Thursday, July 2, 2009

Personal Aside: Lisa Will Run for the Senate—Which Changes Everything…Kirk Dillard Looks Solid as Major GOP Gubernatorial Candidate…the Other Kirk (Mark) to Get Tough Primary Opposition…My GOP Ticket Pix!



Attorney General Lisa Madigan will run for the U. S. Senate against incumbent Roland Burris (who is seen as a sure loser). Why when Lisa and her family have long felt that the governorship is in her destiny? Four reasons: (1) The gubernatorial situation has become so tumultuous with Pat Quinn that even Lisa will have a tough time getting a united party behind her even if she beats Quinn for the nomination. (2) The Dems have a lot of goo-goo’s who want higher taxes to pay for social needs (unlike the state as a whole) and Quinn will have their favor. (3) In contrast running for the Senate should be a breeze for her—with Burris cascading into single digits and the White House pledging super-strong backing in this blue state. (4) Lisa’s likely election to the Senate means that her poppa won’t leave the legislative fray, a circumstance he has not been too keen about doing.


The phenomenal chaos between the Democratic governor and the Democratic legislature is torpedoing the confidence of voters that one-party dominance in the state house can work. Thus it strengthens the possibility…even approaches a probability…that Republicans can regain control of the Executive Mansion next year. My own preference aside, it looks like major elements within the party…including the money…will be on Kirk Dillard for reasons that (a) he’s tested, (b) is extraordinarily knowledgeable about the state, (c) is articulate and (d) is seen as acceptable to all GOP factions including so-called moderates despite the fact that on social issues he has been almost 100%--which is an amazing achievement. Usually someone who is ace-high on social issues and pleasing to conservatives is zilch with moderates and vice-versa. Not so with Dillard.

At the same time it should be said that someone who has made a surprisingly good impression on the stump and with libertarians is Adam Andrzejewski (An-GEE-EFF-ski) the fresh-faced boy-wonder entrepreneur from Wheaton who appears like the proverbial breath of fresh air, never having run for office before…appealing to youth…increasingly a group that so hates professional politicians they would prefer a Buddhist monk from Tibet. DuPage county board chairman Bob Schillerstrom is perceived to be weighed down with baggage with standard pay-to-play supporters…people who hold down contracts having ponied up for his campaigns: appearing to be the same-old, same-old. Joe Birkett is suspected as not running for governor in the long run but for AG despite what he says now.

Bill Brady is a dud. Not on top of the issues; uses so-called charisma to substitute for vapid generalities. But still a favorite with some downstate. Yet since he voted for Christine Rodogno for Republican leader over Dillard, his future is behind him.

But somebody with a future…although not for governor this time…is Dan Proft. Not because of his stunning resume but because of his superb issue-phrasing and issue smarts. Where he will fit no one knows but he is a crowd-pleaser.

The Other Kirk.

The other Kirk—Mark—is in big-big trouble in the 10th. Shows you how unpredictable politics is. Initially he stalled announcing for the Senate because he was afraid his divorce proceedings would turn nasty and personal. Didn’t happen. No sooner did he reconsider than the House vote on Cap and Trade came up. Rahm Emanuel, Mark’s friend, in the past could be counted on…at least Mark Kirk thinks…as willing to trade a vote here and there for the Dems as pretext to get an easy Democratic candidate in the 10th for Mark to beat. Same thing popped up this time. With the Hamlet-like Kirk going this-way-and-that on either running for the Senate or sticking with the House, the Iago figure of Emanuel slunk in the door and said that if Mark did them a good turn on Cap ‘n Trade maybe a clunker could be found to run against him in the House. Sounded good to Kirk no matter what he ended up doing.

His rationale which sounded reasonable at the time: Republicans have long been tolerant of Mark’s defections because they know he has a tough district and so they wink at his apostasy. But this time Mark didn’t understand the fervor Republicans had with beating Cap `n Trade. When Mark voted for it as only one of eight Republicans in the House and it passed by only eight votes, the dismay of business leaders turned into white-hot anger. They could take Mark’s defections on social policy which business types don’t care much about anyhow—but Cap `n Trade hits them in their wallets, can jeopardize the fragile health of the economy…and the old familiar word “betrayal” started to overshadow the issue. They ask: what’s the use of our placating Mark Kirk if he’s just another Dem vote anyhow? So he’s going to get a tough primary opponent.

And paradoxically, Mark Kirk is more likely to go down to defeat to a conservative in the primary than if he were to meet any of the clunkers Emanuel can round up.

Strangely enough, if Kirk were a gambler…even a prudent risk-taker (which he doesn’t appear to be)… he’d take a 90-to-l chance and run for the Senate against Lisa since he’s likely to be dead-on-arrival by losing his base in the 10th. His knowledge of national security issues is impressive. But the lad with the cute little button nose is a Hamlet and so he’ll stick in the 10th and take his chances…which aren’t good. I couldn’t vote for him for the Senate but he could round up enough ticket liberal squish-switch hitters to make it in a pinch.

My GOP Ticket Pix.

Thinking about a balanced ticket…here’s what I’d pick as of today for the Republican state ticket—and why.

