Tuesday, February 02, 2010

2009 IL Primary Elections - Blue Skies Falling Endorsements

It's very late in the day, and I've only recently gotten around to researching any of these candidates. That said, if you haven't voted yet, and you're interested in a pseudo-informed opinion, here's who I'm going for this round.


My most enthusiastic endorsement goes to Todd Connor, for his strident argument in favor of closing the Sanitary and Ship Canal to prevent the spread of Asian Carp into Lake Michigan. It seems that almost every politician I'm aware of has vocally supported keeping the locks open, a horrible choice to favor short-term expediency over long-term stability and fairness. The contention also illustrates one state's ability (and nobody can doubt that Illinois is the most powerful state in the region) to blatantly disregard the interests of other states. In this, one of the most important of county offices, we need qualified candidates who are willing to act on principle, and Connor appears to have exemplified this in his response to the Asian Carp crisis.

It is interesting for me to note that all three of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District candidates listed here were endorsed by the right-leaning Chicago Tribune Editorial Board as well as the environmentally-conscious Sierra Club. This level of concord among such different crowds suggests that these are extraordinarily qualified candidates.

My least enthusiastic endorsement goes to Pat Quinn for Governor. Both candidates ran attack ads of the variety that call the integrity and mission of their campaigns into serious question. There is no sugar-coating the vigor and virulence of political debate in Illinois, but the ads of both candidates completely occluded any discussion of their policy differences, which were, in many cases, little easier to disentangle from their public statements... at least from my point-of-view. I disagree with Pat Quinn on a variety of issues; he supports ease of recall elections, which is ironic given pledges to reduce the deficit, and Hynes makes a very well-reasoned argument that recalls are a gateway for special interests. However, I got a better sense of Quinn's specific stance on many of the most important issues, and he seems to have a stronger focus on the hard-hit middle and lower-classes in the midst of recession. So: "I'll punch the card for Quinn, or whatever."

My primary protest vote of 2010 goes to David Hoffman for U.S. Senate. Our political machine has been infected with all sorts of nasty financial shenanigans, and Alexi Giannoulias seems to typify many of these. However, I would like to add that Hoffman represented himself well overall in Tribune interview.

Labels: , ,

Event:Pass Health-Care Reform Yesterday!

I've been getting progressively more worked up each day the last few weeks and it finally spilled over into this letter I just wrote to my congresswoman and senators.

On consideration, I think the analogies here (trite as they seem) are worth sharing precisely because they are so very obvious and applicable. At any rate, I'm interested in your thoughts.

Dear Sen. Durbin, Sen. Burris, Congresswoman Schakowsky,

First, I appreciate your hard work and the good things you do. Please be aware of this.

Second, enough is enough.

Many in my family worked for GM for may decades, and I've had plenty of opportunities to reflect upon the failings of that company and the odd sort of insight that you only get from not being in the thick of a situation. Isn't it strange that the executives who ostensibly knew more about their company than anyone else missed the most apparent signs of its downfall? There's some horrible disadvantage to being on the inside; one misses the obvious wisdom that consumers stop buying cars from an unresponsive automaker unconcerned with quality and changing needs. Ironically, the people building the cars understood these liabilities far better than those running the company.

Today, I have had a grand opportunity to observe the same phenomenon in the slow and incremental death of health care reform.

Now everybody and their brother who supports you (and has been supporting your career for how many years now) knows that the Democrats' odds of surviving in November improve if you pass this bill. We all know that your chances are better the sooner you pass it. You seem locked in this idea that the independents -- that precious margin that determines so many elections -- are going to freak out if you are seen as having too progressive an agenda, while you miss the reliable and fundamental fact that the independents are more drawn to things that work than they are to political ideologies of any stripe. And today's half-passed bill does not "work" by any stretch of the imagination.

Conversely, the senate is too blithe in assuming that the liberal base that has funded and supported the last two election cycles is going to have anything other than fury and resentment with an agenda that seems to turn its back on most of the issues we care most about.

In this case, the analogies are simple and apt:

Roger Smith, CEO of GM thought his restructuring of GM without changing corporate culture or quality standards would save GM. He was wrong, and it was obvious to everyone on the street.

Jeff Zucker of NBC thought that preemptive shuffling around of late night personalities without consulting the hosts or the affiliates would help NBC. He was wrong and it was obvious, and it was obvious to everyone on the street.

Now Rahm Emmanuel is sidelining health care and it looks like Harry Reid is going along with that. Guess what: They're wrong, and it's obvious!


Pass it yesterday.

The sooner you pass it, the sooner it will start saving lives, and the sooner you can start taking credit for the good work you've done in the face of stiff opposition.

If you do not pass it, I assure you, and not without great sadness and regret, this November will be a calamity.

Respectfully yours...

Labels: , ,