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April 22, 2006

The forum in Canton, and a word about Lorado Taft...

The 90-mile trip down to Canton for the Democrats' second 17th Congressional District forum this morning produced a bonus -- I found out about Lorado Taft.

Driving through Elmwood, a small town just off the interstate on Illinois 78, I noticed a sign at the cemetery saying there was a Lorado Taft sculpture there. Couple of blocks later, at a downtown park, there was a sign saying there was a Lorado Taft statue there. Turned the corner and spotted another sign, outside the library, saying there was a Lorado Taft bust there.

Decided that on the trip home, I'd have to stop and find out who Lorado Taft was and why Elmwood's so proud of him.

The forum, at Spoon River College just outside Canton, was nicely attended for a beautiful spring day. Seventy or so people, about 50 of whom were precinct committeepeople who actually get to vote for a nominee to replace Rep. Lane Evans on the general election ballot. Most were from Fulton and surrounding counties, though there was a handful from Rock Island County, most of them sporting Phil Hare buttons.

But it was State Sen. John Sullivan, from Rushville, who probably had the most friends in the room. Mike Smith, the Fulton County Dem chairman, said Sullivan's pretty popular with his committeepeople. Vern Hagstrom, the Adams County chairman, said Sullivan was the unanimous choice when his newly elected committeepeople did a straw poll after the county convention a couple of nights ago. A nice lady from Warren County told me she really likes Sullivan, and so does a lot of other people over her way.

Nevertheless all six of the candidates who showed up -- Hal Bayne didn't -- were warmly received. The buzz in the crowd afterwards was that all six are impressive people and that any of them would probably make a good congressman.

The six -- Hare, the Evans aide who has his boss' endorsement; Sen. Sullivan; Mike Boland, the state rep from East Moline; Rob Mellon, a Quincy school teacher running against poltics as usual; Rock Island Mayor Mark Schwiebert; and Amy Stockwell, the Macon County auditor -- all emphasized their "electibility" in one fashion or another. They all spoke respectfully of each other.

Hare went straight for Andrea Zinga, the Republican nominee. "We can't just say Bush is terrible and Zinga is issueless. We all know that," he said.

"She thinks the Medicare bill is great. I think it's terrible. We should shred it, tear it up, and the Congress, not the pharmaceutical industry, should write a new one."

Hare, as he did at the Moline forum last week, displayed a passionate speaking style, with a little edge of anger and contempt for the policies of the Republican-controlled congress.

Stockwell, who seems to be impressing most everybody, was dispassionate in style but no less forceful in condemning the national government. "The federal government is broken and we need to speak directly to the issues," the critical one being the deficit. "China owns our debt and can dictate our national policy," she said. The wildly out of balance budget "does not reflect our priorities or sound fiscal management."

She said, directly enough, "The executive branch has usurped power from the other two branchs. The president has stacked the judiciary and claims that laws passed by the legislature do not apply if he merely notes an exception of them. Congress must re-assert its power before anything else can be done."

Schweibert had some heads nodding with his articulate enunciation of the need for common ground and cooperation among the varied interests in the sprawling 23-county district. Like all the others -- and Zinga, for that matter -- he said the production of ethanol and research into other bio-mass fuel sources offers the district a major opportunity to help both itself and an energy-short nation. "There is a perfect alignment of the planets," he said,.

The third and last of the forums will be next Saturday in Carlinville, south of Springfield.

17th District Committeeman Don Johnson, who with committeewoman Mary Boland, is steering a path through the unknowns in a never-before-used nominating process, said he hopes the vote can be held shortly after the third forum.

He said his work so far indicates that 394 of the district's 721 precincts elected a committeeman in the March 21 primary. Only those 394 have a vote in the selection, he believes, though there still hasn't been a firm refutation of the suggestion that county chairman can appoint someone to the vacant posts, with the appointees then being able to vote.

As that plays out, I'd say that Bayne and Mellon are out of it.

Bayne's impressive resume can't counterbalance the fact he ran for the Republican nomination two years ago, or that he failed to show up for today's forum. Mellon has added a lot to the discussion, and makes good points about the faults in the process. But he's gotten no traction. It was when I asked Adams County Chairman Hagstrom whether anyone in his corner of the district was taking Mellon seriously that he told me about the unanimous strawpoll in favor of Sullivan.

Hagstrom did say, though, that Mellon's been impressive enough that the Dems are talking with him about making a state rep run in a Quincy district in the next election cycle.

Of the others, Schwiebert and Stockwell both suffer from being virtually unknown outside their home counties at opposite ends of the district. If this was a full-blown primary, though, both would be forces to be reckoned with, given their performances today and last week, and the favorable reaction both got. But time's short and it's a small electoate.

Boland? Well, he's Boland.

Hare, with the backing on Evans and solid support in Rock Island County; and Sullivan, with good support through the middle counties, are the front-runners at this point, I'd guess.

