives will not work for him. While Roeser is a crank, he’s also an influential voice in social conservative circles having his own radio show weekly on WGN 890.

If Kirk decides and gets the party’s all-but-official nod, the party can kiss goodbye any hope that social conservatives will support Kirk. I divide Republican moderates as either pro-choice or pro-abort. Kirk has made no bones about the fact that he is a hard-left pro-abort. He supports not only abortion on demand but has spoken against the Born Alive bill which guarantees nutrition, comfort and medical care to babies born alive from botched abortions…which puts him squarely in Barack Obama’s pro-abortion camp. He supports partial birth abortion, public funding for abortion, total ban on parental consent and use of embryonic stem cells for experimentation. In short, where Jim Edgar could have been called pro-choice (he opposed partial birth abortion), Kirk is hard-line all the way.

It might be ameliorated if Kirk were to run for the U. S. Senate but as governor and leader of the party in Illinois, he would assuredly shut down any remaining pro-life dissent and would be a variant of Big Jimbo Thompson on the issue.

Roeser isn’t alone.  The Illinois Family Institute ran a column the other day saying:

Congressman Mark Kirk’s Feverish Defense of Thought Crimes Legislation
When Kirk refers to “a crime of a particular nature,” he tries to gloss over or obfuscate the deeply troubling “thought” part of the hate crimes legislation. When he uses the word “crime” he is drawing particular attention to the legitimate part: a criminal action — which, of course, is already illegal. When, however, he uses the evasive, obfuscatory phrase “of a particular nature,” he’s referring to the illegitimate part of the legislation: the thoughts or feelings of the perpetrator. Kirk cleverly avoids the troubling dimensions of this legislation through the manipulation of his rhetoric.

Moreover, Kirk completely ignores the fact that there are numerous incidences in this country and Canada in which people have been charged and convicted, either by courts, “human rights commissions,” or “human rights tribunals” of violating hate crimes policies or laws for merely expressing publicly the conviction that homosexual acts are profoundly immoral. Everyone who is familiar with this legislation knows that the groups most ardently working for its passage are organizations dedicated to undermining conservative beliefs on the nature and morality of homosexuality. This is a cause near and dear to Mark Kirk’s heart as evidenced by his 75 percent approval rating by the “largest national gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization,” the Human Rights Campaign.

The Illinois Family Institute is largely funded by Jack Roeser and his allies, the other conservative Roeser (no relation) in Illinois who has long bankrolled conservative challengers against the more moderate establishment.  Few things go out of it without his approval.

Rep. Kirk is considering a run for Illinois Governor or U.S. Senate in 2010. This attempt to ban free speech may – and should – come back to haunt him.

Frankly, even more so, Rep. Kirk owes not only the parents, but the children of Illinois an apology for proposing and sponsoring such extreme left-wing, abusive legislation.

This wasn’t the first threat from Illinois Review about his future prospects.  Eric Wallace went ballistic at the notion there shouldn’t be a litmus test for the US Senate nomination:

Then, quite to my surprise, this past Monday, March 23, 2009 Senator Cornyn of Texas was heard heralding the very same thing—“no litmus test”. And to whom is he speaking of to the Main Stream Media—none other than Congressman Mark Kirk. Cornyn goes on to say  “we need a moderate to win in a democrat-leaning State”.


I have a few problems with this “litmus test” rhetoric. First of all, the pro-life plank is part of the National GOP platform as well as the Illinois state GOP platform. Pro-family planks are also a part of the GOP platform, at both the federal and state level. Mark Kirk does not reflect the State party or the National party platform on either of these issues.

Secondly, the fact that party leadership would suggest there be no “litmus test” from one side of the mouth; and then from the other purport a seemingly self-serving statement that only a moderate can win, is in essence a “litmus test”. In other words, according to Senator Cornyn (and others) any viable candidate from Illinois need only apply if he/she is a social-moderate. Is this not a litmus test? But of course it’s your litmus test; and without question, it’s OK.


Lastly, don’t get me wrong– I respect Kirk, McKenna and Cornyn. From what I know of them they are all good people, and sincere. But I’m convinced they’re sincerely wrong about who can win in this State. And unfortunately, if they are attempting to steer the election of the next US (IL) Senate candidate from the GOP side without a primary fight- they are sorely mistaken. There are those, including this writer, who will fight for our principles and not lay them down in the name of party unity.  Our Party is no better than the Democrats if we jettison principle for expediency. Why would anyone follow a party that painstakingly crafts a platform; and then ignores it in order to garner a few more votes? Like Esau we would be selling our birthright for a bowl of soup.

