A Different Interpretation of Illinois 06
by illinois062006, Thu Mar 23, 2006 at 02:27:57 PM EST
I too have meditated a lot on the results and the various events coloring the race in Illinois 06.
Perhaps I should post a diary, as I have been involved in Chicago politics for an extended amount of time. But allow me to first say that I find it interesting that someone decided to volunteer for a campaign based on television commercials and not based on rigorous research. Allow me to also say that it was patently clear to me that Duckworth's entrance into the race reeked of machine politics at its worse. One could say it was a farcical repetition of the actions of the machine that crumbled a few years ago in the city of Chicago.
What struck me about Duckworth's entrance was the vehement protest of Cegelis supporters. This prompted me to research Cegelis, to contact friends in Illinois 06, and to take a train to the district and speak with random commuters and idlers in downtown Elmhurst. But what signaled that there existed a grand misperception of the Cegelis campaign were Lynn Sweet's articles in the Chicago Sun-Times. Why is Lynn Sweet writing subtle diatribes against the Duckworth campaign? And why is Cegelis refusing to yield? And why is Emanuel refusing to acknowledge the existence of Cegelis's campaign? I then conducted some research, viewed a few demographic charts, read reports from 2004 that mentioned Cegelis, and I decided that the DCCCs intervention in the race was profoundly wrong.
I then wrote a Letter to the Editor of the Sun-Times, which they published in late December. A few people I have not spoken to in years contacted me and told me they agreed with my assessment. This impelled me to contact Sen. Dick Durbin's Washington, DC, office, and I had the pleasure of speaking with his Chief of Staff. He rehearsed all the worn and vapid talking points about Duckworth and her service, and I contested each and every single one of them. Although we clearly disagreed, he basically acknowledged that there was no empirical evidence that Cegelis would lose and that this was a decision made by Durbin and Emanuel. The conversation was amicable, and the Chief of Staff gave me his direct number, as he desires to meet me during my next museum trip to DC.
The exchange I had with Durbin's Chief of Staff revealed to me that Duckworth was not imported to guarantee victory; she was imported for reasons on which many of us have been speculating. The media onslaught with which everyone was bombarded suddenly made sense, as did Obama's endorsement and Clinton's involvement. Marcy Captur's (D-OH09) visit was somewhat anomalous, but this confirmed my initial feelings: not everyone in DC or in the Democratic Party views Cegelis and her campaign negatively.
And then the mysterious poll with a massive margin of error appears, and then Markos Moulitsas Zuniga equivocates on the race. Lynn Sweet continues to report on the race to no avail, and then John Kerry sends an email in which he erroneously states that Duckworth is facing a Republican opponent. That is an egregious and flagrant error, especially when multiple staff members vet anything disseminated by his office. Barack Obama's office refuses to answer any questions about his involvement in the race, forwarding me to his PAC, which is staffed with some of the most uncooperative people I have ever encountered, and I receive a telephone threat that mentioned the Letter to the Editor I submitted to the Sun-Times. This call was placed from a pay telephone in Washington, DC.
I must say I was shocked. But I was also motivated to send Cegelis more and more money. I only met Cegelis once at a fundraiser last week in the Loop, and I was impressed with her as a candidate and as a human being. Believe it or not, she actually spoke with me for five minutes, and she thanked me for my Letter to the Editor. I could not believe she remembered my name.
Then the primary arrives, and I hear that Duckworth will "have the resources" to match Cegelis's ground game. The money flows, but Cegelis and her supporters are campaigning with more and more alacrity. Duckworth exploits a not-for-profit Catholic charity, transforming a visit to that institution into a political event, and she refuses to attend any local events. Durbin's Chief of Staff, when asked about these absences, asked me, "Why do you think that is the case?" I found the question impertinent, especially as Duckworth was headed to NYC to raise funds with Hillary.
And then John Lapp at the DCCC has his rehearsed online discussion with those who care to hear his opinion. There he is gratuitously touting Duckworth, failing to mention she is in a primary race and gushing over her credentials and experience. In fact, he mentioned her name twice in the short and screened discussion he held online. And all the reporting from major news organizations fails to mention Cegelis after their long, sycophantic discussions of Duckworth.
Everyone is duped; bloggers defend Duckworth; Cegelis supporters are told they are hysterical; and John Sabato claims Cegelis has "lingering" support on his University of Virginia, Center for Politics report. "Lingering" is in my opinion an inapt adjective.
The mailers arrive, the television commercials, which I thankfully avoided, hit everyone's screens, and Lynn Sweet reports on the dearth of supporters at Duckworth's "Family Fun" event. And then election day arrives. Cook County is sluggishly reporting the returns, and 65 precincts from Illinois 06 are not counted until 3am. David Axelrod, who was working for both Duckworth and Claypool, jumps in front of the cameras and calls Chicago corrupt, as votes are missing and Claypool and Stroger are in a dead heat. The posturing was unbelievable, and 65 precincts from Cook County are yet to be counted in the Illinois 06 race. Then Duckworth grabs a microphone and calls for party unity. The votes trickle in at 3am, Cegelis loses by 1,000 votes, and the complaints about Cook County's votes suddenly end. 65 out of 127 Cook County precincts were not counted in the Illinois 06 race, and the man who represented Duckworth and was tied through Emanuel to the Daleys, who financially supported Duckworth, complains about Cook County's tabulation procedures on behalf of Claypool. What a great way to distract everyone from the nailbiter in Illinois 06 and from your complicity with the campaign that will benefit from the votes that are missing in Cook County. And is it not coincidental that Duckworth did so well in Cook County, even though that is Cegelis's base and the base of the Machinists Union that endorsed Cegelis?
These are my thoughts, and I honestly believe this election was stolen. No, I am not involved with the Cegelis campaign. No, I am not from the district, and no, I did not circulate this before releasing it on MyDD. This is why I raise the specter of fraud, and this is why I am so jaded.
Allow me to thank Chris Bowers for his post. That too confirmed my initial response to Duckworth's entry.
And I apologize to all those I may have offended. I just cannot believe so much work was undertaken in order to undermine a woman of integrity, strength and conviction.
I wish Duckworth the best of luck in the general.