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Barack, Rod and Todd

Wednesday, Oct 29, 2008

* As I attempted to explain to ABC 7 yesterday, Barack Obama’s presence at the top of the ticket isn’t guaranteeing success for all down-ballot Democrats. The reason? Rod Blagojevich

Illinois Republicans are hoping that by reminding voters that Rod and Todd, as in Governor Rod Blagojevich and Cook County Board President Todd Stroger, are two of the state’s most unpopular Democrats. Those voters may be less likely to vote straight Democratic next Tuesday, even if they support the very popular Democrats at the top of the ticket, Obama and Sen. Dick Durbin. […]

“If you talk to anybody out there, they cannot predict with any kind of certainty what will happen in a huge Democratic year because of Rod Blagojevich,” said Rich Miller, Capitol Fax.

* Republican congressional candidate Marty Ozinga has been slammed hard by his Democratic opponent Debbie Halvorson for contributing to Blagojevich’s campaign fund. Ozinga has a new broadcast TV ad that fights back, quoting a recent Tribune editorial to make the case that Halvorson is the Blagojevich ally, not him…

* Republican Congresscritter Peter Roskam has already tied his Democratic opponent to Gov. Blagojevich (she was the guv’s homeland security chief), and he’s now wrapping himself around Barack Obama. Call it a twofer. From Lynn Sweet

-I’ve heard that all the Illinois Republican House candidates in competitive districts are nervous because Democrat Barack Obama is pulling big leads throughout Illinois, even in GOP turf. Rep. Peter Roskam (R-Ill.) created “Obama Voters for Roskam” in order to lure ticket spliters. He is in a race with Democrat Jill Morgenthaler in the west suburban 6th District.

Check out the site’s header…

That’ll go over well in some circles, I’m sure.

* Anyway, the reason I was interviewed by Channel 7 is because I was at a press conference yesterday where the House and Senate Republicans unveiled a new radio ad to remind voters of Rod Blagojevich and Todd Stroger before they vote. Listen to the ad by clicking here. And here’s the ad’s script…

Woman: You know, I wish Rod Blagojevich and Todd Stroger were on the ballot in next week’s election.

Man: You’re going to vote for them?

Woman: Vote for them?!? Look at the mess they’ve caused: Higher taxes and wasteful spending.

Man: Well, they haven’t done it alone. They’ve had a lot of help from Democrats in the state House and Senate.

Announcer: The state budget has skyrocketed under Blagojevich’s watch and he’s spending money we don’t have. Now these same Democrats are supporting a $3 billion income tax hike and even side with Todd Stroger’s sales tax. Blagojevich and the Democrats failed economic policies have driven 60,000 manufacturing jobs out of Illinois and unemployment is among the highest in the nation.

Woman: So why would we send another Democrat to Springfield”

Man: We can’t! Not if we want change.

Announcer: If you want to make real change in Springfield, vote Republican for state representative and state senator.

Woman: Paid for by Citizens to Change Illinois

* Coverage

The ad strikes to the core of the Republican conundrum this election season: a potential tidal wave of voters turning out for Barack Obama who may be inclined to vote Democratic down ticket.

State Sen. Kirk Dillard of Hinsdale said Obama is expected to win some of the suburban areas where the GOP has highly contested races.

But he said voters need to know that Democratic votes down ballot “is giving a rubber stamp and is giving more power to the Chicago Democratic machine.”

* The governor can’t catch a break no matter what happens. The head of the Lincoln Library was just fired for alleged petty criminality, for crying out loud…

Less than a week after the disclosure of his arrests for shoplifting, Rick Beard was fired Tuesday as head of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum.

Gov. Rod Blagojevich decided to dismiss Beard and sent him a letter of termination, said David Blanchette, spokesman for the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency. IHPA director Jan Grimes called Beard to tell him the news.


- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - archpundit - Wednesday, Oct 29, 08 @ 10:25 am:

    The problem with the Republican’s ad is trying to get the message burned in one week out in an atmosphere where very little attention is getting paid to state politics. That’s the problem with a wave election–it blocks out most other messages.

  2. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Oct 29, 08 @ 10:29 am:

    We live in strange times.

    A right-wing suburban Republican hitches his star to a liberal, black Chicago Democrat.

    A Democratic leader of the pro-Blago Senate pounds her Republican opponent for his ties to the Dem Blago.

    A right-wing GOP president leads the charge for an exponential expansion of Medicare (prescription drugs) and to nationalize the American economy through the purchase of floundering private enterprises while a right-wing GOP veep candidate warns of “socialism” if her opponents are elected.

    Strange, but amusing.

