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June 06, 2006

Issues, sort of

Now that 17th Congressional District Dems are through entertaining us with novel nominating maneuvers, it's time to move on to the important stuff.

Start with Iraq. No difference there between Republican Andrea Zinga and newly named Dem nominee Phil Hare. Both think there ought to be a timetable for withdrawing U.S. troops. Haven't heard either say anything about dates -- and without dates, talking about timetables is pretty much the same as accepting the status quo.

Several other similarities, too.

Energy, for example. They're both 100 percent behind wind power and ethanol and otherwise turning crops into fuel. 'course, new ethanol plants are springing up like mushrooms in the Midwest, so the challenge here may be to keep from heaping too much government largess on the industry.

Maybe they'll take a look at Rob Mellon's idea about hydrogen. The Dem wannabe (he placed fifth) talked about a Manhatten Project-level effort to develop hydrogen as our primary fuel. Hope exploration of that idea doesn't die with Mellon's campaign.

They're both also in favor of stopping the flow of illegal immigrants; Hare's on board for providing a path to citizenship for some illegals who already are here. Haven't heard Zinga say anything about that aspect of it.

Pretty much the same on some bringing-home-the-bacon issues, too. They'll both try real hard to get money for the I-74 bridge, work for the Rock Island Arsenal and new highways and such for down district. And they'll have offices throughout the district and cooperate with local officials in economic development and work hard to sure veterans get their due.

Hare's against NAFTA, CAFTA and all the alphabet soup of trade agreements. Zinga's for "fair trade, not free trade." A shade of difference there, maybe.

There are disagreements, of course. Abortion's one. Hare's pro-choice. Zinga isn't. Given the Supreme Court these days, a lot of people are more concerned about a legislator's viewpoint on that question than they might have been in elections past.

I'm sure there are other major differences, too, though none pop immediately to mind. It'll be easier to do side-by-sides on the two when Hare gets a website up. Zinga's already got a lot of issues/positions info up at andrealanezinga.com.

Go get educated.

Posted by jcb at June 6, 2006 11:52 PM


Hard to get excited about either candidate. Let's be honest, in the 17th District of Illinois, the only thing that matters is economic development - we have one candidate who is going to continue the failed economic development policy of the Evans administration - and the other candidate doesn't have a clue about economic development. Some choice that we have before us.

Posted by: Anonymous at June 7, 2006 08:00 AM

It's a zero sum game. Some districts get more than others based on their representation.
The question is who will bring home more of the bacon from D.C.
The past has not been good. Just compare the Illinois and Iowa Quad Cities.

Posted by: Anon at June 7, 2006 10:11 AM

It will be fun to see what Hare says when Zinga asks him why his boss didn't do more about jobs, health care, education, and raising taxes during the 20+ years he was a Congressman. I predict Hare will fall back on the Blame Bush/Republicans/Conservatives (tm) talking point. Too bad that half of Evans' tenure had Democrats in control of Congress, and had control when Hillary brought forth her "health care" plan. Should be a hoot!

But let's get real here. This race is not just gonna be about "issues". Hare has never been the front man when running for election. What will he do? Will he be like Al Gore and John Kerry, who demonstrated they couldn't manage their way out of a union-made paper bag? No one knows what Phil will be like on the campaign trail. Will he have an obnoxious public personna? It's not just "issues", it's whether he is likeable or not. He's untested, and this should be interesting.

It will also be interesting to see if he still sticks to the mid-20th Century liberalism that Lane stuck to, or whether Phil is a candidate for the 21st Century.

Lane Evans has not been good for our district, and he has the record to prove it. He has been given a pass by our local press because they liked him too much. Here's a hint for our local media----don't let Hare (or Zinga) get away with what Evans did----you'll lose credibility.

Posted by: paladin at June 7, 2006 04:49 PM

What in the world are you talking about? "Untested"? First of all, there are candidates who succeed who are "untested". Secondly, it's not as if Phil Hare is coming into this from another line of work. Thirdly, one might easily make the case that Andrea Zinga has been "tested" and found seriously wanting--you can't tell me that, if the RCCC knew Lane Evans were retiring, Andrea Zinga would most certainly not have ended up being the Republican candidate this fall. Finally, it is far more likely that Zinga will be held to account for current Republican failures than Hare will be held to account for alleged failures of a decade ago (when there was a much better economy and we were at peace).

