Posted by – June 29, 2011
During his visit to Quincy Tuesday, U.S. Rep. Thaddeus McCotter, R-Mich., talked about challenges facing Congress, the implosion of big government and his thoughts about running for president in 2012.
“Well, I was in Iowa today. I was in New Hampshire before. I’m trying to gauge that, you know, cause you see the reports about it and you see the polling,” McCotter said of his potential candidacy.
He said the reports and the polls don’t measure up to the information he can get from people. McCotter said the conservatives he’s visiting are not overwhelmed by the field of GOP candidates for president. He believes in the internet age he’s got a chance to gain instant name recognition because of his ideas and solutions.
“It might not be a bad time to be a dark horse,” McCotter said.
Coming into the field late and building momentum quickly, could be a winning strategy. But dark horses often don’t have the financial backing to stick around for a sustained race.
McCotter said as long as a candidate has enough seed money and “can get traction” with the electorate, amazing things can happen in the information age.
“You would think that in the age of the internet and the age of the communications revolution that people make their minds up faster. What you’re finding is that provides them access to more information, more access to an even broader range of candidates,” McCotter said.
The following audio clip was from an interview McCotter gave in Washington Park Tuesday afternoon.
Posted by – June 27, 2011
The jurors deliberating in the corruption trial of ousted Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich tell a judge they have reached a verdict on 18 of the 20 counts against him, according to The Associated Press.
Attorneys in the case have agreed that the verdict should be read Monday. Judge James Zagel said that will happen in the afternoon.
The jury had returned to the federal courthouse in Chicago on Monday after nine days of deliberations. They’ve been talking over the evidence in the case over a three-week period.
Blagojevich has denied all wrongdoing, including allegations that he sought to sell or trade President Barack Obama’s vacated U.S. Senate seat.
Posted by – June 15, 2011
U.S. Rep. Bobby Schilling, his wife and one son are being sued along with three other people in connection with burns a teen sustained while attending a birthday party at the Schillings’ home four years ago.
Thomas W. Reese, 18, filed a lawsuit last week in Henry County Circuit Court seeking unspecified damages for injuries suffered with Levi Schilling and three friends poured gasoline in the hopper of a toy truck, lit it on fire and one of them kicked the truck, splashing burning gasoline on Reese’s cargo pants. The resulting fire caused burns over about one-third of Reese’s body.
Schilling initially gave limited comment on the lawsuit — something defense attorney’s love. Communications Director Andie Pivarunas helped out by giving several publications identical comments from Schilling.
“Some kids were over at the house, they were horsing around. An accident happened. The mom and dad are friends of ours. We see them at church every week. They donate to my campaign. They weren’t able to settle with the insurance company, so they have to do what they’ve got to do. That’s what happened. I just thank God Tom wasn’t hurt worse.”
“I am hopeful for a quick resolution; in the meantime I am focused on the (work) the good people of the 17th District elected me to do: helping create jobs, save Medicare from bankruptcy, reduce our national debt, and get our economy back on track.”
Later Schilling called to object to the word “prank” used in the initial story. He said the boys were “horsing around” when they lit the truck on fire. There was never any intent to play a prank on Reese.
Schilling and others in the Illinois congressional delegation are awaiting news on whether Gov. Pat Quinn is going to sign the congressional redistricting map into law. The Republicans then will face decisions about whether to run against each other or in districts shaped by the Democratic majorities in the Illinois House or Senate. Or they could seek a court challenge.
The lawsuit is a distraction Schilling could do without, but his comments do a good job of avoiding pitfalls and dealing with a potentially nasty issue in a positive fashion.
The Missouri Department of Transportation is downsizing, and the long, sometimes angry, public testimony in front of the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission this week made it clear this is an emotional issue.
MoDOT already has shed about 340 jobs and plans to make it an even 1,200 by the end of March 2013. Behind those numbers, MoDOT will cut its current 10 districts down to seven, closing district offices in Macon, Willow Springs and Joplin. Quality jobs will leave those communities, which makes the plan unpopular with people from those communities.
With that in mind, MoDOT will keep about 70 to 80 employees at each of those locations under the direction of an area engineer. It won’t be as big as the district office, but will be much better than pulling out all workers.
Missouri lawmakers set up the Highways and Transportation Commission to “take the politics out” of highway, bridge and other transportation work. Yet some politicians were very critical of the commission’s efforts to reduce the size of MoDOT.
Rep. Randy Asbury, R-Higbee, tried to cast the decisions behind the closures as a dark conspiracy that would drain rural areas of MoDOT workers while leaving urban areas untouched. Those numbers were debunked by MoDOT staff members, who shared statistics that indicate both urban and rural would lose about the same percentage of workers.
A lot of Americans want “less government” and it would appear that MoDOT’s plans will help that cause. The dark numbers behind this work force reduction involve the $600 million the state will have for transportation funding in coming years, compared to the $1.2 billion it had for the last couple of years.
Sarah Lyons, director of communications for IndependentVoting.org, wrote an op-ed piece about the findings of recent polls that probe Americans’ views on all things political.
Lyons’ main theme is that describing the 37 percent of Americans who identify themselves as independents as “the political center” is a mistake. One pollster divided Americans into eight classifications based on ideology, demographics, values and party affiliation.
“Pew’s findings amplify our own, discovered not through polling, but through the activity of organizing independents over the course of two decades. Independents are not in the middle between Democrats and Republicans. Rather, they want to move beyond the confines of parties altogether.
“Perhaps more so than any other group of American voters, independents are attuned to the fact that partisanship is not a behavioral issue — it is a structural one. Since partisanship is produced by the structure of politics, addressing the issue of partisanship meaningfully means changing the political structure. That’s why reforms like open primaries and nonpartisan elections are so popular among independents.”
Lyons is not an unbiased observer, but her point is valid. It is too easy to oversimplify voting blocks. Voters are not just red or blue.
Reporters at the Chicago Tribune noted during rambling testimony in Rod Blagojevich’s political corruption trial that the ousted governor is using the “I’m an idiot” defense.
Blagojevich’s defense team is trying to simultaneously — sometimes alternately — portray him as politically astute and yet gullible and trusting. They also have tried to “smuggle” in testimony that Blagojevich’s advisers steered him wrong.
Testifying Thursday, Blagojevich said he is embarrassed when he reviews his comments on prosecution wiretaps.
“When I read these now, some of these conversations, I can see how idiotic it was. What was I thinking about?” Blagojevich asked.
His comment is very close to the famous tag line “Judy Baar Topinka: What’s she thinking?” that Blagojevich used in numerous attack adds in 2006. His $20 million campaign fund buried Topinka, the Republican’s gubernatorial nominee.
Blagojevich wrapped up his fifth day of often self-serving testimony Thursday.
I believe he was telling the truth when he said he now sees how idiotic he was. And I have no doubt he wonders what he was thinking … or what he could tell the jury he was thinking, in order to stay out of prison.