Let all who claim to be conservatives be put on notice. A day is coming, and is already here, when we must stand and choose a side. Will you stand on/for principles? Or will you simply go along to get along?  We will never see reform until “we stand for what say we believe and actively engaging in the political process that represents us”. This is at the very heart (and purpose) of Freedom’s Journal Magazine. Finally, what I found most compelling about that meeting in Springfield was Gov. Huckabee, who although not in the room when the chairman spoke, irrefutably contradicted his opinion. Huckabee encouraged us to “stand for life and defend those who cannot defend themselves”. He challenged everyone in the room to stand on principle, because that is how we’ll win elections. I agree with Gov. Huckabee. I plan to stand on principle. How about you?


So what does this mean for Kirk? It means he’ll get a primary challenge from the right.  His fundamental problem is that no establishment type  has gotten 50 % of the vote in a primary since George Ryan in 1998 and he was nominally pro-life.  Even when establishment types have won since 1996, other than Judy Baar Topinka, they have been pro-life:  Jim Ryan, George Ryan and say Jim Durkin (and I’m not counting Durbin’s last opponent who could have lost to the wacky Andy Martin).  While the Illinois GOP establishment may want to clear the field for Kirk, they have not successfully done such a thing in 20 years.

Kirk essentially is going to be a pinball switching back and forth between trying to be the moderate the Republicans need in a general election and the conservatives the party faithful will demand in the primary.   The end result will be a candidate who has no identity and will not appeal to independents or social conservatives.


The Illinois GOP condition:

There was only one catch and that was Catch-22, which specified that a concern for one’s own safety in the face of dangers that were real and immediate was the process of a rational mind. Orr was crazy and could be grounded. All he had to do was ask; and as soon as he did, he would no longer be crazy and would have to fly more missions.

ICFST Loon of the Day: Tom Roeser

He may lead this to be called the Tom Roeser award:

The Strange Case of Obama’s Birth.

By now it is recognized only dimly by a few Americans that there has never been submitted by Team Obama definitive proof that Obama was born in this country, a prime requisite for the presidency under the Article II of the Constitution. Instead, questions about his birthplace are dismissed as racism by the White House and its bull-dog defenders, the liberal elite media which discount all genealogical questions as from paranoid Obama haters. Not so about Republicans, however. In 1968 there were serious questions raised by the media about George Romney who was born to American parents in Mexico. And early in 2008 the fact that John McCain was born to American parents in the Canal Zone. Questions like these were viewed as okay: not so any about Obama.

The official Obama campaign biography is all the media have and it says he was born at the Kapi’olani Medical Center for Women and Children in Honolulu, Hawaii on Aug. 4, 1961 What we do know is that no one …no member of the media…has ever seen his original birth certificate. Last fall Team Obama posted what they said was a certification by Hawaii that an original birth certificate exists in a vault but the location of the vault or place of birth is not listed.

Obama’s late paternal grandmother and several of his half-brothers have said he was born in Kenya and that his mother, 18 at the time, visited Kenya in 1961 in the late stages of pregnancy, was not allowed by the airline to fly back to Hawaii and gave birth to the baby in Kenya. A child born abroad to one U.S. citizen parent and one alien parent (Barack Obama, Sr. was a citizen of Kenya) acquires U.S. citizenship at birth under Section 301(g) of U.S. immigration law provided the citizen parent was physically present in the U.S. for the time period at the child’s birth. For birth between 1952 and 1986 a period of 10 years (five after the age of 14) is required for physical presence in the U.S. to transmit U.S. citizenship to the child. Because his mother was not 19 years old, she wouldn’t have satisfied the requirement if rthe birth took place in Kenya-and Obama wouldn’t have been born a U.S. citizen.

Disclosures from Obama’s campaign fund last week showed that more than $1 million was paid out to a legal team to keep the original certificate from coming to light. Obama’s people could easily settle it by releasing his original birth certificate; instead they released a short-form birth certificate which can easily be manufactured by anyone downloading a blank template. Why, then, doesn’t his legal team end the controversy by releasing the original?