But forget all that. Just tell me whether Zinga would still be the candidate if the Republicans had known it would be an open seat, and be honest about what that means for Republican prospects in the 17th in the fall.

Posted by: Macon County Dem at June 7, 2006 08:33 PM

Actually, Paladin, quite a few people do have some idea what Hare will be like on the campaign trail. Several hundred people saw him at one or more of the candidates forums; I was at all four, and I've seen him at work in a couple of other campaign settings.

I didn't see anything I'd remotely consider to be "obnoxious" -- apparently not many people in the audiences did either, since they mostly voted for him when the time came, picking him out of a pretty good field of candidates.

He's not the most polished public speaker I've ever seen, but he's more than decent, often speaking with genuine passion. Pretty plain spoken a good part of the time, too, not leaving any doubt about that he thinks or feels.

I'm gonna be really surprised if any "persona" issue has much impact.

Personnally, I'm looking forward to Zinga/Hare debates. Both say they're eager; I'm assuming arrangements will be made shortly.

Zinga's a polished and confident speaker, as you'd expect from a came-from-tv background.

Hare bragged to the forum audiences that he'd cleaned Zinga's clock at a couple of debates in which he served as a stand-in for Evans. Didn't see them, do don't know if he's overstating the case.

We'll see, when they meet, what each has in the way of style AND substance.

Posted by: jcb at June 7, 2006 09:10 PM

Macon Co Dem: I mostly agree with you. By "untested", I meant it would be interesting to see how Hare does being the front man in a campaign instead of operating in the shadows. I don't know for sure, but my guess is he is not used to dealing with voters who don't belong to the Loyal Democrat Clubhouse. Or maybe Hare won't bother with independents and cross-overs and just stick with adoring Dems. He'd probably still win.

And you are certainly right about Zinga. This is why the timing of Evans' "retirement" is so delicious. Not only did he screw the GOP, who most certainly would have chosen some one other than Zinga, he also screwed his fellow Dems by denying them an open primary, and with his endorsement of Hare, foreclosed any chance for any other Dem to have a shot at his seat. A twofer! Brilliant!

I fear you are correct about Hare screeching on about "Republican failures" rather than addressing the problems in the 17th. Since Zinga is not an incumbent, it will be more difficult to pin all the Impeachment! Corruption! Incompetence! Deficits! stuff on her, but I know Hare will do it anyway because that's all he has. It will be easy for Zinga to point out that Evans had over 20 years in Congress to deal with Impeachment! Corruption!(Evans has his own problems here, for which he has never been held to account) etc. and why would replacing one liberal Democrat with another liberal Democrat change anything.

As for problems here at home, Hare has to either claim that everything has been peachy-keen for the last 20 years, which would repudiate his Master's "work", or come up with some innovative programs to improve things. Zinga should ask the classic question: Are you better off now than you were 20 years ago? This is why Hare will fall back on the Blame Bush/Republicans/Conservatives(tm) "policy". The liberal Ted Kennedy wing of the Democrat Party is the most reactionary of all. What little innovation being done in policy matters is being done by the more centrist DLC types. Hare has already promised to continue Evans' work----I just don't see him changing.

I hope I'm wrong about this, but I think Hare will try to change the subject from the abysmal failures of Evans and our dire situation here and make this about Bush, for which Zinga has no responsibility.

It seems Macon County Democrat is already beating the drums for "change the subject".

Posted by: paladin at June 8, 2006 09:21 AM

Great discussion/ analysis in the last few posts. Even with Hare, who provides Zinga with the best chance of any of the Dem's, she still has an uphill battle.

I do not believe that she can come close to climbing the hill if she cannot find a way to raise some money. The national Republican party is not going to give her the time of day if she cannot first make things happen on her own - a skill which she has now proven ineffective in over the last 2 elections.

The national Republicans will already be questioning the IL-17 based on the numbers and will be focusing more attention on the Iowa-1st and she will have to grab their attention.

Without financial strength...

