Tuesday, August 09, 2005

10th CD Dem. Candidate Zane Smith on TV on the Issues

Zane Smith [D- Winnetka, 10th CD Primary candidate]: Well, complicated or uncomplicated, there’s nothing complicated about the issue whether or not we should drill in the Alaskan [National] Wildlife Refuge or not. I would not. And I would not support-

Jeff Berkowitz: I am surprised at that because he [Cong. Kirk] has said he was opposed to it [Drilling in ANWR] before.

Zane Smith: And, I would not support-- I would not support any budget that included that.

Berkowitz: Okay. And, he [Cong. Mark Kirk] did-- that’s what you’re saying. Even though he said he was generally against drilling in ANWR-- he did vote for the budget [that included that], is what you’re saying.

Zane Smith: And, that’s the problem. He [Kirk] says one thing and does another.
This week’s suburban edition of “Public Affairs,” features Zane Smith [D- Winnetka, 10th CD], a practicing trial lawyer, who has been the name partner in his own law firm for about the last sixteen years [See here]. Smith is currently the only announced candidate [See here] in the 10th Cong. Dist. Democratic Primary, and the winner of that primary will face five year incumbent Mark Steven Kirk.
A detailed airing schedule for the suburban edition of “Public Affairs,” is included at the end of this blog post. This show will also air throughout the City of Chicago [in the regular “Public Affairs,” City of Chicago time slot] on next Monday night, August 15 at 8:30 pm on CANTV, Cable Ch. 21 in Chicago.
A partial transcript of the show with Zane Smith is included, below.

Zane Smith(D-Winnetka, 10th Cong. Dist.): Jeff, you have to admit that [Cong.] Mark Kirk does walk around and say that he is a moderate congressman.

Jeff Berkowitz: He is [does]. Let’s go right to that. Let’s look at some of the social issues.

Zane Smith: Okay.

Berkowitz: Abortion. Pro-Choice. Moderate Congressman? Mark Kirk?

Smith: If you are asking me, do I believe in choice? Absolutely.

Berkowitz: Does he believe in choice? Look at his votes.

Smith: He has voted for choice, but—

Berkowitz: But what—

Smith: But I think as a congressman he has a responsibility to go against his Party and his Party—

Berkowitz: But he does that on—on Partial Birth Abortion, he will only support a ban if it allows an exception for the life and health of the mother, that’s your position, isn’t it?

Smith: Yeah, but let’s—

Berkowitz: So, he’s with you--

Zane Smith Let’s take a look at the Supreme Court nominee. What’s going to happen with the Supreme Court nominee, for the first time-

Jeff Berkowitz: He’s not voting on that.

Zane Smith: No. Wait a minute now. Here is the first time that a Supreme Court nominee that’s up there is actually going to put a woman’s right to an abortion at risk. That hasn’t been that way. They-we haven’t had any right-

Berkowitz: How do you know? Wait a second, how do you know that?

Zane Smith: Well, based on the record of-

Berkowitz: What’s his name?

Zane Smith: Brown. Brown.

Berkowitz: Brown?

Zane Smith: I mean, um-

Berkowitz: Who’s the Supreme Court nominee?

Zane Smith: Mr., uh, I’m sorry.

Berkowitz: John Roberts.

Zane Smith: Roberts. Thank you. Sorry. Mr. Roberts-

Berkowitz: So, you’re saying, you’re saying Mr. Roberts is [someone] somehow you know to be pro-life and will somehow reverse Roe v. Wade?

Zane Smith: I know that he has taken that position. And, he may not. He intellectually, academically—

Berkowitz: When has he taken that position?

Zane Smith: When he was working for the Bush administration-- argued against-

Berkowitz: At [the office of the] solicitor general?

Zane Smith: Yes.

Berkowitz: Well, he was arguing for the government, for the Department of Justice or for the Bush administration? That was Bush forty one, right?

Zane Smith: Right.

Berkowitz: He’s not formulating the position. He’s involved, as you are, as an advocate. You sometimes argued some things that you may not necessarily believe in for your client, right?

Zane Smith: As an attorney, I advocate my client’s position.

Berkowitz: Right. So, it doesn’t mean-- Same thing with him, right? You can’t deduce because he argued something for the Solicitor General’s office, that that’s necessarily how he would decide things on the Supreme Court?