Be that as it may, we know he has been floating all his life in a disparate non-family structure involving scores of nondescript half-brothers, half-sisters and step-siblings in flotsam-jetsam fashion with supposed grant aunts and half brothers living in African shacks turning up all the time.

Lack of connection with this country may be one reason why he displays no visible patriotism for a country he may not feel a part of. To those who complain that this question of his birthplace is unfair, I say: end the controversy, then, by producing the original certificate. Instead they spend a million to prevent its disclosure.


Bat shit crazy.

Daily Dolt: Ron Stephens, You know when fluoridation first began? Edition

Ron Stephens is upset about the Homeland Security report that discusses right wing fringe groups and their ties to domestic violence. So he proposes a resolution condemng the report–one he obviously hasn’t read.


The report is here

It’s fairly generic and not terribly controversial.  It’s very similar to a report on leftwing groups released a while ago.


So the real question is why are conservatives seeing a report on a small group of violent loons as being about them.

Of course, Ron Stephens is also the guy who introduced a bill to ban fluoridation of the water.






Even When I Want To Agree With Him

Team America suggests that Mark Kirk’s moderation will make him the perfect candidate for the national party to support in 2010 for US Senate.


Will Specter’s defection have any effect on IL-10 Congressman Mark Kirk’s decision to potentially run for Senate? Not sure. Some have already said that Specter’s defection is a sign of increasing hostility for moderate Republicans in the GOP. That might be true locally for Specter in Pennsylvania (is that a warning for us here in Illinois, perhaps?) But, with Specter’s defection, if anything, the national GOP will renew its attempts to open up the big tent and embrace moderates to refute the notion that Specter’s defection had anything to do with policy schisms within the party. Not to mention the fact that the GOP needs to win back some Senate seats in 2010, and Kirk is widely regarded as one of the GOP’s strongest candidates anywhere.


Why would the GOP base as it stands now back Mark Kirk?  His environmental record? No, global warming is a hoax.  Abortion–no, we just got done with 100 Days of killing.  Gays–no, Kirk doesn’t hate gays and not only are they saying the hate crimes bill is thought crime, but deny Mathew Shepard was killed in a hate crime.  Guns–not even close.

The response of GOP losses in 2006, 2008, and 2009 is to be more conservative and true to the ‘party’s principles’. There is nothing suggesting the party is going to change that course in the short term.  Eventually, like all parties, they adapt, but in the short term there is virtually no evidence of any desire to do that.  I’ve long said moderates in the IL GOP are critical for the State of Illinois because they can hold Democrats accountable.  Social conservatives and movements conservatives simply do not have an electoral base statewide to do that.

In fact, if Kirk wants to run for office other than reelection, the best shot is for Illinois Governor.  Running for Senate will mean potential involvement of groups like the Club for Growth and centering on issues where he is most at odds with the a blue state. On the other hand, running for Governor as a good government reformer against a Madigan is a far more realistic opportunity.  He gets to run as a non-ideologue, he can use his moderate positions, and people seem to like him on the trail.

I personally think Madigan is a tougher candidate than many Republicans do because she has established an identity that is quite distinct, but I’d still say that is the office with the most opportunity.


ICFST Loon of the Day: Tom Roeser

Holy shit. I hope someone has taken away Roeser’s keys to his car:


2. Chris Kennedy.

Rather pathetic isn’t it, Chris Kennedy’s desire to run for the U. S. Senate. I always thought of him as the best of Bobby’s kids but I guess the prospect of picking up the fallen, tattered Kennedy flag now that pro-abort Catholic Uncle Teddy has petered out literally and figuratively…trying to outlive the memory of his depravity of allowing that girl to drown by slow degrees in his upturned car…and pro-abort Catholic Caroline with her uh-uh-uh and ya-know, ya-know, ya-knows bombed out with the media (of all things)…and was rejected yet again…thankfully….thankfully…when the Vatican gustily turned down this pro-abort very close pal of the minus-quantity dauphin prince legatee of the New York Times’ Pinch Sulzberger, as Obama’s ambassador to it.

