Monday, October 15, 2012

League of Women Voters Marathon Debate Session

Interesting weekend on the political front in the 10th Congressional District.  The League of Women Voters sponsored two debates, one which appeared on ABC Channel 7 Sunday Morning (taped the day before) and the other, a marathon session at the Lake Forest High School Auditorium.

In two consecutive debates, Brad Schneider suddenly attempted to portray himself as a moderate and even bragged about donating to past Mark Kirk for Congress campaigns. After months of campaigning as a progressive (what liberals now call themselves)? During the primary he tried to hide that Kirk support just like he now hides his tax returns and his "successful business."

Those extremely partisan positions he has been holding near and dear to his heart must not be polling well for him. Last month before the Chicago Tribune editorial board, suddenly moderate Brad Schneider was unable to cite a single Democratic position he would disagree with.  Like Obama, Schneider seems to be having a difficult time keeping his campaign from unraveling due to his confused positions and stances.

Today's Patch reveals that its chief political reporter was thunderstruck over Dold votes and positions which radically differed from the Democratic National Congressional Committee and Brad Schneider portrayals of Dold. They have been pushing a series of doozies against Dold in print and television, doozies which the endorsements of the Daily Herald and Chicago Tribune of Robert Dold have called "blatantly misleading" and "laughable." Two of strangest ads come to mind. One basically asks how many times Dold and Biggert voted with the maniacal (in Democrat eyes) Joe Walsh?  Oh! My! Goodness!  The logic of that ad is they "followed" Joe Walsh, who openly brags about being a Tea Party guy!  That silliness of that ad would really escalate if someone would to cherry picks votes where Representative Bobby Rush, Jesse Jackson, Jr., Luis Guiterrez or even Jan Schakowsky voted with Joe Walsh.  With all the procedural votes and resolutions honoring official Apple Pie Day and other less than serious matters, I bet at least one vote could be located where they all voted together!  Does that make Jan Schakowsky a "follower" of Joe Walsh?  LOL!

The other doozie claims that Dold favors drilling for oil in Lake Michigan.  And during the debate, a desperate Schneider claimed that Dold voted against funding Planned Parenthood and voted for what Democrats cynically call the "Let Women Die Act." Dold labeled that as being preposterous and then read a letter after that vote from the President of Planned Parenthood thanking him for his vote and continued support. She is now on leave from her position while she campaigns for President Obama! Oops!  I'm waiting for Patch to be thunderstruck over that one!

Also during the League of Women's Voters debate in Lake Forest in a packed auditorium, when asked which tax deductions could be phased out, Dold brought up three, Schneider zero, but he did mumble and fumble and spoke in generalities about comprehensive tax reform. Who on this planet is not in favor of comprehensive tax reform? Dold said "everything is on the table" in resolving the federal government 16 trillion debt and reducing it, and even cited his support and sponsorship of a budget bill called Cooper-LaTourete, which received 38 votes, including his own. Schneider again mumbled and then said we should return to the 1999 tax rates under Bill Clinton, but now only for the wealthy (before it was for all of us), which this snarky blogger notices conflicts with the Obama "Forward" message by going backwards, but then again, the Obama message this campaign about our future has yet to be revealed.  The Obama administration is out of plans, other than to snicker and laugh at Republican plans.

Speaking of laughing, audible groans and laughter were heard in the audience when Schneider brought up "drilling in Lake Michigan" and "Tea Party follower." You would think after a year of campaigning in the 10th, that Schneider would have figured out that voters in the 10th were smart enough to see through that nonsense.  All politics is local Brad, stop parroting lines like Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman of the NDCC in Washington, DC. You don't see Dold parroting NRCC lines from Washington, do you?

An interesting debate between Scott Drury (D) and Mark Shaw (R) for the 58th Illinois House Seat and Julie Morrison (D) and Arie Friedman (R) for the 29th Illinois Senate Seat followed. What was striking was they way the two Democrats sounded like Republicans when it came to issues of ethics reforms and various budget reforms, including overspending, the "temporary" income tax increases passed two years ago in a lame duck session by Democrats, and pension reforms. Morrison was pretty vague on these issues, Friedman was not. Drury went so far as to pull out of his hat the Republican line that Illinois "Is Broke and Broken." Both Shaw and Friedman vowed that their first votes after being sworn in would be to not vote for Michael Madigan and John Cullerton to lead their respective chambers.  Drury and Morrison were silent on that topic. Best line: "I'm 51 years old, my son is 11.  Forty years ago Michael Madigan was elected to Springfield and has been Speaker of the House for most of that time. I don't want to see him still there when my son is 51." (Mark Shaw)

If those two Democrats are running as pseudo-Republicans in their Districts, then voters should elect actual Republicans to represent them in Springfield.

Finally the County Board candidates for three districts were given the fourth hour, sadly in front of an empty auditorium, as people left after three hours.  I found this debate the most interesting of the three.  Quite frankly, all County Board candidates should aspire to be like incumbent Ann Maine (R-21) who shined brightest amongst the six on stage. Her command of the issues, facts and vision for the county should be written in a text book for all to follow. Also impressive were David Barkhausen (R-13) and Sandra Hart (D-13) who are looking to replace retiring Susan Gravenhorst (R-13). Laura Lambrecht (R-11) brought a corporate analysis based on her background which was refreshing to hear, while Steve Mandel (D-11) touted his 19 years of experience as an Alderman in Highland Park.

The League announced these debates will be rebroadcast on local public access television and will be available for viewing on YouTube.com and www.lwv-lflb.org.

My unofficial ranking of all the candidates in how impressive they were in their demeanor, command of facts and communication skills: (1) Robert Dold, (2) Arie Friedman, (3) Ann Maine, (4) Mark Shaw, (5) Scott Drury (6) David Barkhausen, (7) Sandy Hart, (8) Brad Schneider, (9) Julie Morrison, (10) Laura Lambrecht, (11) Steve Mandel, (12) Arlene Hickory.

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