David John Diersen, GOPUSA Illinois Editor
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October 21, 2006 News Clips - Text
Posted by Diersen on 15-Mar-2007
GOP Chairman Ken Mehlman Visits Illinois - Phil Rogers
Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman is rallying grassroots supporters in Illinois for the upcoming general election Nov. 7.

At the Illinois Victory Center in the Chicago suburb of Rolling Meadow, the GOP'ss leader gave an upbeat assessment on Friday of where the embattled party stands just weeks before voters go to the polls.

Mehlman underscored the importance of retaining the seat now held by retiring Republican House veteran U.S. Rep. Henry Hyde of Wood Dale and unseating freshman Democratic U.S. Rep. Melissa Bean who defeated former Republican U.S. Rep. Phil Crane in 2004.
Republican David McSweeney is challenging Bean.

GOP state Sen. Peter Roskam is battling Iraq war veteran Tammy Duckworth for Hyde's seat.

The Democratic woman lost both legs in combat and was recruited as a candidate by U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois.

Mehlman told reporters that he expects that the Internet sex message scandal involving former Florida Republican U.S. Rep. Mark Foley will have no impact on the elections. He said House Speaker Dennis Hastert, a Republican, did the right thing in pushing for an FBI and Justice Department investigation.
BEYOND OUTRAGEOUS: Wheaton Robbery Leaves 68-Year-Old In Hospital  In First Attack Of Its Kind In Suburb, Assailants Attacked Store-Owner- Dana Kozlov
(DIERSEN: I did not learn of this outrageous crime until 6:00 AM this morning.  Many thanks to Mr. Sandberg for allowing me to display a GOPUSA sticker on the front door of his business, for allowing me to display many signs for Republican candidates on his properties for many years, and especially for allowing me to display a 4X4 Roskam sign on his property at the intersection of Roosevelt and Greenwood. ) 
WHEATON, Ill. Robbers stole thousands of dollars worth of leather jackets and a man's sense of security in Wheaton Thursday night.

CBS 2's Dana Kozlov reports on the attack carried out last night at a men's store on Front and Main streets.

Wheaton shop owner Robert Sandberg is lying bruised and battered in a hospital bed. His 48-year-old business is closed after a vicious beating and robbery.

"I said, 'Why are you doing this?'" said Sandberg. "They tried to knock me out or kill me. This is the end."

It happened Thursday night inside the shop. Sandberg says a large man walked in looking for leather Chicago Bulls jacket, and then suddenly hit him in the face with enough force to knock him out.

"Could have killed him, punch him in the face," said Sandberg.

Sandberg says he was able to escape by crawling out a back door in his shop and going next door to this store front, where someone was painting, to get help.

Police say this type of strong-armed robbery has never happened in Wheaton before.

"We have info about the offenders. No idea where they are at this point in time," said Cmdr. Terry Mee of the Wheaton Police Department.

Police and witnesses say the attacker put several leather jackets into a white Pontiac Grand Am or Grand Prix, then sped away with three other men.

Sandberg, who's 68-years-old, says he's not going to let this attack scare him into retirement.
6th and 8th CD races could determine House control, RNC Chairman says - Fran Eaton
(DIERSEN:  About 150 attended this outstanding event.  In addition to Ken Mehlman, Mary Jo Arndt, Andy McKenna, David McSweeney, and Peter Roskam spoke.  Attendees included Tom Bevan, Lori Carlson, Christine Dudley, Jim Economos, Sal Falbo, Paul Froehlich, Robert Gordon, Rich Johns, Patrick McEwen, Jim Oberweis, Raymond True, John Tsarpalas, Dave Watts, Tim Whelan, and Virginia Wood.) 
Facing the last eighteen days just before the November 7 election, Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman dropped into the RNC's Rolling Meadows headquarters, sitting amidst two congressional races which, he said, may actually determine who holds the majority in the U.S. Congress on November 8.

Touting $14 million the RNC raised in the last month, Mehlman told a crowd of a hundred at the north suburban Victory 2006 GOP headquarters the election of Peter Roskam in the 6th CD and David McSweeney in the 8th CD will be crucial in winning the War on Terror and continuing the nation's economic growth.

Listen rally remarks from IL GOP Chairman Andy McKenna, Peter Roskam, David McSweeney, IL RNC Committeewoman Mary Jo Arndt and RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman . .

GOP leader Ken Mehlman stumps in suburbs - 
Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman told the suburban faithful Friday the GOP will win two local House races and keep control of Congress by focusing on terrorism and taxes.

“Let there be no doubt the decisions that folks in this state make over the next 18 days could have a huge impact on whether we have those tools to keep going forward and fighting this war on terror,” said Mehlman, one of the principal architects of President Bush’s 2004 re-election victory.

Mehlman, in Rolling Meadows to campaign for Republican House hopefuls Peter Roskam and David McSweeney, repeatedly criticized Democratic House leader Nancy Pelosi and her party for opposing Bush’s security policies.

A Democratic spokeswoman didn’t address the Pelosi remarks but offered some partisan rhetoric of her own.

“Mehlman, Roskam and McSweeney are like three peas in a pod blindly following the failures of their party leadership, at a time when there is a clear absence of a moral compass from Republicans in Washington,” said Jen Psaki, a spokeswoman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

Mehlman appeared before about 100 die-hard Republicans at a suite of offices the Illinois Republican Party opened last summer to support the state ticket.

Republicans have been buffeted almost daily by a congressional page scandal that threatens Speaker Dennis Hastert’s control of the House, a factor Mehlman acknowledged.

“For about a month, I think we had a good wind behind our backs in discussing the choice in the war on terror. And it certainly slowed that down (the last two weeks). And it had an impact in certain districts,” Mehlman said.

But he argued that polling in the suburban 6th and 8th Congressional Districts shows the scandal hasn’t had an impact. Mehlman said Hastert’s handling of it — giving Florida Rep. Mark Foley “the political death penalty” and asking the FBI to probe who knew what and when — was strong.

The national GOP already has spent millions attacking the two Democratic candidates, yet Roskam remains in a virtual tie with Iraq war veteran Tammy Duckworth and McSweeney trails Rep. Melissa Bean by double digits in the polls.

“I think people are going to focus in the next (18) days on the fundamental choice…do you want your taxes to go up? Or do you believe in lower taxes? Do you believe there ought to be more lawsuits, or fewer lawsuits?” Mehlman said when asked what the GOP can do to change the dynamics.

BEYOND OUTRAGEOUS: Robert Sandberg, Wheaton downtown business owner, Republican voter in Milton Precinct 9, and Roskam supporter, beaten and robbed in his downtown store

(DIERSEN: This is a front page top-of-fold article with a 5X6.5-inch color picture of Mr. Sandberg in Central DuPage Hospital with friend Joseph B. Mahady.  I did not learn of this outrageous crime until 6:00 AM this morning.  Many thanks to Mr. Sandberg for allowing me to display a GOPUSA sticker on the front door of his business, for allowing me to display many signs for Republican candidates on his properties for many years, and especially for allowing me to display a 4X4 Roskam sign on his property at the intersection of Roosevelt and Greenwood. ) 

‘They could’ve killed me’ Wheaton shopkeeper, friend beaten, robbed - 

Two signs taped to windows of a downtown Wheaton shop Friday afternoon spoke to traumatic events that have put two Wheaton senior citizens in the hospital.

“Closed due to a robbery & beating,” the signs read.

The victims, embattled shopkeeper Robert Sandberg, 68, and his friend Robert Cooke, 86, said it all started when a man at least 6 feet tall and 300 pounds entered Sandberg’s Store for Men & Boys just before 8 p.m. Thursday.

The shop at 101 W. Front St. is known mostly for discounted apparel and eccentric ties. The man was interested in leather Chicago Bulls coats.

Sandberg showed the man his stock of coats and went to check a price. That’s when the situation turned violent. It was either a large fist or a pipe that delivered the first blow.

“That’s when — wham —and I must’ve passed out,” Sandberg recalled from his hospital bed Friday.

The assailant, or possibly an accomplice, then turned his attentions to Cooke.

“I remember waking up and Bob was down on the floor with his head being bashed in,” Sandberg said.

Cooke sustained injuries to the left side of his head and lost consciousness. Sandberg tried to escape out the back, and took more punches for his efforts.

“They could’ve killed me,” he said. “I think that’s what they were trying to do.”

“They” refers to the presence of as many as three other men who were spotted loading leather coats in the back of an older-model, white Pontiac Grand Am or Grand Prix before driving away.

Both Sandberg and Cooke regained consciousness and went for help separately. Sandberg, with his bloody face and shirt, crawled over to an adjacent space he’d recently rented out. A worker was there painting.

“I said, ‘John! John! They’re beating the heck out of me,’æ” Sandberg said.

Police were dispatched to the shop at about 8:20 p.m. When they arrived, they found several leather coats missing valued at an estimated $9,000.

Both men were taken to Central DuPage Hospital in Winfield, where they were still recovering from their injuries Friday afternoon.

