Friday, August 12, 2005

Another Day, Another Fumble: Today, it’s Rich Miller

Rich Miller, in today’s Capitolfax, reports that the prospect of a “hardline conservative” winning a primary in State Rep. Sid Mathias’district next spring is giving the House Republicans “a bit of indigestion.” That, of course, is predicated on Rep. Mathias [R-Arlington Heights, 53rd Dist.] seeking Sen. Wendell Jones’ [R-Palatine, 27th Dist.] seat, Jones having announced he would not seek re-election.

Of course, when Rich suggests House Republicans are in a tizzy about a “hardline conservative,” winning the primary, he means certain “moderate House Republicans,” perhaps, for instance, House Republican Leader Tom Cross. Not all House Republicans are of the view that all conservatives are “hard line conservatives,” or that a conservative, of varying degree, cannot win the general election in moderate Republican Mathias’ 53rd suburban house district.

One senses that Rich Miller, himself, may suffer from a little indigestion at the thought of a conservative, hardline or not, e.g., Matt Murphy, Kevin O’Connell or libertarian/conservative Scott Bludhorn replacing Mathias. Although some rate Rich as someone who “almost always gets it right,” [See the Illinois Leader's Charlie Johnston here] Miller does skew left—although a great deal [some would argue the overwhelming majority] of his reporting is accurate and essential to anybody trying to keep up with Illinois politics.

How much bias is in Rich’s reporting is itself the subject of a great deal of debate, but almost nobody would contend “Rich Miller is the white line down the middle of the road,” as WGN Radio Political Pundit and Roosevelt University Professor Paul Green likes to describe himself.

And sometimes, Rich, like all of us, does get it wrong. In today’s Capitolfax, Rich reports that “[State Rep. Suzie] Bassi fended off a conservative [Primary] challenge last time around, winning more than 50 percent in a three way contest.”

Bassi got more than 50% in the primary last time? Well, not quite. Very moderate, or liberal, if you prefer, incumbent Republican State Rep. Suzie Bassi [R-Palatine, 54th Dist.] won by only 400 votes, or so-- 44% to 41% over conservative Pat Sutarik, with self-styled conservative Warren Kostka picking up 15% of the vote before he decided to leave the Republican Party [See here].

Kostka, although a bit erratic, ran as a conservative and there is little doubt that Sutarik would have won the primary if her race had been one on one with Bassi. Now, that is reality and a very different one than the one you read about this morning in Capitolfax.