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Amateur hour

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* Congressman Adam Kinzinger just crossed a line and Rockford Register Star columnist Chuck Sweeny is having none of it. This is a quote from a Kinzinger mailer

“A Rockford Register Star columnist recently said Congressman Manzullo’s voting record bears resemblance to ‘that of Massachusetts Congressman Barney Frank.’ No, it wasn’t Barney Frank’s record but it was actually the voting history of my opponent, Congressman Don Manzullo.”

* But this is what Sweeny actually wrote

“Kinzinger and Manzullo are engaged in a fight-to-the-finish duel about who is more conservative. And Kinzinger is characterizing Manzullo’s record as something resembling that of Massachusetts Democrat Barney Frank.”

And there’s more

In a newspaper-type mailer Kinzinger’s campaign sent to my house, Kinzinger charges that Manzullo “joined liberal Democrats in (a) movement to impeach President Bush.” Kinzinger claims that in 2008, Manzullo “shockingly voted for left-wing Dennis Kucinich’s legislation to order the House Judiciary Committee to consider impeaching President Bush over ludicrous reasons.”

Well, well, well. Let me quote from a piece I wrote July 16, 2008, about Manzullo’s vote for Kucinich’s wacky impeachment bill:

“I did the constitutional thing, which was to send it to committee, where it will be killed. If it did not go to committee, it would stay on the floor and then we would have started impeaching the president,” Manzullo told me at the time.

This goes beyond the usual political crud, which the media tends to basically ignore. Twist a columnist’s words into absurdity, though, and you’ll find yourself on the receiving end of serious negativity. Sweeny’s column by itself won’t have a gigantic impact, but if Manzullo uses the column in his paid media blitz to accuse Kinzinger of being a liar, it could very well move some numbers.

Both of these guys have been attempting to make the other guy look like he’s not conservative enough. It’s been a bogus argument from Jump Street. There are things about both men that aren’t 100 percent pure conservative, but, really, c’mon here, we’re talking infinitesimal degrees of separation. This latest Kinzinger attack is through the looking glass bizarre and a total amateur mistake. He’ll deserve any backfire he gets.

* We didn’t do much politics here last week because it was budget address week and it sucked up all my attention. So, I neglected to point out this weird Tribune endorsement in the 2nd Congressional District. The paper whacked Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr. in four, long paragraphs and concluded that Jackson’s explanations for all his troubles are “unsatisfying.” But then the editorial board proceeded to ridicule Jackson’s primary opponent Debbie Halvorson

Halvorson is alarmingly unqualified to represent the district.

Seated beside her “distracted” opponent at our head-to-head candidate interview, it was Halvorson who fudged, stumbled and stammered. Asked to explain her one-and-done tenure as representative of the 11th District, she blurted out that voters can be “fickle.” She later said that was a bad choice of words. Asked to name federal programs she would target for spending cuts, she couldn’t think of one. Over and over she offered, lamely, that voters should send her back to Washington so she could help “innovate” the country out of its current mess. We don’t think so.

Jackson ran circles around Halvorson in our interview, showing a 16-year incumbent’s command of the issues. When Halvorson said he had failed to advance his plan to build a third regional airport near Peotone, Jackson’s response assured us yet again that he’s relentlessly focused on making it happen. (Her comments, meanwhile, convinced us she is not.) Jackson is endorsed.


* This story also “broke” last week while I was so distracted

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel waded into a contested suburban Democratic primary for Congress, backing former U.S. Veterans Affairs official Tammy Duckworth. […]

Duckworth is in a primary battle with former deputy state treasurer Raja Krishnamoorthi for the right to take on freshman Republican Joe Walsh in the 8th District. The district includes parts of northwest Cook and northeast DuPage counties, but does not include any homes in Chicago.

It’s been known for a while that Emanuel is with Duckworth, so the only newsworthy item is that he chose to formally announce his support.

* And a roundup…

* ADDED: Press release: Today, Congressman Aaron Schock (R-IL), a member of the House Ways and Means Committee, endorsed Congressman Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) for the newly drawn 16th Congressional District. Schock is the youngest Member of Congress and has served as a leading advocate for the conservative principles that reflect the values of the people throughout Illinois.

* Supreme Court race hits TV, as funding picks up: Going on TV was incumbent Justice Mary Jane Theis, who hit Chicago stations Monday morning with a buy of 600 ratings points, costing a few hundred thousand dollars.

