Thursday, February 28, 2008



Two more years?

Has anyone seen a big "Congressional Seat For Sale" sign up in Elgin or Aurora? Maybe in the subdivisions of Kendall County or the corn fields of Lee or Henry Counties? Two self-funding multi-millionaires, Republican ice cream king Jim Oberweis and Blue Dog businessman Bill Foster, are spending unimaginable amounts of their own fortunes to grab the northern Illinois seat once held by the disgraced Denny Hastert. Of course, thinking of how wealthy his tenure in Congress has made Hastert-- a former high school wrestling coach who, like Oberweis and Foster, is now rolling in the big bucks-- it becomes far more imaginable (particularly for Oberweis who wants to use it as a stepping stone for his real ambition: the governor's mansion).

Dan Campana in today's Beacon News points out that so far the two of them have spent $3.5 million for the Special Election (that will give them the seat for the remainder of Hastert's term, 9 months). Neither has a clue about grassroots politics and both are spending heavily on expensive and very un-cost efficient broadcast media. In a race like this-- in a very Republican district-- where the GOP millionaire has more money than the Blue Dog millionaire and where Foster has to strain credibility to make a case he's actually different in any significant way from Oberweis-- the Republican wins.

Despite all that spending, despite the polls of theoretical voters, and despite the GOP's crashing standing among the American people, it isn't likely that the Blue Dog will get above the 40% in the Special Election that John Laesch managed against Speaker Hastert in 2006. One of my friends in IL-14 thinks the margin will be much worse. Turnout will be the key. An analysis from another Illinois friend:
The high turnout on the Republican side on Feb. 5, 2008 was due to the Congressional race, not the presidential race. Jim Oberweis earned 44,000 votes. These people turned out for Oberweis and one could argue that Lauzen’s voters turned out for Lauzen. It could be argued that the Hastert/Oberweis machine will be able to GOTV for Oberweis on March 8th much more effectively than any Democrat could.
Here are growing GOP totals within the district:
2004 – 54,000 (no contested races)
2006 – 69,000 (contested gubernatorial race)
2008 – 77,000 (contested congressional race in a presidential year)
Conversely, high turnout on the Democratic side was due to Barack Obama. While most of the 32,000 Laesch voters turned out for Laesch, many of the 32,000 Foster voters turned out for Obama and recognized Foster’s name from the endless TV commercials. I would safely bet that only a small fraction actually knew who he was. 
In a game of GOTV, Foster may be able to pair off with Oberweis in Kane County (where Lauzen voters may not vote), but I don’t see him coming close anywhere else. Foster would have to creatively outspend Oberweis 3:1 to turn out more than 44,000 voters. I see no creativity in Foster’s campaign and his best asset is that Bill Pasco (Oberweis) is even lazier and running this like a city council race.

Where does this leave progressives? In the last week, without discussing Foster specifically, we talked about the dangers to the progressive movement of the Democratic Party being taken over by Blue Dogs and corrupt Democrats beholden to careerists like Rahm Emanuel (here and here). These kinds of Democrats are not even the lesser of two evils; they may even be the greater evil. Supporting-- with resources and energy desperately needed by progressive Democrats around the country-- a Blue Dog Emanuelist like Foster is unthinkable for me. If I lived in IL-14 it would be much tougher. Would I vote for this guy or watch him fail so that a real progressive like Laesch or State Senator Mike Noland steps up in 2010 when Oberweis tries to run for governor again?

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At 9:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great post, Laesch may still find the votes to be the candidate in the general. I'm not giving up and neither is he.

At 10:12 AM, Anonymous Bil said...

Yep, still pulling for John and he hasn't given up. If he somehow pops through Foster is certainly spending a LOT of money campaigning for him.

NOT Creative but Foster HAS placed himself very strongly against the Iraq invasion and wants out; Oberweis has exactly the opposite platform, totally supports Bush. Can you get elected on THAT even in Corn Country? They hate the Iraq War. VERY clear choice. I think IL14 is sick of the Iraq quagmire AND Fat Republicans and Oberweis also looks a little curdled having been defeated 3 times for public office. I'm pulling for Four.

At 10:16 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

We'll see about Foster...but Laesch is a fool for not conceding at this point. If he doesn't give up now, he may lose any chance he might have for trying for the seat again.

At 10:27 AM, Blogger DownWithTyranny said...

Anonymous (#3 commenter). Laesch conceded the Special Election primary on the night the votes were cast. He conceded, congratulated Foster and publicly asked his supporters to vote for him. I think you are confusing the Special with the General. Laesch hasn't conceded the General yet because the votes aren't counted yet and because there were massive irregularities. If he didn't get the most votes, he'll concede.

At 10:32 AM, Anonymous Bil said...