Anyway, on the way home I stopped by the park in Elmwood, which turns out to be the town where Lorado Taft was born in 1860. Further turns out he was a major sculptor of his era -- studied in Paris and had a studio in Chicago -- and the statue in the park was his gift to his hometown in 1928. The work is a bigger-than-life bronze entitled "To the Pioneers" and its key elements are a man, a woman, a baby, a dog and a gun. It's a very nicely done piece. The plaque says 10,000 people were on hand for the dedication.

Turns out, too, that I know one of his works, even if I didn't know before today he did it. \The 50-foot-high statue of Black Hawk overlooking the Rock River at Oregon, Ill., is his, too.

I didn't check out the bust in the library, but I did drive through the cemetery. The piece there is a sitting woman, also done in bronze, with her seat carved into a granite column. Given the setting, it was easy to fall into the pensive mood she emanates.

Learning about Lorado was a nice way to spend 45 minutes of a beautiful spring afternoon, after a morning with the politicians.

More on Lorado Taft

Posted by jcb at April 22, 2006 05:10 PM


Thanks for the coverage. I am afraid of Sullivan's conservative views and votes. Perhaps the media should give us voting records on key issues. Ask the candidates ( those who have been in the legislature) why they voted the way they did.

Posted by: Tacky at April 22, 2006 05:34 PM

All Illinois grads will know Lorado Taft from the statue by Altgeld Hall, and others around the campus. I always wondered how he got the name Lorado.

Posted by: Tesla at April 22, 2006 06:40 PM

"As that plays out, I'd say that Bayne and Mellon are out of it."

"Bayne's impressive resume can't counterbalance the fact he ran for the Republican nomination two years ago, or that he failed to show up for today's forum. Mellon has added a lot to the discussion, and makes good points about the faults in the process. But he's gotten no traction."

Sorry jcb, Democrat are in charge of determining who the candidates are, not you! You are more piggish than Congressman Lane Evans' forces! Oink! Oink!

Posted by: PatSimons at April 22, 2006 08:13 PM

Tacky -- what do you see as the key issues?

PatSimons -- you are a witty fellow, but that's pretty much your last appearance here unless you can come up with something other than ad hominem attacks on me, Evans or anyone else.

Posted by: jcb at April 22, 2006 11:45 PM

What I said was truthful. Democrats will determine who our candidates are. Do you really think you will?

The Great Bydler can dish it out, but he can't take it. What a shame!

Posted by: PatSimons at April 23, 2006 11:23 AM

jcb, thanks for a good report on the forum. It's good to see a little more than the standard fare and you've captured this one pretty well.

I agree that Schwiebert would do well if the voters had a role in choosing their representative. He speaks well, knows the issues, and his election record is very strong. He's got good views, more district-relevant views than Hare.

I think the "old-guard" dems lean hard on support from the unions, but the fact is that the unions may endorse, but the union vote doesn't follow and the union demographics aren't what they were in '82.

So here, this process has the best of both worlds for the old-guard: keep the voters out and rely on the perceived power of endoresements to carry the day.

I'd really like to see just how genuine Evans' endorsement of Hare really is, but what I really want to see is a full-blown primary and I hope we have one---now or in 2008.

Posted by: Sierra Hotel at April 23, 2006 12:01 PM

I had a chance to see both forums and Sullivan seemed to give the same exact speech with the same corny jokes - almost word for word. Other candidates touched on the same issues, but Sully did not seem to deviate at all. I would think a guy with his supposed charisma and legislative experience could come up with something a little more original. Did anyone else notice this?

Posted by: Huh? at April 23, 2006 07:43 PM

jcb - I would question any poll that is unanimous. You couldn't get 40 people together to agree 100% on a nominee if Santa Claus was running. I would not put to much faith in this "straw poll". My guess is that it was not very scientific. In fact, I have not had an opportunity to meet with the Quincy area committee members yet. I am planning a gathering for any committee member that would like to attend. At the meetings I will get to know some of those that will vote and allow them to ask me ANY question they would like. I may do additional meetings in other locations, but the first will be held in Quincy. I would temper your faith in the "straw poll" until after those meetings have taken place. I will admit it is truly an uphill climb for me to criticize the system - and then get those that run the system to agree with me. I happen to believe that my message would be very successful in a campaign. Just think - the Democrats pick a nominee to hold a seat that has been in their control for 24 years - who has a message of change and reform. How blissfully ironic would that be? Am I the only one that thinks this would be successful? One additional comment – I want everyone to realize that my campaign is a one-man show. I have done everything on my own from the website to the press releases to the business cards. I don’t have a staff or a network supporting me, but I am holding my own. How successful would I be if I had just ˝ of the political assets of any of the other candidates? – take your pick. Moreover, I am missing something here – I thought this process was truly an American experiment in democracy and there is nothing Americans love more than an underdog – Right now, no one is a bigger underdog than me. Jcb – it may be 4th and 99 for me on my one-yard line with only seconds left in the game, but I am still on the field and I still have one more play. If I am one the field there is always a chance of another “immaculate reception”. The soldier in me want walk off the field as long as I have that one more play.

