An example of everything that's wrong with our politics

Dick Gephardt, former House Democratic Leader, House Majority Leader and House Minority Leader is President and CEO of the Gephardt Group, a Washington lobbying firm that "provides strategic advice to clients on issues before the House, Senate and Executive Branch in the federal government."

The Gephardt Group just hired Dennis Hastert and his lobbying firm, Dickstein Shapiro, to assist on a $35,000-per-month contract for the government of Turkey.

Hastert used to be the Republican Speaker of the House.

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Good Bye, Dennis Hastert- You Won't Be Missed

I don't know if any of you remember a guy back in 2004 named "Tom Daschle." He was a good guy.  Our majority leader in the Senate.

Then came November.   The party's leader in the Senate was gone, replaced with Harry Reid.  Ugh.   It was bad enough that Bush won reelection, but the Republicans also routed one of our best and brightest from gaining reelection.  It was a second defeat in the same night.

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IL-14: Democrat Bill Foster Leads For Hastert's Old Seat

Survey USA, which has been remarkably reliable this cycle at the presidential level, has a new poll out of Illinois' 14th (conducted for Roll Call) showing Democrat Bill Foster ahead of Republican Jim Oberweis by 7 points two days out from Saturday's special election. Brownsox brings us the subscription-only Roll Call story:

The House seat recently vacated by former Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) is in danger of flipping to the Democrats in Saturday's special election, according to a poll conducted this week for Roll Call.

In the poll of 517 likely special election voters, conducted by Survey USA exclusively for Roll Call on March 3 and 4, physicist Bill Foster (D) led dairy company executive Jim Oberweis (R) 52 percent to 45 percent. The poll had a 4.4-point margin of error.

Foster appeared to test particularly well with women and independent voters, who preferred him by a 3-2 margin. The survey also suggested Foster had locked down his party's base, taking 97 percent of likely Democratic votes and perhaps stealing 10 percent of likely GOP votes.

If these numbers hold up on Saturday, the return on investment for the NRCC will be sad indeed. As Jonathan wrote yesterday:

Crunching out the math, then, the $1.2 million the NRCC has had to spend defending this Republican seat in a Republican district amounts to 29.2 percent of the committee's net cash-on-hand, or nearly a third. In contrast, the D-trip has spent about 3.0 percent of its net cash-on-hand on the race.

An Oberweis loss, especially of this magnitude, could mean the end of Rep. Tom Cole's, er, distinguished tenure as chair of the NRCC and will be seen as a sign of things to come in the fall for Republicans in red or purple at best districts (IL-14 has a PVI of R+5.) It also serves as the first test case for how Obama's message and endorsement (see his ad for Foster here) may trickle down to the congressional level in November. Granted, Illinois's demographics are shifting and Obama is the hometown senator, but this is a district that Bush won 55-44 in 2004 and Hastert won 60-40 in 2006.

Update [2008-3-6 17:23:46 by Todd Beeton]:Per Dick Durbin's dailyKos diary, contribute to keep the Obama ad on the air for the next 48 hours HERE.

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IL-14: Special Election Lawsuit

I know the eyes of the world are on Iowa today, but here in Illinois, we were just treated to this bombshell from a local paper:

Election officials in at least seven Illinois counties plan to ask a federal court to intervene because they believe the dates set by Gov. Rod Blagojevich for a special primary and special general election will not give them time to meet federal and state statutes that govern elections.

The election is to replace Hastert, who has retired.  The special primary is set for February 5 and the special general March 8.  From the story it appears that the objection from the counties comes not to the primary date but to the March 8 special general date.

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Omnibus Gives Bush a Blank Check for War at the Expense of Science

Many of the Fermilab community who volunteer for John Laesch for Congress contacted our office On Tuesday, Dec. 18, to alert us of the devastating cuts to high energy physics that came in the House Omnibus Appropriations bill that was passed on Monday, Dec. 17, 2007.

They were rightly concerned because the bill slashes $90 million in funding for High Energy Physicis projects, including $62 million at Fermi National Laboratory (located in IL-14). You can get details by reading Fermilab's internal newsletter, Fermilab Today.

The $555 billion bill gives George Bush another blank check worth $70 Billion to continue the occupation of Iraq.  Sadly, there was no accountability or a specific timetable attached to the additional Iraq occupation funding.

I guess lawmakers will be returning to their districts this Christmas break with lots of pork while our soldiers serving in Iraq are enjoying sand and MRE's.  

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