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We will not be shoehorned

Wednesday, Feb 3, 2010

* A good friend sent me an e-mail last night with the subject line: “A message to the national media”…

Go ahead and try to decipher those election non-results and fit them into your nice little MSM political puzzle.

Heh. Scott Brown redux it wasn’t, that’s for sure.

Let’s see, now…

The flawed incumbent governor won a hard-fought primary with gigantic piles of cash from SEIU (horrors) and old guard party leaders. A conservative gubernatorial candidate with no real ties to the “Tea Party” types is essentially tied with the candidate of the true GOP old guard. A moderate Republican tied his conservative tea party enemies in knots and easily won the US Senate primary, and his Democratic opponent defeated a noted “reformer” backed to the hilt by angry newspaper editorial boards - and his chief of staff won the treasurer’s primary with slating from party regulars. A ten-year state Rep. defeated an insurgent “new politician” in the Democratic comptroller’s race. A longtime office-holder won the Republican comptroller’s race. And a pawnbroker with a past won the Democratic lt. governor’s race…

Scott Lee Cohen, a pawn broker and cleaning supply distributor, appeared to be edging out state Rep. Art Turner for the Democratic nomination. Cohen had 26 percent of the vote to Turner’s 22 percent, with 97 percent counted.

Cohen, a little-known candidate who financed much of the campaign with his own fortune, will have to answer questions during the general election race as more is learned about him. He was charged with a 2005 misdemeanor domestic battery charge.
He was accused of beating a woman, but the case was dropped a month later when she refused to show up in court to pursue the charges.

Hmmm. How about Jason Plummer? He’s certainly a fresh face, but he got the lt. guv nomination after spending a ton of his family’s money on a mostly non-ideological campaign.

Ethan Hastert’s loss to Sen. Randy Hultgren? Maybe. But was it “insider vs. outsider” or just “the kid ain’t his old man”?

Bob Dold over Beth Coulson in the 10th CD Republican primary? Dold was a mainstream conservative who touted his endorsement by Sen. Dick Lugar. Dick Green was the candidate who really tried to reach out to the “tea party” types.

Adam Kinzinger in the 11th CD? Great, young politician. Will get a lot of help from DC. But his primary opposition wasn’t much to crow about, and he’s basically a hand-picked DC candidate, so I’m not sure you can say he’s a total outsider.

Toni Preckwinkle probably comes closest, but she’s a black, liberal, wonkish Democrat. That’s not exactly the meme being developed by the DC crowd these days.

The Tribune ecstatically congratulated voters for listening to its constant rants and ousting Todd Stroger (as if that was in any danger of not happening). It didn’t mention all those other big losses, though, except for a petulant broadside against Giannoulias which began with an out-of-context quote from the preznit.

Can you think of an appropriate meme for this primary election? Snark heavily encouraged.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - 22skidoo - Wednesday, Feb 3, 10 @ 7:32 am:

    Implosion. The close races at the highest level, and the very low turnout, are the fallout from imploded parties. I think a lot of Illinois voters are in a “trust no one” frame of mind politically, and the parties brought it on themselves.

  2. - CircularFiringSquad - Wednesday, Feb 3, 10 @ 7:35 am:

    Nobody seemed to notice the heroic victory of Joe Berrios against the assault of the IL bankrupt media outlet. Perhaps the coverage gives the term bankrupt better definition
    BTW, folks have tried to sink Lexi with the bank in three races. Ain’t working sports fans. Move on.

  3. - vibes - Wednesday, Feb 3, 10 @ 7:44 am:

    This election was proof positive that Mother Tribune has solved the “old media” challenge. The formula is simple: make lots of strident predictions and endorsements based on inconsistent arguments, and when you win one of six, trumpet the win as a landslide for your principles and ignore the rest.

    Oh wait, that’s cable punditry, and we already have quite enough of that thank you.

  4. - Angry Chicagoan - Wednesday, Feb 3, 10 @ 7:47 am:

    In Edition #492,315 of MSM attempts to make sense of the bleeding obvious:

    Blitzer: Well, it’s a Heinz 57 kind of primary result from Illinois, Gloria.