Sandberg received at least five stitches and suffered cuts to his face, brow and one of his ears. He also has bruising on his jaw and nose. Cooke had bruising to the left side of his head. Both men expect to be released today.

Sandberg said he felt lucky to be alive but can’t stop thinking about why someone picked his store to rob.

“Who do I have that don’t like me?” Sandberg said. “I remember asking, ‘Why are you doing this?’ There were no answers to my questions, just a fist in my face.”

Wheaton residents will recognize Sandberg’s name for at least two reasons.

The first is that he’s been in business for nearly 50 years. The second is his ongoing battle with city officials about his property.

Sandberg owns several storefronts downtown, all of which the city has been after him to fix up. Back in 1986, the city tried to force Sandberg to sell some of his property. Later, the city tried to take some of his buildings from him through eminent domain proceedings.

The legal battles have cost both sides thousands of dollars and appearances in courtrooms as high up as the Illinois Supreme Court.

Sandberg does not believe the city is behind the beating he received, but he does partially blame them for it happening.

“The city of Wheaton can spend (thousands of dollars) to take away my buildings, but they can’t spend money for more police?” Sandberg said.

Police officials chose not to respond to Sandberg’s comment, as they don’t determine their own budget and staffing levels.

Wheaton police released partial descriptions of two of the suspects. The man who delivered the blows to Sandberg is described as being up to 6 feet, 1 inch tall, weighing 300 pounds and wearing a white T-shirt and gray pants. The second man, who possibly delivered the blows to Cooke, is described as about 6 feet, 1 inch tall and 180 pounds.

Sandberg’s and Cooke’s descriptions of the suspects differ somewhat, but both agree there were four total. Sandberg believes the robbery might be related to a shoplifting incident a couple weeks ago.

Anyone with information should call detective DeDe Magnier at (630) 260-2061.

McSweeney’s return ‘best chance’ for GOP -

With his wallet half a million dollars lighter and his ego badly bruised, David McSweeney wasn’t certain he’d return to politics.

“Not anytime soon,” he promised in early 1998, after taking 35 percent of the vote in a starry-eyed Republican primary bid against then-Congressman Phil Crane.

But in the years since, McSweeney has never shifted his focus away from the same 8th Congressional District seat — all the while strengthening his relationship with the local GOP, building his personal fortune and polishing his self-styled image as a “Ronald Reagan conservative.”

He mulled over running again during that time, but ultimately sat on the sidelines again in 2004 as Democrat Melissa Bean sent Crane into retirement.

Now, 8¨ years after his first run, McSweeney thinks his time has finally come. After winning in a surprisingly expensive six-way primary, he’s taking on Bean in the Nov. 7 election.

To date, McSweeney has put more than $2 million of his own money into his campaign — four times as much as he spent in 1998. And with help from the National Republican Congressional Committee, he’s raised another $1.7 million — among the most of any House candidate nationwide.

“The time is now,” McSweeney says. “This is by far the best chance, and maybe the only chance, for a Republican to take back this seat.”

But while the 40-year-old investment banker from Barrington Hills has stayed true to his conservative roots since his run against Crane, some Democrats believe the same cannot be said for the 8th District, which stretches north from the Schaumburg area into Lake and McHenry counties.

Bean’s 2004 victory is evidence that the area, once considered one of the country’s top GOP strongholds, is moving steadily into their arms, Democrats say.

McSweeney disputes the notion and says Bean’s win was more about voters’ growing distaste for Crane, who rarely traveled back to the suburbs during his later years in Washington.

“This is a Republican district,” McSweeney has said repeatedly, pointing out that President Bush won here with 56 percent of the vote against John Kerry in the same year.

And although Bush’s popularity has dipped dramatically over the past two years, McSweeney has been unafraid to hitch his wagon to the president at the same time many other Republicans around the country are distancing themselves. He readily admits that he’s among the 38 percent of Americans who believe Bush is doing a good job.

“I’m always proud to stand with the president,” McSweeney said last week, after appearing alongside Bush at a $1,000-a-ticket campaign fundraiser in Chicago.

Indeed, McSweeney supports the president’s policy in Iraq and his belief that embryonic stem cell research should not be funded by the federal government.

He backs the 2003 Bush tax cuts, wants gay marriage to be outlawed and thinks the Roe vs. Wade decision legalizing abortion should be overturned.

Still, while McSweeney has taken a hard line on these issues, he’s also worked to soften his image.

Campaign commercials running with regularity on the pricey broadcast TV airwaves show him walking hand-in-hand with his wife, Margaret, and playing soccer with his daughters, 12-year-old Melissa and 10-year-old Katie.

In a departure from his 1998 run, he’s also taken to smiling more on the campaign trail.

“I’m having a lot more fun this time around,” he says. “In 1998, my kids were very young and I was using vacation time to run for Congress. I feel better now — more confident — because I’m truly giving it my best. I’ll have no regrets whichever way it turns out.”

Bean, meanwhile, has tried to paint McSweeney as an “extremist” and an “ideologue” who follows Bush and the national GOP blindly.

McSweeney’s supporters argue he would do far more than parrot the party line if sent to Washington.

“He’s a solid Republican,” said former U.S. Sen. Peter Fitzgerald, a Republican from suburban Inverness who has backed McSweeney since the primary.

“But he’s also not afraid to say Republicans have lost their way in Washington when it comes to spending and other issues.”

McSweeney says he also disagrees with the president on campaign finance reform and on immigration and wants to repeal the No Child Left Behind Act that Bush signed into law in 2001.

“I don’t want to be beholden to anyone,” he says. “That’s not who I am. I want to go to Washington and serve my country and the people of this district.”

McSweeney says he first heard the call toward a life in politics as a shaggy-haired student at Barrington High School, when he volunteered for Ronald Reagan’s 1984 re-election campaign.

The son of a suburban banking executive, McSweeney went on to study economics and business at Duke University, eventually graduating with an MBA.

After getting married and taking a job with Bank of America, he moved back to the suburbs in the early ’90s and began laying the groundwork for his first run at Congress. He raised money for House Speaker Dennis Hastert (then just a rank-and-file congressman), became a Republican precinct committeeman and toiled in virtual obscurity on the Palatine Township board.

But although the young McSweeney had paid his dues, GOP leaders steered clear of backing his run against the iconic Crane, who eventually cruised to an easy victory.

“It was obviously a good year for incumbents,” an admittedly humbled McSweeney said at the time.

He’s hoping history won’t someday say the same thing about 2006.

Bean walking fine line, but voters will say where -

When Melissa Bean defeated a 35-year veteran conservative congressman in 2004, many immigrant rights advocates thought they had a friend in office.

But as the illegal immigration debate raged this year, the Barrington Democrat broke party ranks and voted to put a fence along the Mexican border and make it a felony to assist illegal immigrants.

“We rallied behind her. … We were hoping for something different,” says Schaumburg’s Eddie Batres, a volunteer with the Catholic Campaign for Immigration Reform. Batres voted for Bean, only to later protest in front of her 8th District office with other immigrant rights advocates.

The resulting political welts are just a few of the battle scars Bean has received in her first term walking the thin line as a Democrat in a long-held Republican district.

Some unions that supported Bean in her landmark defeat of conservative icon Phil Crane are now outraged over her vote for international trade pacts. They’ve lent some support to third-party candidate Bill Scheurer of Lindenhurst and the powerful state AFL-CIO withheld its endorsement.

Yet, where these groups see betrayal, Bean sees herself fulfilling a 2004 campaign promise to be a moderate voice representing a region dominated by the GOP.

“This is a district that is very fiscally conservative and socially moderate,” says the 44-year-old married mother of two teen daughters. Bean’s take on the district reflects what she sees in the mirror: “a moderate, mainstream voice in Congress.”

In 2004, Bean won by about 8,000 votes out of nearly 270,000 by welding together support from Republicans fed up with Crane’s perceived absentee representation and Democrats hungry for a suburban voice in Congress.

In her second run, some of those Democratic supporters have jumped ship, among them immigrant rights advocates and a few unions.

Meanwhile, Bean picked up new friends. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, typically aligned with Republicans, bought hundreds of thousands of dollars in TV ads supporting her, a reward, in part, for her votes on trade pacts. And like last time, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is buying her hundreds of thousands of dollars in ads.

So this time around, Bean is largely banking on a majority of district voters being in line with her party-splitting positions, such as opposing an Iraq war pullout as well as laws that would restrict abortion.

And just like her run in 2004 and losing battle in 2002, Bean is drawing from her years of working in sales as a marketing specialist for tech firms. As she learned: Know your market and make sure your market knows you.

In 2004, President George Bush took the 8th District with 56 percent of the vote against John Kerry, one of the largest margins of victory for the president in a state Bush lost.

Likewise, Bean, once a registered Republican, has a voting record that could look at times like a study guide for backing Bush. She supported all of his tax cuts to come up for a vote, his energy policy, the second Patriot Act and the increasingly unpopular Iraq war, as well as a constitutional ban on desecrating the American flag.