Governor: Sen. Kirk Dillard. Social and fiscal conservative with a warmly thoughtful personality who generates a “listening to you” mode. Also as a former top aide to Jim Edgar conveys a broader image than just conservative—although in truth he’s more conservative than was his old boss. An ideal combination with pro-lifers, gun people and still a healthy middle-of-the-road appeal. The disaster the Dems are cooking up may well make him Illinois’ 41st governor. Possible negative? Not many for a politician who’s been around this long…but possibly needs to step up the energy on the campaign trail since as a thoughtful type he’s more reflective and slower-moving—but this can be improved with good campaign management. DuPage county.

Lt. Governor: Kathy Salvi. Mother of six, lawyer, charming, even beauteous. Strong base with pro-lifers, social conservatives, Catholics; , has disagreed with husband Al on inordinate gun control. Good speaker to-boot. Negative: A personal injury lawyer, a little verbose. Lake county.

Attorney General: Rep. Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs). Excellent legislator and campaigner who without much money at all ran against Sen. Dick Durbin. In primary contest he was endorsed by every major newspaper. Has gained further prestige since with his role in the impeachment of Blagojevich. Social conservative but he doesn’t go to bed every night and arise every morning with those issues in mind. Catholic. Cook county.

Secretary of State: Dr. Eric Wallace. Time for an energetic black conservative who’s got a tough challenge against icon Jesse White: but running here would be a “get-acquainted” opportunity for the state from a constituency rarely heard-from: African American pro-enterprise intellectuals (Wallace has a Ph.D). Social conservative. Evangelical Protestant. Negatives: not all that well known; running against great odds by facing White. Cook county.

Treasurer: State Sen. Dan Rutherford (R-Genoa). Attractive speaker from the Pontiac area who makes a spellbinding speech; ran for secretary of state previously. Protestant. Knows a lot about fiscal policy and taxes. Negatives: None but that’s not because some irresponsibles haven’t tried. Intrusive attacks on non-governmental matters have backfired into a positive for him--resulting in a decided net-plus. Pro-life; supporter of gay rights. Protestant. Livingston county.

Comptroller: Adam Andrzejewski for all the reasons listed in paragraph 2 under subhead “Dillard.” Surprisingly good on the stump; has a boyish touch of innocence that gives off a good government glow. Negatives: too green to have any. But he should remember saying he knows nothing about politics is good only one time around—the first time. From Wheaton. Cook county.


On U. S. Senator, the decision of Lisa Madigan to seek that seat means that Illinois’ most popular public official will be very tough to beat—but she’s not insuperable…since the gloss is rapidly wearing off Obama and his ideas. Rep. Mark Kirk is dead in the water. Given his disastrous vote on Cap `n Trade he has lost…at least now, maybe for all time…his following on business issues, and his good background on defense issues is becoming irrelevant due to his frittering away even his so-called moderate following.

The logical candidate against Lisa is one who can challenge her and the Obama people on its weakest point—the economy. That would be…

Brian Wesbury, 51, suburban Cook county economist (supply-side) honored in 2004 by “USA Today” as one of the top ten economic forecasters in the United States and ranked by “The Wall Street Journal” as the nation’s preeminent economic forecaster in 2001. He’s published regularly in the WSJ and is a CNBC contributor. McGraw-Hill published his first book, “The New Era of Wealth” in 1999. He’s attractive and speaks well—in fact makes much of his living on the stump explaining economics in easy-to-understand, everyday terms. He’s current chief economist for First Trust Portfolios, a financial services firm located in Wheaton. Previously he was chief economist for Griffin, Kubik, Stephens & Thompson, a Chicago investment bank. When Republicans controlled Congress, he was chief economist for the Joint Economic Committee in 1995, directing and advising committee members on policy matters regarding the economy.

He has a BA in economics from the University of Montana (1981) and received an MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg school of management. He’s married, a father and is an evangelical Protestant.

What’s little known about Wesbury is that he ran statewide when he was a very young tadpole…age 31…as candidate for lieutenant governor with Steve Baer who unsuccessfully challenged Jim Edgar. The campaign was under-funded and is forgotten…no lasting harm went to Wesbury and if any remains it’s on Baer. Baer stressed social issues against Edgar; Wesbury stressed the economy. Wesbury’s charisma is not unlike Art Laffer’s.

I have no idea as to whether Wesbury would do it but he just might—because running for the U. S. Senate in a key states would provide him with even more visibility and probably…certainly…some national exposure, basis his economic prominence.

Negatives: One…which is also Laffer’s…but it can be handled. Repeatedly, until the economic meltdown hit, he declared the country can avoid recession and people should buy stocks “because the market basically today is priced for almost the end of the world.” But a precondition to his analysis was that for the economy to continue growth three things were needed: economic freedom, low taxes, open markets and a supportive governmental infrastructure. He can easily make the case…and as in the WSJ…that government was the culprit in the housing debacle and most everything else concerning the economy. He has been amply supported in this by the WSJ editorial board.

The second negative is that the last time I saw him he was wearing a beard. Quick, the razor, Jeeves!

There’s no doubt that running against Lisa would be tough—but it’d be tough for anybody. And I just have this notion in the back of my head that someone who pushes Obama as she will is going to sound like the same-old, same-old.

No comments:

Post a Comment