To the surprise of absolutely no one, the paper endorsed Ray LaHood, the Republican incumbent.
The endorsement was less than enthusiastic.
More below the fold
In "Face the Nation", he was openly laughed at by the host!
And he was given a public spanking by Representative Robert Wexler on CNN. (Youtube appears to be having trouble at this time; the link is here:
Now to the endorsement:
Republican Congressman Ray LaHood has a virtual lock on the 18th District seat he's held since 1994.
It has been more than two decades since a Republican has had a serious, well-financed Democratic challenge for the seat that once belonged to House Minority Leader Bob Michel, and before that to Everett Dirksen. The last time a Democrat won here was 1917 - Claude Stone - and he later joined the GOP, too.
Little has changed. The current campaign pits LaHood against Democrat Steve Waterworth, 59, of rural Havana, who'll spend $10,000, if that. You won't see any Waterworth TV commercials.
Yet he may garner more than the 30 percent he received in 2004, to the degree that this election is a referendum on George W. Bush or disgraced GOP ex-Congressman Mark Foley. Given the president's dismal approval ratings and Foley's scandal, the 60-year-old LaHood recognizes it's in his interest that it not be, which helps explains why he likens his job to being "mayor of your district." The description fits LaHood as well as anyone in the 435-member U.S. House.
Indeed, LaHood is uncommonly parochial and attentive to his hometown for a congressman, simultaneously his best and his worst trait.
So, LaHood is running on a "bring home the bacon" message
You won't get the party line from the mild-mannered Waterworth. He'd resurrect the draft. He acknowledges "we're stuck" in Iraq and believes withdrawal now would make it worse. "If Bill Clinton had violated civil liberties like the Bush administration has done, Ray LaHood would be crying for his impeachment," he says. On Gitmo and allegations of torture in secret CIA prisons, "we have to have rules or we'll be as bad as they are." He'd fund universal health care with a national sales tax, pitching it as a pro-business position in a global economy. He'd rescind tax breaks for the nation's wealthiest. He'd be very assertive on finding alternatives to oil and says "farmers need to see themselves as producers of energy, not corn."
Waterworth argues that he has more "real world experience" than the incumbent. Perhaps. But in the "real world" of politics, a guy who can only raise $10,000 isn't a serious candidate. Ray LaHood is the clear choice on the strength of his local work and his experience on Capitol Hill, which on balance is good for central Illinois.
[...] The current Congress is unproductive and has allowed itself to be co-opted by the executive branch; LaHood acknowledges as much.
Republicans may not lose control of the House in this election. But unless the above begins to change, under the leadership of veterans like LaHood in safe seats, Republicans are all but giving Congress back to the Democrats, sooner rather than later. And LaHood will be a less effective congressman if and when that happens.
In other words, they say "vote for LaHood because the other guy doesn't have any money and the Democrats might not win back the house, which means that he might keep bringing his share of pork to the region."
I'd say that is a lukewarm of an endorsement as I'd ever seen.
If you live in IL-18, vote for Steve Waterworth!