But on other issues Bean is solid Democrat. She opposes caps on malpractice lawsuit awards and a national ban on gay marriage, while supporting legalized abortion and federal funding of stem cell research.

Bean says plenty of 8th District voters support her social stances even though other area politicians have traditionally trumpeted opposition to gay marriage and legalized abortion.

“I was shaking some hands at the Metra station at 5 or 6 this morning,” Bean says. “I got tremendously positive feedback. … One person came up and said, ‘I’m glad you support embryonic stem cell research.’ These are things people care about, and they want to be represented.”

At the same time, her positions on critical issues are sometimes left ambiguous, opening her up to being labeled a “flip-flopper.”

For example, she opposes a timeline for withdrawal from Iraq, but she talks tough about holding Bush accountable.

Even after returning from a congressional trip to Iraq last October, Bean couldn’t say if the war was making progress. She refuses to say whether she would have voted in 2002 to send troops in if it was known at the time the country didn’t have weapons of mass destruction.

Republican challenger David McSweeney, a Barrington Hills investment banker, has attacked her for not pledging unconditional support for all of Bush’s tax cuts.

Meanwhile, one of the largest differences this time for Bean is that people know who she is.

Bean has graduated from handing out jelly beans at grocery stores so voters might recall her name to hosting forums on transportation and Internet security in all three counties of the district.

Bean has put a premium on the forums — nearly three a month since taking office — to both get her name out and keep a campaign pledge to be more in touch with residents than Crane.

“I’ve met thousands and thousands of individuals around the district,” Bean says. “It is important to stay connected.”

State Sen. Terry Link, head of the Lake County Democrats, said those forums help Bean know the district and she in turn knows what votes they expect. Link said Democrats should be understanding that at times Bean will be one of the votes House Republicans bank on.

“They know that some of these times she just couldn't vote the way they wanted her to vote,” said the Waukegan resident and mentor to Democrats who have blazed trails in Lake County. “She is doing the right thing and I think they realize that.”

Or as Bean sees it:

“It is not about what I believe and my ideology,” she commented just before unseating Crane in 2004. “I see myself as a very independent representative.”

On Nov. 7, Bean will find out if walking that fine line in the 8th District wins a second term.

Senate Dist. 27 candidates Murphy and Gutzmer differ on stem cell debate -

The two candidates vying for the state Senate’s 27th District seat disagree when it comes to whether or not Illinois should fund stem cell research.

Peter Gutzmer, a Hoffman Estates Democrat, thinks Illinois should make the investment. Matt Murphy, a Republican from Palatine, says no.

“If you’re going to have a breakthrough on embryonic stem cell research, it will take hundreds of millions of dollars,” said Murphy. “The federal government has this type of money. Pharmaceutical companies have this money. The state of Illinois does not.”

But Gutzmer said the state should absolutely fund this research and do so vigorously.

“It’s the right thing to do for the state,” he said. “Illinois has an opportunity to become a leader in the biotechnology industry and a true exporter of hope.”

He said there is some flexibility in the state’s budget to address something this important.

Murphy said he’s not completely against the idea of stem cell research and that it comes down to whether or not there’s no other use for frozen embryos.

If people want to adopt leftover embryos, they should be first in line to receive them, he said. However, if there are still some left with nowhere to go, he’d rather see them used for research rather than thrown away.

“I do support it, but only when used as an alternative to discarding them,” he said.

Gutzmer is quick to criticize his opponent for “concealing his extreme position” on the issue, though.

He points to Murphy’s primary election questionnaire from the Illinois Federation for Right to Life as an example.

On it, he answered “yes” to a question asking if he’d vote for a law protecting embryos from being used for medical experiments, such as stem cell research.

But what Gutzmer doesn’t point out is that in the margin of the questionnaire, Murphy wrote an additional comment:

“I would support allowing the private sector to use embryos that would otherwise be discarded after (in vitro fertilization).”

Still, he said his opponent is changing his stance and is not being truthful to voters.

Murphy said his position has not changed on the issue.

The 27th state Senate district includes most of Palatine, northern Arlington Heights and parts of Barrington, Barrington Hills, Buffalo Grove, Hoffman Estates, South Barrington, Rolling Meadows, Wheeling and Prospect Heights.

Murphy and Gutzmer are running to replace retiring Sen. Wendell Jones, a Palatine Republican.

Kane Democrats fear election fraud -

Kane County Democrats accused Republican County Clerk Jack Cunningham of plotting to steal the election from the Democrats.

At a news conference Friday, Democratic Party Chairman Mark Guethle announced he has asked the Illinois attorney general, the Kane County state’s attorney and the Illinois State Board of Elections to investigate whether Cunningham is using his position to suppress Democratic votes by manipulating electronic ballot results.

As of Thursday, nearly 1,000 ballots for the Nov. 7 election already have been cast since early voting began Monday.

The Democrats are taking issue with Cunningham’s hiring of convicted thief David Bruun as elections director.

“My biggest fear is that the clerk intentionally put a convicted thief in charge of our elections because he intends to steal this election,” Guethle said.

Cunningham dismissed the claims as politically motivated.

Cunningham was aware of Bruun’s past when he hired him and has repeatedly defended his decision to hire him, saying Bruun deserved another chance and has paid for his crimes.

He also claims that the eSlate electronic voting machines’ built-in security measures make it impossible to tamper with elections results.

“Our equipment is darn near bulletproof,” Cunningham said. “The pope can’t come in and change … the results.”

Early voting is offered at 41 different locations throughout the county, but none in Aurora, which traditionally leans Democratic, Guethle pointed out.

Removing the Aurora Township office from the county’s list of early voting sites also “seems to suggest voter suppression,” Guethle said.

Cunningham said the township office is not among the early voting sites because early voting turnout there during the March primary was extremely low; only 35 ballots were cast.

 Guethle also said he is uncomfortable with the eSlate electronic voting machines, which were used for the first time in Kane County during the March primary. Higher turnout is expected for the general election.

A state board of elections official said as of Friday afternoon, Guethle’s concerns had not been brought to the office’s attention.

“If it is brought to the attention of our office, it will be looked into,” the official said.

McSweeney v. Bean: Beware of attempts to manipulate you - George Johnson, Park Ridge

We all have heard the words “media” and “global village.” I was curious how they came about, so I recently checked the Internet. They were coined by Marshall McLuhan in his book “Understanding Media,” written in the early ’60s. In the book he discusses how market research and advertising techniques will manipulate, exploit and control the general public. He also coined the phrase “The medium is the message.”

All of us are being manipulated, especially during election times, by how the message is presented and the actual words that are said are secondary.

This became clear to me recently after President Bush was in town. You saw that all over the TV news. That evening, just after the news blurb was a Melissa Bean commercial, starting with a video of David McSweeney answering questions about his position on saving the lives of our un-born children. The video was really poor, there were horizontal lines all across the screen, McSweeney’s color was bad, and he was made to look like a goof. Then came on Congressperson Bean. Well dressed and coiffured, with beautiful balanced color and a perfectly delivered message.

There is a whole lot of difference between a cheap video and sound bite of a guy answering questions on the spot, at a not-so-well-lit news conference, and, a message that has been well structured, tested and rehearsed. All the beautiful images were “properly” color corrected.

Hey folks, the same computer people that made Ms. Bean look so lovely, I am sure used their skills to make Mr. McSweeney look awkward.  So, what message did you receive? That Ms. Bean is articulate, and Mr. McSweeney is not? Both candidates have divergent opinions on “woman’s choice.” Ms. Bean would give the mother the “choice to kill her un-born child.” And, Mr. McSweeney would give the un-born child “its choice to live.”

So, when you go to vote, be sure you have seriously studied your candidate and their positions on the issues important to you. And remember, get past the manipulation, and listen to their message.

VERY SAD THAT MORE AND MORE RELIGIOUS LEADERS ACT LIKE THEY ARE AGENTS OF THE DEMOCRAT PARTY: Prayerful provocation: Priests take on immigration reform - Tara Malone

(Not posted as of 6:30 AM)

Roskam-43, Duckworth-39 and McSweeney 31, Bean-50: Tight race for Hyde seat, latest poll shows  Incumbent Bean leads in 8th Congressional District - Rick Pearson
The candidates for the west suburban congressional seat being vacated by retiring Republican Rep. Henry Hyde are locked in a tight contest while first-term Rep. Melissa Bean holds a sizable advantage over her main rival in the northwest suburbs, a new Tribune/WGN-TV poll shows.

The survey shows that in one of the most hard-fought races in the nation, state Sen. Peter Roskam of Wheaton holds a narrow 4 percentage-point edge over Democrat Tammy Duckworth of Hoffman Estates in the 6th Congressional District.

A separate poll of Bean's 8th Congressional District, also a contest being watched on the national level, showed the Democratic incumbent from Barrington with a 19 percentage-point advantage over Republican challenger David McSweeney of Barrington Hills.

The surveys, which each have an error margin of 4 percentage points, were conducted among separate samples of 600 likely voters between Saturday and Wednesday.

