A New Can Of Worms
12 September 2003
Sound Familiar?

Jacob Schelsinger in the Wall Street Journal story today (link requires subscription) describes what could very easily be Illinois:

"Political parties often face a tension between appealing to their base and to mainstream voters. What has made that dynamic particularly damaging for California Republicans was how it became bitterly personal through the 1990s. The fights 'went beyond ideology,' says Duf Sundheim, who was elected state chairman this year. 'You would have board meetings where all people did was shout at each other,' he says. 'It was like the Middle East -- no trust, nobody trying to build anything, everyone throwing bombs at each other.'

Conservatives blame Mr. Wilson for launching the civil war, with a concerted effort in 1992 to put up moderates in Republican primaries against conservatives. Mr. Haynes still seethes about his 1994 race: 'I was trying to pick up a seat to defeat a Democrat, but to get there I had to fight with the Wilson folks in the primary. I ended up having to spend an additional half a million dollars.'

The party's conservatives often fought back. In 2000, the state party chairman sued, unsuccessfully, to overturn the results of some Republican primaries won by moderates -- dubbed by detractors as RINOs, or Republicans In Name Only. State party chairmanship elections became pitched battles between the two factions. When Brooks Firestone, an heir to the tire fortune, ran as the moderate in 2001, some opponents wielded slashed tires at the convention vote.

Mr. Sundheim insists, Mr. McClintock's obstinacy notwithstanding, that the tone within the party is changing. He cites improved Republican voter registration motivated by the recall, and the appointment of a Latino party vice chairman, among other signs."

What's interesting is that Illinois has gone through a lot of this with the GOP in power, which suggests that being in our out of power isn't as important as we are led to believe. My take on it is that the Christian Right -- and let's face it that's who we are discussing here -- is still being brought into the mainstream political process. Politics and policy has become professionalized due to increased specialization in the last 30 years, activists just starting out lack that.

While at the national level the christian activists are real pros and are real effective. Just as the Reagan Revolution is beginning to emerge in the states, christian activists in big numbers are still fairly new to state politics. It takes time for new activists to get over the frustration/anger/my way or the highway stage and move on to the incrementalists approach to winning. Bringing about change in a society like ours takes decades not an election cycle or two.
Old School

Lobbying involved in bond sales is the headline in today's SJ-R:

"When Illinois launched a $10 billion bond sale this spring, financial firms hired some of the state's best-known lobbyists to secure pieces of the action.

While Gov. Rod Blagojevich continues to insist that business as usual is over in state government, federal records show that several of the investment houses that succeeded did it the old-fashioned way."

In defense of Hot Rod, how is he supposed to change the behavior of the large investment firms and lobbyists? With regard to whether or not is was clout that got bond houses the business I would ask someone to tall me why Merrill Lynch is not well qualified to execute the bond offering? Moreover, since when is it a moral transgression to hire a lobbyist? Isn't that our right?
The Real Alabama Story

Karen Bailey of the Center for Individual Freedom offer insights into why the Alabama's Amendment One -- a tax proposal totaling more than $1.2 billion -- failed at the polls on September 9th. Karen should know, while finishing up her tour at Americans for Tax Reform almost all of her time was spent working to defeat Amendment One.

"Accounting 101: The first lesson students learn in arithmetic is one plus one equals two. In the case of Amendment One, a $675 million budget shortfall equaled a $1.2 billion tax increase. This left voters scratching their heads. As products of the Alabama public school system, voters were continually told they were the dumbest graduates in the country — at least that’s what the test scores said. But perhaps voters did learn that one plus one does equal two, and what the governor proposed simply did not add up.

Ethics 101: In most states, the use of public resources or facilities is illegal in any campaign. You wouldn’t know that by the way the pro-tax campaign was handled in Alabama. Principals and teachers were provided 'Vote Yes' signs, pro-Amendment One literature was posted in public offices and some schools proudly displayed 'Vote Yes' signs on their front lawns. The governor went so far as to replacing the typical elevator muzak or silence on the public office phone system 'hold line' with a pro-Amendment One message, complete with instructions to the listener: 'Vote yes on September 9th.'

Campaign 101: What ever happened to the days when politicians kissed babies? Those days are apparently gone in Alabama, or at least for the Riley Administration. Instead of wooing voters with sweet compliments and southern charm, Riley resorted to the catchphrase, 'Alabama is last in everything good and first in everything bad.' His policy director, David Stewart, even went so far as to call the people of Alabama 'stupid' when asked why the governor’s plan was doing poorly in the polls. To make matters worse, Charles Blair, president of the Huntsville school board called opponents of the plan 'idiots' and 'morons.' "

11 September 2003
It's About Time

Israel has agreed in principle to expel Arafat from the territories. They will not kick him out of Ramallah because of US opposition.

It seems the US believes -- and this has to be the State Department -- that if Arafat is expelled from the territories it will be a PR coup for him. If our policy is to isolate Arafat, then PR coup or no PR coup everyone would be better off if Arafat were removed physically from his power base.

This is just another example of our elites telling us that we lose by winning. It's an execuse for not acting. Israel should act.

Kathuria's Web Site Is Up

Kathuriaforsenate.com definately shows a commitment by Chirinjeev Kathuria to establish a web presence for his senate run.

It's the best site I've seen for any office in IL.
Ethics Come To Illinois

If you are a state worker and you hate your job and especially your boss, has theSJ-R got the thing for you.

"Gov. Rod Blagojevich on Wednesday touted a new tool to fight corruption in state government as he again encouraged state lawmakers to support his rewrite of a broad ethics bill.

His inspector general's division has begun taking tips through a toll-free hot line - (866) 814-1113 - and a Web site, inspectorgeneral.il.gov. The newly created office, headed by former federal prosecutor Z. Scott, investigates wrongdoing in the agencies, boards and commissions under the governor's control."

Not get out there and seek revenge
This Is When Illinois Leader Is At Its Best

And no, I'm not saying this because I'm quoted in this welfare reform piece. I'm saying it because it points to a conservative success.

10 September 2003
The Truth About Iraq

I regret to inform the Democrat Party's liberal base that we, the United States of America, are not only winning the war but we are winning the hearts and minds of average Iraqis. I know how much you hate the idea of the United States being successful in any way. I know how much you hate everything this country stands for -- it's values, it's history, it's people and it's culture. And finally, I know that you are probably losing sleep at the very idea that we are successfully waging a war against terror and that the Iraqi people are a grateful for their liberation. I just want you to know,... I feel your pain... I really do...

09 September 2003
Coming to Grips with Anti-Americanism

Fouad Ajami sums up Anti-americanism and why it just isn't THAT important:

"The United States need not worry about hearts and minds in foreign lands. If Germans wish to use anti-Americanism to absolve themselves and their parents of the great crimes of World War II, they will do it regardless of what the United States says and does. If Muslims truly believe that their long winter of decline is the fault of the United States, no campaign of public diplomacy shall deliver them from that incoherence. In the age of Pax Americana, it is written, fated, or maktoob (as the Arabs would say) that the plotters and preachers shall rail against the United States— in whole sentences of good American slang."

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