The Illinois media is notoriously sycophantic to Dem liberals and I can just see Philsy Ponce doing a back-flip on “Chicago Tonight” and un-spooling the old reels of JFK, Bobby and Teddy while wiping glycerin tears away…and the grimacing Joel Weisman and his trained seals on “Chicago Weak in Review” predicting a Return of the Dynasty. Speaking of trained seals last night Blondie presided over a typically balanced panel on Obama’s first 100 days. Now can you guess who she had? The all-time Obama black cheerleader Laura Washington for whom a stray conservative thought would produce an aneurism…Alan Gittelson of Loyola who frowned intellectually, pondered dramatically and announced that Obama is an all-time great…Blondie herself asking slanted lefty questions…and one token, a pretty good conservative talk show host named Guy Benson.


Many people become bitter old cranks. Most just do it in private.

27 Percent Approval for Burris

The question being—who are the 27 %.

More interesting is that in an independent poll, Giannoulias shows a 38-26 margin over Schakowsky which is different from her poll released earlier in the week.

Schakowsky Favorability 42 – 8

Giannoulias Favorability 53 – 10

Where I would expect Jan to have the strongest numbers is with liberals, but Giannoulias leads in favorability (different from vote intention):
Schakowsky Favorability with liberals:  50 – 4

Giannoulias Favorability with liberals:  56 – 10


In terms of vote decision amongst liberals:
32 Giannoulias 28 Schakowsky 15 Burris


For Governor the vote decision is
45 Madigan 29 Quinn

and amongst liberals:

52 – 26


In both cases Schakowsky and Quinn and should be doing better with liberals given their past records.  In Schakowsky’s case it isn’t that great of a difference, but Quinn is showing remarkable weakeness.   In a perverse finding, Giannoulias does better with women than men, and Schakowsky does better with men than women in terms of favorability.


In terms of Burris he peaks at 48 % of the African-American vote in the poll meaning his first task would be to consolidate half of the African-American vote.  Despite Del Marie Cobb’s efforts, African-Americans just don’t see his election as all that vital to their interests.

We Don’t Want Nobody Nobody Sent

Carol Marin takes notice of the awful Illinois Democratic Party web site.

I swear to God that I didn’t pay her to write this column, but I would have offered.


On an impulse, I googled “Democratic Party of Illinois” the other day.

If you need a small, dark laugh, try it yourself.

Under the first listing, ildems .com, click on “candidates.”

Lord have mercy, what picture stares back at you but Gov. Rod Blagojevich! The address listed for Blagojevich is his Ravenswood political office, which the FBI bugged last fall, yielding some of the bleeping diatribes that led to his indictment.

And there’s Pat Quinn in a photo taken about 20 years and 20 pounds ago. He’s still listed as lieutenant governor.

Attorney General Lisa Madigan, Secretary of State Jesse White and Comptroller Dan Hynes are there, too. Hynes’ photo looks like it came from his high school yearbook.

State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias, of course, was missing from the 2006 roster of candidates, thanks to Democratic Party Chairman Mike Madigan’s refusal to back him even though he had defeated Madigan’s handpicked candidate in the primary.

What’s stunning is that there actually have been elections since 2006. Just this month, a whole host of Democrats were running in municipal races. And Cook County Commissioner Mike Quigley was fighting hard to win his way into Congress.

But you’d never know it by looking at information provided by the state Democratic Party.

The only contemporary posting is a reminder that Mike Madigan’s big spring fund-raiser is May 4 at the Island Bay Yacht Club in Springfield. Oh, and tickets are $150 a pop.


Academic papers have made fun of how bad the web site is.  Now, on the point of not allowing volunteers to easily volunteer–I think we can all agree that isn’t by accident.

Marin also made fun of the lack of Giannoulias in a June 2006 column as well.


Then again, maybe Madigan’s operation has no need for all that outreach. After all, don’t Democrats control every state constitutional office, both houses of the General Assembly, run Chicago and dominate the formerly Republican suburbs?

Yes, yes, yes and yes.

Still, it’s curious to see such a Dark Ages setup for the state party. That is, unless you stop looking at it as a state party and see it as, in the words of one party strategist who requested anonymity, “an overgrown caucas run by the speaker of the House, Mike Madigan, to elect people Madigan sent.”

Maybe so. In recent elections, U.S. congressional contenders such as Bill Foster (14th) and Debbie Halvorsen (11th) didn’t get much of anything in the way of help from the state party. They won anyway.

