Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Personal Asides

Rich Miller of Capitol Fax Joins Roosevelt Class to Lecture About Illinois Politics…Dan Proft, Leading Republican Political Consultant Signs Up for Lecture As Well…Also the Only Man to Get Me to Register Democrat: Phil Rock, former Senate President, Joins the “Faculty”…The “Sun-Times” Blagojevich Landslide Poll.


In Illinois politics, if you’re talking inside baseball and astute analysis, you automatically go to Rich Miller’s Capitol Fax newsletter whose subscription fee is absolutely worth everything you pay for it—and more. In addition there is his superb blog, www.thecapitolfaxblog.com which every serious student of Illinois politics and government…as well as those who just love the thrill of the game…reads as the first order of business each morning. It’s a given that no other reporter covering state politics…from Springfield to Chicago and all points in between…works as hard or as indefatigably as does Rich Miller. He is almost always consulted by nationally-known journalists when assessing the tempo of political contests in Illinois. That we don’t always agree makes life interesting for both of us but his prowess at interpreting Illinois government, and especially the legislalture, sets him on a pinnacle as an invaluable member of the Roosevelt U group of lecturers. That’s why it’s a pleasure to announce that Rich Miller will lecture at my Roosevelt University course on December 7 at 6 p.m.


The young man who moved from Northwestern University student days as an editor of a conservative, alternative independent newspaper on campus which, having been persecuted by the liberal establishment, won the support of NW alum Academy Award winner Charlton Heston…Dan Proft…who has become a leading Republican political consultant in today’s state politics…will lecture on the nature of political consultancy at my Roosevelt U class. Proft is a key strategist for Tony Peraica, the hard-charging Republican candidate for president of the Cook county Board and superintended the win of a Republican mayor of Cicero in a dramatic tilt with the forces of Eddie Vrdolyak as well as Beth Coulson, the progressive Republican lawmaker from Glenview. His career strategizing has included Alan Keyes’ conservative run for U. S. Senator and State Senator Steve Rauschenberger for governor. He was founder and first editor of the innovative Internet political newsletter, “The Illinois Leader.” Proft is a frequent guest on “Beyond the Beltway with Bruce DuMont” and has also appeared on my own WLS-AM program. He will speak on October . 12 at 6 p.m.


The only man who made me become a Democrat …technically, and for a short time…has signed up as a guest lecturer at my Roosevelt University class: Former state Senate president Phil Rock. Democratic state chairman and widely regarded as the statesman of the Senate, Rock dealt even-handedly with Democrats and Republicans and introduced legislation on occasion that was unpopular but nevertheless needed introducing. An Oak Parker, Phil Rock ran also as a candidate for the Democratic nomination for U. S. Senate in 1984. Because he was…and is…a pro-lifer and would oppose pro-choice Sen. Charles Percy, I decided to vote for Rock in the Democratic primary in that year in an effort to help him win (though he was …and still is…too liberal for me on some economic issues but for me pro-life is always uber alles). Thus by taking the Democratic ballot, I became, technically, a Democrat. I never thought of staying a Democrat—but if I ever had, lefty Paul Simon, who defeated Rock for the Senatorial nomination, would have scared me away permanently. Former president Rock is going to talk about the nature of the state Senate and discuss how legislative leaders of one party can work with those of another party…and a governor of another party…to get things done. He will speak on November 2 at 6 p.m.


There is little doubt that the “Sun-Times”-NBC5 poll showing Gov. Blagojevich leading Judy Baar Topinka 56 to 26 percent is skewed due to an abnormally small sample and probable imprecise weighting of Democrats, Republicans and independents…but no one seriously believes anymore that Topinka has more than a sliver of a chance. What is the reason for the imbalance? Democratic liberals who passionately want Topinka to beat Blagojevich, serve one term, raise the income tax and get out to allow Lisa Madigan to coast trouble-free, see that the governor’s fund-raising has done the magic. Possibly—but they should understand that a Republican who is at serious odds with her party on major social issues…to the extent that she will not even support a marriage amendment…and to the point of refusing to endorse even abstinence funding…in addition to pro-choice and gay rights…cannot possibly be supported by much of the GOP base.

Any normal Republican candidate…Jim Oberweis…Bill Brady…Ron Gidwitz…having won the primary would have marched into the fray with a reasonably united party base. A unified base would have been strengthened by the scandals and probe headlines that have ravaged the governor’s campaign. In addition to being unable to muster more than a shattered base, Topinka has herself been unprepared for a major contest and entered the primary debates without a program. Why I don’t know. She has had years and a formidable office with which to muster possible state programs but everything she says sounds like she’s winging it.

In addition the tone of her campaign is low-rent. Please: for those who have misunderstood my use of this term earlier: “Low rent” is not an economic term but a social one. Paris Hilton is low-rent. Brittany Spears is low-rent. Rosie O’Donnell is low-rent. All multi-millionaires and all are low-rent. Brad Pitt and his pregnant girl friend who will not marry until “everyone is allowed to marry” are low-rent. Low-rent is what we have in the Republican gubernatorial contest and barring a sudden cataclysmic debacle in the Democratic race, the results on election day will so testify.

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