Posted by: havinfun at June 8, 2006 10:41 AM

I just HAVE to say it: Paladin is a right-wing nut moron. It's just so frustrating to read more blather from somebody who can't think outside his party-dictated hostility.
Evans did nothing and the press protected him?
Tell that to the 68 percent of voters who elected him last time around.
If Paladin is so concerned about records, he ought to be shaking in his boots. Zinga's got one thing on her record: She couldn't keep a job in TV -- a member of the press, incidentally, that Paladin blames for everything.

Posted by: Regrettably anon at June 8, 2006 02:47 PM

Regrettably anon -- "Right wing not moron"?
So much for the "great discussion" havinfun said was going on.

Posted by: jcb at June 8, 2006 03:24 PM

I meant to comment earlier on this stunning piece of DemThink (courtesy of Macon County Democrat), but got distracted---check it out: "...it is far more likely that Zinga will be held to account for current Republican failures than Hare will be held to account for alleged failures of a decade ago (when there was a much better economy and we were at peace)".


In DemLand, Zinga, who had no part in current Republican policy is "held to account". Meanwhile, Evans, who committed campaign finance violations, but never acknowledged wrongdoing, and instead just said his "intentions were good" and couldn't afford to fight the charge, gets a pass. Please. Evans didn't take responsibility, no one was fired and his "good intentions" were to get re-elected, even if it meant breaking the law. Would Macon accept this bullsh*t from a Republican? Besides, trial lawyers are a major special interest group for Democrats. If Evans had a case, they would have gladly represented him----pro bono.

I especially liked Macon's comment that Evans' criminal acts were "alleged" and "a decade ago". Well, yeah, because they were only brought to light last year.

But the really hilarious part of Macon's comment was that Evans won't be held accountable because he committed his "alleged" criminal acts when "there was a much better economy and we were at peace". So in DemThink, as long as we have peace and prosperity, no Democrat should be held accountable for wrongdoing. Rape, murder, mayhem----all acceptable for Democrats if we have peace and prosperity. Certainly Ted Kennedy proves that a Democrat can commit murder, cover it up and not suffer any consequences. It's always such a treat to see Big Ted lecture others about morals!

But what you won't hear from DemThink is the fact that we were not at peace when Clinton was POTUS, al Qaeda had declared war on us but he just didn't know what to do about it. In fairness, he may not have been able to do much without a 9/11 type event.

And please note that the fabbalus deficit reductions came about after the Republicans took control of Congress----after 40 years of Democrat rule. Clinton didn't do it alone, and the intellectually honest admit it.

But sure, people like Macon want people to look away (change the subject!) from the real crimes committed by Evans and possibly Hare, and instead focus on
"crimes" committed by Bush/Republican/Conservatives, that Zinga had no part in. Wishing won't make it so, Macon.

Your only hope is that the press rolls over for Hare like they did for his boss.

Posted by: paladin at June 8, 2006 03:52 PM

You're right. I apologize.
Paladin, I disagree with you.

Posted by: regrettably anon at June 8, 2006 03:59 PM

Paladin, you are very wrong. The Friends of Lane Evans Committee did pay a very steep price for screwing up on campaign finance. They paid a $185,000 fine. That's certainly taking responsibility and paying the price.

Now, let's get onto the issues that affect the taxpayers in this district. The most important being, are we going to send a rubber stamp congressman to Washington to continue these disastrous fiscal and economic policies of the Bush-Cheney administration? We now have the largest deficits and debt in American history, and it all happened under one-party (Republican) control. That is the key issue of this campaign.
That is the test. Which candidate has the specific plan of attack.

Posted by: grillmaster deluxe II at June 8, 2006 07:12 PM

grillmaster, 'screwing up on' - are you kiddng me? Lane Evans did nothing more, nothing less that what Tom DeLay did. He worked the system and cheated to win an election.

This was no clerical error, this was total abuse of the system to win an election that otherwise would have been lost. In fact, Lane himself stated this...in his comments after the election of 1998, he thanked Friends of LE for getting him 15,000 votes (he won by 6,000).

By his own admission, Friend of LE won him the election. We now know that Friends of was an organization fully-funded - ILLEGALLY.

'Paying a deep price' would have been to lose the election. He paid a 'slap on the hands' price and retained his job.

Please do not white-wash this. Tom DeLay and Lane Evans should be in the same prison cell.

