March 1, 2006


Blagojevich calls Topinka NRA shill (SCOTT FORNEK, 3/01/06, Chicago Sun-Times)

Sketching a likely general election theme, Gov. Blagojevich came out swinging Tuesday against GOP gubernatorial front-runner Judy Baar Topinka, accusing the state treasurer of being a shill for the National Rifle Association and the right wing.

"The NRA just gave her an A rating -- an A rating -- and if you get an A rating from the NRA, you're basically taking their talking points and doing their bidding," Blagojevich said. "And I would urge her to forget about the NRA, stop pandering to the right wing and join us and help us pass a ban on assault weapons."

Attacking the NRA has always worked so well for Democrats.

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 1, 2006 9:19 AM

Unlike national elections, it's not a bad strategy in Illinois. It would be popular in Chicago and the collar counties, which is most of the voting population.

Posted by: Annoying Old Guy at March 1, 2006 9:26 AM

This is funny. Topinka is a Blagojevich Shill.

Two peas in a pod fighting over who controls pork and patronage.

It's more likely that he's trying to improve her chances of winning the Rep. primary by bolstering her "conservative credentials". God knows she can't bolster them.

This is a reverse of the Gray Davis strategy of 2002. If Topinka wins, Blago will still win a very low turn out race, but Topinka will drag down 2-3 Republican seats per chamber, decimating Republicans in IL.

He's doing a her a favor. If you are an IL conservative, Topinka is your worst nightmare.

Posted by: Bruno at March 1, 2006 9:46 AM

...and next governor.

Posted by: oj at March 1, 2006 9:52 AM


It's akin to an unelectable force meeting an indictable object.

My bets are still on Blago winning. I may actually campaign for him. It's in our interest that dems are in 100 control when IL passes the largest tax increase in state history with out the slightest nod toward spending cuts.

Posted by: Bruno at March 1, 2006 10:08 AM



Posted by: Matt Murphy at March 1, 2006 10:18 AM


Ah, I recall friends who voted for Bill Clinton because it was so important to teach George H.W. Bush a lesson...

Posted by: oj at March 1, 2006 10:23 AM

Ah, yes. The old "Things will get so bad, the proles will be begging for us to take over!" strategery.

Works so well for the California GOP, doesn't it?

Posted by: Brad S at March 1, 2006 10:29 AM


Given the Republican sweep in 1994, and the inability of Clinton to do much other than take credit republican ideas, I'd say those friends of yours were doing the "right" thing.


Strategery or not, the Dems are salivating at the prospect of running against Topinka. The corruption issue (big in IL) disappears, and the 1/3 of the party stays home on election night.

If you are even mildly conservative, there is no intellectually sound argument for Topinka. But keep trying. After all, that "R" after a name is SOOOOOO much more important than the principles for which it is supposed to stand.

Posted by: Bruno at March 1, 2006 10:32 AM


Remember how important it was for the Right to dispatch Arlen Specter themselves because he couldn't be trusted to ram through justices like Roberts and Alito?

Posted by: oj at March 1, 2006 10:33 AM


Except that Bill Clinton and the Democrats got credit for the results of the Peace Dividend, which is the only reason the party is still functional. 1992 was the most important election of our adult lives and conservatives blew it.

Posted by: oj at March 1, 2006 10:37 AM

But that has in fact contributed to the long term decline of the party, allowing it to drift ever further left without acknowledging the bankruptcy of its ideas. I would argue that 1994 was the most important election and that it was set up by the 1992 results.

The question does remain whether, in OJ's view, there are any principles which should not be sacrificed to electoral victory? Would it, for instance, be worth it for McCain to run to the left of Senator Kerry to win? Is it it not precisely that pursuit of power at all costs and for no purpose beyond power that is the cancer at the heart of the Democratic Party?

Posted by: Annoying Old Guy at March 1, 2006 10:48 AM


I know less about CA than you, but doesn't what happened there prove my point?

1. Davis "picked" his opponent by reaming Mayor Riordan.

2. He won in a landslide.

3. He was tossed in a backlash over power outages (those filthy peasants with pitchforks again) and other issues brought about by near total Dem control and over reach.

I can't comment on all of Arnold's performance, but it seems he attempted to change things and lost his bid. Would that IL even get a chance for such a movement.

OJ essentially got it right in his post. The gun issue, and the way Blago played it, essentially helps Topinka. The only missing piece of the puzzle is that he wants her as an opponent. He'll win a low turnout race while Dems get stronger in the legislature.

Oberweis or Gidwitz, of differing stripes, probably won't win, but will at least bring the base to the polls.

This isn't rocket science, and I'm not the only one in IL saying this.

