I’m Still Betting on Blair Hull

The problem for Blagojevich in appointing someone to be Senator should Obama vacate his seat is that he has a running feud with half the state and on that alone he won’t appoint most of the people mentioned in Laura Washington’s column.

Emil Jones as Senator doesn’t seem likely to me, but hey, it probably makes him feel good hearing that. I do think Emil would be fun to watch in DC, but I don’t see him wanting it. Jackson Jr. simply has too many problems with downstate. Downstate will elect African-Americans, but Jackson Sr. has enough baggage to make it difficult for his son–not to mention Blagojevich and Jackson aren’t so close.

Schakowsky would certainly love to do it, but has awkward relations in Springfield and I doubt Blagojevich sees an upside and there’s always got to be an upside for him.

Madigan is a no go on anger alone and Hynes is his best bet to win a 3rd nomination if Blagojevich runs a third time. Hynes and Madigan in a primary help Blagojevich eek out a possible win. I doubt they both run, but that’s Blagojevich’s best shot. Jesse White took himself out of contention.

Hull actually makes some sense if one thinks about Blagojevich. Hull is a big Blagojevich donor, most of his baggage is out there if not all. Hull would do best by not having to run in a primary where a cynical press would beat him up. As a sitting Senator, he’d have the ability to demand a little respect.

Other possibilities could be a Latino pol such as Flores. Gutierrez would be a natural other than he is one of the worst fundraisers ever.  A Flores appointment would anger African-American politicos just as an appointment of Jones or Jackson would Latinos.

Hull and Tammy Duckworth offer up a unique opportunity for Blagojevich. He loves loyalty and both of them fall in that category.  Hull has been a huge backer of the Governor and a 2010 run for election would coincide with Blagojevich’s reelection year so he’d have an ally running with him.  Duckworth would be a good public choice in avoiding most of the anger from different groups, satisfying vets, and providing a good face to run with in 2010.

What if there is a Senate Vacancy

My superstitious side isn’t thrilled with this, but Eric Zorn asks who might replace Obama if he were to become President.

Second, let me throw out a few names of possible replacements for your consideration and analysis: * U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr.
* U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky
* U.S. Rep. Rahm Emanuel
* U.S. Rep. Luis Guitierrez
* Ill. Atty. Gen. Lisa Madigan
* Ill. Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias
* Ill. Comptroller Dan Hynes
* Former Ill. Sen. Carol Ronen
* Dan Seals
* Tammy Duckworth
* Ill. Rep. Jay Hoffman (D.-Collinsville)
* Gov. Rod Blagojevich (nothing I see in the law prevents him from appointing himself)

Would he choose to reward an ally? Toss a favor toward a constituent group? Get a potential political rival safely out of the way?

A smart and popular choice would be Lisa Madigan, who’s not only widely seen as a likely challenger to Blagojevich for the 2010 Democratic gubernatorial nomination but also the daughter of his bitter legislative rival, House Speaker Michael Madigan

Jackson would have been a decent guess a couple years ago when Jackson and Blagojevich were cozying up on a set of issues. The problem now is that Jackson would have the double baggage of defending the seat as a Blagojevich supporter and Jesse Jackson Jr which creates a bunch of issues downstate.

Schakowsky would love it and it would burnish Blagojevich’s credit with progressives, but there isn’t a large upside and it’s safe to say that there has to be an upside.

Guitierrez is a horrible fundraiser and seemingly lax campaigner.  It’s hard to imagine he’d want to think about running a Senate campaign in 2010.  And he has Rezko ties which Blagojevich doesn’t want to bring up.

Rahm? My guess is Rahm wants to be Speaker. The Senate wouldn’t be as natural of a fit for him, though he could easily hold the seat.  Again though, I don’t see the upside for Blagojevich.

Dan Seals? He was to win a Congressional seat first.

Blagojevich himself–nah. He wasn’t much in DC and from what I understand it wasn’t his favorite place.

Madigan? It’s hard to say. She seems less likely to get in the Governor’s race–or at least that’s the murmerings so he might take that shot.  It also would be doing a nice thing for Mike Madigan and even if it’s politically motivated, Blagojevich wouldn’t do that.

