US Representative John Shimkus (R-IL15) knows how to talk a good game. He has found a great way to keep his district eating out of the palm of his hands & as a side effect, has allowed him no serious challenger in a primary or in the general election. The reason? Because he portrays himself as a “good conservative”.
Having heard Shimkus speak on multiple occasions, I can pretty much tell you what he will say & he’ll sound like the most conservative person in the room when he does it. He’ll start off thanking everyone & move on to say something about God. From there, he’ll talk about his military background. Finally, he’ll talk about how messed up Washington is & about all the bad things the Obama administration has done or is planning to do to us. Simple. Straightforward. Prime Cut red meat for the Republican conservative faithful.
His speeches always get a rabble or a harrumph out of the crowd. I used to be one of them.
I used to campaign for John Shimkus. I walked precincts for him in the late 90s. I used to tout how John Shimkus was an example of how the people have sent someone good & right to Washington. But I woke up from that fantasy world. I wiped away the scales from my blind eyes & I started actually looking at John Shimkus’ voting record in the US House. What I found I didn’t exactly like.
I could make a long list here of previous votes/bills that were giveaways to the bio-fuel lobby (Open Fuels Standard Act of 2011) or were fluff legislation congratulating someone or some Eastern European country for doing something. We’ll stick with recent memory for this article to keep it as short as possible.
– Shimkus will tell you how the government should stay out of our lives, yet he was quick to help defeat, with the help of the Wicked Witch of the West Nancy Pelosi, by voting against Rep. Justin Amash’s amendment that would have barred the NSA from snooping in on US citizens not already investigation.
– Shimkus is nowhere to be heard of or seen of when it comes to Obamacare being applicable to Congress & their staff. A pending new regulatory ruling will allow Rep. Shimkus to keep his insurance while you & I will not be as fortunate starting later this year & into next year.
– Shimkus has sided with President Obama by allowing project labor agreements (aka union rules) to be required for all federal contracted bids. Every vote on to overturn President Obama’s Executive Order 13502 regarding PLAs whether by amendment or on the rare occasion when inserted into a bill’s language has met with a no, abstain or non-vote from Rep. Shimkus.
Rep. Shimkus has been in office since 1996 (several terms after his self-imposed 2 term limit). He’s a Boehner Republican. He’s the kind of guy that Speaker Boehner can count on in a crunch to vote his way. He’s a team player. Go with the flow.
Rep. Shimkus has become the Unrepresentative Representative. I look to the district north of us & I’m a bit jealous. Rep. Rodney Davis has a primary challenger in Erika Harold. Sad part is that Davis has drawn a challenger & he has a better voting record the Shimkus. Shimkus has a worse rating (36%) than Davis (42%) on the Heritage Score Card. Shimkus even scored worse than Sen. Mark Kirk! Rep. Shimkus is the last on the Republican list before you start getting into the Democrat portion of the list! Yet Shimkus never draws a serious usurper for his crown in a primary.
Nothing will change. Shimkus will go on voting against conservatism. He’ll go on giving speeches about how conservative he actually is, whitewashing away the reality of his voting record. The Republican rank & file will believe every word he says. The Republican County Chairmen in his district will continue to defend him to the death. And he’ll go on getting re-elected. If assumption is the mother of all f–k ups, then apathy is the mother all of Shimkus’ reelection wins.
We’ve heard the stories from other school districts – no Musical Chairs, no Duck Duck Goose, no Tag, etc. Why? Because these games are inherently unfair or somebody might feel left out.
I live in one of the most conservative areas in Illinois – Effingham County. Fox News once said that Effingham County is the “base of the base of the Illinois Republican Party”. So you can imagine my surprise when I heard what took place at Effingham Junior High School this past week.
My girlfriend’s granddaughter was running for 8th Grade class President at EJHS & therefore, there would be an election by her peers. My future granddaughter was ready to campaign & was excited at the prospect of winning class President. She even spent her own time after school designing homemade campaign fliers.
Then she went to school.
When she went to the EJHS Office to get her fliers approved so she could hang them in the hallways, she was informed by the secretary that her campaign fliers were not going to be approved. Of course, she was upset by this because she had spent so much time making her posters.
When she got home, her mother called the school to find out why her daughter’s homemade campaign fliers were not approved. The answer? “Because it would make it unfair for the other candidates”. She was also informed that all campaign posters are supposed to be done using computers to make it fair.