Posted by: Bruno at March 1, 2006 10:48 AM


The immortal words of the old mayor Daley when asked why his candidates lost come to mind.

"He didn't get enough votes"

Conservatives didn't blow 1992. The poltroon GHWB did. He's the idiot who never saw a supermarket scanner. He's the idiot who looked at his watch during a debate. He's the idiot who thought his Yale breeding made him a better man than Ronaldus Magnus. He's the idiot who made a pledge he had no intention of keeping. He's the idiot who thought a 90% approval rating in 1991 would allow him to coast to victory.

Bush1 blew 1992. (and yes, I voted for him)

Posted by: Bruno at March 1, 2006 10:56 AM

And where does Ross Perot fit in your estimation of the 1992 election?

Posted by: Genecis at March 1, 2006 11:25 AM


Of course it is better to have President McCain than President Kerry.

Posted by: oj at March 1, 2006 11:29 AM


Perot gave them an easy out--they didn't actually have to vote for Clinton, though many, led by Safire, did.

Posted by: oj at March 1, 2006 11:30 AM


He governed just like Reagan and the Right couldn't forgive him for it.

Posted by: oj at March 1, 2006 11:32 AM

Mr. Judd;

Even if he undoes all of President Bush's efforts? Cancels the Ownership Society efforts, reinvigorates the Realists at the State Department, gives the UN a veto over our foreign policy, props up Middle East dictators against the forces of liberal democracy, goes isolationist and nativist? Is there no set of policies McCain could adopt that would make him worse than Kerry?

I'm sure you'll duck and weave by saying "But McCain wouldn't do that", but that kind of thing is not hypothetical here in IL, where I can remember gubernatorial elections where the Democratic Party candidate was, in fact, clear more conservative than the Republican Party nominee.

Posted by: Annoying Old Guy at March 1, 2006 11:45 AM


Let us grant, no matter how inane, that a President McCain might want to do all those things. How would he with a GOP Congress, one as powerful as a GOP that can carry IL will be?

Posted by: oj at March 1, 2006 11:51 AM

A lot of the value of the Presidency is in the appointment power, particularly to second-tier jobs. That's where any conceivable GOP president beats any conceivable Dem president.

Posted by: David Cohen at March 1, 2006 12:37 PM


No, really, they're perfectly happy with Breyer and Ginsburg....

Posted by: oj at March 1, 2006 12:41 PM

He's the idiot who never saw a supermarket scanner."

Anyone who doesn't know by now that this isn't true should be more judicious in their use of the term "idiot".

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at March 1, 2006 12:51 PM


It's the caricature of GHWB they hate, as it's the caricature of Reagan they love.

Posted by: oj at March 1, 2006 1:11 PM

GHWB was defeated by the MSM.

Posted by: Gideon at March 1, 2006 1:34 PM

Mr. Judd;

You mean that same GOP Congressional delegation that you have posted about going all wobbly on so many issues?

However, that's a moot point because here in IL there is a Democratic majority in both state legislatures and the GOP delegation is hardly one that would restrain a bad GOP governor (or at least, they've never done so in the past).

In the end however, you seem to be saying that the actual policies of state or national executive nominee are completely irrelevant. Why, then, do you spend so much posting effort on President Bush's, if they are so meaningless?

Posted by: Annoying Old Guy at March 1, 2006 1:37 PM

You'll not change the IL legislature by having conservatives vote Democrat.

Congress wobbles and then does what W tells them to, that's why he hasn't had to use the veto.

Your policies matter but if you don't win elections they don't.

Posted by: oj at March 1, 2006 1:43 PM

GHWB was defeated by the MSM? OK, I'll buy that.

Ronald Reagan and W weren't defeated by them. At some point, politcians need to take responsibility for their campaigns.

Posted by: Bruno at March 1, 2006 5:00 PM


Obviously, I agree that "you have to win elections" to have your policies matter.

Topinka will dramatically cut consevative turnout in the general, hence losing Rs seats in both houses (you could debate this, I suppose, but many commentators here are in agreement on this)

My view is that it is better to have the legislature stay the same mix with 4 more years of 'lightning' Rod than to have a "Republican Clone" of Rod (Topinka is anti-Marriage, Anti-Life, Pro-Tax&Spend, anti-School Choice, etc. etc.) with 4-8 fewer Republicans in the legislature.

You are correct about elections. I'm trying to win 4-8 seats that Topinka will lose for us, should she win.

Posted by: Bruno at March 2, 2006 12:25 PM

The theory that the top of the ticket winning is bad down ticket is lunatic.

Posted by: oj at March 2, 2006 1:27 PM
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