Posted by: Rob Mellon at April 23, 2006 11:26 PM

Tacky - I have not been in the General Assembly, but I will tell you exactly what I think on any issue you want. Just send me the questions: info@robmellon.com. I would be happy to tell you my opinion or how I would vote.

Rob Mellon

Posted by: Rob Mellon at April 23, 2006 11:30 PM

Do we know when the final vote will be?

It certainly appears as though Hare and Schweibert will split votes - as might Boland - in RICO and maybe one or two surrounding counties.

I hear nothing about Rob Mellon, other than from Rob Mellon. Rob, that is not a slam, but most definately a challenge is before you to get in the process and run for office and become known outside of blogs and this strange circumstance.

I still have got to believe that as the RICO vote is split, John Sullivan, if he is doing what is logical, getting the south-17th votes to work together, he waltzes in with a solid majority. Let's face it, after 40-years of RICO control of the seat, the south-17th voters have got to get pretty excited about having local representation.

My money, unless Hare or Schweibert drop out - is on Sullivan going away. I only wish Vegas was taking bets!

Posted by: havinfun at April 24, 2006 10:12 AM

As far as I know, no date for a final vote has been set.

Don Johnston said Saturday that would be premature until Evans actually submits his letter declining the nomination.

He also said that he agrees with most all other Dems that the vote should be taken as soon as possible.

Posted by: jcb at April 24, 2006 10:31 AM

The vote has already been taken. Lane appointed Congressman Hare several weeks ago. All that is left is the window dressing!

Posted by: PatSimons at April 24, 2006 10:38 AM

If I were Schwiebert, what would I do? Who is more beatable in a contested primary, Hare or Sullivan? I would argue that Hare is more beatable. Would it then make sense to pull out of the race so that the RICO vote can solidify behind Hare, let Hare win in '06, and then contest Hare in '08? My guess is that Sullivan would be harder to beat once he's in office.

Posted by: Anonymous at April 24, 2006 10:45 AM

You have to remember that this is not a traditional campaign. I do not have an opportunity to go to events or actively campaign. The only option that I have is to use the avenues that are before me.

Posted by: Rob Mellon at April 24, 2006 11:37 AM

jcb, in the comments of another local blog, an anonymouse said he/she was at Canton and Hare, Boland and Sullivan "clashed". Did you see anything like that?

I hope havinfun is right. Zinga is a weak candidate, who just squeaked by Mowen who didn't have her name recognition and didn't campaign in the hinterlands (bet he's sorry now!). Which is why I'm hoping the Dems get their act together and nominate someone we can all get behind.

The online supporters of Lane Evans and Phil Hare just seem demented. I'm hoping that the RICO Machine has run it's course, and we're in a new era of Democrat politics here. Sullivan would be fine with me, as would any anti-RICO politburo candidate.

I read an article yesterday in the D/A stating that RICO had the second highest poverty rate in IL. Think about it. That includes inner city Chicago and extreme downstate. What's wrong with this picture? We keep electing and re-electing the same Democrat machine politicians, even though we've been hemorrhaging jobs since the '80s, and we are now at the bottom (or top, depending how you look at it) of the barrel for poverty.

Isn't the definition of insanity when you keep doing the same thing over and over again and expect a different outcome?

Posted by: paladin at April 24, 2006 01:10 PM

I didn't see or hear anything I'd describe as a "clash." Which blog had the post?

Posted by: jcb at April 24, 2006 02:24 PM

Boland and Suulivan clashed over which was more electable. It was a sight to see that is for sure!

Posted by: wallyTames at April 24, 2006 02:48 PM

The "clash" comment was on the Moline Illinois Democratic Maverick's blog. The comment was on 4/22 @ 1:46pm by "anti-pig" (my apologies to "anti-pig" for calling him/her an "anonymouse"!).

Posted by: paladin at April 24, 2006 03:09 PM

During the forum, the candidates pretty much all advanced the case that they were "more electable." I guess that's a "clash" to some degree, but no one belittled anyone else's assertion. In fact, all were quite polite and respectful in their references to each other.

Posted by: jcb at April 24, 2006 03:23 PM

Rep. Boland should do everyone a favor and bow out now. We need someone who is not so self promoting. It's one thing to sell yourself to the committeemen, but that's been the basis of Boland's entire career. I thought he was for term limits and how many times has he been the rep? He is not a team player. He has backed republicans - even against Lane. He hasn't done anything for anyone in the dem party. He ought to go now before the dirt hits the fan.

Posted by: Anonymous at April 24, 2006 04:28 PM

Candidate Mellon, I think you are correct in acknowledging you have a hard road ahead of you. You are up against a Wall of Political Cronyism. The cards have been stacked against a fair election process, by the Political Party, for the voters and the Contenders for the open seat. My suggestion to you would be to take your campaign to the streets. You already have a wide base of support at your hand. Look to your current and former students. They are the new blood of this country! They are very knowledgeable of the electronics and computer age. They have the knowledge, the energy and contacts to take you to the next level. They are the new voting blocs and they have the knowledge and mastery of use of the blog, the text message, the e-mail, and the cell phone technology needed to run a campaign that has only the roots of a beginning and even more important for them, this country will eventually be theirs to run. Impart on them the need for change before the current crop of "politics as usual backslapping cronies" steal anymore of the future from your students and this country. They can take your message of New Hope to their friends and family. Then they all can offer up the message to those who will be selecting the candidate and pressure them to look at all the alternative choices to the pretense of justice that this primary farce has evolved into. And that is all any candidate can/should expect and/or require, an authentic chance to be heard. The technology to run a low cost campaign is in your reach and you have the contacts with the people, your current and former students, most knowledgeable with that technology. That combination has the chance to change the future of this country and politics.

