The Ostroy Report

The Ostroy Report is a fresh, aggressive voice for Democrats and a watchdog of the GOP/Tea Party. We support President Obama and the Democratic agenda and seek to preserve the Senate majority while taking back the House. But we're also not afraid to criticize the left when necessary.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Christine Cegelis Got 44% Against Henry Hyde in '04; So Why is DCCC Head Rahm Emanuel Undermining Her '06 Campaign?


Rep. Henry Hyde, the 81-year-old hypocrite Republican blowhard who led the House impeachment effort against President Bill Clinton in the 1990's and subsequently faced humiliation and embarrassment when news of his 5-year adulterous affair became public, will be vacating the 6th Congressional District seat he's held for almost 30 years. In the '04 election, his Democratic challenger, Christine Cegelis, commanded 44% of the vote, more than any challenger since his first run for Congress in 1974. In their effort to hang onto Hyde's seat, the GOP is pushing state Sen. Peter Roskam (R-Wheaton), a Tom Delay protege, who'll likely face the winner of the Democratic primary to be held in March. Head-to-head against Roskam, you'd think Cegelis would stand a terrific shot of capturing another 7% and winning the election, right? Apparently, Rep. Rahm Emanuel (ILL), head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, doesn't think so.

Yesterday I wrote about Emanuel, his progress at the DCCC, and his rough and tumble qualities that the party desperately needs right now in battling the Republicans. But today I write about something quite puzzling about Emanuel. Rather than throw his political muscle and DCCC money behind Cegelis--a 51 year old single mother and businesswoman--Emanuel is instead recruiting Army Maj. Ladda "Tammy" Duckworth, a Hofffman Estates resident, who lost both her legs in Iraq. She has not yet accepted his invitation to run for Hyde's seat. "She expressed her interest. That's where it is," he said. Duckworth is undergoing physical therapy and faces many medical challenges as a result of her injuries. With no political experience, and having serious health issues, it's a mystery why Duckworth appeals more to Emanuel than the candidate who almost whipped Hyde's philandering ass last year.

One explanation is that Emanuel has not been happy with Cegelis's fundraising efforts. Between Jan. 1 and Sept. 30, Cegelis raised $159,885 and has $48,973 cash on hand. That's not good enough for Emanuel, so he's begun looking for an alternative. What's troubling is that Emanuel's main function as DCCC head is to raise funds for viable candidates who are struggling financially, and Cegelis is about as viable as they come in the 6th District race. Again, she captured 44% against a 31-year, 16-term Republican legend; in my book that makes her the Democrats' best shot and Emanuel should embrace her with everything he's got.

Emanuel also seems hellbent on recruiting fantasy candidates who fit a certain high profile: military vets, law enforcement, athletes. In doing so, he seems to be chasing what he believes to be a winning Republican strategy. Is he onto something here? Perhaps. But these backgrounds don't in and of themselves make one fit for public service. It's quite possibly style over substance, and that would be a disaster for our side.

Winning Hyde's seat is very much within reach for the Democrats. Roskam, a former legislative assistant to scandal-plagued former House Leader Tom Delay, was himself investigated in 1992 by the Illinois Attorney general and the IRS for possible campaign finance abuses. Like his former boss, he's no pillar of morality. It's shouldn't be too hard to mount an effective campaign against him.

Let's hope that Emanuel, rather than possibly chasing down a fantasy, puts his immense clout and financial support behind candidates who have experience and can win, and not just those who look good in uniform. Until I see otherwise, Christine Cegelis, who was endorsed by Howard Dean and Sen. Richard Durbin (ILL) in her '04 bid, seems very worthy of that support.

10 Comments:

  • At 8:17 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I don't say I agree with Emanuel's plans for Hyde's seat, but it is clear that he is aiming to get Iraq vets to run to defuse any anti military/Iraq War propaganda.

    If as you stated, Duckworth has enormous medical challenges, she should not run at this time.

    Cathy
    Michigan

     
  • At 9:09 AM, Blogger All_I_Can_Stands said…

    Don't try and figure out Illinois politics. Winning never seems to be the top goal in my state. Petty infighting is king, and chronyism is queen.

     
  • At 11:59 AM, Blogger Joe Smoe: American Citizen said…

    Don' forget endemic Corruption...

     
  • At 12:59 PM, Blogger All_I_Can_Stands said…

    Plenty of Illinois corruption from both parties. You are correct.

     
  • At 12:59 PM, Blogger Joe Smoe: American Citizen said…

    This just in:

    New grand jury to probe CIA leak:
    Prosecutor's move opens door to additional charges in Plame case

    http://msnbc.msn.com/id/10097830/

    Nothing but bad news for the Chimp and his Evil and Corrupt Regime these days.

    Maybe god is hearing my prayers and I will live to see the TOTAL POLITICAL DEMISE of George W. Bush in my lifetime.

    Smoe

     
  • At 1:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Once again...thank you Mr. President...thank you for everything.

    http://www.workingforchange.com/comic.cfm?itemid=19887


    The RIght Wing Agenda

     
  • At 2:42 AM, Blogger Patriot Gal said…

    Well, the DCCC is doing the same thing in Kentucky - recruiting candidates with checkbooks instead of looking for candidates who can win the public's support.

    I say, ring the phones off their hooks at both the DCCC & the DNC. Most of all, make sure you don't donate to the DCCC. Nada. Zip.

    Refuse all donations that will go to the DCCC until they do the PEOPLE'S bidding.

    Jeers to Emanuel, if he can't be any more innovative than thinking candidates have to be walking checkbooks. In fact, that's downright undemocratic, and basically says that only rich people deserve to run for office.

    Is that what we want in this country? I don't think so. He's barking up the wrong tree.

     
  • At 2:42 AM, Blogger Patriot Gal said…

    Well, the DCCC is doing the same thing in Kentucky - recruiting candidates with checkbooks instead of looking for candidates who can win the public's support.

    I say, ring the phones off their hooks at both the DCCC & the DNC. Most of all, make sure you don't donate to the DCCC. Nada. Zip.

    Refuse all donations that will go to the DCCC until they do the PEOPLE'S bidding.

    Jeers to Emanuel, if he can't be any more innovative than thinking candidates have to be walking checkbooks. In fact, that's downright undemocratic, and basically says that only rich people deserve to run for office.

    Is that what we want in this country? I don't think so. He's barking up the wrong tree.

     
  • At 8:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    While Cegelis is worried about Duckworth, she should really be concerned about Lindy Scott. The news has it that Scott has won the support of many local Democrat leaders and has already obtained more signatures than Christine. Maybe the best candidate has already been found.

     
  • At 4:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I've heard the same comments about Scott. Some of the Democrat Township chairs believe Scott could match up well with Roskam in a debate, but they don't think Christine can.

     

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