Posted by: havinfun at June 9, 2006 08:29 AM

Havinfun, you seem to think that paying a $185,000 fine isn't "paying a price" for mistakes. Wow, not sure what planet you're from.

Posted by: grillmaster deluxe II at June 9, 2006 10:53 AM

Pretend you are Hare and read the following in the House Ethics Manual. When would you quit?

At times a House employee wishes to commence his or her own candidacy for an elective office while continuing as an employee. There is no absolute prohibition against a staff member becoming a candidate for a local elective office, but such activity is subject to a number of restrictions. Most importantly, the individual's employing Member must consent to the candidacy, and the employee must comply with the rules and requirements on performing campaign activity that are summarized above. Those requirements include that the employee perform congressional duties that are commensurate with the compensation he or she receives from the House and thus that compensation be reduced proportionately with any reduction in the employee's time in the congressional office and that any campaign activity be performed on the individual's own time, and outside of congressional space. Further guidance on the matter of staff candidacy for local office is provided on pp. 116-17 of the House Ethics Manual. An employee considering a candidacy for elective office should contact the Committee for specific advice.
However, different considerations apply where a Member is departing office, and one of his or her employees wishes to become a candidate to succeed the Member. In that circumstance, the Committee has taken the position that the staff member must terminate his or her employment in the congressional office upon becoming a candidate. Among the considerations on which this Committee determination is based are the significant time demands of a congressional candidacy, and the strong potential for conflict of interest where an employee is seeking to succeed his or her employing Member.
The Committee has also determined that, subject to certain restrictions, a staff member contemplating becoming a candidate to succeed his or her employing Member may engage in pre-candidacy, "testing the waters" activities without terminating his or her congressional employment. The restrictions include that the individual may do so only if his or her employing Member consents, the employee complies with the rules and regulations that are generally applicable to campaign activity by employees, and the employee?s activities do not go beyond "testing the waters" as defined by the FEC. The permissible "testing the waters" activities are described in the FEC publication, Campaign Guide for Congressional Candidates and Committees. Among the activities that are prohibited under that advice are any that indicate that the individual has in fact become a candidate, such as the use of general public political advertising, or the raising of funds beyond those reasonably necessary to determine whether one should become a candidate.

Posted by: Anon at June 9, 2006 11:01 AM


Evans raised $500,000 illegally.
Evans won an election because of it, and
Evans had to repay (via a fine) less than 40% of the illegal dollars - and you think that this is a fair penalty?

Come on, one cheats and raises $500,000, and wins an election (by his own admission over it), the fair penalty would be resigning the seat that was illegally won AND repaying the illegally raised dollars WITH a penalty of $185,00o.

Certainly the Democrat party does not - they forced DeLay out over the same, if not a lesser, issue.

A comparrison of 'fair penalty' in your eyes would be paying $20,000 less in Income Taxes than one is supposed to, getting caught by the IRS and having the penalty be - a fine of $8,500!

Posted by: havinfun at June 9, 2006 12:42 PM

The Anonymous 11:01 post makes one think that Hare has already stepped way over the line when for the last 60-days he has been a candidate for office (especially given the recent news that 'he outworked the rest of the field').

In addition, hare's shock at the thought that he would have to resign is shocking. He just thinks that the government owes him a paycheck for running for office.

Let's face it, he has been around long enough, he knows that running for office is a full-time+++ effort.

We all knew that Hare was going to be a 'business-as-usual' guy, it is just astounding that he is so incredibly stupid as to be so out-front with it, or flaunt his ignorance to reality.

I am certain that the'common-man' that Hare relates to so well also gets a full-time check for working another job...

Posted by: havinfun at June 9, 2006 12:49 PM

Let's get back to the real issues and quit getting distracted. Who has a specific plan to rebuild America's economy and shrink the largest deficit that now plagues our nation and undermines the 17th District economy? These questions are the real tests and the real challenges. Don't allow folks to derail what's important -- and that is challenging both of these candidates on these key issues.

Posted by: Moline Dem at June 9, 2006 02:41 PM

Regrettably stated: "Zinga's got one thing on her record: She couldn't keep a job in TV..."