Posted by: NoMorePinocchios at April 24, 2006 08:19 PM

Rob -- In suggesting that you and Dr. Bayne appear to be out at this point, I'm certainly not belitting the effort you're making. I admire it a great deal, as a matter of fact.

Dr. Bayne is simply a non-starter. Democratic precinct committeemen are not going to give the nomination to an unknown who's jumping parties -- not when there is a selection of well-qualified D's.

In your case, you and a number of commenters on various blogs have pointed out that you're in a delicate position requiring you to convince insiders that an outsider is needed. Your website and your blog
are nice supplements to the 30 minutes you're getting to make your case to the committeepeople. More than any of the others have done.

Your outlook, like those of Schweibert and Stockwell, would be much brighter in a full-blown primary. But insider calculations are driving the process, and if the vote was taken today...

'course, like you say, it's not being taken today. Glad you're throwing that pass.

Posted by: jcb at April 24, 2006 09:33 PM

Looks like conventional wisdom is still the same in this race ... as long as three hard-working Rock Island County candidates stay in the race, it's hello Congressional nominee Senator John Sullivan. The south seems to be organizing for Sullivan, while the north is split between Hare-Boland-Schweibert. The south doesn't seem interested in who Lane Evans wants, and the north is divided. Sounds like 1865, eh?

Posted by: anonymous at April 24, 2006 10:23 PM

Paladin 1:10
On the contrary, I am thrilled by my decision not to campaign in the smaller counties (the smallest 10 counties make up less than 8% of the vote). I won 9 of the 10 with doing nothing more than direct-mail there.

My regret is having to deal with a party that looked upon our race as nothing more than the 'next sacraficial lamb to Lane Evans.' I believe that they now understand that they lost a great opportunity.

Posted by: Jim Mowen at April 25, 2006 07:01 AM

Rob Mellon 11:37

You did have an opportunity, it was called a 'Primary.'

Posted by: havinfun at April 25, 2006 07:02 AM

Jim Mowen, thanks for your reply and for setting me straight about your campaign strategy.

But now I'm wondering if you think there was anything you shoulda/coulda done differently, that would have changed the outcome of the primary in your favor? Yes, I know hindsight is 20/20, but I'm curious about the "lessons learned".

Posted by: paladin at April 25, 2006 09:42 AM

Mr. Mowen is "thrilled" that he didn't campaign in the smaller counties. He lost by 325 votes out of a total 31,490 cast in the Republican primary. Most people would use a different word to describe how they felt. Readers are invited to fill in his sentence with the word(s) they would use. "I am __________by my decision not to campaign in the smaller counties."

Posted by: Anonymous at April 25, 2006 12:55 PM

Paladin, thanks for the question. I would love to answer this, but it may come off sounding like sour grapes. Suffice it to say that I did learn a lot and I would do a few things differently. All-in-all, I am proud of the race that we ran and that we ran with integrity. I think that we did a good job when dealing with the reality that no one cared about our race as they 'thought' that they were voting for nothing more than the next sacraficial lamb to Lane Evans.

Trying to get people who do not care - and are difficult to identify (how does one find the 30,000 Republican primary voters in a District of 700,000 people?) to know who you are is a tough task.

As far as 'lessons learned' - I cannot share these in a public forum like this!

Posted by: Jim Mowen at April 25, 2006 02:32 PM

Anonymous 12:55. I am thrilled that I won 9 out of 10 counties that were small enough not to warrent the time that was better spent in counties that had larger vote counts.

I hope that this is a little clearer for you.

Posted by: Jim Mowen at April 25, 2006 02:35 PM

FIll this in. "I would have won the race if there had not been ______ men in the race aginst one woman. Duhhhhhhhh!

Posted by: PatSimons at April 25, 2006 02:45 PM

Vegas just released the odds -

Sullivan 5:2
Schweibert 5:1
Hare 6:1
Boland 16:1
Stockwell 32:1
Mellon 99:1
Bayne - no bet

I am on the next flight to put $100 on Sullivan - easy money!!!

Early line for November -
Sullivan 2:1
Zinga 13:1

Over/ Under Sullivan by 16-points.

Posted by: havinfun at April 25, 2006 03:56 PM

the real odds....
Hare 30
Sullivan 24

Boland 12
Schwibert 10

Stockwell 8
Mellon 2
Undecided 14

Posted by: Anonymous at April 25, 2006 06:00 PM

PatSimons, you hit the nail on the head. I know Jim Mowen well and the reality of the situation is that the Republican leadership (or lack of leadership) was unable/ unwilling (or just plain lost on the issue) to get Gilligan out of the race.