In the 6th District, which has been viewed as reliably Republican under Hyde's lengthy tenure, Roskam had the support of 43 percent of the voters compared to 39 percent for Duckworth, an Iraq war veteran, with 17 percent undecided.

The poll found Duckworth ahead of Roskam, 42 percent to 34 percent, among voters who identified themselves as independents who are not aligned with either major political party.

Though the district has long had strong Republican leanings, the votes of self-described independents may prove decisive. The poll found 35 percent of the district's voters consider themselves independent while those who call themselves Democrats or Republicans are split at about 30 percent apiece.

Asked to list the top two issues that most concern them, voters said the situation in Iraq, followed by economy and jobs and illegal immigration.

Roskam voters said their top concerns were illegal immigration, the terrorism threat to the country and the situation in Iraq. Duckworth voters said their top concerns were Iraq, economy and jobs and affordable health care.

Asked to describe the deciding factor in casting their ballot, 19 percent said the trustworthiness of the candidate and another 19 percent said the situation in Iraq.

In the 8th Congressional District, where Bean two years ago defeated longtime Republican Rep. Phil Crane, the poll showed the Democrat has the support of 50 percent of the voters, compared to 31 percent for McSweeney and 4 percent for third-party candidate Bill Scheurer of Lindenhurst. Another 14 percent were undecided.

Besides strong support from Democrats, Bean holds a 56 percent to 22 percent advantage over McSweeney among independents and she also gets the backing of nearly one-in-five Republicans and 30 percent of voters who describe themselves as conservatives.

Voters overall in the district said their top concerns were Iraq, the economy and jobs and affordable health care. Bean voters were concerned most about Iraq, affordable health care and the economy and jobs. McSweeney voters were most concerned about illegal immigration, economy and jobs and the terrorism threat to the country.
Ken Mehlman: Revving up the base in Rolling Meadows - John Biemer  
The chairman of the Republican National Committee fired up about 100 GOP supporters at a rally today for congressional candidates Peter Roskam and David McSweeney in Rolling Meadows.

RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman called the elections of David McSweeney in the 8th Congressional District and Peter Roskam in the 6th Congressional District "urgent" and said the next 18 days were "absolutely critical."
"It's very possible who controls Congress will come down to one or two seats and it could very easily come down to the people in this room and the people in this area," Mehlman said. "It could very easily come down to the Illinois 6th and it could come down to the Illinois 8th."
Roskam told the crowd at the GOP's campaign headquarters that the "entire world is watching this campaign" against Democrat Tammy Duckworth for the west suburban seat being given up by retiring Rep. Henry Hyde.

As proof, he said a radio producer told him that Al Jazeera--the Arabic language news network--had covered his debate with Duckworth last week. The crowd gasped.

"Now that's a real interesting group that would come out and cover the 6th Congressional District," Roskam observed. "Al Jazeera has an interest in who wins in the 6th Congressional District? I'm telling ya, let's send them an answer, whaddya say?" The crowd cheered.

McSweeney, who's running against incumbent Rep. Melissa Bean in the northwest suburban 8th District, said he was proud to stand with Mehlman at the event.

"I say to Melissa Bean if she will bring Howard Dean or Ted Kennedy into this district, I'll pay for the room!" he said to laughs and applause.
VERY SAD THAT MORE AND MORE RELIGIOUS LEADERS ACT LIKE THEY ARE AGENTS OF THE DEMOCRAT PARTY: Immigration isn't 'Fear Factor:' Catholic priests - Rummana Hussain,CST-NWS-immig21.article
A diverse group of priests from the Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago joined the immigration debate Friday, calling for the suspension of nonfelony deportations until more "compassionate" laws and policies are implemented for undocumented residents.

The 120-member Priests for Justice for Immigrants is not advocating opening the border between Mexico and the United States or using houses of worship as sanctuaries for illegal immigrants -- like Adalberto United Methodist Church has for Elvira Arellano.

Rather, they are asking to reform immigration policies by helping undocumented people obtain legal citizenship, ultimately keeping families together.

"What we're trying to provoke is the will to do it [implement reform laws]," said Cicero's Mary Queen of Heaven pastor, the Rev. Esequiel Sanchez, flanked by 50 other local Catholic leaders.

"The only will we've seen at this point is the creation of a wall along the borders and the conversation concerning illegal immigrants has been more than aggressive, so we are presenting ourselves as those who are looking for a more comprehensive, rational and more calm conversation."

The priests were given scrolls containing the Catholic Campaign for Immigration Reform pledge that will be posted in parishes throughout the archdiocese. The pledge calls for increasing awareness of the "contributions" and "struggles" of undocumented immigrants through videos, pamphlets and personal accounts. It also asks priests to emphasize immigrants' rights during services on Oct. 29.

Nearly 45 percent of the 2.5 million archdiocese parishioners are immigrants -- the majority hailing from Spanish-speaking countries, said Elena Segura, director of the archdiocese's Catholic Campaign for Immigration Reform.

The priests said it's a matter of faith to help their congregations.

'People risk their lives'

"This isn't 'Fear Factor.' This isn't a reality show," said the Rev. Gary Graf, pastor of Waukegan's Holy Family parish, where 70 percent of worshippers are immigrants. "These people risk their lives to come here. We live their lives every day."

Meanwhile in Chicago, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement office announced Friday the arrests of 16 immigration fugitives as part of the Department of Homeland Security's Secure Border program. Thirteen of the 16 have criminal convictions such as robbery, drunken driving, fraud and illegal possession of a firearm, ICE spokeswoman Gail Montenegro said.

"ICE is responsible for enforcing more than 400 immigration and customs statutes as they're currently written and we will continue to do so," Montenegro said.

Purported tax swap won't cut taxes or help schools - Michael Van Winkle,CST-EDT-REF21A.article

The Rev. Jesse Jackson led a rally at the Thompson Center last Saturday, officially jumping on board the education funding reform bandwagon. The rally was held to show support for Senate Bill 750, which Democrats will likely try to push through the General Assembly during November's veto session.

Jackson and Co. complain that our education funding system relies too heavily on property taxes, an arrangement they claim leads to vast inequities in available resources between rich and poor school districts. The bill purports to solve the problem by providing property tax relief in exchange for higher income taxes that would fund an increase in education spending. Proponents claim the ''swap'' would enable the state to increase its share of education funding, reduce the schools' reliance on property taxes and increase the overall equity of school funding.

Sounds great, right? Who could possibly say no? Unfortunately, the details of the bill expose the superficiality inside. Here are a few reasons we should forget about S.B. 750:

1. Education funding disparities are mostly irrelevant because spending differences between districts are not a good indicator of school quality. Spending differs across school districts for a variety of reasons. Not all low-spending districts are poor and not all high-spending districts are rich. Disparities are not themselves proof that someone is being denied access to quality educational opportunities.

2. There are a few cases in which funding gaps might matter, but S.B. 750 is not designed to fix them. The legislation being considered will not take money from overfunded schools and give it to underfunded schools. It will take money from all taxpayers and give it to all schools by increasing the ''foundation level'' support. It pays no regard to which might need more money and which might not.

3. Education funding reform does nothing to address problems with the allocation of education resources, particularly teaching. Teachers are paid on a strict union salary scale. Teachers also earn seniority -- which gives them, effectively, the ability to choose where they want to teach. Not surprisingly, most want to teach in schools where students have fewer educational and behavioral challenges. Because schools have no real freedom to offer higher pay for challenging environments, the net effect is that the most qualified teachers generally end up where they're needed least.

4. Despite being proffered as a tax swap, S.B. 750 is no such thing. The alleged property tax relief is an illusion. Taxpayers will actually get a property tax abatement, to be paid out of a fund into which roughly $2.4 billion of revenue generated by the income tax increase will be dumped. This fund will then be used to pay a portion of your property tax bill every year.

Your tax rate will not go down. The first time an economic recession hits and income tax revenues are not enough to fill the tax relief fund, the state will cry broke and you will once again be expected to cover the full balance of your tax bill.

5. There is insufficient oversight of school budgeting, which means there is no way for taxpayers to know whether the extra $1.6 billion S.B. 750 gives to schools will be spent on teaching kids or refurnishing the principals' offices.

To monitor how your district spends its cash you will have to attend countless school board meetings, make endless phone calls and probably file more than a few Freedom of Information Act requests. Will you get any help from the Illinois State Board of Education? Do I have to ask?

The state doesn't expect you to take it upon yourself to audit Central Management Services or the governor's office -- there is an auditor general for that. But when it comes to auditing your school, you're on your own.

I applaud Jackson and Co. for keeping education reform a topic of discussion, but their tax swap will only increase the cost of failure. To talk about education funding reform without also discussing accountability, standards, oversight and performance is a waste of time. And time is something many Illinois schoolchildren are running short on.


Brendan Houlihan v. Maureen Murphy: Newcomer vying for seat on Cook County Board of Review - Angela Caputo,1NWS8-20.article

Political newcomer Brendan Houlihan is challenging Maureen Murphy for a seat on the Cook County Board of Review, a little-known office that wields a lot of influence.