Give it a rest, buddy. I spent seven years in broadcasting and I think I know a little more than you. A broadcaster gets ahead by moving to different jobs or different markets. In Zinga's case, she went from local channel to local channel to CNN. The goal of most broadcasters is to move to bigger markets or the networks. Ya want a list of local people who went on to bigger things? Start with Spike; look at names like Milo Hamilton, Skip Loescher, Hoda Kotbe, Dave Durian, Paul Mieke, Dan Blackburn, Jess Marlowe. All went from small to medium to large market, network O&O's or networks themselves.

While I'm not a Zinga fan, I will defend her in doing what is natural in the broadcast world. So don't say she couldn't keep a job.

Posted by: Watcher at June 9, 2006 02:41 PM

I couldn't agree more with Moline Dem. So do tell, Moline Dem, what is Phil Hare's "plan to rebuild America's economy and shrink the largest deficit...."? Or for that matter, what was Lane Evans' "plan" to "rebuild America's economy", etc. In over 20 years, I don't remember him ever mentioning it.

Please clue us in on the Evans/Hare "plan". Inquiring minds want to know----since you brought it up.

Posted by: paladin at June 9, 2006 04:10 PM

To grillmaster delux II and other Dems: please explain the logic of why replacing one liberal Democrat with over 20 years seniority (Evans) with another liberal Democrat with no seniority (Hare) will change "these disasterous fiscal and economic policies..."? If Evans had the power to change these policies, don't you think he would have? How will Hare be an improvement over Evans? Isn't a vote for Hare just a vote for the status quo?

I realize you must repeat your talking points ad nauseam to satisfy and mollify your base, but please explain to the rest of us how this makes any sense .

Posted by: paladin at June 9, 2006 04:24 PM

Moline Dem:
Largest deficit that undermines the 17th District economy. It doesn't seem to be hurting Iowa Quad Cities or the rest of the country.
Might it be the current representation?

Posted by: Anon at June 9, 2006 04:29 PM

I hate to rag on the D/A for being Evans' lapdog (even though I think it's true), but the fact that I had to go to the Chicago Tribune to find this quote from the D/A's (and AP's) own lawyer, in response to being denied access to Evans' guardianship hearing:"...what we have here is a congressman who may not be capable of handling his own affairs but remaining a member of Congress" says something about what the D/A considers "news".

Anyone want to place bets on when Evans will step down due to "health issues" and appoint his "brother" Phil Hare to complete his term?

Posted by: paladin at June 9, 2006 04:59 PM

Once again:
Under the U.S. Constitution there are no appointed U.S. Congressmen, ever. You must be elected at the general or a special election. It is too late for a special election in Illinois since vacancy must be declared no more than 180 days before the general election.
Under Illinois law if you die or become disabled, there is a vacancy in office. But only the Governor can declare the vacancy.
Also, if the Office of Congressman is declared vacant, then it continues with the current employees but is supervised by the Clerk of the U.S. House.

Posted by: Anon at June 9, 2006 08:38 PM

Sending Andrea Zinga to Congress to support the disastrous fiscal policies of this administration is absolutely out of the question.
We can't go that route anymore. We have to change course. We have to do better.

Lane Evans and Phil Hare backed the most successful President (Clinton) who brought us the most successful economy in a generation -- all while shrinking and ELIMINATING the federal deficit. And then the Clinton-Gore-Evans-Hare team turned over a surplus to the Bush-Cheney Team.

Hare will support moderate economic and fiscal policies that will focus on deficit reduction. I am confident of that, and I will challenge him to bring forward details during his campaign. I'll keep an open mind to Zinga, and I see that you all have already closed your mind to Hare. That's ashame, really, as this campaign hasn't even begun.

Posted by: grillmaster II deluxe at June 9, 2006 10:27 PM

Thanks for the further information gmIIdeluxe. From your comments, I conclude that the Democrats are set to launch another Back To The Future---It's The Economy Stupid (tm) campaign. This makes sense, since it worked so well for them in '00 and '02.

As I've commented before, Clinton was only able to balance the budget when the REPUBLICANS gained control of Congress. So unless Hare is running for POTUS, we should have MORE Republicans in Congress and a Democrat in the WH. Right?