* Early voting in Illinois begins

* How Duckworth, Krishnamoorthi differ on deficit: Duckworth also says Congress should consider eliminating the $385-billion dollar fleet of F-35 fighter jets, currently being developed.

* Key Ill. primaries: 8th Congressional District

* Democrats spar over donations, support at congressional forum: Sheyman attacked Schneider for campaign contributions he made to Republicans including Illinois Sen. Mark Kirk. Schneider responded by criticizing the policies of some of the groups that have endorsed Sheyman and by extolling the campaign work he’s done for Democrats including former Rep. Melissa Bean of Barrington.

* Illinois House races heating up: “I don’t see any of those four candidates giving Dold any heat,” said Green.

* Brad Schneider Extended Interview

* IL a battleground for U.S. Congress races:
But Republicans are ceding nothing. They believe they still have momentum from the 2010 victories that put five GOP freshmen in office and gave them their first state congressional majority in in seven years. And they believe another factor will help them when voters go to the polls: Anger over Illinois’ state fiscal crisis.

* VIDEO: Joe Walsh: Fighting For Millionaires

* Tribune: For the Republicans: Kinzinger

* Tribune: Theis for the Supreme Court

* Tribune: For the Democrats: Duckworth

* Tribune: For the U.S. House

posted by Rich Miller
Monday, Feb 27, 12 @ 2:25 pm


  1. Halvorson was plummer-esque in that endorsement session and just incredibly bad in terms of unpreparedness and it got really really nasty at points to where she looked like she was going to physically go after jackson. Krishnamoorthi and duckworth were also pretty bad in terms of just using cable news talking points and seem to have caught dan seals disease of I am just going to run for office until you elect me.

    Comment by Shore Monday, Feb 27, 12 @ 3:00 pm

  2. Glad to see Adam A. keeping things classy in his GOP civil war. I thought these hard right folks were all about family values, is blatant lying more important to some families than others?

    Comment by Small Town Liberal Monday, Feb 27, 12 @ 3:17 pm

  3. STL-

    Aren’t we talking about Adam Kinzinger and not AA? ;)

    Comment by Just sayin' Monday, Feb 27, 12 @ 3:19 pm

  4. I think Kinzinger deserves the Trib’s endorsement because he looks good in a flight suit. That will serve the district well!

    I’ve seen Kinzinger in action and he is long on Republican sound bites (we need to cut government), but short on specifics. I was not impressed that he was a “game changer” and if he “represents the best of a new generation in politics” that’s pretty sad.

    It would be nice to see some R’s and D’s develop reputations for crossing the aisle and valuing compromise. That would be a “game changer.”

    Comment by Pot calling kettle Monday, Feb 27, 12 @ 3:25 pm

  5. So AK compares Manzullo to Franks, Sweeney reports it, then AK sends out lit saying Sweeney said it.

    Amateur hour, indeed.

    What’s AK trying to say with that Franks stuff, anyway? You had a pretty good message going, dude, don’t go in the gutter.

    I don’t think the Indispensable Daley ever chimed in on a suburban Dem primary. I guess Emanuel sees himself as Double-Secret-Probation-Indispenable.

    With all the breathless, desperate spin he churns out every day, you get the impression that Emanuel wants to declare victory and leave the world of garbage pickup, street cleaning, cops, firemen, schools, etc. as soon as possible.

    One and done, maybe, by choice, at best.

    Comment by wordslinger Monday, Feb 27, 12 @ 3:28 pm

  6. - Aren’t we talking about Adam Kinzinger and not AA? ;) -

    Unless I’m mistaken, isn’t AA one of AK’s big backers? I may be wrong.

    Comment by Small Town Liberal Monday, Feb 27, 12 @ 3:32 pm

  7. The Tribune is living up to expectations.

    Comment by Nice Kid Monday, Feb 27, 12 @ 3:36 pm

  8. I suspect the Tribune’s JJJ endorsement is solely an effort to protect the airport joke that the Tribune supports. Everything the editorial board wrote is pretextual baloney, with an eye toward supporting ALNAC. If Halvorson weren’t a serious challenger they would have endorsed nobody.