The oversight panel last year approved nearly $2 billion in property tax reductions.

The board's sole suburban district spans from the south suburbs north to Barrington.

In the late 1990s, Murphy was a driving force in the Legislature to create an additional, third seat on the board.

Shortly after losing a re-election bid for the state House, the two-term representative and long-running Worth Township Republican committeeman filled the $100,000-a-year post herself.

Houlihan almost was bumped from the ballot during the primary season when a member of Murphy's campaign contested hundreds of signatures he had collected to get into the race.

Democratic Party leadership agreed to appoint Houlihan as a candidate, getting him back on the ticket.

The Board of Review has a $7 million annual budget, employs 130 people, and commissioners have the ability to collect hefty campaign contributions.

Murphy had a $373,000 balance in her campaign war chest as of June. Much of that money was collected from tax attorneys and appraisal firms that appear before the board.

Over the past eight years, the Evergreen Park native says her role as commissioner has been "all about umpiring and fairness" as she and the other commissioners have reviewed, on average, more than 100,000 appeals cases each year.

She doesn't see collecting campaign contributions from people who come before the board as a conflict of interest.

"Any decision that I have made takes two out of three votes," she said. "I cannot unilaterally make any decisions to lower or reduce assessment."

Houlihan, a bonds and options trader at the Chicago Board of Trade, is running a campaign of bringing higher ethical standards to the office.

"Commissioners should be working for the taxpayers," the 42-year-old said. "Is (Murphy) working for the taxpayers or to get elected?"

Houlihan has pledged to refuse campaign contributions from Board of Review employees if elected. He isn't, however, going so far as to calling off the practice of collecting contributions from people and firms that appeal to the board.

Parking probe in secretary of state's office -
The Illinois Secretary of State’s office has opened an internal probe into alleged improper use of parking transponders by office staffers.

James Burns, the independent inspector general of the office, confirmed that he began the investigation after receiving information that one employee, whom he declined to name, extensively used an office-supplied transponder to park for free at a garage in downtown Chicago. That has led to a more “systematic audit” of whether others are misusing a state resource, Mr. Burns said.

“The answer is yes, we are looking at it and a report will be forthcoming,” Mr. Burns said in a phone interview, adding that he has not yet reached any conclusions that he can report. “I don’t want to judge until we see the final report.”

According to Mr. Burns, the office has perhaps 100 transponders, which allow staff to park without having to pay out of their own pocket and be reimbursed later. He said some are assigned to senior staffers, with others placed on the dashboards of cars kept in a motor pool for general office use.

Mr. Burns said the review has been going on for several months.

David Druker, the spokesman for Secretary of State Jesse White, declined virtually all comment on the matter, saying only, “When the review is completed by the inspector general, I’ll be happy to talk with you.”

Mr. Druker specifically declined to give any information on how many transponders the office has, who has access to them, where they can be used and how much money has been spent on them, saying, “When the review is completed by the inspector general, I’ll be happy to talk with you.”

Asked why he would not provide even basic factual data on a taxpayer-funded program, Mr. Druker complained of “biased” coverage of Mr. White, a Chicago Democrat.

Crain’s reported earlier this year that numerous relatives of Mr. White and his senior staff have been hired or promoted in the office during his tenure. The office has denied any impropriety, but the matter has become an issue in Mr. White’s re-election race, with GOP nominee Dan Rutherford calling two of the hirings illegal and asking Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan to investigate.

Related stories: Jesse's stumbles; Family business

Mr. Rutherford said the Burns probe fits a pattern of problems with the office, and said the refusal by the office to answer any questions about he transponder program is “a coverup.”


Illinois Speaks in Rock River Valley: Voters put off by governor’s race - Chuck Sweeny

CHERRY VALLEY — Eve Kirk has lots of opinions about the upcoming election, and she’ll share them freely. All except for revealing which candidates will get her vote. The director of the Cherry Valley Public Library District thinks it best to remain nonpartisan.

Kirk, who lives in Rockford, did allow this much about the controversial governor’s race: “I wish we had another choice. I don’t think the governor has been fiscally responsible. I think that the state has a lot of debt, for which future generations are going to have to pay. At the same time, I don’t believe the Republican Party has put up a candidate that has the confidence of the majority of Republicans.”

Kirk said she knows some people who will vote for Green Party candidate Rich Whitney for governor, “and I’m not sure I’m going to do that.” When Kirk votes for governor, she won’t be thrilled about it.

Emphasis on winning

“We are so turned off by the tone of the rhetoric. A pox on both parties, because they seem to want to win more than they want to work together for the good of the citizens.”

Kirk is typical of many of the 62 voters interviewed by the Register Star during two weeks of barnstorming the state talking to people about the upcoming election. From Cairo and Belleville in the south to Galena and Chicago in the north, Illinoisans were in broad agreement on the governor’s race: They don’t like the leading candidates, Gov. Rod Blagojevich, the Democrat, and state Treasurer Judy Baar Topinka, the Republican. And polls show that Whitney, who also is on the ballot, may get 11 percent of the vote, unusual for an unknown candidate with no money. Whitney, a lawyer from Carbondale, has detailed position papers on all issues, but in this election he may be playing the role of none of the above.

Kirk said she’s paying attention to the campaign for state representative being waged by incumbent Ron Wait, R-Belvidere, and Greg Tuite, a Democrat from Rockford.

“Actually, both of them are attorneys. I think we have far too many attorneys serving government. We need people who have practical experience and look at things in a practical way instead of the minutiae of legal issues,” she said.

Budget, education
Illinois “has to get a handle on and be realistic about the budget. We’re in the hole. That’s just not a good place to be. We need to be fiscally responsible, and we’re not right now. It’s not good to not fund teachers pensions for a couple of years and use that money for other purposes,” Kirk said.

On Rockford’s northwest side, Susan Levingston is concerned about public safety, good streets and good schools. Levingston, 44, owns Heavenly Beauty Salon in the Rockton Avenue Centre. She said she generally votes Republican.

“I just want to see someone get in who is going to do things to help the people, and not because I’m this color or that color,” she said. Levingston wants the school system to give all children an equal opportunity to learn. And as long as the Rockford School District referendum keeps taxes the same and doesn’t raise them, “I’ll probably vote for it.”

Levingston said she prays often for President Bush “so that he makes godly decisions in what he will do.”

At a nearby laundry, Charles Collinzo, 42, said he’s been following the election campaign. Collinzo said he “pretty much” votes as a Democrat, but he makes exceptions. On the governor’s race, Collinzo said both major candidates have good points.

“I have to get more information on Topinka, because one minute they’re saying she’s for the kids and for health care, and the next minute they’re saying she’s not for those things. If I like her opinion, I may vote for her. I’m kind of torn,” said Collinzo of Rockford.

Collinzo said taxpayers “are getting tired of being taxed to death for schools. The School Board needs to go by the budget. If they can’t do something, they can’t do something.”

Asked if he’ll vote for the Rockford school referendum, he said, “I don’t know about that one, because the kids have already lost a lot of stuff in school already. Rockford needs to offer better education so that children who grow up here can stay here and earn a decent living.”

War in Iraq
At O’Brien and Dobbins Snyder Drugs in downtown Belvidere, Robert Davis, 79, said he is inclined to “stick with the present governor. I personally can’t see that he’s done that bad of a job.”

Davis, who is retired from a 27-year career at the former GTE phone company, lives in Belvidere. He’s not happy with the war in Iraq. “It seems to me it’s getting worse instead of better. Personally, I think we should turn it over to the Iraqis. We’re losing a lot of people over there. I can’t see we’re making any headway. We’ve gone backwards.”

Davis acknowledged that negative ads work, and “this is why I shy away from watching a lot of the ads. I don’t like what people come out and say about somebody else.”

At The Huddle, a popular Belvidere restaurant, waitress Amber Anderson, 22, said she usually doesn’t pay much attention to elections, but she intends to vote this year.

“In my yard, I have a Tuite sign. I hope Tuite wins. I really don’t like Ron Wait. He’s too conceited. I’ll vote Tuite,” Anderson said.

For governor, Anderson said she’s leaning to Topinka: “She’s ... kinda scary. I might vote for her. I hope she changes a lot more than (Blagojevich) has.”

‘Pocketbook issues’
Anderson, who plans on staying in Belvidere, said the top priority for her is to have a better supply of good-paying jobs.

“I’ve applied over at (DaimlerChrysler) on the third shift they have, and they’re not taking anybody for another month because they’re so behind. I’d like to work over there because they’ve got good benefits and good pay. My grandfather used to work over there, too.”

In Cherry Valley, Ross Clifford, 62, said he’s tried to follow the elections and will vote.

“Politics isn’t easy to be in. It takes a lot of time when you do get elected. I’d like to see people take a stand on issues like our electric rates. People are interested in pocketbook issues this year,” said Clifford, who is retired.

“I’m interested in the Ron Wait-Greg Tuite race. Wait has not had any competition for a number of years. I’d like to see him address some of these issues, too. Tell us what you think about some of these pocketbook issues.”

