Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Updated July 20 at 2:00 pm

From Guatemala to the Republican Senate candidate to Family Values: Cong. Jerry Weller (R, Morris: 11th Cong. Dist.) becomes a "Chicago Republican, via Guatemala?" Weller's Democratic opponent, Tari Renner, holds a Press Conference tomorrow; Jim Oberweis, still a candidate for the Republican U. S. Senate Nomination and a connection to Weller-Renner?; Chicago Tribune columnist Eric Zorn, Chicago Cubs baseball player Sammy Sosa and Chicago Bears former QB Jim McMahon. Sports, politics and romance- add food and drink and you have it all.

And, some argue, incorrectly, that I am not fair and balanced.

But, here I am-- including on the "Public Affairs," blog some news of Tari Renner's (Democratic Candidate, 11th Cong. Dist.) coming up press conference re some of the recent, strange, romantic and re-location news relating to Cong. Jerry Weller (R- Morris, 11th CD). Another case of Republican family values?

Renner Press Conference Promo:

Tari Renner (pronounced Terry), Democratic nominee for U.S. Congress in Illinois’ 11th District, will ask Jerry Weller how he can represent the 11th district of Illinois after selling his home in Morris, buying a $594,000 condominium on Chicago’s lakefront, and commuting between Guatemala and his vacation property in Nicaragua, at 1 pm. on Wednesday, July 21, 2004.

In addition to his Chicago condo, Weller also owns a home in the Washington D.C. area and vacation property in Nicaragua and has pledged to spend time in Guatemala with his fiancée.

Insert to press conf. promo:

Of course, there are larger issues with Cong. Weller's decision to engage, so to speak. We are told by [www.chillinois.blogspot.com/2004/07/illinois-cong-jerry-weller-gets.html] that Cong. Weller's fiancee,Rios Sosa, is a high ranking official in Guatemala (a 10th year Congresswoman) and also a daughter of former Army Gen. Jose Effrain Rios Montt, who seized power in Guatemala in a 1982 coup, but was deposed in another military uprising the following year. Rios Montt, who was widely criticized for human-rights violations during his regime, most recently lost a bid for the Guatemala presidency in 2003.(The Weller-Sosa Engagement adds a whole new meaning to international relations, or indeed to Affairs of State; let alone to is Sammy Sosa related?)

The Daily Southtown via Larry Handlin at www.archpundit.com (July 14 blog entry) takes Cong. Weller to task:

"We're not going to try to tell Weller whom he should fall in love with. But we are concerned about the potential conflict of interests that his relationship with Rios Sosa presents. Weller is a member of the House International Relations Committee, and his betrothal to a high-ranking official of another country presents an obvious situation in which voters will have a right to wonder whether he is voting in their best interests or the best interests of the woman he loves. The people of Guatemala and its neighbors also will have a right to question American policy and Weller's role in it."

Back to Renner press conf. promo:
Renner, a full-time resident of the 11th district, will speak outside of the home Weller recently sold, yet claims as his permanent residence and voting address.

The event will begin at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, July 21, 2004, at 1309 Union Street, in Morris.

End of Press Conf. promo.

Morris is a bit far for "Public Affairs." My God, it is south of I-80. Do people actually live south of I-80? But, if anyone goes, please keep us apprised of any interesting revelations.

Here is an interesting connection: Morris is almost directly [on a straight line on Route 47] south of Sugar Grove, which I think is the home of Jim Oberweis, who, of course, came in second in the Republican U. S. Senate primary with 25% to Jack Ryan's 34% of the Primary vote. Of course, Jim points out, if this were a horse race, and the winner were disqualified, then the second place finisher would be elevated to first place-- and Oberweis would become the opponent of Barack Obama.

Nice try, Jim, but I don't think it works that way. Oberweis' candid but harsh criticisms of the President's statements on Immigration reform did not sit well with the President and his efforts to court Hispanics. We have a call in to Jim Oberweis and we hope to have more for you later today, or perhaps this evening, from Jim and perhaps, more generally, on the likely replacement of Jack Ryan. Some realistic potential candidates to replace Jack Ryan: State Senators Steve Rauschenberger and Kirk Dillard, Jim Oberweis- or so Jim argues, and of course Jack Ryan [See Eric Zorn's Chicago Tribune column of today]. Although, there are still rumors of yet another sports figure to step into the breach. Jim McMahon, an interesting act to come on the heels of the Ditka candidacy? Stay tuned.

Jeff Berkowitz, Host and Producer of "Public Affairs," can be reached at JBCG@aol.com