Hynes? I think in the delusional mind of Rod Blagojevich, Hynes is who he wants to run against in 2010 if he runs again and he sees Hynes as the least threatening.  He’s wrong. While Dan is a bit sedate, he’s a perfect antidote to Blagojevich.

Giannoulis?  A very real possibility. Alexi is a threat and doesn’t have the baggage of the Madigans.   Giannoulis would take it as a big vertical move with little to risk.

Hoffman? I think this might be the choice. Blagojevich is loyal and no one has stuck with him through everything more than Hoffman.  Hoffman is kind of stuck right now as well. He’s been so loyal he is essentially seen as Blagojevich and that’s probably unfair.  The assumption is he wanted to run for AG when it’s open, but with Blagojevich around his neck, that would be hard right now. He’s smart and works hard and as an incumbent he could win in 2010 easily.

Duckworth?  That’s the best choice probably on the list from his point in that it truly would be an appointment of someone who isn’t a crony and would make him look good.  She’s likeable and has a great story.

From that list, I’d put it down as a 1. Hoffman, 2. Duckworth, and 3. Giannoulis as his likely picks (don’t ask me to make a choice, I like all three in different ways).

But I think there are some other names that should be in the mix.

Manny Flores–the Latino pick who would hold that seat and get a whole lot of support for Blagojevich if he ran again.

Blair Hull. See rationale for Jay Hoffman, but remember Hull has been a huge financial backer of the Governor.  This is my favorite theory even if it seems a bit out there.

Vallas.  Gets Vallas out of the way–see Madigan/Giannoulis.

I’d say Halvorson, but she’s running for Congress. She might have Emil’s support since she’s been a loyal Majority Leader.  She’d be great as well.

So my handicapping of what he will do:

1) Hoffman

2) Hull

3) Duckworth

4) Giannoulis

5) Flores

My wishes:

1) Giannoulis with Duckworth taking his spot

2)  Flores

3)  Duckworth

4)  Hoffman

5) Hull

Super Tuesday IL Senate

Durbin has no competition, but the Republican race is a bit interesting. Not in the sense someone may matter in the fall, but it could be another disaster for the Illinois Circular Firing Squad Team AKA the Illnois GOP.

The preferred candidate is a fellow named Steve Saurberg.  I think we see the problem Who? And that’s his name?

The problem is the guy has nearly zero name recognition and in the absence of any information and a low turnout Republicans are expecting, it could well be that people vote for the pretty name. That belongs to loon serial candidate Andy Martin. He’s the guy who started the Obama is a Muslim smear.  He’s an idiot, anti-semitic, and most of his campaigning involves showing up on blogs and commenting.  He’ll probably show up below.

Anyway, Martin’s name sounds better than a guy not quite named Sauerkraut so it could be a fun result.

There’s a second loon running by the name of Mike Psak who has a campaign centered on commenting on blogs as well.  His name isn’t so friendly so other than whining about his treatment in this blog entry, he’ll fade away.

Dick Durbin would be doing his victory lap already, but he’s out working for Barack.

Fun With YouTube

I believe there’s a threat in there too.  Given the pretty clear bipolar issues, someone might want to check him out.
[kml_flashembed movie="http://video.google.com/googleplayer.swf?docid=-7643264540058027657" width="400" height="326" wmode="transparent" /]

That’s Better

Durbin on Iraq:

Assistant Senate Majority Leader Dick Durbin promised today that he would no longer vote to fund the war in Iraq unless the money is tied to a withdrawal strategy.

Durbin, the second-ranking Democrat in the Senate, has been a consistent critic of the war in Iraq but is a pragmatic party leader attuned to political reality. The Illinois senator voted against authorization for the war in 2002 but has since voted for the emergency funding packages that have financed the war.

Durbin’s commitment–and a forceful speech he delivered against new funding for Bush’s war strategy–positions an influential Senate leader in favor of a hard line at a moment when some Democrats are signaling a willingness to compromise on war funding.

Congress is preparing for a struggle over continuation of the troop build-up in Iraq following a report on progress to be delivered next week by Gen. David Petraeus, the U.S. military commander in Iraq, and U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker. The White House has indicated it will request a supplemental funding package of approximately $40 billion to pay for continuing the Bush Administration’s “surge” strategy.

Durbin said he would not use his leadership position to lobby fellow senators against funding the war. “Each person has to come to grips with this individually,” he said. But an aide said that Durbin already has met with “five or six” senators to share his view on new funding.