But Dan Seals in the 10th didn’t win. He had to rely on the help of unions and other organizations, not the state operation, to try to unseat incumbent, Mark Kirk.

And just ask Tammy Duckworth how much assistance she got from the state party in 2006 against Peter Roskam. None. The state GOP provided a flood of campaign literature for Roskam. Madigan’s crew was missing in action for Duckworth.

“There is no Democratic Party of Illinois,” strategist Kitty Kurth said by phone Tuesday. “When I talk to my friends at the Democratic National Committee, they say our state chair won’t return their calls.”


And this is why many candidates have to recreate the wheel.  In fact, Durbin has created a semi-functioning shadow operation in the form of the County Chairs organization, though it’s obviously limited in what it can do.  State parties receives particular benefits under federal campaign finance law as well as better postal rates (the real reason Madigan wants to control the party).

Let’s be clear though, Mike Madigan doesn’t care about Members of Congress other than Lipinski and his dislike of Schakowsky.

From what I can gather, Madigan’s people have largely given up on any sort of improvement because they cannot figure out how to control it enough.  Which is too bad because Lisa could benefit greatly from a strong netroots operation.

Too obvious there?


Here are some suggestions I made back in 2005 about the web site.  Some of it is dated and I’d certainly put more emphasis on social media, but much of it stands up.

Steve Brown still isn’t including bloggers on the press release list (that should get me a smart ass response at least).

Most importantly though, the State Party has no e-mail database which is really the currency of campaigns.  The web site is primarily important in being a place to attrack people to visit a couple times and have voters offer up contact information.  Then the real value is being able to contact them again later for donations, help, GOTV, and the such.


Ahhhhh….it was nice to see that Republicans aren’t the only ones to set up a nice circular firing squad when Rich mentioned he might post some suggestions.

The first rule of Illinois Democratic politics is that if you want to get something done, don’t attack The Speaker’s people. You can cajole, maybe make some jokes, but make sure the message isn’t that the Speaker sucks. He doesn’t–and more on that later. But the second rule in this case is don’t be expecting the Speaker to be doing any blogger conference calls anytime soon. He doesn’t talk to the regular press very often, so let’s be realistic here.

I’m one of the loudest critics of the current complete lack of on-line presences for the Illinois Democratic Party, but I’m also keenly aware that a party that is in power such as the Democrats are in Illinois face a different type of challenge in on-line activism.

The first thing that needs to be figured out is what the hell is the online strategy supposed to accomplish. I’d love for the Party to become more inclusive in decision making, but let’s not get carried away here–fixing the on-line presence is a baby step on that issue. If successful, it might lessen concerns about grass roots activism that concerns some of the Party Leaders.

So what should the strategy be? The primary issue is how to frame the debate on issues. The perfect example of this is how Democrats in general and Trial Lawyers were outmaneuvered on tort reform. Madigan saved the day with a not bad bill, but the point should be to not get to that point and a big part of the way the Republicans did that was by setting the agenda. There was little talk of insurance regulation during the debate when that is one of the three legs of the issue, but instead ‘out of control’ litigation became the story.

The specific on-line methods are not as important as understanding the goal is to take control of the public debate and thus control the legislative agenda.

Blogs are often seen as the ultimate solution, but I recommend against it for the Party, at least for now. Blogs are hard to work out an interesting message especially when you are in power. Parties that have unified control of a State Government inevitably have several centers of power all with different policy agendas so trying to hard to set up a unified message on a Party blog is very complicated and what is likely to result is unlikely to be interesting.

Blogs work because they pull people in with consistent content that is worth seeking out. Instead, the Party should focus on making a serviceable site that is functional and pushing information through e-mail and other push technology.

To do that it will have to make a far better site–one that attracts people to it for functional reasons.

Let’s start with keeping it up-to-date. Every person visiting should be able to find their State Legislator in a list with a link to their official office, their e-mail posted and their campaign web site linked. Every Democratic candidate who wins a primary should get the same for their campaign web site. There should be a function or quick link to finding what Districts voters are in–sure other sites may do that, but the point is to make the place functional.

The front page should have a page to capture e-mail addresses and at least zip codes though preferrably snail mail addresses. Those e-mail addresses then go into a database that can be accessed by any Democratic Nominee as well as regular updates from the Party. There should be a volunteer sign up page–where someone can sign up to volunteer for Party activities whether it be phone banking or whatever. With that should be a series of options about how they can best participate.