Clifford “would like to find somebody else I can vote for” for governor. He might vote for Whitney.

Republican Woes Lead to Feuding by Conservatives - David D. Kirkpatrik

With polls showing Republican control of Congress in jeopardy, conservative leaders are pointing fingers at one another in an increasingly testy circle of blame for potential Republican losses this fall.

“It is one of those rare defeats that will have many fathers,” said David Keene, chairman of the American Conservative Union, expressing the gloomy view of many conservatives about the outcome on Election Day. “And they will all be somebody else.”

Whether the election will bear out their pessimism remains to be seen, and the factors that contribute to an electoral defeat are often complex and even contradictory. But the post-mortem recriminations can influence politics and policy for years after the fact. After 1992, Republicans shunned tax increases. After 1994, Democrats avoided gun control and health care reform. And 2004 led some Democrats to start quoting Scripture and rethinking abortion rights, while others opened an intraparty debate about the national security that is not yet resolved.

In the case of the Republican Party this year, the skirmish among conservatives over what is going wrong has begun unusually early and turned unusually personal.

But almost regardless of the outcome on Nov. 7, many conservatives express frustration that the party has lost its ideological focus. And after six years of nearly continuous control over the White House and Congress, conservatives are having a hard time finding anyone but one another to blame.

“It is pre-criminations,” said Rich Lowry, editor of National Review, the conservative magazine. “If a party looks like it is going to take a real pounding, this sort of debate is healthy. What is unusual is that it is happening beforehand.”

Some conservative leaders have often been quicker in the past to turn on Republican officials and one another than their rank-and-file supporters. But this year polls show broad disaffection at the grass roots, prompting some Republicans — including former Speaker Newt Gingrich — to worry that the public sparring could dampen turnout.

This year’s antagonists also include some new critics, including Mr. Gingrich’s one-time lieutenant, Dick Armey, the former House Republican majority leader.

In recent weeks, Mr. Armey has stepped up a public campaign against the influence of Dr. James C. Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family and an influential voice among evangelical protestants. In an interview published last month in “The Elephant in the Room,” a book by Ryan Sager about splits among conservatives, Mr. Armey accused Congressional Republicans of “blatant pandering to James Dobson” and “his gang of thugs,” whom Mr. Armey called “real nasty bullies” — arguments he reprised on the editorial page of The Wall Street Journal and in an open letter on the Web site organization FreedomWorks.

In an interview this week, Mr. Armey said catering to Dr. Dobson and his allies had led the party to abandon budget-cutting. And he said Christian conservatives could cost Republicans seats around the country, especially in Ohio.

“The Republicans are talking about things like gay marriage and so forth, and the Democrats are talking about the things people care about, like how do I pay my bills?” he said.

Mr. Armey also pinned some of the blame on Tom DeLay, the former Republican House majority leader, who “was always more comfortable with the social conservatives, the evangelical wing of the party, than he was with the business wing.”

Mr. Armey, who identifies himself as an evangelical, said he was tired of Christian conservative leaders threatening that their supporters would stay away from the ballot box unless they got what they wanted.

“Economic conservatives,” he argued, were emerging as the swing voters in need of attention, in part because they had become more likely to vote Democratic in the years since President Bill Clinton was in office. “A lot of people believe he brought us from deficits to surpluses, and there is a certain empirical evidence there,” Mr. Armey acknowledged.

In a statement on Thursday, Dr. Dobson said Mr. Armey was “still ticked” over a long-ago House leadership race in which Dr. Dobson endorsed someone else, and he restated his warnings to Republicans that social conservative voters “would abandon them if they forgot the promises they had made.”

In a recent newsletter from Dr. Dobson’s organization, Representative Mark Souder, an Indiana Republican counting on Christian conservatives to turn out for his re-election, called Mr. Armey’s comments “disgusting” and insulting to “the many Christians around the United States who devoutly hold conservative moral beliefs.”

Christian conservatives began complaining last year that the Republicans had put proposed Social Security changes and tax changes ahead of issues like abortion and same-sex marriage, risking the support of social-issue voters.

Over the summer, Congress held a rush of votes on just those issues — an election-year ritual intended to motivate those voters — and in an interview last week Tony Perkins, president of the Christian conservative Family Research Council, said he believed it had begun to revive some grass-roots enthusiasm.

“But the Foley scandal just let the air out of the tires,” Mr. Perkins said.

Others dismissed the Foley scandal as largely irrelevant outside of Mr. Foley’s district. Several conservatives said Republican incumbents were using it as a scapegoat.

“It will make you feel better to say, I didn’t lose the election; Foley lost it for me,” said Grover Norquist, the president of Americans for Tax Reform. “Your wife and kids will believe it.”

Mr. Norquist said the Iraq war was the biggest drag on Republican candidates even before their big wins in 2004.

“Some people think we did it just to prove we could do it, like people who go running with weights on their ankles,” he said.

Many blame neoconservatives who argued most vocally for the invasion of Iraq. “The principal sin of the neoconservatives is overbearing arrogance,” Mr. Keene said. Neoconservatives, in turn, blamed Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld’s insistence on holding down troop levels for the fouling up of the war

“There is a bit of a battle between people who say, Hey, your tax cuts wrecked our war and people who say, Hey, your war wrecked our tax cuts,” said David Frum, a former Bush speechwriter who was among the war’s proponents.

Mr. Frum argued that the problem with the Iraq war was in its execution, not in the idea behind it. “The war has to be seen through the prism of Hurricane Katrina,” he argued, “because conservatives will support a tough war if they are confident in the war’s management.”

William Kristol, editor of the conservative Weekly Standard and another prominent advocate of the invasion, said he doubted that soaring spending was turning off as many voters as tax-cutters like Mr. Norquist or Mr. Armey suggested.

“The spending bill that was supposedly going to destroy the Republican Party was the Medicare drug bill,” he said. “I have heard almost no one talk about it one way or the other.”

Mr. Kristol argued that the Bush administration was suffering politically for applying too little force, not too much. “I am struck that people have the sense in North Korea and Iran that things are spinning out of control,” he said.

Mr. Frum and others blamed the Republican Senate’s support for the president’s guest-worker immigration proposal for angering the grass-roots talk-radio crowd. But Mr. Norquist, who favored the immigration proposal, argued that the election would provide a verdict on “restrictionism” in the fate of Randy Graf, a Republican candidate in Arizona running on calls for tighter borders. Polls show Mr. Graf faces long odds.

Mr. Gingrich, for his part, made the best of the fray, saying, “I would rather have a movement active enough to bite itself rather than a movement so moribund it didn’t realize it was irritated.”

DIERSEN HEADLINE: Rolling Stone Magazine blasts Hastert
The 10 Worst Congressmen 1. The Highway robber - Dennis Hastert
Hastert could well be the weakest House speaker in history. Tapped by Tom DeLay to serve as the mild-mannered frontman for the GOP leadership, the former wrestling coach ceded most of his power to the now-disgraced majority leader, allowing Republicans to treat the Capitol as their private piggy bank. Last year, Hastert got in on the action himself, secretly inserting $207 million into the budget for the "Prairie Parkway" -- a highway that will speed development of 210 acres he owns in Illinois. Before the year was out, Hastert sold part of his land -- soon to be the site of a sprawling subdivision -- for a profit of $2 million.

"Here's a guy who saw a chance to profit from his official acts and took it," says Bill Allison, who uncovered the late-night earmark as a senior analyst for the Sunlight Foundation, a nonpartisan watchdog group. "Most of us aren't speaker of the House, and most of us don't have a $200 million earmark running through our back yard. Hastert does, and he made a fortune from it."

The speaker at least functions as a bipartisan defender of congressional corruption. In February 2005, he purged the chairman of the House Ethics Committee for daring to admonish DeLay. And after Rep. William Jefferson's offices were raided by the FBI last spring, it was Hastert who lodged the strongest protest on the Louisiana Democrat's behalf.

Hastert is especially good at turning a blind eye to scandal: An aide says the speaker's office knew about Rep. Mark Foley's penchant for page boys three years ago, yet Hastert took no action to protect minors working for Congress.

In another secret budget deal, Hastert and Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist joined forces last December to give the pharmaceutical industry a Christmas gift worth billions. After the "final" version of the defense budget emerged from conference, the duo added a provision that gives drug makers immunity from liability lawsuits -- shielding them from claims that their mercury-laden vaccines sparked the current autism epidemic.

No sense being leftist media if you can't write like one
We conservatives in this American cultural political war can't cry loud enough over liberal biased media, to change your painfully slanted view. I am not at all surprised at your paper's outrageous endorsement of my opponent Commissioner John P. Daley, who also is our county board's finance chairman. You know the board who you schizophrenically call a "sorry government", a "squalid playpen" which "needs to be fumigated and streamlined". You know the $3 billion government that's $400 million in the hole.