That other Senator could go a long way to wrapping up a lot of primary support by joining Durbin.

In Case No One Is Noticing

There’s a one man Democratic Values Debate Machine out there and while technically he’s not my Senator, he’s My Senator. Barack Obama at the National Press Club:

Taking responsibility for oneself and showing individual initiative are American values we all share. Frankly, they’re values we could stand to see more of in a culture where the buck is too often passed to the next guy. They are values we could use more of here in Washington too.

But the irony of this all-out assault against every existing form of social insurance is that these safety nets are exactly what encourage each of us to be risk-takers and entrepreneurs who are free to pursue our individual ambitions. We get into a car knowing that if someone rear-ends us, they will have insurance to pay for the repairs. We buy a house knowing that our investment is protected by homeowners insurance. We take a chance on start-ups and small businesses because we know that if they fail, there are protections available to cushion our fall. Corporations across America have limited liability for this very reason. Families should too – and that’s why we need social insurance. This is how the market works.

This is how America works. And if we want it to keep working, we need to develop new ways for all of us to share the new risks of a 21st century economy, not destroy what we already have.

Austin Mayor linked to a story on it

Note to Biden, Richardson and others-how about not worrying about Howard and dealing with the issues? One guy is.

And Obama staffers–make sure these things get more attention.

but rather a statewide Pentecostal revival

Dan Proft replies to the Cross guys and includes this bit:

On paper, Keyes could have provided a legit challenge…it lasted for about a week before Keyes embarked upon the Road to Damascus by himself. Wish that would not have happened but the easiest thing we could have done was just sit back and watch Barthwell get beat 70-30, and then blame the moderates. Instead, we attempted to make a legit run at Obama with someone with the capacity and skills to make that legit run. Because that person chose not to run a campaign but rather a statewide Pentecostal revival, I regret it as much as anyone. And that is the difference, I suppose…I don’t run around professing the Keyes campaign as a model to be followed, blithely asking people to believe that getting 27% of the vote was a job well done.

Except that no one in their right mind could have thought Keyes wouldn’t have been running a statewide Pentecostal Revival. In 1996 and 2000 the guy ran a nationwide Pentecostal revival (all the more strange since he’s Catholic) with stunts like handcuffing himself to the building at a television station which excluded him from a debate and generally having eruptions during the debates to which he was admitted.

If you don’t believe me, go to the August 2004 archives where I point out what a loon he is and pretty much predict his performance.

The problem of those like Proft who are trying to sell the story differently is that they thought it was a quick and easy way to make a name for themselves in Illinois politics. Instead of promoting party building, they ran a guy who could get lots of attention and they got exactly what they wanted–but sometimes you don’t know what you really want.

And, of course, Greg Blankenship made a similar point from having worked with Keyes.

But speaking of Keyes, he’s been attending the Confronting the Judicial War on Faith. And for $15 you can get a DVD of Alan’s session or the entire event for $99.

Getting back to the message though,

Atrios quotes Congress Today

Christian conservatives and a core group of congressional supporters are launching a significant new push to restructure the federal judicial system to reflect a more explicitly biblical world view, in the hopes that these changes will pave the way for broader social and political changes, leaders of the movement said.

The great question to ask is *which* Biblical world view and watch them devolve into doctrinal disputes.

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.

Never Disappoints

So both Rich Miller and I posted on Keyes’ new scam to sell DVDs of the Senate Debates to raise cash.

Rich asked

Could this be legal? Just wondering.

I replied in his comments:

It’s legal assuming he’s doing it legally–which is a big assumption. Wingnuts love to do this kind of fundraiser–Bill Federer does it all the time with ‘his’ book–you know, the one other people largely wrote and sued him over.

And Austin Mayor answers that in fact, the Southern Illinois points out a little issue of copyright infringement.

The radio debate was presented by The Illinois Radio group, which is a WSIU affiliate. Jak Tichenor, producer at WSIU-TV, said he has never heard of anything like this before. He said the actual debate is material of the organization that produced and he said written consent is necessary for this type of reproduction.

“This is 180 degrees from normal protocol,” Tichenor said.

ABC affiliate WLS Channel 7 conducted the first televised debate between Keyes and Obama on Oct. 21. Public Television Station WTTW in Chicago organized the second TV debate on Oct. 26.