WHAT is going to happen to Hastert now? He bet on the wrong horse, Mitt Romney, and very publicly dissed McCain.
Is there a future for the newly quit former IL 14 Congressman now Lobbyist? and his two Lobbyist sons in the John McCain for President Run?

I saw somebody suggesting him as a write-in candidate for OBERWEIS to get his old seat back!

I believe he was once a decent teacher and a VERY GOOD wrestling coach. Looks like honest work these dayze.

At 1:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Take a look at this post from yesterday on OpenLeft. Foster's positions are very...malleable, depending on who he's talking to. Even on Iraq. Netroots get one version, local papers get another.

Go figure.

At 8:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


I live in the 14th and I am a grass roots progressive. I've decided that i just can't vote for the lesser of two evils any more.

The Dem party machine is responsible for this so they can elect him. No vote from me.

Tony Tyner

At 9:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT: DWT Exclusive (for 24 hrs)I'm selling my vote for the March 8th Special Election for Congress in IL14.

I am a legal alien and a registered voter. I tend towards the Democratic Progressive side so I don't have a favorite so I decided to make my vote available to the highest bidder. Please stop sending me brochures in the mail every other day and just write out a check.
OK Starting price is $1000. All monies received will go to progressive candidates in November.

Serious inquiries only. I figure a couple of millionaires would appreciate this approach! AND YES I AM SERIOUS.

At 10:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

How electible is Foster going to be after Oberweis starts spinning out the Foster divorce facts? Rough justice for Bill-o after he spread untrue rumors about Laesch in D.C.

At 12:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Oberweis already is spinning out those facts - that's just the kind of guy he is. So far, just through an on-line Repug dirt-digging group with strong ties to the NRCC, and by e-mailing their post on it around and about, but can the 527s be far behind?

Worse for Foster, heard yesterday that there are local women's advocacy groups leaning on the press to print it.

But whether they do or not the rumor mill, with a heavy-assist from the spam e-mail mill, has already made this is worst-kept secret in Northern Illinois.

At 3:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Which makes you wonder, in light of the fact that everyone knows about Foster's divorce issues, why in the world is Durbin & company still out there promoting this guy?

Seems really stupid.

Obama's the only one that's smart enough to stay arm's length away by(apparently) not letting Foster run that ad.

At 5:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Frakly, I am not voting for Foster because of his support for a National ID card. Also his promise to join the Blue Dog caucus in the House. Jane Harman a Blue Dog is responsible for HR 1955 "the thought control Bill". Every Blue Dog voted for it.First Foster says he's a Blue Dog then a progressive sounds like a flip-flop to me.

At 6:36 PM, Anonymous Bil said...

Right, the ad. Obama filmed an ad for Foster.

Does anyone know officially if Obama stopped it or maybe Foster figured that Obama wasn't going to get him many votes in Corn Country?

Foster's ex has been around for some of the press and kick off and endorsements, does anyone really care if he's divorced?
Aren't most Republicans Politicians divorced (and/or closeted).

JOHN LAESCH on the other hand is almost a newly wed. And she's cute too. Let's vote for THEM!
A FRESH FACE! A VET! Will serve IL14...YAY!

At 6:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


It's not the divorce itself. It's what's in the divorce documents. And other stuff. I'll repeat: women's advocacy groups are now pressuring the local papers to publish the documents. Ask yourself why women's advocacy groups would do that.

At 8:46 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

frankly, with what's in those divorce documents, I'm ready to cast my vote for Oberweis. At least he doesn't try to hide his evil. At least we know how he will vote. He's not an unknown waffler.

And, it will be easier for a progressive to take him down. ;)

At 1:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i second that motion.

At 3:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Read the divorce file, you'll see the allegation of "physical abuse" came up as part of a motion to have Foster kicked out of the house during the divorce proceedings. The judge denied the motion, and, when you consider very little was ever mentioned about police involvement, it appears to have been a Van der Snick tactic.

At 10:18 AM, Anonymous Bil said...

Oberweis gives unconditional support to Bush's policies like Hastert did, so yes we do know exactly how Oberweis would vote and we can do better.

Foster it is unless Laesch can still pop through somehow.

Are there debates Scheduled?

At 12:31 AM, Anonymous Bil said...

Good Morning Oberweis Anonymousies,
(Looks like your only hope is slander on Foster's divorce, yawn.)

How'd that line go near the END of "Michael Clayton"?

Right, "You're so fucked"...yeah, that's the line....

Foster Endorsements from CONSERVATIVE IL14...
Aurora Beacon News
DeKalb Daily Chronicle
Kane County Chronicle
Pioneer Press/Algonquin Countryside
The Oswego Ledger-Sentinel

You're so fucked...(but have a NICE Week!)

vote early and often March 8


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