What’s the anti-Pelosi endgame?

by , posted on Wednesday, November 28th, 2018 at 1:46 pm

So, there’s this question a lot of us are asking ourselves: Why is Bill Foster doing this? Why are any of them doing this? What’s the endgame? I finally began to think I could see the logic, if you want to call it that, when I read something at CNN.com.

Clearly, the strategy has never been to challenge Pelosi in the Democratic Caucus. It’s to hold the line against her getting 218 on the floor, in hopes of creating a stalemate that ultimately forces Pelosi to withdraw from consideration, creating the possibility of a compromise candidate being put forth to end the crisis. But who? Steny? Maybe. He gets them where they want to go ideologically, which is to the right. But this little detail caught my Illinois-centric eye:

“‘It doesn’t seem like there’s an alternative as part of their strategy,’ said Rep. Cheri Bustos, an Illinois Democrat, who acknowledged that some Pelosi critics reached out to her to urge her to consider running for speaker.”
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This is why we can’t have nice things

by , posted on Monday, November 19th, 2018 at 10:46 pm

Instead of mounting a progressive challenge to corporate Democrat Steny Hoyer as Majority Leader, Congressional Progressive Caucus Vice Chairs Ruben Gallego, Sheila Jackson Lee, Jamie Raskin, Jan Schakowsky, and Mark Takano, and rank-and-file CPC members Alma Adams, Nanette Diaz Barragán, Don Beyer, Lisa Blunt Rochester, André Carson, Judy Chu, Katherine Clark, Wm. Lacy Clay, Steve Cohen, Elijah Cummings, Danny Davis, Rosa DeLauro, Mark DeSaulnier, Debbie Dingell, Lloyd Doggett, Adriano Espaillat, Dwight Evans, Lois Frankel, Jimmy Gomez, Eddie Bernice Johnson, Joe Kennedy III, Brenda Lawrence, John Lewis, Ted Lieu, Dave Loebsack, Alan Lowenthal, Carolyn Maloney, Jim McGovern, Gwen Moore, Jerry Nadler, Grace Napolitano, Donald Norcross, Eleanor Holmes Norton, Frank Pallone, Lucille Roybal-Allard, José Serrano, Adam Smith, Darren Soto, Jackie Speier, Nydia Velázquez, Maxine Waters, Peter Welch, Frederica Wilson and John Yarmuth all signed a “Dear Colleague” letter [.pdf] on November 13th endorsing Hoyer, who is unopposed, for Majority Leader.

I wonder how many of them supported Levi Tillemann‘s campaign.

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In Lafayette Square

by , posted on Thursday, November 8th, 2018 at 9:54 pm

I work about four blocks from the White House, so I decided to make my way over to Lafayette Square before heading home to see if people were gathering there. Walking into the park around 6:30pm from Pennsylvania Avenue, I didn’t hear much at first, but then I realized there was a crowd of people over on the west side listening to a speaker. It was dark, so I couldn’t tell how many people were there, but I’m guessing it had to be several hundred. Maybe more.

The last time I was in the park like that was as the Gulf War was about to break out. I remember going over for a few nights and just standing there, staring across the street at Bush 41’s White House, standing vigil, I guess, with other protesters while somebody pounded on a drum.

I can’t help but think there are more nights in Lafayette Square to come.

Crossposted from Facebook

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Guethle. Yes, Again. And Again, and Again…

by , posted on Sunday, March 18th, 2018 at 11:01 am

Not long ago I wrote this post about Guethle’s smear mailer against Pete Janko, his opponent in the 14th Democratic State Central Committeeman race. But the mailer was just the opening volley in what is turning out to be a comprehensive – and expensive – arm of Mike Madigan’s campaign to hold on to power at all costs.

That smear mailer was quickly followed by this letter:

And then things went multi-media.
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Guethle’s Glass House

by , posted on Friday, March 2nd, 2018 at 2:01 pm

As we are approaching this primary – one that most people agree is leading up to an historic wave election – I want to spend some time thinking about what it means to build the Democratic Party locally, how to recruit candidates, how to increase involvement, how to actually get and keep people enthused and engaged and out there going door to door, and perhaps most importantly, how to build a bench. I want to talk about how Kane County Democratic Chairman Mark Guethle is doing that job.

And I want to start by taking a tour of the career of a local Republican. Bear with me, and I think you will find the trip illuminating.
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The Brolley Question

by , posted on Thursday, March 1st, 2018 at 6:01 am

Last year, early in the cycle, the Progressive Fox‘s Downtowner told of receiving two pieces of information about then-prospective IL-14 candidate Matt Brolley—that he was not a resident of the district and that he had pulled a Republican, not Democratic, ballot in three out of the last four primaries—and then she offered her own take on that news. Reasonable minds could have differed regarding the importance of those two pieces of information, but it would have been hard to deny that the news was relevant information, that it was not widely known, and that some would find it to be of interest as they attempted to educate themselves regarding the evolving choices before them in IL-14.