ABC Channel 7 News Director Jennifer Graves said she was shocked to hear about Keyes’ distribution of her station’s program.

“This is the first I have heard of this,” Graves said. “I’m going to have to make some phone calls around the newsroom, and then I think I will be calling our lawyer.”

Keyes’ people argues he has control over anything he participated in as long as he attributes the source. This is, in a word, Bullshit. He has the ability to exerpt fair use clips of it, but not rights to sell it unless it is all his footage and even then the conditions of the event could be an issue.

Robert Gibbs, clearly bored with life in DC as Obama’s Press Secretary, gets tossed a bone:

The Obama staff, accustomed to Keyes’ headline grabbing, was quick to offer a response to the news.

“Given the fact that Alan Keyes suffered the greatest electoral defeat in Illinois Senate history, I can’t imagine why anyone would give him any money,” Obama spokesman Robert Gibbs said. “However, given the recent announcement of the retirement of Sen. Paul Sarbanes, I can only presume any proceeds from the sale of these videos will likely follow him to Maryland for a fourth senate contest.”

I’d accuse him of stealing my idea, but it’s pretty obvious humor.

The Keyes version of the events is rather humorous:

In response to overwhelming demand, we are pleased to offer the historic Keyes-Obama 2004 Senate debates! Not since the Lincoln-Douglas debates of 1858 have the moral issues of the day been deliberated upon at such an intense and impressive level. Available individually or as a set, these debates are a unique and valuable exhibition of two very different approaches to the challenges facing America. Watch and decide for yourself who the winner was!


Obama Speech Voting No On Gonzalez

Floor Statement from Senator Barack Obama on the Nomination of
Alberto Gonzales for Attorney General

Thursday, February 3, 2005
Remarks as Prepared for Delivery
Thursday, February 3, 2005

A few days ago, the world watched as the seeds of democracy began to
take root in Iraq. As a result of the sheer courage of the Iraqi
people and the untold sacrifices of American soldiers, the success of
the elections showed just how far people will go to achieve self-
government and rule of law.

As Americans, we can take pride in the fact that this kind of courage
has been inspired by our own struggle for freedom…by the tradition
of democratic law secured by our forefathers and enshrined in our

It’s a tradition that says all men are created equal under the law –
and that no one is above it.

That’s why, even within the Executive Branch, there is an office
dedicated to enforcing the laws of the land and applying them to
people and Presidents alike.

In this sense, the Attorney General is not like the other Cabinet
posts. Unlike the Secretary of State, who is the public face of the
President’s foreign policy, or the Secretary of Education, whose job
it is to carry out the President’s education policy, the Attorney
General’s job is not just to enforce the President’s laws. It is to
tell the President what the law is. The job is not simply to
facilitate the President’s power, it is to speak truth to that power
as well.

The job is to protect and defend the laws and the freedoms for which
so many have sacrificed so much.

The President is not the Attorney General’s client – the people are.
And so the true test of an Attorney General nominee is whether that
person is ready to put the Constitution of the people before the
political agenda of the President. As such, I cannot approach this
nomination the same way I approached that of Secretary of State Rice
or VA Secretary Nicholson or any other Cabinet position. The standard
is simply higher.

I wanted to give Alberto Gonzales the benefit of the doubt when we
began this process. His story is inspiring – especially for so many
of us who have shared in achieving his American Dream. And I have no
question that, as White House counsel, he has served his President
and his country to the best of his ability. But, in my judgment,
these positive qualities alone are not sufficient to warrant
confirmation as the top law enforcement officer in the land.

I had hoped that during his hearings Judge Gonzales would ease my
concerns about some of the legal advice he gave to the President. And
I had hoped he would prove that he has the ability to distance
himself from his role as the President’s lawyer so that he could
perform his new role as the people’s lawyer.

Sadly, rather than full explanations during these hearings, I heard
equivocation. Rather than independence, I heard an unyielding
insistence on protecting the President’s prerogative.