Do you dare re-print your own words for readers to analyze in this context? "This page has argued that incumbent Democrat John Daley has the knowledge and political skills to help engineer a radical overhaul and downsizing of county government." So why hasn’t he in 14 years?! HUH?! The answer is painfully obvious that he, Chicago Mayor Rich Daley’s little brother, has been a stealth deal maker behind the former patronage puppet, former board president John Stroger. John Daley is the problem, not the solution. That much is so so obvious you should fold your paper forthwith and retire. But you are the liberal media in bed with the leftist politicians who push your social agenda items such as homosexual marriage and illegal immigration.

Next you inexplicably write "Daley’s familiarity with county finances brings with it a responsibility to be a dynamic force for reform." Again, he has showed you 14 years of allying with Stroger, and commissioners Roberto Moldonado, Joseph Moreno and Deborah Sims, and you are hoping for what he is "to be"?!

Fold your paper once over again and light a match to it.

Do you at all admit any bias?

That you can excoriate a grossly incompetent government and however comeback the next day and endorse the most influential member on that board, who has not even hinted as being a reformer but instead makes stealth insider deals, is inexplicable.

Mind you, I was not at all surprised. It's why your the leftist biased media, bent on ruining our nation.

P.S. Your selective excoriation of some political pigs is just your tool to gain ill-gotten currency or credibility with the unwitting.


Grassroots Democratic activist Mark S. Allen backs Topinka - James Monteleone

Saying that Gov. Rod Blagojevich has ignored the black political community, one veteran black Democratic organizer has jumped ship and is working to drum up support on the South Side for the governor's Republican opponent, Judy Baar Topinka.

"There are a lot of people at the bottom of the grass roots in the Democratic Party who are not in the middle class, who have been left out," organizer Mark S. Allen said of the governor's race on Wednesday. "Who is in charge of the [Blagojevich] black community campaign? Nobody knows." He said that both campaigns have spent so much time chasing media attention that they have ignored many of the community grass roots political groups that, he said, elected Blagojevich the first time around.

Allen, who has worked as a Rainbow/PUSH staff member, has been a political organizer for 30 years and worked on the campaigns of Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) and Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-2nd).

Blagojevich's campaign has made no effort to reach out to the black community, Allen said, in either the upcoming general election Nov. 7 or the primary election in March. According to Allen, the governor's absence "left open an avenue for Democratic support to be picked off" from the traditionally Democratic black community.

Topinka, he said, has been actively involved in many issues facing the black community, including working to establish the South Side Black Credit Union. Major media in the city, he said, have failed to report her growing popularity with black voters.

Topinka's campaign will officially open a field office at 115th and Elizabeth streets this weekend. Allen claims credit for establishing the office.

Blagojevich's campaign disagreed that the governor has been missing in action on the South Side.

"Gov. Blagojevich's campaign has been actively engaged with grass roots efforts on the South Side and will continue to do so until the election," said Sheila Nix, Blagojevich's campaign spokeswoman. She cited the governor's appearances at ward offices across the South Side last weekend, and his plans to visit Bronzeville, West Englewood and Gresham among other South Side Chicago wards this weekend.

State Sen. James Meeks (I-15th) said that Allen overstated black support for Topinka. Meeks doubted that Topinka could win even 10 percent of the black vote on Nov. 7.

"[Allen] is just a guy with an opinion," Meeks said. "What difference does it make what he thinks? He isn't elected to anything. He doesn't lead a church. He doesn't have the voice that would be able to dissuade people from voting Democratic."

Asked whether the black community was sour on Blagojevich and the state Democratic Party, an official with the South Side branch of the NAACP simply said, "We don't have anyone of that persuasion here."

Convincing long-time Democrat voters on the South Side to support a Republican governor shouldn't be difficult, said Allen. If voters feel Blagojevich is ignoring them, if they see that Rep. Jackson hasn't endorsed the governor and they learn what Topinka has done for the community, they might support her.

Supporting Topinka, Allen said, doesn't mean supporting the entire Republican Party ticket. Allen will continue to work on the campaigns of Todd Stroger for Cook County Board President and Peter Garza for Cook County Sheriff.

Gaining political support is all about personal relationships, Allen said. Asking people to do what they can, like displaying candidates' signs or talking up a candidate to friends, goes a long way, he said.

"We maximize the phrase 'every little bit helps,'" Allen said. "When you start adding it up, the outreach becomes endless."


The Wimpy Tribune Endorsements in the 6th, 8th and 17th Districts

I thought I had the Tribune figured out. As a newspaper that doesn’t know what it believes, it strives to please readers by going both ways. The news copy is definitely liberal on international, national and state coverage…even pro-Democratic party. To balance this, the content editorials are wishy-washy, usually ending with the pathetically weak “what will happen now is anyone’s guess” or “stay tuned” or “the future is hard to predict but odds are what will happen will fall somewhere in between.” You know-the kind of stuff that really stirs the blood. Then the candidate endorsements are usually pro-business, slightly libertarian and Republican, wholly lacking in passion indicating that they may well have been dictated from the business office to which the editorial department is slavishly beholden… with the proviso that pro-choicers take precedence. That’s the way it has been. But this year there is a change.

On candidate endorsements, the weak tea has been further diluted into a tasteless brew with no savor, just based on the languid non-intellectuality of the Hinsdale country club locker room…which is the main constituency to which the non-scuffed white-shoe newspaper appeals. If the newspaper means to retail to people who are thoughtful about the economy, it woefully misses its mark. In the 8th district, David McSweeney, a successful investment banker, is probably the most astute analyst of the economy running on either side of the aisle in Illinois-one who would serve the business community much more effectively than Democrat Rep. Melissa Bean.

Bean is so shaky, so insecure of her own views that of all the people I have ever interviewed in more than fifty years, she has been an absolute puppet of those who control her: in the studio it was an aide who she pathetically insisted had to sit next to her at the desk and point with his carefully manicured finger-nail to the items in the D Triple C briefing book that enabled Bean to get through the interview. In Washington it is obviously the Darth Vader of the Democratic party, Rahm (Raoul) Emanuel who is about as close one can come to being a socialist without breathing in unison with Jan Schakowsky, the former secretary-treasurer of the con-game “consumer group” where fraudulent mis-management and check-kiting (of which Ms. Schakowsky claims to know nothing) sent her husband, dapper confidence man Robert Creamer, to jail which until a few of us blew the whistle was a closeted media club secret.

When I sat down with the esteemed congresswoman Bean in the Green Room before the show I reviewed a list of topics as I do with every participant. Bean shook her tousled head and said “no-no-no, I know nothing of this…of that…of this other thing…and of this specific thing” her eyes darting over for confirmation to her Emanuel-hired Svengali who was indolently chewing a toothpick. I can hardly believe that she has improved so much as to impress the vaunted newspaper editorial board which also consists of a woman who edited the newspaper’s cookbook. No, odds are the editorial board was waiting for a ring on the intercom from the business office which had decided, basis marketing studies, that it would be better to endorse a Democratic pro-choice woman. My only hope is that with the estate of the Tribune so low that the endorsement will be as ignored as is its unenlightened view of exploiting embryonic stem cell research.

If the business office wanted to encourage its own well-being, it would support McSweeney for excellent business and economic reasons. But, of course, it cannot because Bean is pro-choice and McSweeney is pro-life. Thereby the business office is now engaged in making more than economic decisions-guessing that the marketing of the newspaper will be enhanced with a pro-choicer than a pro-lifer, guessing somehow that women will be more supportive of its dreary rationale than heretofore. Now, McSweeney is far more than just an expert on the economy and business. He has developed a sophisticated philosophy on foreign affairs and immigration. In fact he is equipped to easily be a leader of the class of Republicans who will go to the Congress.

I suppose the thing that vexes me more than this endorsement is that the newspaper is so transparently vacuous in everything it does. I have no doubt that the decision to go Democratic was dictated elsewhere than the editorial board with a sheet of paper containing supposed reasons. The reason that McSweeney was not endorsed was that he has failed to prove Bean is a liberal. Be that as it may, her ineptitude shows she is incompetent.

The next decision this faux board made was in behalf of Tammy Duckworth. No one who knows Duckworth…even the most blinded partisan…can believe she is the equal in any sense of the fluent, sophisticated and skillful lawyer Peter Roskam. Duckworth probably would have done better running against any other Republican-probably a stumblebum. With her license to go anywhere and trade on her celebrity, she could easily have moved, at Emanuel’s beckoning, to another district with a Republican congressman (and I would have at least one suggestion were people to ask).

Here the real reason Roskam was not endorsed is the horrible editorial board-business office bigoted bias against pro-lifers…and Roskam has been an invaluable one in his state senate career. Duckworth doesn’t represent in the slightest what the newspaper has served up as a rationale for continuing to support the Iraq War…leaving the unmistakable impression that the paper’s genuine hostility to social values as a kind of New York Times wanna-be is the reason. I am sure the former cookbook editor had a vote on the endorsement as well albeit it came from the soulless business office that has made such a mess of things by buying Jack Fuller’s great idea of acquiring the Los Angeles Times. Which leads to the question of when this retiree has-been is going to stop prattling his clichéd Op Eds.

