Thursday, June 10, 2010

Personal Aside: The Mood Last Night was for Unconventionality.

    Feast of St. Margaret of Scotland.*
             Illinois Republicans will take a long time catching up to the turbulent, risky, conventionality-be-damned mood that dominated most of the nation’s elections last night.  
             Even Arkansas Democrat Blanche Lincoln who has always been kinda-this-and-that, switching positions in tune to what she thinks is the prevailing nuance made the big out-of-state unions the boogey-men, showing what J. William Fulbright neglected to do in his own defense when he was defeated by Dale Bumpers in the primary of 1974.  The U.S. Chamber which had always backed him because he was against the repeal of Taft Hartley’s 14[b] which allowed states to pass Right to Work. I worked the Hill along with others in the Chamber and we met with Fulbright in prior years where he pledged his support.  He was chairman of Senate Foreign Relations in most of those years but he was very careful about stressing his opposition to a key provision of the Senate Democratic agenda.   
             But in 1974, regarded as the darling of the Left for his opposition to the Vietnam War he didn’t want to becloud his image as an intellectual and internationalist nor nullify his out-of-state support from the Left.  He stuck to his old position against repeal, but… 
            “He won’t let us put up TV and radio ads,” a Chamber operative told me, “because he sees himself as having grown away from conservatism.  He’s a big shot internationalist leader now. He still supports Right-to-Work but isn’t proud of it. He’ll get blown away by Bumpers.” 
              Indeed, he was.  Despite an ADA rating of 80% and ACA of 8% Lincoln wasn’t afraid of doing a kind of right-wing pivot, taking on the huge unions who backed her opponent. She made herself a kind of anti-big-union populist.   But don’t worry: the commissariat can cheer all they want for the little lady…even Fox News was ecstatic last night… but she’s destined to be dead meat when Republican John Boozman (pronounced boz-man) goes after her. He’s far more attuned to the temper of the times that…barring a highly improbable switch of public mood to the Left…will still be in full swing in November. He won’t let Arkansas forget she voted for ObamaCare but then against the reconciliation bill that made it law…that she sponsored “card check” before opposing…that—well let Boozman say it later. 
             Even with Blanche Lincoln in a way, the electorate was simply saying this: As this country rockets toward $13 trillion in debt, it’s time to put many unheard of things on the table.  Indeed, it’s a sign of a late-blooming maturity.   
            I well remember the Carter forces in 1980 cheering when Reagan won the GOP nomination: that overage actor is so out of synch with the public we’ll gobble him in no time!  They’re doing the same thing in Nevada now that Sharron Angle beat 11 opponents to snatch the GOP nod against Harry Reid.  Hear them talk: why she even wants to cash-in the U. S. Education Department! She wants to abolish Social Security! She talked about “phasing out” Social Security!  
       Her top opponent, the state GOP chairwoman, was more corporate about her conservatism. Sue Lowden raised twice what Angle did and drew far more sexy big name endorsements (Palin didn’t publicly endorse her but praised her which was almost as good) and organizations: Nevada Right to Life Political Action Committee…the Susan B. Anthony List.  But I repeat: the mood is for discussing the undiscuss-able,  I don’t think it’s going to hurt as it did in the past. With the Tea Party people it helps.  And the Tea Party’ers nominated Angle. 
                                                South Carolina. 
             Notwithstanding the charges by two men that they had sexual relations with her, State Rep. Nikki Haley ran first in the four-candidate race and fell short by a tad of being the nominee for South Carolina governor. But there is little doubt she will get the nod over Rep. Gresham Barrett. When do you recall that a woman charged with adultery would overcome such rotten publicity? Palin stood by her as did Jennie Sanford the current governor’s wife he has forsaken for a doll in Argentina.   Haley is opposed by a conservative in Barrett…but wait:  He voted in the House for the TARP bailout despite owning an ACU rating of 97%.  
                                                 And Back Here? 
          I personally like the gutsy statement by Steve Rauschenberger now seeking a return to the State Senate from the 22nd district of Illinois (Elgin area).  He said something I thought was very powerful and in fact matches some of the no-holds-barred folks listed above. 
          He said—and I paraphrase somewhat—“The legislature impeached the wrong guy a few years ago! We should have impeached Mike Madigan!” 
         I love it because this guy Madigan has contributed more to Illinois’ awful financial condition than anyone else…and the media generally sighs and says when he dismisses them with a wry smile like the cat that ate the canary: Oh he knows so much about government and politics!   
         I’ve heard that garbage for decades but no one…save Rauschenberger…has decided to put the blame where it belongs. 
         This is an unsolicited endorsement but you can help Steve by calling his office at (847) 622-1049.   He’s going to be on my program Political Shootout on WLS at 8 pm Sunday along with journalist Russ Stewart.  
        More about the election tomorrow.  
     *: St. Margaret of Scotland [1046-1093]. Queen of Scotland who spent early years in Hungary where her family lived in exile during the rule of Danish kings of England. As a member of the Anglo-Saxon royalty her life was in danger after the Norman Conquest and took refuge in the court of Malcolm III, King of Scotland. Intelligent, beautiful, well-read  and devout, she caught the King’s fancy and they were married in 1069. Thanks to her and her daughter Matilda she British royal family can trace its lineage from the pre-Conquest kings of England.  
           She was a principal agent in the reform of the Church of Scotland and took a major part in founding monasteries, churches and hostels for pilgrims. She revived the abbey of Iona and built Dunfermline to be a kind of Scottish Westminster Abbey  as a burial place for the royal family.  Her private life was devoted to prayer and reading, great compassion and almsgiving to the poor.  She was a great influence over her husband who, although he could not read, liked to watch her pray and watch her read. He would have her favorite books embellished with gold and silver. She had eight children, two of whom, Alexander and David, became Kings of Scotland.   
           Her husband and one of her sons were killed on a military expedition. She died at 47, worn out from her labors and was buried next to her husband at Dunferline.  At the Reformation, their bodies were removed to a chapel in Madrid, built for the purpose. She was named the patron of Scotland in 1673.  

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