58% of the voters voted against Zinga, unfortunately for the Republicans, no one had the forsight to get him out of the race in which he was never able to do anything but be a spoiler.

1996 - newscaster, Quincy
1998 - newscaster, Quincy
2000 - newscaster, Quincy
2002 - sporting goods salesman, Galesburg
2004 - newscaster, Macomb
2006 - newscaster, Macomb

Goodness, what is wrong with this picture? Why, when we finally have a RICO businessman can no one in the Republican leadership understand that this is what was needed to win? (Maybe there is no leadership...or maybe that just love TV newscasters!)

Posted by: Anonymous at April 25, 2006 07:32 PM

I would like to mention that I approached my local Democratic Party about running against Lane in the primary and they cautioned me against that. I thought it would give me an opportunity to meet some people and be a part of the process. I listened to them and now I wished I would have followed my instincts.

Posted by: robmellon at April 25, 2006 10:11 PM

John, word out of Springfield tonight is that State Sen. John Sullivan held some type of press conference -- maybe in the Statehouse -- and declared that he thinks has the votes wrapped up to win. This is coming to me second hand, but thought I'd share the news tip. Perhaps someone can verify what he actually said.

Posted by: political wind at April 25, 2006 10:50 PM

Rob, get off the blogs. The blogs contributed 25% of the anti Mike Jacobs vote just this year. It does you no good. You can sign your name and say that the snow is white and the grass is green, and you will have 10 people tell you that the snow is green and the grass is white, for spite and humor. Get off the blogs, and get to the precinct committee people who vote. The blog is not your friend. I like you and what you bring to the table, but this aint helping you.

Posted by: Anonymous at April 26, 2006 06:42 AM

Hey Mowen,

Go sell your sour grapes somewhere else. You're done in Republican politics with comments like that.

"I believe that they now understand that they lost a great opportunity".... that's the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard from a losing Congressional candidate. You're worse than Cegelis in District 6. The fact that you are not working for the nominee and for the party shows that the voters made the right decision. You were nothing more than a GOP poser straight off the street.

Posted by: ILDC at April 26, 2006 10:11 AM

If BLOG work for you as well as they did for Senator Mike Jacobs, you too will win election in the Democrat Primary. Enjoy Rob. Don't let thse parasites run you off!

Posted by: PatSimons at April 26, 2006 11:09 AM

ILDC, I am sorry that I offended you and, apparently excited you to such a degree. Please accept my apology and do not have a coronary over my post.

As far as 'being done with Republican politics' - I am not so certain that I don't prefer life with my wife and son better anyway, thank you.

One last issue - can you please help me understand what a 'GOP poser straight off the street' is? (I am not certain as to whether or not I am to be offended).

Thank you for any help that you can be on this! I hope that you have a great day...

Posted by: Jim Mowen at April 26, 2006 12:36 PM

If the Adams County primary vote would have been a normal vote - Mowen would be the candidate for the Republican Party right now.

Posted by: Rob Mellon at April 26, 2006 01:25 PM

I can't believe someone wrote we shouldn't back Boland because he promotes himself. Last time I checked self-promotion is a basic job requirement for any serious candidate. That's how you win. And Boland has NEVER backed any Republican against Evans.

Posted by: Will at April 26, 2006 01:48 PM

Rob Mellon

What do mean by normal vote? What was abnormal?

Posted by: Anonymous at April 26, 2006 01:59 PM

Political wind -- I asked Sullivan about a press conference when I saw him at the 17th District spaghetti dinner tonight. He said there'd been no press conference -- hed just talked with the State Journal-Register's Bernie Schoenberg and later a TV reporter.

Posted by: jcb at April 26, 2006 06:52 PM

Thanks, John, for that clarification. As for the spaghetti dinner tonight, that brings up the challenge in this election. So Schwiebert, Boland, Hare and Sullivan were in attendance; but unless they know who among those spaghetti eaters are the actual voters (i.e., precinct committee folks), they have a hard time targeting their hand shakes. Interesting dilemma, eh?

Posted by: Political Wind at April 26, 2006 08:53 PM

I'm pretty sure Hare, Schwiebert and Boland (did he make it?) knew who the committeepeople in the crowd were.

Sullivan, the out-of-towner, did face the dilemma you pose. I'd be willing to bet, too, that none of local contenders took him around and introduced him to the committeepeople.

Posted by: jcb at April 26, 2006 09:19 PM

In the primary in Adams County Georgia Volm the County Clerk had very stiff competition from another Democratic candidate - Eric Carper. Volm had angered a number of local Democrats so there was an effort to defeat her in the primary. This may have been successful, but 600 or so Republican voters - decided to vote as Democrats. Mowen did very well in Adams County 47% to 37% for Zinga - so many of those 600 would have most likely voted for him. Enough it is estimated to overcome the small margin Zinga defeated him by.