    Comment by Nice Kid Monday, Feb 27, 12 @ 3:58 pm

  9. If I lived in the 8th District, who Rahm wanted me to vote for might work in favor of his opponent.

    As it is I don’t think my Congressman has an opponent in this primary so I’ve been trying to talk myself into pulling a Republican ballot and messing with the opposition.I don’t think I’m going to be able to do that though. I don’t think I could live with myself if I voted the way I’m thinking of voting.

    Comment by Cheryl44 Monday, Feb 27, 12 @ 4:01 pm

  10. STL-

    Not sure AA ever backed AK publicly, with only a recent exception, he tends to stay out of federal races.

    Comment by Just sayin' Monday, Feb 27, 12 @ 4:26 pm

  11. I’m not a fan of JJJ but the video was up on the trib site at least a week ago. Halvorson was just bad, she was unprepared and came across shrill and mean.JJJ for all his faults and their are many came across well prepared and knowledgeable.

    Comment by Fed up Monday, Feb 27, 12 @ 4:28 pm

  12. Why did the Tribune editorial board suddenly decide Danny Davis was great when his challenger this time around is a minister and former policeman and doesn’t seem any less qualified than his past challengers? I was kind of surprised how their opinion talked about him being more active in the district and in touch with voters, because I sure got a whole lot more mail from him in 2010 than this cycle and can’t really remember him doing anything in the district at all. Lots of those edit board opinions were really confusing.

    Also, re: Schock — the pjstar had something the other day about Romney coming to a Schock fundraiser on March 19 (despite there being a scheduled debate in Washington that night). Any word on Illinois GOP presidential candidate forums or appearances or is everyone just waiting to see how Super Tuesday shakes out?

    Comment by hisgirlfriday Monday, Feb 27, 12 @ 4:33 pm

  13. The PJS was all creamey this a.m. when Mr. Dreamey announced Romney coming in to collect CAT cash just before the IL Primary.
    Wonder why no one remembers Shock had Newt in last year and the event bombed….event downsized twice, etc.
    No problem switching sides, but usually worth a mention.

    Comment by CircularFiringSquad Monday, Feb 27, 12 @ 4:41 pm

  14. –Why did the Tribune editorial board suddenly decide Danny Davis was great when his challenger this time around is a minister and former policeman and doesn’t seem any less qualified than his past challengers?–

    Maybe the Rev. Moon signed up Paul Lis to set the the Tribbies straight on the Congressman who crowned him. Buds and bad cigars can go a long way.

    Back in the day, the Tribbies, especially the Springfield bureau, would jump when Paul told them to.

    Comment by wordslinger Monday, Feb 27, 12 @ 5:02 pm

  15. Kinzinger is a joke, and just regurgitates talking points. He was ushered in claiming to be a TEA Party candidate, but then came in and voted for the (un)Patriot Act, raising the debt ceiling, etc. He was rated lower than Mark Kirk on the Heritage Foundation’s conservative rankings.

    Comment by East Sider Monday, Feb 27, 12 @ 5:26 pm

  16. –He was rated lower than Mark Kirk on the Heritage Foundation’s conservative rankings.–

    No kidding? That must be a different Heritage Foundation than the one that introduced the ideas of free-market cap-and-trade for pollution and personal responsibility for health insurance.

    Free markets. Personal responsibility. Not exactly what you’d call “conservative” these days.

    Comment by wordslinger Monday, Feb 27, 12 @ 5:46 pm

  17. - Not sure AA ever backed AK publicly, with only a recent exception, he tends to stay out of federal races. -

    My mistake, apologies to AA.

    Comment by Small Town Liberal Monday, Feb 27, 12 @ 5:58 pm

  18. Off topic, but since this post brought up Rahm…

    anyone else notice that MSNBC’s Ed Schultz has had a segment criticizing Rahm’s Chicago public school reforms like 3 or 4 times in the last week?

    Comment by hisgirlfriday Monday, Feb 27, 12 @ 8:01 pm

  19. Kinzinger can’t run om his record because he has no record. All he ever did was pass bills that went no where.The Republican party will fail with the likes of him. The Tribune is wrong again. I’m glad I will have a new Congressman.

    Comment by mokenavince Monday, Feb 27, 12 @ 10:24 pm

  20. Rich, you forgot to mention that Kinzinger is an Air Force pilot. End of debate.

    Oh yeah. Hes also relatively young and telegenic and his mom is proud of him.

    So much for the current state of political discourse.

    Comment by Rail Rider Tuesday, Feb 28, 12 @ 6:39 am

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