There should be a donation page with suggested amounts and an amount identified as being a Democratic Party Member between $10 – $25. The point here isn’t to raise a lot of cash, but get Party activists to feel like they are a part of the Party. Belonging is important.

A section on recent news stories that make the Illinois Democrats look good. This is part of the messaging issue–highlight successes and make visitors realize something is going on and the Dems are responsible for it.

An issues page–and no not some ridiculous and useless page on the ‘Party Platform’. Platform, Schmlatform. Many issues cut differently in different areas so the key issues should be stressed here including things like economic security, health care, working families–that kind of thing–but with updates to them as stories evolve. A key aspect of this sort of page is making sure it isn’t just a placeholder, but actively updated with news stories or just updates on key bills.

An area that is designed to highlight key lege members. And when I say key I do mean leadership and such, but more importantly those in targeted races. Set up a system whereby they are given some space to highlight their activities—a good move here to create some buzz would be the use of Podcasts. I know–most people who use the internet still think Podcasting is something out a War of the Worlds or a new fishing fad. But the idea is simple–have a lege member talk about a key issue to their district and highlight it and perhaps incorporate it into their specific campaign site as well.

A calendar is also essential. Updating it regularly–with more than relatively big dollar fundraisers is critical. It’s a key reason for people to keep coming back to the site. I’d first suggest syndicating the calendar from affiliated groups like Illinois Democratic Network and Democracy for Illinois. This has a double advantage of covering far more events than the State Party can concentrate upon and including those groups in an important function while not giving away message control for the State Party. The State Party calendar should focus on Lege Member activities, federal officeholder events, Statewide Officeholder events and State Party Events.

In line with this–host more events that aren’t big dollar events in conjunction with such groups. Again, it doesn’t require the loss of message control, but it makes people feel a part of the party and it’s mission.

On messaging, if there aren’t good issues to focus on at the State level, there are always issues to tackle at the federal level. The Illinois Republicans are pretty good at using such issues to paper over local fights–and this should work with Democrats as well. If the State Party were to call for action on Karl Rove or to call for action on Social Security it can reach out while not necessarily aggravating differences within the Party when there isn’t a consensus for state issues.

Create a set of resource pages to local parties that are organized by region or some other intuitive manner so those looking to get involved at the County level can. In fact, combine this with the original e-mail intake and have an autoresponder that sends out an e-mail with the local information to the person who just signed up. Web links and e-mail when available, phone numbers and addresses when they aren’t.

Included in the resources should be activist groups also grouped by region–they should be secondary to the County Parties (this is after all the Democratic Party Web Site), but still prominent. Again, this creates goodwill without a lot of effort. Adding blogs and news sources isn’t a bad idea, though there are some downsides when someone jumps off a cliff with a crazy idea.

With Party Committee Members include pictures and brief bios–it personalizes the site. Just no pictures of Madigan with gavels (thanks for changing that at least).

Voting information–links to how to register, deadlines and election dates. Make this the place voters come to figure out such things. Needs to be very user friendly.

Include photos of Democratic events. It’s a small thing that people love.

Think about a letter to the editor page that allows party members to look at a prototype letter, write their own, and send it to their local paper—all without more than a few clicks.

Then do the requisite press release and e-mail archive page.

Get some graphics with people in them besides Barack Obama and a bunch white stiffs. And remember—No Gavels!

Too often, the discussion over on-line activism focuses on blogs. Blogs are one method, but for a State Party often very hard to pull off. The key to whatever is done is to give party activists something to do like
1) write a letter
2) Volunteer
3) Donate
4) attend an event
5) or something else.

and make it a resource when they have a question. Voters don’t know what district they are in so the current organization is virtually meaningless to the average person visiting the site. And people don’t know where to find information about voting, make it easy and they come back to the site for more information–and get the Party’s message thrown in for good measure.

By producing content to attract people to the site, the Party can then use the information collected to push information out. By making the site useful, people come back to use it again and get hit again with the message. Activists are given specific methods to be active at the same time message control is kept. By institutionalizing a system of support for Lege Members, targeted races can have the profiles of incumbents (and potentially challengers) raised.