First, isn’t making students do the work on computers inherently unfair? Not every student has a computer at home & if they do the work at school not every student has the same computer & creative skills to make a campaign poster that would look like everyone else.
Second, what is more inherently unfair than elections, whether in life or in school? Somebody has to lose & somebody has to win. In life, some candidates have a bunch of money, others do not. Some candidates have a grassroots effort in place & others do not. So why make elections fair in school? What possible lesson can you teach a kid if you level the playing field for a school election?!
Life is unfair & life’s outcomes are unfair. Yet our schools are teaching our kids that life IS fair & outcomes should be as fair as possible. That’s not how society works. That’s not how our economy works. That’s not how the workplace works. And it sure isn’t how elections work.
I’m ecstatic that my future granddaughter won her election but the ends don’t justify the means. She should have been able to campaign as she saw fit within normal school rules. The same goes for the other kids who ran for school office.
Why get bent out of shape over such a trivial thing when she won? Because “rules” like this are wussifying our kids to the reality of life & cuts down on any creativity or imagination they might have – the later an important skill to have in the workplace. This time it’ll be making school elections fair. Next time it’ll be getting rid of games that produce a clear winner & loser. Then it’ll be nobody gets an F on anything. Slippery slope my friends. Always, always be mindful of the future.
I’m not sure how any self-respecting conservative can support Bruce Rauner to win the Republican nomination for Illinois Governor.
Given Rauner’s past, as detailed in Sam Pierce’s article at Illinois Review where Pierce outlines Bruce Rauner and/or his wife’s contributions to Democrats & pro-choice PACs before seeing the light & becoming Republican, it’s already a stretch as to why any Republican would back Rauner. But then I remember this is the Illinois Republican Party we are talking about here.
With same sex-marriage being debated in the Illinois General Assembly & being heard in front of the US Supreme Court AND being a supposed candidate for office, you would think Bruce Rauner would have an opinion on the subject. But here, instead of taking a stand, he punts while on WLS:
Cohn: This has been an important topic that’s being discussed all around the country right now – gay marriage. Where do you stand on gay marriage?
Rauner: Gay marriage is, it’s an important issue. I think it’s best decided by the voters. Frankly either voter referendum or whatever format voters think makes sense. I think the voters should decide that issue.
Cohn: You don’t have a personal feeling about gay marriage?
Rauner: I really don’t. I think it’s best done by the voters. By society should accept it when the time is right for them. […]
I believe the voters should decide on gay marriage. That’s not lacking leadership, that’s saying voters decide. If, for example, the legislature passes gay marriage, I’m not gonna fight to reverse it. If they don’t pass it, I’m not gonna advocate for it. At the right time, the voters will make their views known. I think that’s a good outcome.
Rich Miller at Capitolfax.com, where the above insert was taken from, correctly points out a huge error in Rauner’s thinking:
* This whole idea that gay marriage ought to be decided via referendum, when Illinois has no binding referendum provisions, is basically just a dodge.
In addition to everything so far, & given Rauner’s extensive history with Mayor Rahm – they’re BFFs if you didn’t already know – how can any conservative trust or support Rauner?
That was a question on my mind since digging a little into who Bruce Rauner is when I first heard his name tossed around. Honestly, I hadn’t heard of him before this year. After what I have seen, I’m left scratching my head about a few things.
Speaking locally, I can’t fathom why a businessman from a local staunch pro-life, pro-traditional marriage conservative Republican family like Jim Schultz would back Rauner, let alone be on Rauner’s exploratory committee.
Speaking personally, I can’t fathom why For the Good of Illinois employees & supporters – stalwart conservatives – would be ushering Bruce Rauner around at our Lincoln Day Dinner. Whether these ushers were doing so by order or by their own free will, only they know. Let me tell you from experience when I met him, Rauner knows he’s above you on the socio-economic scale & he makes you feel it.
I’m not sure why the Illinois Republican Party would think someone with liberal leanings/friends/donations would make the idea GOP Governor candidate?
I’m not sure why conservatives or the Illinois Republican Party thinks Illinois needs its own version of Mayor Bloomberg in our Governor’s mansion.
Furthermore, I’m not sure why the Illinois Republican Party would think that a very rich guy would appeal to voters because as we all know, that worked out so well for Romney in this state.
