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Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Hastert's Illinois Approach to Politics

By Dennis Byrne

Pundits glued to their Potomac seats, applying their usual Beltway explanations for everything that happens in America, would have it that House Speaker Dennis Hastert bollixed up the House page scandal because he is an unredeemed Republican partisan. Or that he doesn't care enough about congressmen hounding boys. Or that his conservatism made him do it.

Blind partisanship, moral failings, hypocrisy, gay bashing or any of those other explanations that don't come close to the reality that Hastert was simply doing politics as it is practiced here, in Illinois.

Hastert knows no other way, having been bred, born and raised in the tradition. Even finding himself elevated to the nation's third highest office hasn't cleansed him. His handling of the Mark Foley transgressions is how he and pols in Illinois handle everything.

How to explain to Time, NPR, Washington Post, New York Times, network news, the McLaughlin Group and others whose elucidations have missed the mark?

First, in Illinois...

Continue reading at RealClearPolitics


Stephen Schade said...

Mr. Byrne:

Contrary to what you and Kass believe, there are real differences between the two parties in Illinois. The Tribune found that out after hosting the debate between Blagojevich and Topinka yesterday.

Daley is right. The Foley affair will have little impact on the election. Indeed, Democratic polls indicate that it is affecting only half a dozen races. It is the real issues of Iraq, Katrina, energy, and health care that will do in the GOP this year.

Ricky Nonlib said...

'the real issues of Iraq,Katrina,energy and health care'

Democratic approach to Iraq: they will do it 'smarter', according to Kerry....

Katrina: since New Orleans and Louisiana are totally run by Democrats we know how they handle natural disasters - they are helpless, since they have been trained to rely on others....

energy: has a Democrat every produced a kilowatt of energy? Or do they merely block every attempt at production and exploration?

Health care: socialized medicine to provide slow, low quality service to less people.

The polls do show the Repubs in trouble, but it is not because Demo's have anything better to offer, just different, in the eyes of the casual observer of current events.

Stephen Schade said...

No occupying power has ever won a guerilla war. The answer to the Iraqi situation is quite clear. Kerry proposed a withdrawal by July 2007.

Granted, the governor of Louisiana made a mistake by not evacuating sooner. However, FEMA really missed the boat on Katrina, due primarily to an unqualified director. At least Clinton put a professional in that position.

The Democratic energy plan is comprehensive. It includes conservation and alternative forms of energy.

Socialized medicine provides affordable health care to EVERYONE. If the quality is low, then why do countries with that system have higher life expectancies and lower infant mortality rates?

Ricky Nonlib said...

I've found that every issue can be seen from at least two viewpoints; the same set of facts can be interpreted in multiple ways. It boils down to which side one has landed upon. In my case I started out subscribing to the liberal viewpoint, but I later realized this is the default; the path of least resistance. I actually knew nothing at all about how things work: what creates jobs; what builds houses; what keeps people from being enslaved by dictators.

A child sees a homeless man and thinks 'everyone should have a home, the president should make rich people buy him a home'. This is the beginning of liberal thinking.

I find that adult liberals have never graduated from that line of reasoning and it does no good to argue with them.

Lou Smith said...

I’m not throwing away my vote.

I read your column and a few things came to mind.

I must preface my remarks by saying how upset my partner of eight years and I are about the Stroger shenanigans. We are contemplating voting for Stroger’s opponent. It wouldn’t be a vote for Peraica, but more a vote against what my Democratic party has done. Believe me, this is no easy decision considering Peraica’s anti-gay history. I would like to vote for someone.

Gays, like other minorities, often have to vote for the lesser of two evils. This means which of the two candidates are less likely to do harm (stoke homophobia through fear-mongering, discriminatory laws, and most importantly, increased hatred of gays) to our community.

We would really like to vote against both of them. I guess my partner and I will abstain from voting for either of them.

Regarding the proposed Protect Marriage Illinois referendum, I find your argument unfounded and illogical. You slam Fair Illinois for examining the petitions submitted for the Protect Marriage Illinois referendum. You state the “undemocrats…found enough flaws in a small sample of the signatures” of the 400,000 plus submitted to have the proposed referendum thrown out.

First, it was the Illinois State Board of Elections (ISBE) that reviewed a small sample (10%) and did not find the required percentage of valid signatures. The proposal needed 281,000 signatures to be valid under Illinois law and make it on to the ballot. ISBE found that with its sample the number of valid signatures submitted would fall more than 25,000 short. I personally believe that Protect Marriage Illinois would have fallen more than 100,000 signatures short if ISBE had looked at all the signatures.

Second, Fair Illinois and other groups checked every signature—not just a sample—EVERY ONE! My partner and I, and hundreds of others volunteered their time to make sure the submitted signatures and petitions were valid. Of the thousands of signatures that I personally checked, roughly 80% were invalid. The sheer number of invalid signatures fueled the volunteers to push on and put more hours into reviewing petitions. Most of the invalid signatures were of people who were not registered voters. However, there were many that were out-and-out fraud. I found numerous people who signed several different petitions, and others signed names such as “Mickey Mouse” and “Ronald Reagan.”

So I guess your argument, Mr. Byrne, is that anyone should be able to propose anything as a referendum, and the state should spend money on the proposal if even only one person supports it. What should be done if the petition circulator lies, and submits fraudulent signatures? If someone proposes a referendum and does not follow the rules by submitting the required number of registered voters’ signatures, what do you think should happen?

If you believe anyone should be able to require the State of Illinois to include ballot proposals regardless of how many registered voters support it, I would like to propose a ballot item requiring people who write articles in newspapers to use facts. Either you didn’t know that Fair Illinois checked every signature on every petition, or you did and crafted your argument to make it appear that all the signatures weren’t checked. Either way, you didn’t want to let the facts get in the way of your argument.

Stephen Schade said...

Actually, liberalism takes more effort, since change requires a lot of work. Maintaining the status quo, as conservatives do, requires no effort at all.

The stock market averages 14% under Democrats and only 6% under GOP presidents. Moverover, all of the last 6 major recessions have occurred during Republican administrations. It is not conservative policy that creates jobs.

The problem is that conservatism has two things in common with mental illness. One definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over while expecting different results. Who better fits this description than those who resist change? Another definition is being out of touch with reality. Who is more out of touch than those who live in the past, in a world that no longer exists?