Further, the party needs to work the blogs–include them on press releases and treat them as a regular member of the press. They, ahem, we aren’t, but it makes many feel special and that generates good will. Push stories to them–unlike regular reporters who get nervous that they are being used, bloggers like to do it often. I’ll have more on that later.

A foreign substance is introduced into our precious bodily fluids without the knowledge of the individual

It’s pretty clear the purity of essence wing of the Illinois Circular Firing Squad Team (ICFST (GOP)) is fucking losing it.

Check out Roeser:


If Kirk decides and gets the party’s all-but-official nod, the party can kiss goodbye any hope that social conservatives will support Kirk. I divide Republican moderates as either pro-choice or pro-abort. Kirk has made no bones about the fact that he is a hard-left pro-abort. He supports not only abortion on demand but has spoken against the Born Alive bill which guarantees nutrition, comfort and medical care to babies born alive from botched abortions…which puts him squarely in Barack Obama’s pro-abortion camp. He supports partial birth abortion, public funding for abortion, total ban on parental consent and use of embryonic stem cells for experimentation. In short, where Jim Edgar could have been called pro-choice (he opposed partial birth abortion), Kirk is hard-line all the way.

It might be ameliorated if Kirk were to run for the U. S. Senate but as governor and leader of the party in Illinois, he would assuredly shut down any remaining pro-life dissent and would be a variant of Big Jimbo Thompson on the issue.


To my mind, a case could be made for Kirk running for the U. S. Senate and Gidwitz for governor. Unfortunately it appears that those who are planning a double-digit state campaign budget are not so inclined. Another possibility would be the former chief justice of the state Supreme Court, Bob Thomas for governor.

Thomas is a deeply committed evangelical pro-lifer. I don’t see any great support for him either among the financial powers. They should be warned against thinking Bill Brady is the answer. All I can say is there is much to him which is faux. And much which can come out.

Evidently the powers that be think it would be a great sop if they were to back a pro-lifer well down the ticket…a Dan Rutherford for state treasurer. To them I say the role of state treasurer has nothing to do whatsoever with social conservatism. If they think slating State Rep. Jim Durkin for state AG would help, it won’t. Durkin is a pro-lifer in mien but is not known for either the intensity of his feeling or his association in any meaningful way with the movement.

The good news seems to be that the business types are on to Judy Baar Topinka who wants to run for her old post of state treasurer. Two reasons why she ought to be cut adrift and allowed to make do for herself without a massive influx of party funds. One, her complicity as state GOP chairman to cause Peter Fitzgerald to abandon any plan he had for reelection because she was cozy with anti-Fitzgerald-ites George Ryan and Speaker Dennis Hastert. On my radio show heard for 100,000 she steadfastly refused to endorse him…which she has shamelessly lied about ever since despite the fact that tens of thousands heard her.

Second: while running for governor she showed an idiosyncratic tendency to market herself as a flip, vulgar comedienne for the gossip columns…example: owner of a late pooch who, she says with her back-alley humor, “peed in 100 countries.” Her self-marketing as an attempted comedienne is based on her need to divert attention from her lamentable failure to master the fiscal issues notwithstanding her long service in the legislature and state treasurer. She is counting on her strident anti-conservatism to woo friends in the media. I could not vote for her and wrote in Stufflebeam. She has told a friend of mine that by her estimation in my writing and radio broadcasts I cost her 16,000 votes. Good. I hope so. As governor she would have shut down any conservatism, would have given us a tax increase, social permissiveness and the spectacle of her riding in gay rights parades and prattling about her doggy going wee-wee in numberless foreign countries. Gee, if I cost her the job I’ll take that Upstairs when I go as a recommendation.


Sir, we had to burn down the village to save it.  This level of batshit craziness is all over conservative Illinois blogs and despite Blagojevich and Stroger, it appears that such nuttiness will give Democrats a better chance than ever in 2010.


In another post, it gets better:

At the root is narcissism but also more than that. Barack Obama’s still largely unexamined (by the media) personal background presages deeper analysis. His is not a family tree but a bramble bush of inconclusive parentage devoid of familial or parental stability…which explains his unfeeling inability to even feign patriotism or loyalty when what is supposed to be his country is under attack by foreign enemies. Answer: it is not his country; he knows no loyalty to anyone by himself. He is a multi-layered ideological non-citizen of any country: an anomaly of confusion even to himself.

Barack Birth Certificate truthers are the new 9-11 truthers.