Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Kaleidoscope Economy: Watch Cegelis on Cable or on Web

This week’s suburban edition of "Public Affairs," features Christine Cegelis [D-Rolling Meadows] [See her campaign website ], one of the two announced candidates in the 6th Congressional District Democratic Primary [vying for the right to try to replace the retiring Cong. Henry Hyde].

You can also watch the show with Cegelis on a video podcast or listen to it on an audio podcast by going here.
The program with Democrat Christine Cegelis also will air throughout the City of Chicago on this coming Monday night, Oct. 31 at 8:30 pm on CANTV, Cable Ch. 21. See, below, for a detailed suburban airing schedule for Public Affairs.
The Lithuanian Cegelis, a Catholic, pro-choice, hard working single mom with two adult sons, came within six points of upsetting Cong. Henry Hyde [R-Addison] in 2004. Cegelis is trying to pull a Melissa Bean, meaning she never stopped running-- she has been campaigning for the last two years-- and hopes that the second time is the charm. [Democrat Bean took two consecutive tries to topple, last year, 35 year Republican incumbent Phil Crane in the 8th CD]. Cong. Hyde, 81 and having served the 6th Cong. District since being elected in the Watergate year of 1974, is not seeking re-election. Trial lawyer Peter Roskam , an experienced state senator [R-Wheaton] who is pro-life and a strong proponent of school choice and gun owner rights, is running in an uncontested Republican Primary.

Cegelis has had some trouble raising significant amounts of money, and she has less than 50K “on hand.” Her Democratic Primary opponent, Wheaton College Professor Lindy Scott, just joined the campaign last quarter and he has less than 17K “on hand.”

Senator Roskam, on the other hand, has almost 550 K “on hand,” and he is continuing to pile up the dollars, so that he can use them to define whichever Democrat shows up at his doorstep. Congressman and DCCC Chairman Rahm Emanuel [D-Chicago] knows better than almost anybody how that game is played and he does not want to forfeit one of the thirty or so “open or otherwise competitive congressional seats,” next fall.

This is especially the case because Chairman Emanuel thinks he can put a Democrat in the Speaker’s chair. He and others in the Party think they can nationalize the Congressional races [ala Newt Gingrich in 1994] around the theme that the national Republican Party is dominated by a “culture of corruption,” [See next week’s suburban edition of “Public Affairs,” with Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, who is looking to move into the No. 4 House Democratic caucus leadership position as an articulate proponent of that campaign theme].

Thus, it is said that Rahm is looking for a wealthy candidate who can file soon and self fund her race [See Archpundit, here]. That might seem unfair to the articulate and personable Christine Cegelis. As I said, she has put the last two years of her life into this race and she demonstrated she was a credible candidate in a now only slightly Republican District. And she did that by running against a 30-year incumbent congressman who had a tremendous reservoir of good will not just with Republicans, but also with Democrats and Independents [notwithstanding his leadership role in the impeachment of President Clinton].

Of course, who ever said politics was fair? Moreover, as Archpundit suggests, if Christine doesn’t have the money to defend and define herself-- and fight back, Roskam will win in a cakewalk. So, you see, Rahm is doing Christine a favor by finding someone who can self-fund. But, I don’t think she is going to thank him if he does. Nor will Senator Roskam. Some common ground between Peter and Christine. As they say, politics makes strange bedfellows.
This week’s suburban edition of Public Affairs features Christine Cegelis debating and discussing the economy, taxes, jobs, abortion, same sex marriage, embryonic stem cell research, airports, guns, free trade, offshore sourcing, the kaleidoscope world economy and much, much more with show host and Executive Legal Search Specialist Jeff Berkowitz.
You can watch the show with Cegelis on a video podcast, by going here or listen to it on an audio podcast .
A partial transcript of the show with Christine Cegelis is included, below.
Jeff Berkowitz: You know a lot of businessmen in the 6th congressional district. You’re going to ask them for financial support. Are you going to tell them they’re getting this all wrong?

Christine Cegelis: Well, you know, when you work with a large multinational corporation, a lot of times-- you hate to say this-- but a lot of times, it is the gut, this project we’re going to ship off because we’ve gotten a low bid on it, but they never follow up on the study to say what ended up having to be done to make it right, and you see that a lot in data processing projects. It’s the project over-run, the amount of time it takes, money.

Berkowitz: Okay. So, you’re going to try to convince companies they should do it [make the product] in the US, not outside, they are not saving any money. We call it, when we talked about this last time, we call it outsourcing because everybody else does, but it’s really-

Christine Cegelis: Offshoring. Yes.

Berkowitz: Sending work offshore, or outside the country. And that’s one thing you’re just going to try to convince them. Barack Obama, when he was running for the U. S. Senate- [he] said we’re incentivizing things the wrong way, in terms of taxes. We should be rewarding people in our tax code for work that’s done here [in this country].

Christine Cegelis: Umhmm.

Berkowitz: Instead of, he said, we’re really charging-- or people who do the work here are paying higher taxes. But, I’m wondering, he’s [Obama] been there [in the U. S. Senate] eight or nine months, has that changed? I know he’s not in the majority, in terms of the Democratic Party, but is he pushing for that? You would know. You’re a Democrat; he’s a Democrat.

