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Today's Peoria Journal Star paper had its endorsement for the Illinois 18'th district.  

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

Ray LaHood, if known for anything, is known for chairing the Impeachement proceedings in the House against Bill Clinton, and for disgracing himself on national television by defending Dennis Hastert.

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!

Originally posted to onanyes on Sun Oct 15, 2006 at 04:27 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  This is the same argument Hastert supporters use: (0+ / 0-)

    they want Hastert in office so he can keep hauling back the pork.

    Corruption is apparently fine with these people as long as they get the biggest haunch.

    •  "Hastert" and "Pork" in the same line.. (0+ / 0-)

      Oh, all right...I promised I'd play nice. :-)

      When liberals saw 9-11, we wondered how we could make the country safe. When conservatives saw 9-11, they saw an investment opportunity.

      by onanyes on Sun Oct 15, 2006 at 04:34:06 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Doesn't sound like the Dems are helping (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I lived in Peoria for four years...haven't been back for a long time, though, so I'm not sure what it's like.

    When I was there, Bob Michel ruled the district and was GOP Speaker of the House--much like Hastert now--but he still had to campaign like crazy in the early 80s, when the recession caused Reagan to have to come down a few times to campaign for him. He still only won by a few thousand votes.

    I think the unions probably had more influence down there than they do now. Also, must say, it sounds like the Dems haven't really given Lahood's opponent a chance. Michel's opponent was always on TV, slamming Michel for cutting Social Security benefits.

    (Come to think of seems like the Dems aren't being a very big help to Hastert's opponent either...he's really had to rely on the Netroots for everything....)

    Anyway, we used to call the Journal Star the "Urinal Jar," which gives you an idea of what we thought of its journalistic quality.

  •  Before this "endorsement" came out (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    today everybody knew the PJStar would come out for LaHood even though we need change.  Most of the time people want money out of politics but according the the PJStar the more money you can raise the better a congressman you will be.  Even though Waterworth probably won't will again this year, it is great for our district to have a choice.  I still hold out hope that sooner rather than later we will elect a Democrat from IL-18 even if it has been almost 90 years.

  •  WTF? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    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.

    In other words, the other 434 members come just about as close as LaHood?  Yeah, sounds about right.  IIRC, one of the knocks against LaHood a couple of election cycles ago was that he did a really crappy job of bringing home the pork.

    I did my meager bit to put Steve Waterworth over that $10,000 mark.  Who knows?  The election seems out of reach, but if LaHood is capapble of coming out less than a month before the election and blaming the page system for Foleygate, who knows what foot-in-mouth disease he's capable of contracting before Nov. 7?

    We can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we cannot have both - Louis Brandeis

    by dsteffen on Sun Oct 15, 2006 at 05:05:53 PM PDT

  •  Embarassment (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    If I lived in IL-18, I'd be shit-faced ashamed that LaHood was representing me in Congress. If he's not as "bad" as Hastert, that's only because he didn't get to be Tom DeLay's lap-elephant.

    Speaking of Hastert...John Laesch is his worthy opponent. A young man of honor and integrity. And, he's polling as close as 10 pts to the Big Poker!

    We may (read: will) take back the House come Nov 7, so Asshurt won't be Speaker again. But I don't want him fouling the halls of Capitol Hill even as a representative.

    Please, open your hearts and pockets to John.

    If not NOW, WHen?????

    •  Yes... (0+ / 0-)

      that is what I am going to do, in terms of letter writing.  I am going to point out that LaHood embarrased all of us in Peoria when he went on national TV and made an ass of himself.

      IL-18 is gerrymandered to give Republicans the edge but it would be great if Peoria could give LaHood a major spanking at the polls.

      The City of Peoria went for Kerry 52-48 and gave Waterworth 36%.  Internal polling shows LaHood at under 60% district wide, which means that perhaps 42-45% might be attainable this time, especially in Peoria proper.

      When liberals saw 9-11, we wondered how we could make the country safe. When conservatives saw 9-11, they saw an investment opportunity.

      by onanyes on Sun Oct 15, 2006 at 05:53:13 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I live... (0+ / 0-)

        in McDonough county (IL-17) but I watch only Peoria television stations (19, 25, 31, 43, 59) and I have never seen an ad for either candidate. Naturally, I see LaHood all the time on 25, but the only reason I've even heard of Waterworth is because I looked it up to see who LaHood's oppnent was.

        •  That's sad (0+ / 0-)

          I hope Howard's 50-state strategy eventually reaches places like Peoria, and the Dems down there start getting enough money to run real media campaigns.

          Central Illinois has a lot of good people who haven't been given a real choice in a long time.

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