    Borger: Wolf, that’s a profound statement indeed.

  5. - Apple - Wednesday, Feb 3, 10 @ 7:50 am:

    & Kinzinger wasted a good amount of money of what was always a non-competetive primary. Leaves Halvorson will a 5-1 fundraising advantage out of the gate. Great young politico? Have you actually seen him interact with voters- nothing to write home about. Though, I’ll admit he’s definitely an charismatic guy with one hell of a story.

  6. - train111 - Wednesday, Feb 3, 10 @ 7:54 am:

    I agree with you Rich

    The ‘lamestream’ media will be tying themselves in knots trying to get these results to fit their already pre-determined political mold.


  7. - Amalia - Wednesday, Feb 3, 10 @ 7:58 am:

    tall and handsome guys win, daddy’s boys lose.
    actually, it’s not over til the counting is done so it will be a while
    for serious analysis.

  8. - really? - Wednesday, Feb 3, 10 @ 8:01 am:

    Voter apathy? they all saw their shadows and went back in for another 9 months.

  9. - Segatari - Wednesday, Feb 3, 10 @ 8:01 am:

    Ahem, the tea party got involved way too late in the game to make a difference. If they got involved like three weeks ago they could had made a difference but getting in last weekend was way too late.

  10. - Elmer "Mr. Gop" Hoffman - Wednesday, Feb 3, 10 @ 8:10 am:

    Illinois, Land of “Acute Political Schizophrenia Blues.”

  11. - Bookworm - Wednesday, Feb 3, 10 @ 8:10 am:

    I can think of several:

    1. Spending gazillions of bucks on snappy TV commercials doesn’t always do the trick by itself — it may have worked for Blago but it didn’t work for McKenna.

    2. The mainstream Chicago media don’t know everything (Brady wasn’t even on their radar)

    3. Experience is an asset, not a liability, and doesn’t always equal corruption (Brady, Dillard).

    4. Bipartisanship is OK in small doses but has its limits — I think Dillard would have won more easily had it not been for the Obama endorsement; that hurt him more than it helped due to Obama’s unpopularity at the moment.

  12. - Unreal - Wednesday, Feb 3, 10 @ 8:16 am:

    Amazing - a pawn broker and a kid who has not worked a day in his life win a useless statewide office. Money buys elections - it does not make one bit of differance about qualifications and we wonder why our state is in a mess. How sad

  13. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Feb 3, 10 @ 8:21 am:

    Decisions are made by those who show up.

  14. - Tom Joad - Wednesday, Feb 3, 10 @ 8:28 am:

    Scott Cohen winning the primary is like waking up and finding a Larouchite on the ballot in 1986. That killed Democratic chances of winning the Governor’s office.
    The Democratic Party’s queasiness at slatemaking resulted in an election disaster. It should be revived for the nest election.
    The comment that Dillard was hurt by the Obama ad is true for the primary. But this was a general election strategy of Dillard’s all along.

  15. - ZC - Wednesday, Feb 3, 10 @ 8:29 am:

    Snark aside (well, mostly aside), we do need to try and figure out what the heck happened here, and what it points for the future.

    I think for starters we have to separate the Republican and Democratic side of the aisle, and look at statewide offices in their own universe.

    On the Democratic side, statewide, the “establishment” hung on - barely. Alexi, Quinn, Kelly, Turner, were all I suppose what you’d call ‘insiders.’ No major upsets or surprises here. _Exception_: Scott Lee Cohen. OK, so we need the, “what can happen when you spend $3+ million in a race where none of your contenders are known statewide” exception. Plus, in fairness to Cohen, people are going to turn his election into a referenda on the power of money, like he sat in a room all season and cut ads, but I happen to know that SLC worked his butt off campaigning, too. Drove all up and down the state. The money was crucial, but he was out there stumping non-stop.

    On the GOP side is where we see the bigger implosion, in my opinion. Brady? Dold? Holtgren? But then a smooth sail for Kirk and Topinka. I’ll leave the GOP posters to riddle that one out, but I see a lot more randomosity on the GOP side than on the Dem.