Posted by: Rob Mellon at April 26, 2006 10:13 PM

Yes, you're probably right. I'm not sure the northerners eating spaghetti tonight extended that type of southern hospitality to Senator Sullivan. But, for Sullivan, it's a smart move to start spending some time around this metropolitan area he so far has avoided.

Posted by: Political Wind at April 26, 2006 10:41 PM

The situation Rob describes in Adams County, reminds me of what went on here in RICO.

In the primary, I was interested mostly in two races; the Jacobs/Rumler race on the Dem side and Mowen/Zinga race on the Republican side. I was for both Rumler and Mowen. So when election day came, I was torn as to which ballot to pick up. At the end, I decided that Mowen was a slam-dunk and that the Jacobs/Rumler race would be closer, plus I was/am outraged by the arrogant behavior of the Politburo and wanted to send a message----so I took the Democrat ballot.

I wonder how many others were like me, who faced a decision on which ballot to take, and made the decision to vote against a Democrat instead of for a Republican?

I hope everyone has read Rob's profile in the D/A. It was so refreshing to see a Democrat voice opinions that didn't just parrot the party lines from the '70s. Rob, I hope you're not an aberration, but represent a real trend among New Democrats.

Posted by: paladin at April 27, 2006 10:10 AM

Sullivan worked the whole room. He would not have done it any differently if he had known who the Precinct Committeemen were. It's his nature to introduce himself to everyone. That's why he beat a strong incumbent and had an overwhelming victory in a targeted race. He's a nice guy. That's who he is.

Posted by: anon at April 27, 2006 10:15 AM

I suggest Rep. Mike Boland invest in a nice pair of shoes. You can tell a lot about a man by his shoes. Especially if you want the female vote for congress. Sullivan looked like a congressman.

Posted by: Anonymous at April 27, 2006 03:25 PM

Hey, everyone is talking about electability and experience, what about their views on important issues??? Isn't that what electing our officials should be about? I've heard that Sullivan is conservative, but I wouldn't know for sure, because the media hasn't brought any issues to the surface. Don't know much about Hare's issues either. JCB, how about a side-by-side on a list of 10 issues or so?

Posted by: Deemed Dem at April 28, 2006 07:08 AM

Deemed Dem, I am sorry, but how naive! Issues? Come on, no one, either side of the isle has the backbone to deal with issues.
IMMIGRATION, they side stepped this.
SOCIAL SECURITY, ain't touching this one.
ENERGY, let's blame big oil, not our lack of leadership.
HEALTHCARE, nothing doing, too complex.
BUDGET, no leadership here, let's just give everyone whatever they want AND tax cuts.

Issues are irrelevant because we keep voting these jokers back in when they never deal with issues.

(Guess this type of post may kill my future in politics!)

Posted by: Jim Mowen at April 28, 2006 08:37 AM

Hare's issue is to be the most Lane Evans supported and to be the most Lane Evans like.

Posted by: Anonymous at April 28, 2006 08:55 AM

I don't think it is fair to criticize Mike Boland's cloths. Look accross the river at Jim Leach. He looks like an "unmade bed" and he gets elected. Yes, Mike Boland is frugal and purchases new cloths only when needed, but that is no reason to exclude him from high office!

Posted by: JUDGESTAR at April 28, 2006 09:06 AM

Looking ahead to the next redistricting. Illinois will probably lose one Congressional seat and the downstate Districts will get even larger. It is unlikely that the same type of gerrymandering will take place and the southern part of the 17th and the RI area will be in different districts. Congressman Sullivan will go with the southern part and take out LaHood or Shimkus (probably Shimkus) and the RI area candidates can settle things in a primary. It would be ironic if after LaHood and Shimkus got rid of the Democrats in there districts that a strong incumbent challenger ends up with a foothold winding all through their districts. This is speculation of course but a reasonable scenario. This is good reason for the southern part of the District to support Sullivan and maybe even some RI area folks would like to see it play out that way.

Posted by: anon at April 28, 2006 11:19 AM

Issues? Jim's correct that the issues are dodged. This process isn't about issues. It's all about maneuvering, cow-towing, and cronyism. It won't be about issues until candidates can be tested in a primary, which obviously won't be before 2008. If issues were involved, we might actually expect the precint committeemen to be held accountable to the voters for their choice. But heck, by the time 2008 rolls around, we will have forgotten what a farce this was and no one will be held to account.

Posted by: Huck Finn at April 28, 2006 11:41 AM

I agree with Mowen 100% - but we still gravitate to the same old model for our elected officials. Things will not change until we start looking beyond that model. I have authored 100 posts just like yours Mr. Mowen - and my political career is not getting off the ground - hendered and stopped by the old guard. It is amazing how a guy with no political network or capital can appear to be such a threat. Mr. Mowen check out my site and let me know what you think: www.robmellon.com. My contact information is on the site.

Posted by: Rob Mellon at April 28, 2006 12:19 PM

Mellon, you don't know squat. You are just a classic "againster".