  3. - stones - Wednesday, Oct 29, 08 @ 10:37 am:

    I am hearing that mosts Dems in competitive districts are being told to “zip it”, that is say nothing that might hurt their election chances.

    On another topic, Rick Beard sound like he has a real problem. Is this the same position that caused so much controversy when Ryan wanted to put one of his cronies in to head up the library?

  4. - siriusly - Wednesday, Oct 29, 08 @ 10:40 am:

    I give the Republicans credit for trying, but I don’t think it will help most of their GA candidates. Mulligan is the exception because there is a specific connection there, but just saying “don’t send more Democrats” won’t work in most places. I expect a super majority in both chambers.

    Too bad the House Dems didn’t have a candidate against Cross, they could tie him to Blago nicely - make him pay for playing footsie with the enemy.

    If McCain had a chance of winning, or the GOP had some shot at control in DC perhaps Roskam would be taking a risk here - but he’s not. Who’s going to make him pay? McCain? The House GOP leadership? Certainly not, they’ll be happy to see him back. Besides, Illinois is not in play - I think its a smart move by him.

  5. - Vote Quimby! - Wednesday, Oct 29, 08 @ 10:44 am:

    I wonder if the ALPLM is furiously doing inventory at their gift shop now? That is crazy, a guy making $150K stealing DVDs–especially of TV shows that you can watch for free (especially Seinfeld, which until recently was on about 18 times a day). Makes you wonder what makes some people tick…. Quimby has a lead that Winona Ryder will be named to replace Beard at ALPLM.

  6. - Captain Flume - Wednesday, Oct 29, 08 @ 10:47 am:

    From all I have heard and read, Beard was very well scrutinized before his appointment. I don’t think any splatter from his problems needs to fall on the Governor’s office.

  7. - gogogoose2 - Wednesday, Oct 29, 08 @ 10:49 am:

    In the case of Peter Roskam, his website is nothing more than a pathetic ploy to connect himself to the winning ticket. Obama complemented Roskam as a pleasantry, and then ripped into his very logic. Ideologically Obama and Roskam have nothing in common, and voting for the two of them makes no sense.

    Here is Sen. Obama’s quote:
    “I am a member of the mutual admiration society with Senator Roskam. He’s always terrific, and I know he’s got his family here today. He’s produced some beautiful children, which clearly shows to me that he knows how to choose a spouse. And we were just talking about the fact that we both improved our DNA with our choices of spouses. Having said that, have I said that he’s wrong? I love him, but he’s wrong. And let me just correct a couple of things…” – Barack Obama

  8. - Six Degrees of Separation - Wednesday, Oct 29, 08 @ 10:54 am:

    Too bad the House Dems didn’t have a candidate against Cross

    I’m sure Dennis Grosskopf is pleased with your declaration of him as a non-person.

  9. - VanillaMan - Wednesday, Oct 29, 08 @ 11:00 am:

    We are at a point where both parties are trying to control the voter flood. No one knows how high the flood will be or which direction it will take, but both are attempting to effect it in order to survive.

    This ad is another level of sandbags for the GOP.

    The closer we are to the event, the more urgent the action. Like watching a storm front, green with rage, the parties are scurring into their cellars while their faithful bus workers to the dykes.

    While we know there will be rain, we do not know where it will fall, if the walls will support the house, or how much water will fall. The clouds may shift suddenly and pass overhead without damage, or they may flatten everything in their path.

    We haven’t seen anything like this before. We won’t really know what hit us until Wednesday.

  10. - siriusly - Wednesday, Oct 29, 08 @ 11:22 am:

    SDS - I didn’t say he wasn’t a person (like he cares what I say). All I said was that they didn’t have a candidate - a viable candidate with money.

    Last I checked, having $2,200.00 in the bank a month before the election doesn’t translate into a real challenge. Not even enough to pay for a decent walk piece. . .

    Captain Flume - oh thank goodness this ALPLM scandal won’t taint the governor!

    That leads me to a real question, maybe a good QOTD - based in part on Rich’s comments to ABC7. Does having “Office of Governor Rod Blagojevich” help or hurt someone looking for employment?

  11. - Captain Flume - Wednesday, Oct 29, 08 @ 11:47 am:

    == Captain Flume - oh thank goodness this ALPLM scandal won’t taint the governor! ==

    Why should it? I could use a Rich Miller quote here, but I am not he has a copyright on it.

  12. - Captain America - Wednesday, Oct 29, 08 @ 12:52 pm:

    I believe it is a national election, therefore, I think the Barack Obama tsunami will sweep soem Democrats in competitive races into office on his coatails.