  16. - Will County Woman - Wednesday, Feb 3, 10 @ 8:30 am:


    It’s poetic justice and he fits in quite nicely with the Illinois Democratic party machine, many of whom are what you wrote of him. So, please don’t try to pretend or suggest that members of the Illinois democratic party machine are of high moral character or possess any principles. Scott Lee Cohen should fit right on in and feel right at home with the demcoratic party of illinois.

    And Illinois democrats, particularly those from Chicago, are not unaccustomed to buying and/or stealing elections, so please unreal.

  17. - Quiet Sage - Wednesday, Feb 3, 10 @ 8:33 am:

    Disastrous result for Dems in the Lt. Gov. race. Scott Lee Cohen will be TROUBLE for Quinn.

  18. - Paul S. - Wednesday, Feb 3, 10 @ 8:34 am:

    This is the beginning of the shift from the Good Ole Boyz to the younger generation. You saw it with Hynes going against the Chicago machine. It is a referendum that what was good in the past, is not going to work in the future.

    If Quinn says this is a “referendum on his tax increase” then he is blind. This is a revolt of his tax increase and he barely won. He should not mark this up to a victory but an embarrassing beating that would not have happened if he was doing the job he is supposed to do!

  19. - dupage dan - Wednesday, Feb 3, 10 @ 8:44 am:

    I heard PQ this morning tout his “landslide” victory and says he now has a “mandate” for his administration. I am speechless (writeless?).

    Pleased as punch that McKenna and Ryan were tossed out. Tickled pink, Positively giddy. Ryan said late last night that this is his last campaign. Please keep that promise, Jim. Old guard or new, I hope all reject any further attempts at elected office by McKenna.

    Hope that glow lasts past the general.

  20. - ZC - Wednesday, Feb 3, 10 @ 8:45 am:

    At my local level (Chicago / Cook), you see more signs of a Dem backlash, especially against Cook County. Stroger going down in last place. Moreno going down. William Beavers holding on but held in a competitive race. EXCEPTION: Joe Berrios. But who the heck knew who his competitors were? You can’t beat something with nothing.

    So I’d say on the Dem side, if there’s a populist anger / throw-the-bums-out / whatever the mainstream media is selling, then it’s on, at the local and Cook level, and the Democratic establishment “owns” it - but the statewide Dems are still hanging on. At least in the eyes of their own primary voters. We’ll see what the full electorate has to say next November.

  21. - Keep Smiling - Wednesday, Feb 3, 10 @ 8:49 am:

    IL Primary outcomes = f(2RINOS X 3DINOS X 5DUNNOS)

  22. - Mr. Know-it-All - Wednesday, Feb 3, 10 @ 8:56 am:

    Let’s be honest, this was not a massive uprising against the status quo. Hardly. Almost every loss by the “establishment” can be explained in some other plausible way:

    Hynes lost to Quinn - who’s hardly the outsider at this point in his career.

    Brady beat three guys (Ryan, Dillard and McKenna) who are better known in Chicago - but Brady is arguably better known downstate, and besides, he’s a long-time public figure.

    Cohen’s victory is probably the closest to matching this notion, but when you consider that his opponents had virtually no advertising or mailers, it’s not all that surprising.

    Hastert? Read the local press from the district - the knock on him was more his inexperience, not his last name. He’ll be back.

    Coulson and Hamos? Maybe. But I don’t know anyone who lumps those names in with the Daleys, Hynes, and Madigans of the world. These two women are hardly “establishment” candidates.

    My theme? “February 2010: The Tribune Revolution That Wasn’t.”

  23. - Michelle Flaherty - Wednesday, Feb 3, 10 @ 8:59 am:

    What if they threw a revolution and nobody voted?

  24. - VanillaMan - Wednesday, Feb 3, 10 @ 9:06 am:

    The Democrats held onto their incumbants, betting that the political wind will shift again in their favor before November.

    The Republicans held onto their losing streak by nominating a downstate conservative for governor and a trust fund college kid for lt. governor.