Finally in a district like the 17th where for too long the incumbent has been deathly ill with Parkinson’s and who has picked his former aide…an unimpressive lefty as his successor…what does this faux board do to show it has followed no rationale plan whatever. It disdained to support Republican Andrea Zinga because, it said, she does not handle herself well. What is that supposed to mean? The fact that the lady has been a CNN newswoman and former anchor in several markets has nothing to do with the fact that in the newspaper’s estimation she doesn’t handle herself well. Possibly the ex-cookbook editor’s view again. But not necessarily: it is indubitably that of the business office referring to pop marketing studies to ingratiate itself with a pro-choice audience. Again, it is social bigotry which the newspaper cannot muster the courage to express. Of course. You guessed it : Zinga is a pro-lifer. That it has declined to support Schakowsky in the 9th nor the very strange odd-ball she’s running against who does not accept any donations whatever is no act of courage-just the fearful mediocrity for which the newspaper is famed.

So this time around, the Tribune has a new rationale for its editorial endorsements. Its stands will continue to be bland, predictable and spineless with a slight residue of pro-business thinking…but its endorsements for Congress will be to the left. It is such a pitiful masquerade of its old doughty self that it would be a blessing if somebody bought the damned thing and turned it into a daily shopper throw-away with no editorial page at all, leaving the opinion writing to an expert like John Kass. In that eventuality, the business office would be relieved of its editorial duties and the ex-cookbook editor would be directed to finally do something useful…cooking up batches of stew in the paper’s old home ec kitchen. That would at least make her one up on the Sun-Times whose food editor writes the same piece every Saturday on how Hispanics view the world.


When Topinka's "moderates" went on a Witch Hunt -- Part 2

So let’s see if we have this straight:

*  Our Republican nominee for Governor participates every year in Chicago’s Gay Pride Parade - a lewd, public celebration of the homosexual lifestyle.

*  Judy Baar Topinka holds political events in at least one gay bar in Chicago.

As State Treasurer, Topinka has directed state program assistance to pro-gay causes, at the expense of more deserving projects.

When Rick Garcia, a close Topinka ally (and a prominent gay-rights activist) smeared Cardinal George earlier this year, calling him a “bigot” because of the Catholic leader’s opposition to gay marriage, Topinka wouldn’t condemn the vile insult.

That same gay-rights activist praised Topinka in a 2002 interview where he said, “She also has a lot of openly gay and lesbian staff, which always gives me a comfort level, knowing that our folks are inside.”

*  The Log Cabin Republicans (a group whose mission is to push the pro-gay agenda within the Republican Party) is one of Topinka’s principle allies.  The same organization refused to endorse George W. Bush for reelection in 2004 because of the President’s opposition to gay marriage.

Topinka refuses to support even allowing voters to weigh-in at the polls on whether they wish to amend the Illinois Constitution to specifically define marriage as existing only between a man and a woman.

So knowing all that, remind us again why two years ago we allowed Topinka and her cronies to crucify Jack Ryan over propositioning his own wife?  Who represents more of an embarrassment to the Party of family values?

The Double Standard Again

On that summer day in 2004 when Topinka’s “moderates” had finally finished their witch hunt after Jack Ryan threw-in the towel, Topinka-backer Kirk Dillard said this:

"It wasn't really over the substance of what he did or did not do with his wife.  It was, they thought that he deliberately withheld information before the March primary and we had a lot of buyer's remorse."

First of all, no one has withheld more information from voters than Topinka and her crew – and that includes Kirk Dillard.  And it’s not just on a wide range of major issues like hiding her plan to massively expand gambling until after the Primary. 

No, the bigger point is that voters were deceived about just how dishonest, confused and nasty Topinka really is.  Topinka had no business even considering a run for Governor and taking the Illinois GOP down with her.  Most Republicans now realize they were bamboozled in the Primary.  Any “withholding” Jack Ryan did was trivial in comparison.

Actually, the quote above from Kirk Dillard doesn’t even reflect the Topinka crew’s original attack plan.  At first, they did try to make it all about the allegations of what Jack had supposedly done with this own wife.  But that wasn’t getting the job done.  Most people have been close to someone who has been through a nasty divorce.  Normal people understand that spouses say things in contested proceedings, especially if child custody is involved.

Jack Ryan had pretty much turned the tide on the initial media firestorm in the summer of 2004.  The story was running out of steam.  Operation destroy Jack Ryan was in serious jeopardy.

That’s when Jim Edgar got involved.  That’s when the strategy turned to this idea of “Jack wasn’t forthcoming with us.”  This was when Edgar and Topinka appeared together and told the media that Jack wasn’t honest in a conference call the three had together.  According to Edgar and Topinka, Ryan promised that the contents of his divorce files wouldn’t “embarrass the Party.”

Let’s be clear about something – releasing almost anyone’s divorce files for mass consumption is likely to be embarrassing to the spouses and families involved.  That’s why even the nastiest of opponents almost never have the stomach to do it.

But embarrassing to the Illinois GOP?  That’s absurd.  A State Party that expects Republicans to get behind a champion of the gay lifestyle like Topinka, simply can’t be embarrassed by what one of our few remaining heterosexual men did with his own wife.

And here’s a more fundamental question, is what gay men do with each other any less “embarrassing” than anything Jack Ryan possibly could have done with his own wife – just because it’s not printed in a court filing?   Would Topinka like to poll that question?

All Log Cabin, All the Time

It was Topinka’s crew that opened the door on delving into a person’s private life, and making judgments about how certain private behavior might make one unfit for the political arena.  But for Topinka, that inquiry stops at the door of the gay lifestyle.

It’s widely known that both Topinka’s campaign and state office operations are the “go-to” places for gay individuals looking to work in politics.  As we noted above, even a leader from the gay community like Rick Garcia has acknowledged Topinka’s open closet door policy on hiring.

Are Republicans bad people if they view this as a concern?  After being disappointed in some of their Illinois Congressional leaders for the way the Mark Foley child predation scandal was handled, are Republicans wrong to worry that the gay culture is destroying the GOP?  Is it wrong to see parallels in the way similar issues severely harmed the Catholic Church?  Are Republicans out of line to ask if the secrets kept by so many are having an impact on policy at all levels?

When the Illinois Human Rights Act is amended in early 2005 to put sexual orientation on a par with skin color and gender as a protected class – and the enabling legislation is passed with Republican votes - we have to wonder.  

When a State Party at first promises to help on a quintessentially Republican project like collecting petition signatures for the Protect Marriage referendum – and then bails-out, and lies about the reasons why – we have to wonder. 

When the Topinka allied organization, the Log Cabin Republicans, works for weeks with other gay activists, looking for signatures of conservatives to strike from Protect Marriage Petitions as a way to prevent ballot access – we have to wonder.

-- When two male Topinka supporters in three years (one an employee and one a former Lake County GOP Chairman) get arrested on criminal charges relating to underage boys – we have to wonder.

We think Republicans should be concerned – and that would be true even if Topinka hadn’t gone on her witch hunt.  We don’t believe in witch hunts.  We simply wonder how someone so destructive to decent people and core Republican principles – has been allowed to wreck havoc for so long.  And all the while under the cover of being a “moderate” – that phony term that’s supposed to denote tolerance.

We just believe Republicans should know what they will be getting.  If Topinka becomes our next Governor, there will be nothing resembling a real Republican Party in Illinois for at least four more years. 

There won’t even be principled opposition on the field to the Democrats’ agenda.  And everyone can forget about seeing the Presidential candidates in Illinois in 2008.  They won’t even bother.

The Illinois GOP has already collapsed.  But with Topinka allowed to keep perverting the Republican brand, our Party can’t recover.

The Audacity of Hope
The Family Taxpayers Network is not alone in its disappointment with the Republican nominee for governor.  One newspaper, however, is crossing its fingers.

The Tribune’s recent poll as well as other news stories across the state show that Illinois voters are not happy with the choices on the ballot.  In fact things are so bad that one newspaper editorial had this to say:

Unfortunately, the Republican alternative to Blagojevich, Judy Baar Topinka, has run a lackluster campaign devoid of ideas. And, as a longtime Illinois pol, it is unlikely that she will “end politics as usual.” Topinka is unlikely to shake things up. And the state capital needs a thorough shaking.

Topinka also has failed to come up with substantive issues that voters care about. She even had a substantive issue handed to her on a silver platter – electrical deregulation and impending rate hikes – and failed to take a discernible position on it.

That is, until Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan called for a special legislative session. Then, in a Northwest Herald candidate questionnaire submitted Thursday, she criticized Blagojevich for failing “to provide leadership” on the issue. Three weeks earlier at a Northwest Herald editorial board meeting, she seemed confounded that the auction was even brought up.

Neither Topinka nor Blagojevich has come up with sensible education reform. Rather, each proposes tossing billions more at Illinois’ education system. What about spending issues in education? What about waste? What about property tax relief?

Believe it or not, the paper endorsed her, saying it was crossing its fingers in the hope that she’d be better than Blagojevich!

Since Topinka has been in office a quarter of a century we know that any crossing of fingers is a futile exercise.  The only responsible choice is “none of the above.”

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