You mention that Evans voted to "eliminate the federal deficit". My guess is that would be increase taxes. Say, did Lane vote for or against tax reductions during the Bush Administration? Oh, nevermind, I'm sure Andrea Zinga is combing through Lane's voting record as we speak to find out if Lane was for or against tax relief.

You say I have a "closed mind" about Hare, but I don't. Hare put himself in a box when he vowed to continue Evans' policies----be they good or bad. Hare is the one with the "closed mind", not me.

Posted by: paladin at June 11, 2006 02:55 PM

Paladin, I have to correct your mis-statement. President Clinton was able to balance the budget because he pushed and passed the 1993 budget bill which laid a foundation for the fiscal policies so successful during the Clinton-Gore years. That 1993 bill, which received not one Republican vote, set the course for shrinking deficits and the eventual budget surplus Clinton handed over to Bush in January 2001. The '93 Clinton-Gore budget bill, which enacted a tax on the top 2% of Americans only and which made new investments in education, health care and environmental protections, has been roundly credited for igniting the economic boom of the 1990's that resulted in 22 million new jobs and wiping out the federal deficit.

Republicans took control of the U.S. House in January 1995 and had little impact on the deficit reductions of the Clinton years.

Lane Evans had the guts to vote for that historic 1993 budget bill. I am hopeful that Phil Hare understands that we need economic growth and deficit reduction. I am not hopeful that Andrea Zinga understands that balance.

Posted by: grillmaster deluxe II at June 12, 2006 01:04 PM

Hey Paladin --

I acknowledge that Democrats didn't win in 2000
(well, Al Gore received 578,000 more votes than George Bush but ... let's call it a day on that debate).

I am one who thinks Gore blew that election. Here he was, running with the best economy in a generation (balanced budget, 22 million jobs, etc.) and he decided not to run a campaign based on economic achievements. Go figure. His consultants gave him bad advice, but I blame him for agreeing to it.

I'll never understand why Gore didn't run on the economy in 2000. But politicians often do things we all don't understand, right?

Posted by: grillmaster deluxe II at June 12, 2006 01:27 PM

Moline Dem., you ask us to go back to the issues about who will be able to solve this countries/county problem. The problem I see is that both of the Party Candidates offers me no answers. I have studied their campaign to date and they have both rubber-stamped Party Platform. If I am expected to make a decision on what they are promising then I cannot find a positive reason to choose either candidate, especially Hare who has been a part of an administration in charge of this regions economy for decades. The buck stops with Evans and Hare. They were managing this region and they are ultimately responsible for the results. Instead of Hare and Zinga pointing the finger at each other and saying, "it's their party's fault." I wanted reasons offered to look for hope and a new road towards prosperity. Instead I received Party rhetoric. If on the final ballot I have to choose between Hare, a person that is part of a proven failed administration, and anyone else, I will not choose Hare. I would rather write in my dogs name than vote for a past failure who that in my mind purposely plotted to avoid the voting process and the voters because the powers that be knew he could not win in a real campaign against more moderate candidates. And that was what the whole charade of avoiding an election and placing Hare on the ballot was about, shutting out the moderate and conservative elements of the party from the election process. I see no way Zinga can win this, nor under normal circumstances would I consider voting for her. But the Democratic Party is in denial if it thinks I am going to vote party line just because they demand I support a non-elected party puppet. I truly hope one of the more moderate and non-party rhetoric spouting candidates, shut out from the process, steps up and runs as an independent candidate, that is a winnable scenario for the voter and the district.

Posted by: NoMorePinocchios at June 12, 2006 02:22 PM

As NMP points out...we are stuck with two candidates who are just an embarrassment. Hare is an office manager, a good one apparently, but an office manager. Zinga, well the crowning achievement in her resume is the fact that she wona Grammy, I am sorry, a Tony, no, was it an Emmy? Regardless, a great reason to vote for her to be a Congressperson.

And I thought that Lane Evans was an embarrassment, at least with him, no one outside the area gave him a second thought. With this being one of the few open seats in the election, we will have these two clowns on the national news (to embarrass us even more).

I will not vote for either - I will find someone to write-in. I cannot bring myself to vote for either inept candidate.
What an amazing embarassment.

Posted by: havinfun at June 12, 2006 09:11 PM