    Just as Illinois voted down a constitutional convention to change it’s downward direction, Illinois voted down a chance to change the downward direction of both it’s political parties.

    This state is toast.

  25. - train111 - Wednesday, Feb 3, 10 @ 9:07 am:

    How about Rep District 36? The unions dumped in a truckload of cash, ($100k plus) and the machine put 2 ringers on the ballot, but it wasn’t enough to get Mike Macellaio(sp) over the line.


  26. - jerry 101 - Wednesday, Feb 3, 10 @ 9:14 am:

    Michelle Flaherty FTW

    I think that the results in the GOP primary are the most interesting. Two suburban candidates spent weeks pounding each other into the sand (I know Jim Ryan was running too, but I don’t recall a single JR campaign commerical - I remember seeing the Dillard and McKenna commercials dozens of times - so I feel like Ryan was hoping name recognition alone would carry him over the line).

    Anyway, it seemed like McKenna’s commercials were mostly about pandering and offering pony plans.

    Dillard’s commercials seemed more like general election commercials. Especially the Jim Edgar commercial.

    My question is, does this put a final nail in the coffin of Jim Edgar’s endorsement as something valuable? Edgar’s endorsement has failed to carry a candidate across the finish line time and time again. Now it’s not even enough to carry a candidate across the primary finish line.

    It’s like getting Schakowsky’s endorsement, everybody wants it, but the recipient never seems to win. (and I say this as a fan of Ms. Schakowsky)

    I ask the question in all seriousness…Is Jim Edgar’s endorsement relevant?

  27. - Team Sleep - Wednesday, Feb 3, 10 @ 9:40 am:

    Alexi: “Mark Kirk doesn’t care about people and jobs.”

    Thank you, son of a wealthy banker who has now purchased two primary wins and a general election win for himself. Your words are as hollow as Dewey Cox’s 50,000 didgereedoos (sp?).

  28. - Pot calling kettle - Wednesday, Feb 3, 10 @ 9:49 am:

    I think people nee to calm down about Cohen until more is known about him.

    I know everyone wants to have something to get hysterical about, but google or yahoo “Scott Lee Cohen” and you get his press releases. At a minimum, he could bring some organization to the Quinn campaign.

  29. - D.P. Gumby - Wednesday, Feb 3, 10 @ 9:56 am:

    It’s clear that the explanation for the primary results is that there is no global explanation for Illinois. Generally, the fewer the voters, the smaller the ability to discern any trend. Blitzer’s characterization still doesn’t address the individuality of all the results. “Illinois ain’t ready for explanation.”

  30. - Responsa - Wednesday, Feb 3, 10 @ 9:58 am:

    Hamos and Coulson’s losing was not a surprise in the 10th. Many, if not most, of the people in both parties who actually vote here pay attention. The two lady candidates’ participation in our poor state’s abysmal and disfunctional Springfield mess was not a wonderful resume enhancement for either of them. Why on earth would either of them “deserve” to work their legislative magic on a national level.

    Both Green and Dold worked very, very hard to personalize their campaigns and reach out to known voting voters in the 10th. Many people noticed and appreciated this. Both they and their campaigns should be proud. I stated here more than a month ago that I did not believe Jan Schakowsky’s meddling in a neighboring district with significantly different dynamics or her endorsement was a necessarily a gift to Hamos. I said this not as a partisan but as an interested observer. Schakowsky is a liberal star nationally and in the media, but according to a number of people I have spoken with she is not as popular statewide (or even in her own district) as she apparently believes she is.

    I think that endorsements (both personal and media) will play an ever smaller role in the public’s acceptance and perceptions about candidates going forward. Candidates will need to stand on their own merits and gotv efforts. In a non-machine environment endorsements don’t mean that much. (And when an office holder crashes and burns in a corrupt and unforgiving political environment it can end up tainting the credibility of the endorser as well as the actual office holder.)

  31. - Ramsin - Wednesday, Feb 3, 10 @ 10:00 am:

    Rich you got it all wrong. Obviously this election was the “Change In Some, Though Not All, Cases, And Also The Voters Are Mad Except the 80% Who Didn’t Vote” election.

