July 23, 2005

65 IN '08:

Downstate rep could help GOP defeat Durbin (THOMAS ROESER, July 23, 2005, Chicago Sun-Times)

Some Republicans don't think it's too early at all to start zeroing in on Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.). He'll be running for re-election in 2008 but he made a mistake last month that could be fatal. By comparing U.S. servicemen who run Gitmo to those who guarded the prison camps in Nazi Germany, the gulags in the USSR and the extermination centers in Cambodia under Pol Pot, the East St. Louis-born liberal hustler handed his opponents a battery of weapons to use against him. At least five anti-Durbin TV commercials come to mind.

First, the tape of Durbin's outlandish attack on U.S. guards at the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, detention facility. Then there's the tape of Mayor Daley excoriating Durbin as a disgrace. Third, Durbin standing before the Senate in trembling apology, his voice quavering. Fourth, the Robert Novak column saying that fear of Daley drove Durbin to apologize. [...]

Some say the best challenger would be Rep. John Shimkus of Collinsville, a Republican incumbent since 1997. Of Lithuanian descent like Durbin, Shimkus, 47, is markedly different from the senatorial glad-hander. He's a West Pointer, trained as an Army Ranger and paratrooper (a reserve lieutenant colonel), and a former high school teacher. Shimkus came to politics early, got elected Madison County treasurer, the lone GOP officer, in 1990 and re-elected in 1994.

Shimkus has had experience with Durbin. He ran against him for Congress in 1992 and, although outspent 4-1, carried 44 percent of the vote. Four years later, Shimkus won his House seat in a district that Bill Clinton carried by 7 percentage points. Then, against conservative Democrat Dave Phelps in 2002, Shimkus won by almost 10 percentage points.

Given that John McCain/Jeb Bush will be carrying the state a GOP pick-up won't be hard.

Posted by Orrin Judd at July 23, 2005 10:10 AM

Kerry won the state by 11. It is an uphill fight, even against a candidate like Durbin who seems bent on self-immolation.

Posted by: bart at July 23, 2005 12:12 PM

oj is still tossing red meat to the masses.

McCain will be soaking up the Arizona sun in 2008 or running as a Democrat. Jeb Bush wouldn't even consider having him on the Republican ticket.

BTW, there's way too many east European ethnics in Chicago for any Illinois politician to have a coherent US foreign policy.

Posted by: John J. Coupal at July 23, 2005 12:31 PM

McCain is a Republican and the 2008 nomination is his to lose. His upfront loyalty on Roberts is only helping him cement his credentials with the non-loony Right. That goggle-eyed little mutant, Gary Bauer, will never support him, but so what?

Considering that the vast majority of Eastern European ethnics I know seem like reasonably intelligent and decent people, your comment makes no sense. Please explain. And I sincerely hope you're not going to produce that Clyde Prestowitz pseudo-realist drivel that we should ignore America's ethnic lobbies as a matter of course, in order to enable greedy businessmen to make a few extra shekels from the ChiComs, Castro and Islamists.

Posted by: bart at July 23, 2005 12:46 PM

If only Ditka had run last year...

Posted by: b at July 23, 2005 4:26 PM

John McCain displays too many characteristics of someone having the Stockholm Syndrome. That will hurt him with Republican voters, and would lead to a Democratic president in 2008.

The Croats and Serbs - for example - living in Chi and suburbs have been able to live together in relative peace, I grant you that. When they tell their senator and congresscritter what to do, it leads to stalemate, because their recommendations cancel each other out. Their rep in Congress then makes dumb statements which hurts the state's reputation, like Durbin did.

I have no objection to ethnics participating in politics. This nation is made up of ethnic groups.

Posted by: John J. Coupal at July 23, 2005 4:42 PM

John J. Coupal:

If he promises to pick a social conservative as veep and drops hints that he will serve just one term, I think he will win the nomination and destroy Hillary in the presidential election.

I'm not a big fan of the guy but he may very well be the best we've got, and stopping Hillary in '08 is all-important.

Posted by: Matt Murphy at July 25, 2005 1:36 AM


That's fair. I'm of the Bismarck 'All of the Balkans are not worth the bones of one Pomeranian grenadier' school when it comes to the former Yugoslavia. To the extent I have any opinion, I am pro-Serb because of the behavior of the three main groups during the Second World War, and the deep connections between the Bosnian leadership and the Islamists, along with the narco-terrorism and White slavery of Kossovar Albanians.

McCain is an egomaniac with a thin skin and a sharp tongue. That is not a great combination in a marathon like a Presidential race, but against the Hildebeest who is all three also, only more so, it may not matter as much.

Posted by: bart at July 25, 2005 7:23 AM