Zane Smith: And, I’m not suggesting he is absolutely going to overturn it. What I’m saying is that because the Bush administration, a Republican majority is in control, they get to control the agenda, and by controlling the agenda, they get to control the candidates. And, Roberts is a candidate that could put Roe vs. Wade at risk.

Berkowitz: Wait a second. Because of the Bush administration? You’re tying this into Kirk because Kirk is a Republican and Bush is the President, and he appoints somebody named John Roberts-

Zane Smith: Yes.

Berkowitz: What does Kirk have to do with this?

Zane Smith: Kirk’s a Republican.

Berkowitz: Yes.

Zane Smith: Kirk is going to have an opportunity and has a responsibility to affect policies, much as he can, to correctly and truly reflect the values that are in his district. And, I don’t think he’s doing that.

Berkowitz: He doesn’t have anything to say about who the Supreme Court nominee is going to be, he doesn’t have the right to advise and consent, only the US Senate does. He doesn’t have that right.

Zane Smith: That’s true. But, he encourages the policies, those kind of policies that go against-

Berkowitz: He encourages what? He encourages pro-choice, pro-reproductive choice policies. He is generally pro-choice. No pro-lifers are very happy with Mark Kirk. You understand that, right?

Zane Smith: Yes, I agree with that.

Berkowitz: Okay, so how would you fault- That’s an example of where he is moderate, and he’s voted moderate. Those are the non-Republican party line votes that he’s taken, right?

Zane Smith: Uh, uh, yes- I will give him that.


Berkowitz: But, there are a series of these [co-opting the Dem. Party position by Cong, Kirk]and this is your problem, I think. You know, on abortion, he’s pro-choice; that’s a Democratic constituency, who[m] he has cut into, significantly in the 10th congressional district, because he’s pro-choice. Pro- Israel. Very strongly pro-Israel.

Zane Smith: He is.

Berkowitz: That is a traditional Democratic constituency
. Even as we speak, on July 31st, we’re taping this on July 31st, he is speaking at Republican Jewish Coalition events about US-Israeli relations, and intelligence, in La Jolla, and Beverly Hills, and Irvine. Representing the 10th congressional district, perhaps, but, I’ve got to say, that’s tough duty. That is. On July 31st, as we’re sitting here in Winnetka with some pretty hot weather, he’s in perhaps the most ideal climate. Ever been in La Jolla [California]?

Zane Smith: Yes, I have.

Berkowitz: It is heaven on earth, right?

Zane Smith: It’s very nice.

Berkowitz: Okay, but, more seriously, my point is, he has made inroads, so that he is speaking at the Republican-Jewish Coalition, at these events, on July 31st, in California, on Israel, and the US-Israel relationship and intelligence. So, significantly, if your voters, Democratic voters, are concerned about somebody who’s pro-Israel, they almost have to say, Mark Kirk’s your guy. Can you do more, or, are you pro-Israel? Let’s start right there.

Zane Smith: Absolutely.

Berkowitz: More so than Mark Kirk?

Zane Smith: I don’t think it’s more so or less so.

Berkowitz: Okay.

Zane Smith: Mark Kirk has a very good record, voting record, for Israel-that you could describe as pro-Israel. The problem that I have is all the other parts of what was usually the Democratic ideals that are supported by the Jewish community.

Berkowitz: Which would be?

Zane Smith: Which would, which would include all of the, uh, social and the kinds of social policies that Mark Kirk does not represent.

Berkowitz: Let’s stick with social policy.

Zane Smith: Okay.


Berkowitz: One or two more that people would give [regarding the issue of Cong. Kirk co-opting Democratic positions]. These are Democrats that I talked to [who make this “Kirk Co-opting Dems” contention]. We’ve covered choice-- abortion, we’ve covered Israel. Gay rights, also thought to be a traditionally Democratic constituency and issue. Mark Kirk is very pro gay rights, right? To the dismay of a number of socially conservative Republicans and so that’s a[nother] constituency [he has co-opted from the Dems]. He probably supports views that are very similar to the ones you would take, right? Gay rights.

Zane Smith: I would agree with that.

Berkowitz: You advocate gay rights--

Zane Smith: I would agree [with] equal marriage.

Berkowitz: Would you favor same sex marriage?

Zane Smith: I would favor equal marriage.

Berkowitz: What does that mean?