And yet, the post—not the information about Brolley contained in it, but the very exercise of communicating that information and presuming to offer an opinion about it—was considered unreasonable by some. In particular, a cluster of negative reactions from a handful of Kendall County Democrats when I shared the post on Facebook caught my attention. Kendall County is where I’m from, it’s where my political roots are the deepest, and I found myself giving a lot of thought to what those Kendall Dems had to say.
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The Three Republicans Who Are Running as “Democrats” in the March 20th Primary Election

by , posted on Saturday, February 17th, 2018 at 11:12 pm

The Kane County Board is composed of 24 district-elected members (10 Democrats and 14 Republicans) and one at-large executive (Chris Lauzen – Republican). In the March 20,  Democratic Primary Election, Democrats in at least three districts will have, sadly, an opportunity to vote for a Lauzen-backed Republican who is running as a Democrat.  In a 4th county board district race in Elgin, a progressive Democrat is challenging a regular Democrat who votes with Lauzen for his austerity budget.

Republican Chris Lauzen has not shied away from his overt effort to infiltrate the Democratic Party with Republican candidates.  There have been at least two newspaper articles on the topic. The Daily Herald reports, “Chairman Lauzen backing some Democrats in Kane Board Races.”  The Beacon News (Trib affiliate) hits the nail a little more squarely on the head with their story, “Lauzen helped recruit candidates challenging Democrats running in Kane County primary races.”

Here is a letter that Chris Lauzen wrote to Republicans and his supporters in the district’s that he is targeting to change.

Meet the real Democrats and their Republican challengers below.

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Why this veteran is supporting Traci Ellis

by , posted on Tuesday, January 23rd, 2018 at 10:00 am

* Initially posted on the Progressives of Kane County Facebook page

When I enlisted in the US Navy in August of 1995 I took an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States of America.  I did not swear an oath to pledge to a flag or stand during the national anthem.  My pledge was to uphold a legal document that this nation’s democracy was founded on by a group of idealists who wanted a more equal form of government.  Traci Ellis pic 2

The flag debate was recently re-visited when U-46 (Elgin, IL) School Board member, Traci Ellis made a controversial statement abou the flag.  But that is not the purpose of this blog.

I am hoping the readers of this short essay ask themselves an important question – “why do I say the pledge or why don’t I say the pledge?”  Plato said that the unexamined life is not worth living.  So, if you are a flag pledger and anthem stander, “why?”  If you sit, kneel and refuse to repeat with the rest of the herd, “why?”   Read the rest of this post »

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Matt Brolley IL-14 Candidate Revisited

by , posted on Friday, April 28th, 2017 at 2:55 pm

On Tuesday I attended the monthly Kane County Democrats meeting and unexpectedly encountered two candidates, Matt Brolley and Victor Swanson running for – or in Brolley’s case still considering running for – Congress in IL-14. Since I know there’s a lot of interest in who might run against Hultgren, I’d previously profiled Jim Walz, and had previously heard these two had addressed the McHenry County Dems meeting, I quickly took out my cell phone, captured video, and posted about Brolley on Wednesday and Swanson on Thursday.

Almost immediately after I put up that Brolley post I received an emailed tip to the effect that Matt Brolley does not live in IL-14. He resides in IL-11, and that he pulled Republican ballots in 2010, 2014, and 2016. The tip had included some pretty strong evidence, but I wanted to investigate a bit further, at least to the extent that I gave Brolley a chance to respond.

I emailed Brolley at his Village of Montgomery email address, but because I am aware that elected officials can’t use municipal email or resources for campaign-related reasons, and I was concerned an inquiry about his voting record might fall under that category, I also went looking for another contact, preferably a campaign-oriented one. All I was able to find was this Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/Brolley4Montgomery/

I didn’t think it ideal to send such an inquiry via Facebook message, but I did, and as it turns out it really is ideal, because Facebook messages have this handy “seen” feature.

So, while I have not received a response to my detailed inquiry to either Brolley’s Village email address, or the Facebook message, I know that the Facebook message was seen on Thursday at 11:10 a.m., precisely nineteen minutes after I sent it.

As it is now well more than 24 hours later I have to conclude that I can expect to receive no response. I had asked for verification of both facts – residency and the history of voting as a Republican – in both of my inquiries, as well as inviting Brolley to offer any comment he might have to make. As I have seen some pretty solid proof and he isn’t responding I have to think this information most likely is true.