    Rod and Todd will help Illinois Republicans in 2010, but won’t do much good in 2008.

  13. - GOP'er - Wednesday, Oct 29, 08 @ 1:08 pm:

    The Illinois GOP is obviously pretty desperate. No Republican official (least of all the McCain IL Chair Jim Durkin) has stood up for McCain and Palin here, so guess what, McCain and Palin are getting clobbered more than they should. Now the Republicans whine that Obama is going to help down ballot races. Yeah, no kidding.

    Where did we find these spineless wonders?

    I don’t see Rod and Todd giving Republicans much traction. Why would voters go with team jellyfish when they have a better chance of getting pork and projects for their areas if their state Rep or state Senator is part of the party in power?

    Although I guess that wouldn’t apply to Tom Cross and the House Republicans. They are Blago’s big partners.

    This state is seriously screwed up.

  14. - Phil Collins - Wednesday, Oct 29, 08 @ 1:12 pm:

    I sent a letter that was printed by the Chicago Tribune and Daily Herald that said, “Sen. Obama says that this election should cause change, and I agree. We can change the government by electing more Republicans. Democrats control the U.S. Senate, U.S. House, IL Senate, and IL House. If IL voters want to change the government, they’ll ensure that Republicans regain control of those four houses. If that happens, they’ll cut tax rates, cut spending, protect us from terrorists, and discourage illegal immigration.”

  15. - Steve schnorf - Wednesday, Oct 29, 08 @ 1:46 pm:

    The Beard thing is weird, isn’t it? People don’t usually develop habits such as his this late in life. Yet, we’re told he was well vetted and passed with flying colors. Does anyone remember who the search firm was? They might have some answering to do.

    Of course this isn’t the Governor’s fault. I’m sure he wasn’t involved in the hiring process for a job such as this. Whose payroll was Beard on? Did he have a contract? Was he civil service/Rutan double exempt, because those and personal staff and cabinet members are really the only people thew governor can legally fire?

  16. - Steve schnorf - Wednesday, Oct 29, 08 @ 1:53 pm:

    With 550,000 Cook County early voters already, the Presidential election in Illinois and most contested races in Cook are probably over. I’m hazarding a guess it wasn’t the Chicago and Cook County Republican organizations that voted those people. Obama probably already has a 350,000+/- vote lead, and the polls haven’t opened yet. Like Chicago of the old days.

  17. - Captain Flume - Wednesday, Oct 29, 08 @ 2:00 pm:

    Jim Edgar was the president of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation when Beard was selected as the executive director, and that foundation formed the search committee that selected Beard.

  18. - Steve schnorf - Wednesday, Oct 29, 08 @ 2:06 pm:

    CF, but do you remember if they used an ouside search firm?

  19. - Captain Flume - Wednesday, Oct 29, 08 @ 2:40 pm:

    I guess some outside resource must have been used, but I don’t recall if I ever read anything about who was actually doing the legwork on the search. You are right, though, any serach firm that may have been involved will take a serious hit to its credibility if their involvement gets more attention.

  20. - A Citizen - Wednesday, Oct 29, 08 @ 3:26 pm:

    Beard was on two payrolls with a total salary near $250,000. A problem like his suggests a neurological disorder such as a brain tumor or other mental disorder, and probably of recent onset. That Edgar (groan !) was involved though is troubling.

  21. - Domer - Wednesday, Oct 29, 08 @ 3:47 pm:

    Did the Obama campaign distance itself from Roskam’s mail piece or only Jehan Gordon’s sign?

  22. - Captain America - Wednesday, Oct 29, 08 @ 5:43 pm:

    I’d have to agree with Schnorf that the Beard shoplifiting is the strangest story in Illinois. Why would anyone making $200,000 salary engage in shoplifting? Purely for thrills, or uncontrollable kleptomania, I guess.

    There was a similar incident involving a Republican White House staffer a year or so ago. Go figure?????

  23. - Disgusted - Wednesday, Oct 29, 08 @ 7:11 pm:

    I find the Beard situation sad, mostly because he either is a kleptomanic or may have some other medical problems. I can’t see a man of his reputation and salary status chancing it all just to steal petty stuff. (It’s not like he’s a Wall Street CEO or banker.) That being said, the ALPLF maybe needs to take a step back and look within the qualified people in this state to run the museum. They’ve brought two gentlemen from outside Illinois since the opening of the museum/library, both of whom did not meet expectations.

    Springfield has a record of frequently seeking leadership from outside the state and I can’t for the life of me believe that there is no one with the necessary credentials to take this job and do it without controversy.

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