Zane Smith: Well, that means that it’s uh, I would favor, uh, the civil rights that gay, I’m sorry, civil-

Berkowitz: Civil unions?

Zane Smith: Civil unions. Sorry.


Berkowitz: I think he would favor that, too. I don’t know if he would favor same sex marriage. You’re probably very similar. We should say we’d like to have Mark Kirk, Commander Kirk, Congressman Mark Kirk, on the show. We’ve invited him; he was on numerous times in 2000, opposite Lauren Beth Gash; by himself in 2001, when he was first elected. I think it’s been three or four years [since he has been on the show], and he told us recently he doesn’t like our format. Do you like our format?

Zane Smith: I love it.

Berkowitz: There you go.

Zane Smith: I love it. Absolutely.

Berkowitz: We hope that the Congressman will change his mind and come on and share his views. So, sometimes, folks, when I’m guessing as to his [Kirk's] views, I mean-- I only have so much to work with because he’s not come here [on the show].

Zane Smith: Well, and, I guess, that’s also part of the problem, ah, with Mark Kirk. One of the advantages that people in the 10th district had with [Cong.] John Porter [who held the 10th CD seat for more than two decades before he stepped down in 2000], is that he, John Porter would have-- he would meet with the citizens-- he would have community meetings.

Berkowitz: And he came on this show frequently in the short time that our show and he [as the Congressman from the 10th] overlapped.

Zane Smith: And, Mark Kirk doesn’t want to do that. He doesn’t want to sit down and listen to the issues, and listen to people talk, and say, “Here’s my concerns and here’s my problems.” And, that’s kind of evident with his absence [from this show] for five years.

Berkowitz: It is a problem with incumbents in general. You know, they’re really anxious to come on shows when they’re outside [the Beltway]. When [they are elected and] they’re inside, [it’s different]. To be fair, because, for instance, as you know, there were something like thirty three forums when [Cong. Mark Steven] Kirk and [then State Rep. Lauren Beth] Gash were running for the then open [10th CD] seat [in 2000].

Zane Smith: That’s right.

Berkowitz: And, both of them were quite good about coming on this show and doing community forums. I think in the last two elections, he’s [Cong. Kirk] attended what? One or two forums [with his opponent], something like that?

Zane Smith: If that many.


Berkowitz: He’s [Kirk's] been very reluctant to face his opponents. We understand that. That’s a strategic thing that incumbents do. Melissa Bean came on this show a year ago, August 2004. She is [now] the congresswoman from the Eighth Congressional District. At that time, she was seeking to become the congresswoman, and she criticized the incumbent at that time, Phil Crane, who wouldn’t come on [this show], opposite her, or even by himself [in 2004], and now, we’ve been trying for a year and we have not yet [been able to get Cong. Bean back on our show]. Now, she said she’ll come on, she said she’s not dodging it, but after a year, even if not for campaign purposes, people want to know Congresswoman Melissa Bean’s views and we told her she ought to be here. I’m just trying to be fair and balanced. You say Mark Kirk should be here; he’s not. So should Melissa Bean. But, to be fair, Kirk has had a longer delay [laughs] in coming here than Melissa [Bean], and we hope she’ll be on here soon.

Zane Smith: Five years is a long time, Jeff.

Berkowitz: Yeah, so I, that’s a valid criticism. Now, whether he’s [Kirk] out in the district or not, and how much, and holding forums, I don’t know that, as much. I’ve heard other people criticize [Cong. Kirk] and say it’s not just that he has not come on my show, some people are saying he’s not holding forums [in the 10th CD] with quite the frequency he used to.

Zane Smith: I think he likes to hold forums where he’s in control. He doesn’t like to be told that he’s wrong; He doesn’t like to be told that there’s other issues he should be addressing. That’s what, that’s what, the citizens really need.


Berkowitz: Okay. Well, one other [social issue], and that will round it out. So, on Israel, on abortion, on gay rights, uh, he [Kirk] is cracking into the Democratic constituency in the 10th. On guns, he’s viewed as very pro gun control, cracking into the [Dem.] constituency. Any differences you would have with Mark Kirk on gun control?

Zane Smith: Well, I support reasonable gun control. But at the same time, I think you need a balanced approach. I have a firearm owner identification card. I don’t keep any guns, but I do have a card. And, I think it’s, uh, it’s-- gun control is an issue that’s very important in the 10th, and I’m for reasonable gun control. Absolutely.