I did not hear Mr. Gonzales repudiate two and a half years of
official U.S. policy which has defined torture so narrowly that only
organ failure and death would qualify. A policy that he himself
appears to have helped develop the dubious legal rationale for.
Imagine that. If the entire world accepted the definition contained
in the Department of Justice memos, we can only imagine what
atrocities might befall our American POWs. How, in a world without
such basic constraints would we feel about sending our sons and
daughters to war? How, if we are willing to rationalize torture
through legalisms and semantics, can we claim to our children, and
the children of the world, that America is different, and represents
a higher moral standard?

This policy isn’t just a moral failure, it’s a violation of half a
century of international law. Yet while Mr. Gonzales’ job was White
House Counsel, he said nothing to the President.

He showed no ability to speak with responsible moral clarity then,
and he’s indicated that he still has no intention to speak such
truths now. During his recent testimony, he refused to refute a
conclusion of the torture memo which stated that the President has
the power to override our laws when acting as Commander-in-Chief.
Think about that — the nation’s top law enforcement officer telling
its most powerful citizen that if the situation warrants, he can
break the law from time to time.

The truth is, Mr. Gonzales has raised serious doubts about whether,
given the choice between the Constitution and the President’s
political agenda, he would put our Constitution first. And that is
why I simply cannot support his nomination for Attorney General.

I understand that Judge Gonzales will most likely be confirmed
anyway, and I look forward to working together with him in that new
role. But I also hope that once in office, he’ll take the lessons of
this debate to heart.

You know, before serving in this distinguished body, I had the
privilege of teaching law for ten years at the University of Chicago.
And among the brilliant minds to leave that institution for
government service was a former Dean of the Law School named Edward
Levi. A man of impeccable integrity who was committed to the rule of
law before politics, Levi was chosen by President Ford to serve as
Attorney General in the wake of Watergate. The President courageously
chose to appoint him not because Dean Levi was a yes man, not because
he was a loyal political soldier, but so that he could restore the
public’s confidence in a badly damaged Justice Department – so that
he could restore the public’s trust in the ability of our leaders to
follow the law.

While he has raised serious doubts about his ability to follow this
example, Judge Gonzales can still choose to restore our trust. He can
still choose to put the Constitution first. I hope for our country’s
sake, he will. To start with, he should take these three steps upon
assuming his new role:

1. He can immediately repudiate the terror memos and ensure that the
Department of Defense is not using any of its recommendations to
craft interrogation policy.

2. He can restore the credibility of his former position as Legal
Counsel by appointing an independent-minded, universally respected
lawyer to the post.

3. And he can provide Congress regular, detailed reports on his
efforts to live up to the President’s stated zero-tolerance policy
toward torture.

Today, we are engaged in a deadly global struggle with those who
would intimidate, torture, and murder people for exercising the most
basic freedoms. If we are to win this struggle and spread those
freedoms, we must keep our own moral compass pointed in a true
direction. The Attorney General is one figure charged with doing
this, but to do it well he must demonstrate a higher loyalty than to
just the President. He must demonstrate a loyalty to the ideals that
continue to inspire a nation, and hopefully, the world.

Hope Fund

Obama started his PAC calling it the Hope Fund.

Obama’s PAC, called Hope Fund, will give Obama more leeway to raise money than he has with his existing campaign committee, said Ron Michaelson, an expert in campaign finance, and David Axelrod, a consultant for Obama.

Gene Callahan, a longtime observer of Illinois politics, said the move signals Obama’s ambition for a larger national role, even while he represents Illinois on Capitol Hill. Robert Gibbs, Obama’s spokesman, could not be reached for comment.

Lots of people wring their hands over such moves and make sure to point out that the Senator is keeping an eye out for Illinois.

I think that is a bunch of pretense–I hope to see lots of Iowa and New Hampshire donations on those reports. Probably should wait a reporting cycle or two, but you can never start too early for 2012.

And to Jason Gerwig who complains about it on behalf of the Republicans–such donations also helps one get better committee assignments which does help the Citizens of Illinois.

Looking for Someone to Hire

Looks like a former US Senate Candidate has a bright daughter who has been fired and is looking to find gainful employment.

Keyes fired Maya apparently because she took part in the counter-innaugaral protests and she is losing her housing and her job. As she seems like a pretty bright young woman, maybe someone out there can give her some help–that need not be a job, but some suggestions or guidance as to where to look.

And for the record, I’m with Anjuls–parents should be more supportive and if my girls grow up to be half as intelligent, independent and thoughtful, I’ll be quite proud.