If so, it’s giving me pause for thought. Much pause.

The IL-11 bit does not bother me all that much, frankly, as the last redistricting drew many, many people I knew out of IL-14, including a lot of them who worked like crazy on John Laesch’s candidacy in IL-14 in two successive elections. Hell, it drew John Laesch out of the district, Bill Foster promptly moved out of it to run in IL-11, and for all we know the next redistricting (coming right up!) is going to draw them both right back in.

Considering how that line is wobbling I don’t really think being out of it this year is any more of an ethical disqualifier than it is a legal one, which is to say it is not at all. I haven’t looked at it since it was redrawn, but if my memory serves me correctly I myself could move across the street and be out of IL-14. Nothing to say someone that close can’t just move back in, which doesn’t even strike me as nearly as egregious as Foster moving from Batavia to Naperville to get into the better district that was custom drawn for him.

The Republican ballots are another issue. Sure, living in this sea of red in an open primary state I know Dems who pull Republican ballots in primaries because there are no Dem candidates on the ballot, and because they think they can do more good as Dems by weighting a Republican primary one way or another. Could be the case in Montgomery most years.

But 2016? Really? Anyone else remember how tight and hotly contested the Bernie/Hillary contest ended up being here? What’s that you say? All of you? Right. I know I worked my tail off for Bernie in Kane County. So, yeah, I have a hard time buying Brolley pulled a Republican primary ballot in 2016 and is nevertheless a Democrat, much less a progressive.

But since Brolley isn’t responding, I guess we will all just have to draw our own conclusion. I know what mine is.

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Victor Swanson IL-14 Candidate 4.25.17

by , posted on Thursday, April 27th, 2017 at 2:46 pm

The other candidate I heard speak at Tuesday night’s Kane County Dem meeting was Victor Swanson. Swanson is a teacher in Batavia, and is, as far as I know, the only Dem candidate who has actually declared. The others I’ve encountered are still hedging a bit with statements to the effect that they are very near declaring. You can find Swanson’s website here.

As was the case with Matt Brolley, Swanson briefly addressed the Kane Dems monthly meeting on Tuesday night. As was also the case with Brolley, I approached Swanson after the meeting to ask my two-question progressive litmus test.

I found Swanson to be much more eloquent in a one on one conversation than he had been in his two-minute speech, which encourages me to believe he will become more polished in his public appearances as he goes through the campaign. He strikes me as intelligent and well-spoken, well able to think on his feet. Swanson immediately indicated he is a single-payer advocate, and in fact spoke passionately about relatives with pre-existing conditions.

When asked whether he would accept corporate donations, Swanson instantly responded “I know the answer you want to hear, but I can’t give it to you.” He went on to say he’d read my post about Jim Walz and knew from reading it that I wanted to hear that he would not accept corporate donations, but felt he could not make such a commitment, as Hultgren had spent half a million dollars during his last race.

Well, he’s right, I did want to hear that he would reject corporate donations. I am still waiting to hear that from an IL-14 candidate. And while I’ve noted that it’s my progressive litmus test to seek a candidate who is more interested in representing me than corporate America, I am of the opinion that taking that stand will come with it’s own set of advantages. Not least of these is the simple fact that the Dem who takes IL-14 will have to fight an uphill battle against the district’s demographics, so will need all the help he or she can get taking Independents and even making inroads into Hultgren’s Republican base.

I keep hearing that “the energy is so high” and I acknowledge that, but am also very aware that IL-14 was drawn – by Democrats – as a Republican vote sink. The Dem who takes IL-14 away from Hultgren is going to have to figure out some common ground to appeal to Independents and Republicans, without bursting that balloon of Dem energy.

I can’t think of a better issue to do that with than an opposition to corporate money in politics. It’s about the only issue I can ask all my friends and neighbors – apolitical, Independents, Republicans, Democrats, Progressives, Tea Partiers, you name it – about and hear in answer “yes, I want my representative to represent me.”

Best way I can think to pull Independent, and even some Republican, votes over is to take a strong “I’m only accepting donations from individuals, I want corporate money out of politics and that begins with a strong stand on that in my own campaign” position. Followed quickly by a lot of finger-pointing at Hultgren’s corporate masters, naturally.

I think it’s a strategic error for any Dem running in IL-14 to act otherwise as, barring some major Hultgren scandal, it’s about the only issue all sides routinely agree – fervently – upon, and you can’t win with Dem votes alone here – not even if your high energy turns out 100% of them.

So, yeah, I’m still waiting for that progressive candidate who can take advantage of that issue to turn IL-14 blue.

Meanwhile, here is the video of Swanson’s remarks:

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