Illinois Senate Republican Chris Lauzen, running for Dennis Hastert's seat in the 14th District, brags in his campaign literature about all of the times he was the lone dissenting voice in a full Senate vote. Since he seems to have an almost unique talent for getting both political parties to bury their differences in order to oppose him, could Lauzen be the man we need to send to Washington in order to bring bi-partisanship back into the House?
(cross posted @ Fireside14 and PrairieStateBlue)
As the lamented Mark Foley used to say, sometimes one needs to just bend over and take one for the team. I know we’ve been preoccupied with the Democratic contestants of the IL-14 primary, but there’s a bigger picture out there they may mean that we have to make some hard sacrifices in the short term.
We’ve all heard the Right claim that the Left suffers in its politics from simple "Bush hatred". And when Clinton was president, it appeared that the Right suffered from "Clinton hatred". But even in their worst days, when Bush’s approval rating sank to 32 percent and Clinton’s to 70 percent, each still had a core coterie of loyal followers and the hatred that these presidents generated wasn’t really enough to unite the country.
But what about Chris Lauzen? Does he have what it takes to be despised by literally everyone?
To answer this question, I had to go once again to Poon’s Lobster House, to talk to my old GOP informant who will only allow me to refer to him as "The Shawnee".
Poon’s Lobster House, which used to be the very epicenter of the Republican machine in Washington (especially when DeLay was playing Green Lantern and Denny Hastert a rather hefty Kato to a cowed Republican owned House) is a changed place since the last election. While it is still THE major Republican hangout DC, Upstairs Poon, a Democrat who runs the restaurant itself (separate from the exclusive basement playroom run by his brother, a staunch Republican named Downstairs Poon) has once again brought out his life-sized statue of Bill Clinton dressed as Saint Sebastian that he once had behind the bar during the Clinton impeachment hearings. The tone in the basement itself is muted and it is unlikely that we will ever again see such things as Colin Powell defending himself with a broken off table leg against Donald Rumsfeld during an impromptu drunken wrestling match as happened once in 2003.
I met The Shawnee in a quiet corner in the basement. He asked me if I wanted a drink and when I asked for a scotch, he had the whole bottle brought over. When he took off the cap and tossed it over his shoulder, I knew it was going to be a long evening.
"What’s the deal with Lauzen?" I asked. "I get campaign literature from him once a week that looks likes it was designed as a middle school project. I keep thinking that Lauzen is going to start calling Oberweis a poopyhead."
"He’s doing his own copy" said The Shawnee. "Did you see those cows? Those were drawn by Lauzen."
"So why didn’t Denny endorse him?"
"Denny hates Oberweis with a passion."
"I know, but what about..."
"Let me finish. Denny hates Oberweis with a passion. I mean, he took freaking Alan Keyes over Oberweis for the gubernatorial race for chrissakes. But as much as he hates Oberweis, and he hates him with the white hot heat of ten thousand suns, he hates Lauzen a million times more."
"You can’t do anything with Lauzen. Lauzen picks some goofy position and then he thinks that he has to prove his integrity by not moving on it a bit. He equates integrity with being pig headed."
"Maybe he is a man of integrity..."
"Maybe he is. But I say, if you can’t tell if a man is acting with integrity or is simply being a dick, he’s probably being a dick."
"But he says that's the way he is shows he’s a leader..."
"But he isn’t. A leader leads. A leader would actually get people over to his side and get something done. But Lauzen could do the same thing he does now having someone else in the Senate and just sitting at home yelling at the television. When Illinois was grappling with a busted retirement system, a healthcare crisis, a transportation crisis, a property tax crisis, and god knows what else, you know what Lauzen was doing? He was working to develop trade relations between Illinois and Romania. And Romania gave him a medal which he actually wears. So we sit there in the House and watch Blago and Madigan doing their slap fest and there’s this clown in the chamber wearing a decoration from some ex-Commie country. Oh they all hate him, both sides of the aisle. He’s like some old school marm shaking his finger at everyone telling them how naughty they are all the time. Both sides work their asses off to craft some kind of bill they can both live with and Lauzen is the only one who votes against it, to show that he’s an "uncompromising man of integrity"."
"So what about Lauzen as a Republican candidate?"
"Sending Lauzen to Washington would be like disbanding the seat. He’d only vote for himself. He’s like a little political party all his own, called the Party of Dick. As much as Denny hates Oberweis, he knows that Oberweis will vote with the team. But Lauzen will only vote with Lauzen and aside from being a source of embarrassment, he’s unpredictable, which is the last thing the GOP is going to need with their paired down minority after the next election."
"But do you think that a Federal office could change Lauzen?"
"Yeah, it would change him. He would go from being a dick to being a DICK, since he would now have a national stage. He could now do his ditsy little speeches full of literary references that he does to show off that he went to an Ivy League school. He could tell Barbara Walters about being the president of the Yale rugby team, like some fat assed 50 year old high school student who still sits around talking about the big touchdown he made once."
"So you think people would start hating him in Washington too?"
"Yeah, in about two minutes, first time he opens his mouth."
"Well, I got a theory I want to run by you. How much would they hate him?"
"Right now, Lauzen’s hated by everyone, regardless of race, creed or party affiliation. In fact, the one good thing you can say about him is that banding with the Dems to oppose Chris Lauzen is something that every Republican in Springfield can do to show that they do non-partisan stuff. I’m sure it would be the same in Washington."
"Then in a way, Lauzen could bring bi-partisanship back into the House."
"What are you getting at."
"We’re polarized now. Am I right or not? We don’t seem to be able to agree on anything. But here you have a guy that not only everyone agrees on, but a guy that people who normally hate each other band together to oppose. I could see a situation where instead of politicians having to craft legislation that appeals to their party’s ideology, they could just write it relative to what Lauzen thinks of it. Then Dems and Republicans could vote together on it in clear conscience telling their constituents that they voted for it because Lauzen hated it. And once in a while, to keep Lauzen fresh in the country’s mind, they could let some of his legislation make it out of committee to be voted on in open session, say like that one where he wanted to ban public breast feeding on the off chance that some girl would pop out a tittie in her high school and cause a riot. Then they could all vote against him and head out together and have some drinks."
"You know, that’s a real crazy idea...."
I didn’t catch what else he said before he flopped over and passed out. But as for myself, I think we have a window of opportunity here. I think that we should consider banding together and asking Laesch, Foster and Stein to bow out of the election and throw their support to Lauzen, for the sake of national unity.
Who's with me?