Berkowitz: Would you be for-- you know, the ban on assault weapons expired on the congressional level, the federal level.

Zane Smith: It should be renewed.

Berkowitz: It should be renewed?

Zane Smith: Absolutely.

Berkowitz: So, you’re in favor of that?

Zane Smith: Absolutely.

Berkowitz: Do you know if Kirk would favor it [Renewing the federal Assault Weapon Ban]?

Zane Smith: My guess is Kirk would not favor it.

Berkowitz: That’s only a guess. You haven’t heard him say-

Zane Smith: I don’t know. Because we don’t get to talk to Kirk, that’s the problem.


Berkowitz: Uh, environment, he’s viewed as generally pretty good on the environment.

Zane Smith: [sighs]

Berkowitz: Any differences you would have with him on that?

Zane Smith: Well, yeah, yeah. I disagree with [Kirk on] that. He’s, he has again done a good job of convincing, ah, the people in the 10th that he is pro environmental, but here’s a guy who voted for the budget, voted for drilling in the Alaskan [National] Wildlife Refuge, he voted for that.

Berkowitz: Did he? It was kind of a procedural vote. Uh, uh, I think you might be right in saying that, but it was complicated.

Zane Smith: Um, well, complicated or uncomplicated, there’s nothing complicated about the issue whether or not we should drill in the Alaskan [National] Wildlife Refuge or not. I would not. And I would not support-

Berkowitz: I am surprised at that because he [Kirk] has said he was opposed to it [Drilling in ANWR] before.

Zane Smith: And, I would not support-- I would not support any budget that included that.

Berkowitz: Okay. And, he did-- that’s what you’re saying. Even though he said he was generally against drilling in ANWR-- he did vote for the budget [that included that], is what you’re saying.

Zane Smith: And, that’s the problem. He says one thing and does another.

Berkowitz: Of course, as you know, that bill passed, the energy bill passed, without drilling in ANWR, so in terms of impact--

Zane Smith: That’s right.

Berkowitz: In terms of impact, it’s not going to happen. You understand that? [Berkowitz was wrong here; the provision to cover drilling in ANWR is likely to come up again and be approved as part of the budget process later this year]

Zane Smith: Well, yes. But it does tell us; it goes to the heart of who Kirk is.

Berkowitz: All right, what about national security. Do you differ with Mark [Kirk] on the war—the War in Iraq?
Zane Smith, recorded on July 31, 2005 and as is airing on the Suburban edition of Public Affairs this week [week of August 8] and on the City of Chicago edition of Public Affairs on this coming Monday night, August 15 at 8:30 pm on Cable Ch. 21. See, below, for a detailed suburban airing schedule.
Zane Smith [D- Winnetka, 10th CD Primary candidate] debates and discusses with Show Host and Executive Legal Recruiter Jeff Berkowitz guns, gays, abortion, Israel and the environment and the co-opting of such traditionally Democratic constituencies and issues by Cong. Mark Kirk [R- Highland Park, 10th CD], Supreme Court nominee John Roberts, the energy bill, drilling in ANWR, the War, Smith’s net worth and financing his campaign, social security reform and Cong. Kirk’s general voting record and much, much more.
The suburban edition of "Public Affairs," is regularly broadcast every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 8:30 pm on Comcast Cable Channel 19 in Bannockburn, Deerfield, Ft. Sheridan, Glencoe, Highland Park, Highwood, Kenilworth, Lincolnshire, Riverwoods and Winnetka.

The suburban edition also is broadcast every Tuesday night at 8:30 p.m. on Comcast Cable Channel 19 in Buffalo Grove, Elk Grove Village, Hoffman Estates, Lincolnwood, Morton Grove, Niles, Northfield, Palatine, Rolling Meadows and Wilmette and every Tuesday night at 8:30 p.m. on Comcast Cable Channel 35 in Arlington Heights, Bartlett, Glenview, Golf, Des Plaines, Hanover Park, Mt. Prospect, Northbrook, Park Ridge, Prospect Heights, Schaumburg, Skokie, Streamwood and Wheeling.
Transcript drafts prepared by Amy Allen, who also does research for “Public Affairs,” and has her own political blog [See here].
Jeff Berkowitz, Host and Producer of Public Affairs and an Executive Recruiter doing Legal Search, can be reached at JBCG@aol.com