We always have candidates who are running "against" the established party organization, "against" corrupt politicians, "against" business as usual, "backroom deals", "party bosses", and on and on. Just for general edification, those are mostly populist themes that don't usually relate to how things really run. I don't personally know any corrupt politicians. The party activists that I deal with are all "good government" types. I do know honest people with differing points of view. It can be difficult to get things done sometimes due to differences and deadlocks but that is democracy sometimes. In a deliberative body, a legislator has only one voice, and sometimes their "great ideas" get nowhere. There is always another person, elected by the people, whose "great idea" is just the opposite. It can be frustrating. As for dishonest people, they are in all walks of life. The system does deal with the bad guys when they are caught. That's why they try so hard not to get caught.

The American people are ultimately responsible (democracy thing) for the problems of this country. As "populist" politicians decry the evils of government, it's no wonder that citizens become less and less involved in government. The party organizations on the other hand try to get people to participate. We are the handful of people who actually participate in this democracy. We then get to be called "insiders" and "party bosses" to be vilified. We try to recruit people to run for all levels of office and it's difficult to get people to participate. Many candidates don't bother with the political organizations. Anyone can pick up the paperwork and run for office. The party organizations have much less control than people believe. Many of our problems in government are not caused by "evil' people but by average dumb people just doing their very best.

The public usually shies away from those people who scare them by being to "intense" (Mellon). The public likes people that they perceive as friendly, likable types. They are judged safe and secure. This does provide stability but is also an obstacle when major change is needed. If Mellon where elected, he would be one of 400+ representative. Nobody would be taking orders from Mellon (military man and coach). He would be just one man with his opinion. Mellon has a nice professional web site and even some well thought out positions on issues. Now he just needs to learn not to scare people. The system isn't broke just because we don't all agree with Mellon.

Posted by: anon at April 28, 2006 05:33 PM

Anonymous 5:33 - if everything is so wonderful in your eyes and Mellon and everyone else is just a 'againster' - then what about the issues that Mowen identified.

These are issues that affect our lives and our politicians (as he stated, from both parties) do not seem to deal with solutions.

Our politicians seem like the 'againsters' - against actually doing anything that matters.

Posted by: havinfun at April 28, 2006 09:17 PM

The only people that scare the voters are the people that continue to stay the exhausted old party lines. In a recent poll by CNN when voters were asked questions about the Republican and Democratic parties, the response was equally bad for both parties. Around 2/3 of the people responded by saying that they felt neither party knew how to fix the problems this country is facing. Ask the people who don't vote why they avoid the election process. They will tell you why just waste time voting for either of two corrupted options you are offered. Both parties just don't get it! There is an ever growing number of people out there that dislike both parties. MOre peopl choose to stay at home than waste time voting for the same perceived bad officials. You would think that would be a wake-up call for both parties. But the politicians keep rolling out the same old tired ideas and excuses for their failures while they simply crush the middle class into oblivion. The country is faced with decades old failed immigration policies and immigration problems, rising fuel costs and problem associated with energy plans revolved around fossil fuels (this they have also failed to address in over 30 years) and nuclear programs with their dangers and waste, we are fighting two wars and face the possibility of being involved in other conflicts before these are settled (can you say prelude to WWIII), we have had attacks on this country from outside and within, outside countries have been buying out our country, the corporations and the countries debt. Also we are losing our Union and higher paying manufacturing jobs to other countries/overseas and replacing them with low end service jobs with poor pay and few, if any, benefits. School and city violence has become a common occurrence, with people afraid to walk in the streets and students attending school that have to fear for their lives. Many of our students cannot even afford to further their education past high school while people from other countries get free rides. We, the US citizens and our children?s future looks bleak. Meanwhile back in the Senate & Congress our elected Nero?s all play their fiddles that resonate everything is fine just trust in us!The country isn't burning down around you. Stay the Party line we are your Soma! We will dull your mind and everything will be fine. And yet when Joe Average Citizen comes to those elected officials and cries, our children are hungry, we can't afford to send them to the violence infested school, we do not have the means to heat our house in the winter, we cannot afford to put fuel in our automobiles so we may go earn our minimum wage jobs, the two Political Parties look at each other and scream it is their fault. Then they go out and have an imported beer together at the voter?s expense, have a good lagh at mom and pop voter, having once again thrown up the charade that they are really serving the people. Well they are right it is their fault, it is both of their faults! Both parties have brought us to this point of weakened existence. They ignore these and other obvious problems and gloss them over with a fresh coat of overpriced whitewash that wears off in time for the next election. And the Democratic and Republican lemmings that vote party politics as usual instead of facing the problems this country has, continue to push this country towards the edge of a dangerous precipice. Time is short, there is a world of globalization beating down our industrialized crops and leaving us with barren fields to leave our children. Just because there are 400 other politicians blind and apathetic to the problems this country faces and has faced for over three decades, doesn?t mean that the people of this district have to be offered up the same inexcusable options and drivel. That is just poor justification for failure and nothing more than the ?Cronyism? people in this country are tiring of.

