The Barbershop has re-located

The proprietor has moved the shop to ChicagoNow, a Chicago Tribune site that showcases some of the best bloggers in the Chicago area. You can logo on to the Barbershop home page here. The ChicagoNow home page is here.

You'll still be able to post comments with the same ease as in this location. The proprietor also will keep this web site alive if you wish to review old posts.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Illinois Races Draw National Attention

By Dennis Byrne
Human Events

Voters in Chicago’s west suburban sixth congressional district, long represented by venerable and retiring Henry Hyde, are caught in the crossfire from the adjacent districts of two of the most powerful House members in both parties.

The cannon to the right of them, as Tennyson might write, are those of dug-in House Speaker Dennis Hastert. The cannon commanding the heights to the left of them are those of the doggedly aspiring Rep. Rahm Emanuel, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

For more than a year now, voters there have been pounded by some of the heaviest artillery that both sides can muster—massive amounts of out-of-district campaign contributions and campaign stops by the likes of Vice President Dick Cheney. Hastert and Emanuel each would dearly love to sweep down through the valley and claim it as its own, giving the victor a huge symbolic and strategic triumph. The spoils of victory could well be control of the House.

The GOP has reason to fear an epic loss. It’s not for nothing that this race has drawn national attention. No less important, but less visible because the district isn’t flanked by two high-profile politicians, is the nearby battle in the traditionally Republican 8th district, where the “moderate” Democrat Melissa Bean, who ousted the former Rep. Phil Crane, holds the incumbent’s advantage over Republican challenger, David McSweeney.

Continue at Human Events
, the national conservative weekly, where I am a newly added contributor.


Stephen Schade said...

Dear Mr. Byrne:

I too was disappointed by the treatment of Cegelis. However, Iraq is clearly the No. 1 issue this year, so Duckworth may turn out to be a good choice. Moreover, she is not just a one-issue candidate, having some background in health care, another major issue. So, I am willing to give her a chance.

The bluing trend you noticed in Illinois is part of a larger national trend in which the two parties have switched places. Northeasterners went Democratic decades ago, and the Midwest has followed suit. Some Western states are also trending Democratic, such as Colorado, Kansas, Montana, and Arizona. And it is not because liberals have moved to these locales. Rather, people have changed parties because they feel the GOP no longer represents their views.

Dave said...

Echoing a comment by Stephen Schade above -

The parties have most definitely changed their geographical appeal over time and with it their basic character

This page -
traces the history of the parties by looking at presidential elections from the point of view of Vermont (with Alabama for contrast).

What state elected a governor from the nation’s first third party (the Wigs) to oppose "King Jackson" (a Democrat from the South)?


What state produced a radical abolitionist speaker of the house, and voted for (Republican) Lincoln by the largest margin of any state?


What state has the longest unbroken Republican voting streak?


In what state did Bush lose the most ground between 2000 and 2004?

The same state that produced Howard Dean - Vermont.

The basic views and assumptions of the people of Vermont and Alabama have not changed that dramatically over time. The parties have changed.

Look at the election mapes of 1896 and 2000/2004 and they are almost opposite colors. We've made one full cycle since then, it seems.

Dave said...

Expanding on the last post -

Politics often involves group self interest, and this divides people by race, wealth etc. But sometimes underlying ethical/religious divides drive politics as well.

In ethics many questions are easy to get universal agreement on. Where there is disagreement, I find it useful to divide ethics by three different "poles".

There is the egotist pole that has its political expression in libertarianism. The guiding principle is maximum liberty consistent with the same for others.

Another pole is the utilitarian pole. It finds political expression in socialism. The guiding principle is the "most good for the greatest number".

Finally there is a traditionalist pole. The guiding principle is the traditional norms of the society (often found in unchanging scripture or documents, and therefore backed by Divine approval). The political expression is Nationalism.

If in your thinking you blend theses three poles as on average your society does, then almost by definition you are a centrist.

Vermont is strong on a blend of Libertarianism and Utilitarianism, and Alabama is very Traditionalist.

In WWII the Republicans had the Libertarian vote, and that was about it. With both the Traditionalist and Utilitarian vote, Roosevelt dominated.

When Nixon looked South, followed by Reagan, the Republicans had the Traditionalist vote, and the Libertarian vote. With only the utilitarian vote, the Democrats had no chance.

Today the Republicans have a lock on the Traditionalist vote, and are quickly bleeding the Libertarian vote.