Sunday, November 05, 2006

22: Endorsements: Illinois.


I should note that I usually rely heavily on the candidate statements provided by the League of Women Voters. But this organization is not as active in Illinois as in Michigan or New York, so I've used Yahoo! News instead.

1. GOVERNOR; ILLINOIS: Rod Blagojevich, Democrat.

Vote for Blagojevich, but by no means do it with great enthusiasm. While he has delivered on many campaign promises, including managing a mutinous budget and expanding health-care, too much of his first term's potential has been lost in destructive interference from squabbling with his own party. Also, the charge that his administration gives Chicago too much weight to throw around is, in this case, fair. Finally, I'm a little put off by the logic of machine politics, which feels a bit too much like the uninitiated attending a Freemason's lodge meeting, or even a gathering of devoted Thespians. The languages seems to purposely obfuscate the processes going on. Blagojevich's opponent, Judy Baar Topinka, is by no means an unqualified candidate, probably the most moderate Republican running for a high-ranking position in Illinois. If she is elected it is far from the end of the world. If, in the end, the governor deserves our vote, it's because his stance on issues such as education, public transit, and above all, health care. With Democrats in power throughout Illinois, Blagojevich way well be able to deliver on his promise of Universal Health Care, and his strengths include the ability to negotiate with unions over sensitive and complex funding issues. The financial plight of the CTA and the continued difficulties building up the Chicago Public Schools top that list; issues that I know are important to this blog's readers.



In the close race for governor, Lisa Madigan has the advantage of probably being able to work well with either candidate, despite her own position as a somewhat staunch Democrat. She managed to clinch a glowing endorsement from the conservative Chicago Tribune, and has defied her critics by running an office seemingly free from outside influence. Madigan may, in fact, represent the best side of political society, bringing a bulk of poise and expertise to her Freshman political term.

4. COMPTROLLER; ILLINOIS: Dan Hynes, Democrat.

Ditto that. Not only does Hynes have realistic financial savvy, but Democrats naturally have an edge of traction when it comes to navigating in a state heavily dominated by labor unions. Dan Hynes is the obvious choice for Comptroller.

5. SECRETARY OF STATE; ILLINOIS: Jesse White, Democrat.

For some reason newspaper endorsements and discussions of the Secretary of State always revolve around the amount of time spent in line to get or renew a drivers' licence. Can I just rant about that for a moment? Why do we really care? Queueing up is just a fact of life sometimes. We have to renew a drivers license, what, every four years? Is it really that relevant whether it's a twenty or a forty minute wait once in that period of time?
A much less discussed issue are voting policies, in which the Secretary of State is instrumental. The whole 2000 election debacle in Florida, and nearly Florida-size clusterfuck in Ohio in 2004 were largely exacerbated by secretaries of state who took partisan and highly unfriendly stances agaisnt voters in major cities. The level of orgnization in Chicago, and the lack of any other large metropolis outside of Chicago somewhat mitigates this issue for Illinois. Still, White has so far navigated the problems of voting technology in a large and diverse state without controversy. Moreover, Republican state senator Dan Rutherford has a sketchy voting record that would not release records on accidents connected with used-vehicles, including those that might relate to mechanical failure. This means that when purchasing a used vehicle, one would not receieve disclosure for Illinois. As I said against Cox running for Michigan's Attorney General, that's immoral, and disgusting. So don't vote for him. Vote for Jesse White.

6. TREASURER; ILLINOIS: Alexi Giannoulias, Democrat.

This could be the wild ride of this Illinois election cycle. Giannoulias' chief advantage has been his brilliant help running the Edgewater-based Broadway bank. On the one hand, he has been held accountable for some lending indiscretions, perhaps to organized crime. On the other hand, as he validly points out, the loans were legally made, and did not involve criminal background checks becasue Broadway is, after all, a community lending bank. It is, in fact, a situation where intervention was not the banks prerogative. This is compensated for by Giannoulias' financial savvy, which has left to an emulation of his securities lending programs throughout the midwest, and his plans to encourage use of renewable fuels. His inexperience is, and should be a factor, but given his energy, imagination, and clear aptitude for the job at hand, it is probably a risk worth taking.

Lastly, Illinois voters, and especially the centrist and right-leaning, should read this editorial from the New York Times.



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