  32. - Anon - Wednesday, Feb 3, 10 @ 10:05 am:

    Re: the Edgar endorsement, in this game you run with whatcha got. That’s what Dillard had to distinguish him in a primary. It might have been enough - might not have been - but without it I doubt he gets into the double digits.

  33. - Secret Square - Wednesday, Feb 3, 10 @ 10:24 am:

    For those who live in Illinois, no explanation (or very little) is necessary; for those who don’t, no explanation is possible.

  34. - Jake from Elwood - Wednesday, Feb 3, 10 @ 10:34 am:

    It ain’t me (Preckwinkle)
    It ain’t me (Hultgren)
    I ain’t no Senator’s son, no
    It ain’t me (Quinn)
    It ain’t me (Robin Kelly)
    I ain’t no fortunate one.

    Unless your name is Lipinski.

  35. - 47th Ward - Wednesday, Feb 3, 10 @ 10:41 am:

    Lackluster candidates across the board, a media that treats elections like the Auto Show, and voters too disinterested and uninspired to bother spending five minutes in a polling place. Illinois elections: parochial and pathetic. Is this really the best we can do?

  36. - SangoDem - Wednesday, Feb 3, 10 @ 10:47 am:

    The February primary is a resounding failure. The electorate was uninformed and uninterested this early in the year. Just what the Speaker wants.

  37. - zatoichi - Wednesday, Feb 3, 10 @ 10:58 am:

    Stood in the booth, looked at the names, and decided that not a single one grabbed me as someone who stands out from the crowd. Just a bunch of people with bucks.

    ‘Smile and grin at the change all around me
    Pick up my guitar and play
    Just like yesterday’

  38. - Responsa - Wednesday, Feb 3, 10 @ 11:07 am:

    I worked the polls yeaterday. My unscientific view is that among the 400 or so people who voted in our precinct one could count the under 30 year old voters who showed up on a single hand. Maybe they all voted absentee or early but I seriously doubt it. I am not smart enough to know quite what this means: Do candidates in future elections spend significant time, money, and political capital to explore alternate media and venues in an effort to lure younger voters of both parties into the fold? Or, will candidates mainly write off such efforts and in order to get immediate votes (and a better return on investment) concentrate instead on an older, more engaged boomer demographic which suggests a broader based and very different type of campaign strategy.

  39. - Screwball - Wednesday, Feb 3, 10 @ 11:30 am:

    The biggest loser last night were newspapers. They got together and hand picked their candidate and lost, collectively giving their concession speech at about 9:45 last night. And we’re not talking about dog catcher here, we’re talking about the race at the very top of the ballot.

    == Thank you, son of a wealthy banker who has now purchased two primary wins and a general election win for himself. ==

    Take a deep breath there melodramatic. The guy who “purchased two primary wins” just beat a guy who dumped a bunch of his own money into the race so let’s think that one through again.

  40. - Whatever - Wednesday, Feb 3, 10 @ 11:34 am:

    We should call this the “Xtapolapocetl” election.

    As you many may recall from a classic “Simpsons” episode, Mr. Burns delivers an ancient, carved stone head of Xtapolapocetl to Bart as a gift for saving his life.

    After grasping for a moral to define the day’s events, a confused Homer finally declares, “Maybe it’s just a bunch of stuff that happened.”

    Exactly. Isn’t that what happened yesterday. Just a bunch of random, unconnected, strange results. Political chaos theory defined.

    It’s fun to watch all these so-called political experts, ivory-tower know-it-alls, and vapid media commentators contort their arguments in a vain attempt to draw sweeping conclusions, devine over-arching trends, and justify their bluster.

    Voters: Angry Some. Complacent? Others. Low turnout? What can such a small sample of the electorate really tell us about the populace at large?

    Money: Some big spenders won, some lost. See, Plummer, McKenna.

    Insiders: Another mixed bag. Hamos and Coulson lost, but Dillard might win, as did Quinn, Topinka, Giannoulias, etc.