Posted by: NoMorePinocchios at April 28, 2006 10:23 PM

You missed the opportunity to learn something here Mellon. The problems are real but the Mellon solutions are tired old rhetoric. Candidates have been running on the "For A Change" platform for forever. You could have learned some pointers on style and how to appeal to the public. (again Democracy thing) You are creating disillusionment among the public and driving down participation. You could be attempting, in a calm rational manner, to educate the public. You mention public opinion polls. Polls reflect public opinion, what people believe, not necessarily the facts. To say that both political parties are no different is plain stupid. People can believe what the want but that shows a tremendous ignorance of the issues. The problem is that people will vote for two "likable" people with exact opposite viewpoints and then wonder why no decisive action can be taken. You have an "againster" campaign tapping into public disillusionment and are flaming that disillusionment for your own purposes. (how political) Public opinion does not seem to be running to much in favor of Mellon right now and you don't show any indication of accepting that judgment.

Posted by: anon at April 29, 2006 11:36 AM

The political leaders of Rock Island COunty want to creat 1,000 new jobs at $12.50. Some of the lesser educated people think it is going to smell. I don't get your point havinfun? Are you saying creating 1,000 jobs at $12.5o and hour "doesn't matter." Please!

Posted by: JUDGESTAR at April 29, 2006 12:39 PM

Anon - you should have been in Carlinville today - I said virtually nothing about public dissatisfaction. I spoke very specifically about electability and the national energy policy. I discussed topics in far greater detail than any of the other candidates, and I do not have any direct political experience. As for scaring people - well, if being the minority party does not alarm you than I do not know what will. This disparity is not my doing, but the result of a lack of comprehensive policies that affect average Americans. I am not saying that the sky is falling - I am merely urging the party to think about new, innovative approaches to the challenges that we face as a party and a nation. If I am criticized for being too progressive than so be it – I would much rather be criticized for that than for being totally devoid of new ideas.

Posted by: Rob Mellon at April 29, 2006 08:20 PM

JUDGESTAR, what on earth are you talking about? Where on earth have I even commented on the pork plant? (At best, you must be taking 1 + 1 and making it equal '4').

For the record, I believe that 1,000 jobs at $11.75 (the actual number, but this is irrelevant)beats the heck out of not having 1,000 jobs (at any number).

But why are you dragging me into issues that I did not even comment on?

Posted by: havinfun at April 30, 2006 08:21 AM

"Our politicians seem like the 'againsters' - against actually doing anything that matters."

Posted by: havinfun at April 28, 2006 09:17 PM

Seems pretty cut and dry to me havinfun!

Posted by: JUDGESTAR at April 30, 2006 01:55 PM

JUDGESTAR, you need to recalibrate your medication.

On the pork plant issue, we had better get this figured out soon, as I understand that Galesburg is a true option of theirs. How stupid are we (those speaking out against 1,000 jobs and those who have listened (Silvis)) going to feel when the pork plant dismisses the QC for another community (Galesburg) and takes those 1,000 jobs?

Please...wake up and smell the reality of jobs, growth, tax revenues!

Posted by: havinfun at May 1, 2006 05:58 AM

NoMorePinocchios at April 28, 2006 10:23 PM

This is what we want. Less people voting makes it easier for the machine to make decisions. The process where pricinct committeepeople make the decisions would be preferable however.

Posted by: Anonymous at May 1, 2006 08:03 AM

'Machine'...what a joke! If the 'machine' had any power, would three (3) RICO candidates be in the race, each to do nothing more than take votes for each other?

'Machine' - say it enough and people believe it, but this process is showing the machine to be exactly what it has been, a smoke-and-mirrors game of John G's ego.

The lack of power on the machine's behalf will allow the RICO vote to be split - and John Sullivan to waltz in...

Posted by: havinfun at May 1, 2006 08:40 AM

If you posses the courage to attend the Committeemen's Caucus to select Phil Hare, you will have front-row seat of the Machine installing Phil Hare as our next Congressman.

Further, the pork plant is going to Bettendorf, not Galesburg!

How many times can you be wrong? Don't you get anything right havinfun?

Posted by: JUDGESTAR at May 1, 2006 01:21 PM

What in the world are you smoking?

Bettendorf is chasing high-tech businesses, they are not interested in the pork plant.

The Galesburg option is the most realistic at this point. If the Illinois QC does not get it figured out, the plant will leave the area. Bettendorf, please, I cannot stop laughing! Decker Ploehn would just die from laughter if he heard this one!

Posted by: havinfun at May 1, 2006 02:54 PM

It's going right next to Bernie's property on the Big Muddy. That way Silvis will get none of the payroll. but all the smell.

Byt the way havinfun, I don't see high-tech in Bettendorf, all I see is white-flight!

Posted by: JUDGESTAR at May 1, 2006 06:35 PM

I did not say that Bettendorf is full of high-tech - I said that Bettendorf is 'chasing high-tech'.

The fact is that if Silvis (average home price - $80,000+/-) does not want the pork plant, Bettendorf (average home price - $160,000+/-) certainly does not want it - and would neither chase, nor accept the plant (have you ever seen what Bettendorf does to any development plan?).

Posted by: havinfun at May 1, 2006 08:50 PM