Of course those last three were sarcasm.
The whole Bruce Rauner candidacy support structure smells like the mechanization from The Machine that foisted Sen. Mark Kirk upon us.
In my last post, I discussed how I believe Illinois is a petri dish, or a test case, for the liberalization of the Republican Party as a whole. The liberal Bruce Rauner’s ascendancy in the eyes of some of Illinois’ largest Republican power brokers is just more evidence of conservatives being shunned like some kind of bastard child in favor of liberalizing the Illinois GOP.
Given everything I have detailed above & previously, I cannot for the life of me understand how any conservative could back Bruce Rauner or why any Republican should either for that matter. And of course, if Bruce Rauner wins the nomination & loses in the general election, it will be the fault of us backwards, stubborn conservatives who didn’t support Rauner enough. C’est la vie.
For further reading on the subject of Bruce Rauner, check out William Kelly’s post about Rauner’s billionaire collection.
Shortly after the Romney/Ryan defeat in November, Republicans & pundits started the public & private autopsy of what went wrong. The insider conclusion? Republicans aren’t liberal enough.
Then Karl Rove started his anti-conservative PAC to make sure conservatives don’t find their way onto the ballot, especially in high-profile races.
To complicate matters, the Supreme Court is debating whether the Defense of Marriage Act is Constitutional.
Adding fuel to that fire is Sen. Mark Kirk stating he supports gay marriage. This is the same Mark Kirk that has been campaigning behind the scenes to help keep Pat Brady’s job as IL Republican Party Chair.
Is the Republican party in the fits of an intraparty civil war? The quick answer is no. The long answer is below.
I don’t believe there is a civil war within the Republican Party…yet. It’s coming though. We are seeing the first signs of a rift within the party & I believe the first sign of this rift is the gay marriage issue.
The national Republican Party I believe wants to go a different direction than the rank & file Republicans, especially conservative Republicans. I believe that Illinois is the petri dish for the test case of a “new” Republican Party. The RNC will then use the results of their test case here in Illinois, learn from the mistakes, adjust & then import the program for liberalizing the Republican Party into the other states. What does mean for deep red states? It means the RNC will get to you eventually.
The evidence is right in front of us. Who sits is a committeeman on the RNC? Illinois Republican Chair Pat Brady – who has opening advocated for gay marriage.
We then filter down further & see the highest Republican elected official in Illinois – Mark Kirk – also support gay marriage. The case for liberalizing the Republican Party in Illinois gets bigger.
The final piece of the petri dish puzzle is our supposed “conservative” Illinois Republican Representatives in the US House – Shimkus, Davis, Schock & Kinzinger – staying absolutely silent on Pat Brady & now Mark Kirk. Where are these supposed champions of conservatism? Nowhere. When will they fight for the party as a whole? Probably never. So it’s up to us.
Conservatives in Illinois had better make their presence known & they had better be loud about it. Conservatives must confront their Republican office holders & press them on why they are not fighting against the liberalization of the Republican Party in Illinois, let alone nationally. Most importantly, conservatives had better make their voices heard by voting – especially in the primaries.
If conservatives don’t stand up and fight, then you will see a serious split in the Republican Party. I believe the state & national leaders of the Republican Party are playing with fire. In their eyes, they think they are appealing to more voters. In reality, they are alienating many within the Republican Party at the expense of political expediency.
What happens when Republican voters feel alienated? They don’t contribute to candidates or the party. They don’t show up to vote. They are more open to third parties.
When it’s all said & done, there is one thing you must keep in mind. Many of the pundits & consultants hail from the pre-Reagan Revolution days or the “compassionate conservatism” George W Bush days. To these insiders, Reagan represented a speed bump in the liberalization of the Republican Party. Why else are we to be reminded more & more these days that “Reagan is dead”? Why else would this Republican intelligentsia want to purge conservatives from policy making? If these same people think the Democratic Party has gone so far to the left & the “new” Republican Party will fill the void by disheartened Democratic Party voters, they are seriously mistaken.
It’s really is sad that we conservatives must waste so much time & energy fighting the liberal agenda within the Republican Party when that same effort could be used to defeat the far-left liberal agenda of the Democratic Party. We lose so many good conservatives because of this fight. They tire of the endless two-front battle. They tire of a seeming deaf leadership. They tire of living in a state that punishes success while rewarding failure. Who can blame them?