    Outsiders: Plummer and Cohen won, Turner and Murphy lost, but who really follows the Lt. Gov. race anyway? Does it matter?

    Issues: Taxes, spending, pensions, etc. The State remains in crisis, and it’s not clear anyone who won last nigth has offered a credible or detailed plan to fix anything.

    Campaigns: The good ones won (see, Dold, Preckwinkle), the bad ones lost (see, Jim Ryan, Coulson, Jackson).

    How about some common-sense, rational, factual analysis?

  41. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Feb 3, 10 @ 11:56 am:

    —Hastert? Read the local press from the district - the knock on him was more his inexperience, not his last name. He’ll be back.—

    The press missed the undercurrent (not the 1st time for that) of Ethan running as Denny’s kid, AND not running hard in his “base” … because he was Denny’s kid and they should win there!

    You win your “home” county by 300 votes in 76 total pcts (4 vote ‘plurality’ per???)? Living in that county I heard person after person say that Ethan, lobbyist & DUI aside, is not Denny.

    Ethan and Boyd can come back … and back … and back … but they are NOT Denny, and they are not Dallas.

    Hultgren will give Foster the race Ethan and for that matter, Oberweis couldn’t. If Hultgren wins, is Ethan going to take on Hultgren again?

    Kendall has slayed two “heirs” in 2 primaries, first Boyd (who ran as an ‘outsider’ against Weis, ‘the GOP insider’…What?) for States’ Atty, and now Ethan… by making sure Ethan can see, by the numbers, that Kendall is not HIS base, and if he wanted it as his base, he should actually work it, or even vote in a GOP primary or two.

    Ethan and Boyd will be back … Fellas, listen to the voters, and stay away for a while.

  42. - Screwball - Wednesday, Feb 3, 10 @ 12:15 pm:

    Other weirdness: William Kelly beat Jim Dodge, despite the whole establishment running away from Kelly. Topinka won handily, but still suprising.

    What happened to Terry Link? He finished dead last, even behind Castillo who was a young no-name.

    The Treasurer’s office just missed going 5-0 last night (Quinn, Topinka, Giannoulias, Kelly, Krishnamoorthi).

    How did Dan Seals win? Better yet, why did Dan Seals win?

    In the 11th it was a nice win for Kinzinger, but the better question is what happened to McAloon?

    For all the heat generated by the Madigan/Steans race in the end there wasn’t much there.

  43. - Nero - Wednesday, Feb 3, 10 @ 12:26 pm:

    – A good friend sent me an e-mail last night with the subject line: “A message to the national media”…

    Go ahead and try to decipher those election non-results and fit them into your nice little MSM political puzzle.

    Heh. Scott Brown redux it wasn’t, that’s for sure. —

    To compare the IL Primary to the MA Special Election is way off base. The MA Special was impacted by the huge Independent Vote that went to Brown. Let’s wait and see what happens in November before we start making comparisons.

  44. - Simply put - Wednesday, Feb 3, 10 @ 1:07 pm:

    Groundhog Day.

  45. - DM - Wednesday, Feb 3, 10 @ 1:39 pm:

    I could not be more pleased that David Hoffman was handed his lunch yesterday.

    The Tribune and all the other media was totally in the tank for this guy, says something about what the public feels about “So-called” corruption.

  46. - jaded voter - Wednesday, Feb 3, 10 @ 2:32 pm:

    The Dems made a big mistake taking Alexi over Hoffman. Hoffman was a clean corruption fighter with substance, Alexi is a liteweight joke. What in God’s name has he ever done or said that was worthwhile. He is way out of his league and will be hammered by Kirk. Alexi’s shady bank connections will only make Kirk’s job easier

  47. - jaded voter - Wednesday, Feb 3, 10 @ 2:43 pm:

    Voters showed some sense in the 14th rejecting another liteweight hack, Ethan Hastert. Why do these type candidates get any attraction at all. The old man was longtime hack himself.

    Biggest missed opportunity was Adam Andrzejewski. He was the freshest, brightest most driven candidate on offer. People need to pay more attention. I don’t think the media ever will.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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