Christine Cegelis: [Laughter]

Berkowitz: Have you talked to Barack lately?

Christine Cegelis: No, I haven’t talked to him lately. And, I, I don’t know-

Berkowitz: You don’t know what the Democrats in general are doing about that? Because, you know, it’s funny, it was a big issue, you might remember that in 2004, and I just don’t hear people talking about that anymore.

Christine Cegelis: I have never stopped talking about it. But, I agree with you. It’s probably-part of it is that they’re not …the majority party. And, it’s pretty hard [for the Democrats] to get anything passed at this point.

Berkowitz: Hmm. Not completely, though. You know, Barack has sponsored, he’s cosponsoring, a bill with … Tom Coburn [R-OK], a pretty conservative senator from Oklahoma. They both think there should be a CFO to oversee reconstruction in New Orleans for Hurricane Katrina.

Christine Cegelis: Umhmm.

Berkowitz: Well, [if] Barack can work with Coburn on that, I suppose he can work with Republicans on other things. Well, we should say we’d like to have Barack on the show; we’re trying and we’ll try to have him back. He was on last July. So, we’re not holding you accountable for that, but then we can ask him, and he can tell us what he is doing. All right, so, you’re talking about jobs; you’re talking about the economy, you’re talking about taxes, you’re talking about trade, you know, last time you said you were, you would not have supported NAFTA if you were there, would you have?

Christine Cegelis: At the time-

Berkowitz: That’s ten years ago.

Christine Cegelis: Yeah, ten years ago, it sounded like a good idea. And, now that I’ve-

Berkowitz: North American Free Trade Agreement: Lower tariffs, all sorts of things to help trade. Sounded like a good idea. You might have supported that then, but looking back, you’re saying no.

Christine Cegelis: Yeah.

Christine Cegelis. Looking back, I’m saying “no,” and I definitely would not have supported CAFTA.

Berkowitz: The Central American Free Trade Agreement. You differ with your sister from the 8th congressional district, Melissa Bean, I’m using sister figuratively, but, of course, there’s a lot you have in common. She ran a second time; she lost the first time against [then US rep] Phil Crane [R-Wauconda], she beat him the second time. She’s in a district [the eighth, in the northwest suburbs] that is thought to be, you know, fairly Republican [56-44, Bush-Kerry]. She’s a Democrat; you’re running a second time, and you’re running in a district [the sixth] that’s thought to be fairly Republican [53-47 Bush-Kerry]. You’re a Democrat. Now, of course, [Cong.] Henry Hyde is stepping down-

Christine Cegelis: Umhmm.

Berkowitz: [State Sen.] Peter Roskam’s there. But, you know, she [Bean] straddled that. She supported CAFTA because she thought that was good for her district [the eighth]. [Have] you talked with Congresswoman Bean [D-Barrington] about that?

Christine Cegelis: Uh, I haven’t spoken with her about it directly. I guess that I have just always felt that CAFTA was a bad idea for the American workers. It’s a bad idea for the small businessmen here; it’s a bad idea for the people in Central America.

Berkowitz: Doesn’t trade-Adam Smith [Wealth of Nations] said trade’s good: promotes jobs, across the country, across the world. Is he wrong?

Christine Cegelis: It depends on how it’s done. But, particularly, when we are at a disadvantage in the way this particular trade agreement is written; American workers are at a disadvantage. I think it’s best to say that it is nothing more than another way to offshore our jobs.

Berkowitz: You think.

Christine Cegelis: I do believe that, yeah.

Berkowitz: So, you don’t think if we export more things, we also benefit [in terms of jobs]-- There are exports that come out of the sixth congressional district; you agree, right?

Christine Cegelis: There will be some exports. And, there will be some-

Berkowitz: There could be some job creation right there.

Christine Cegelis: It could be. But, I think it’s going to be smaller job creation than creating the actual manufacturing. It will not, particularly with CAFTA, because it’s textiles, that’s not going to be something that’s high in our area. But, I don’t think that CAFTA is going to really create jobs here in the United States, and I think it doesn’t protect the workers in Central America.

Berkowitz: …There’s this phrase-I don’t know who came up with it-an economics professor at Columbia University, but Rahm Emanuel actually referred to this [at a City Club of Chicago speech]. He didn’t say he necessarily believed in it, but he thought it was an interesting idea. He said-you know Rahm, [Democratic] congressman from the 5th congressional district [and Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman], I just mention Democrats on this show. But Rahm talked about it, it’s the idea of a kaleidoscope economy, you understand that? Kaleidoscope world, have you heard that before?

Christine Cegelis: I’ve heard that before.

Berkowitz: What does that mean?

Christine Cegelis: Well, you know, that there’s so much that can be added and changed, and, as you change one piece of it, the whole outlook changes.

Berkowitz: All right. So, you keep shaking it up. As a kid, you had a kaleidoscope, you shake it, it looks one way; you shake it up, it looks another. So, I think the idea is that one day-- China could be more efficient at something. The next day-- it could be Spain.

Christine Cegelis: Umhmm.

Berkowitz: The next month it could be the United States.

Christine Cegelis: Well-

Berkowitz: So, it’s not a matter of just saying low cost here, high cost there. Technology [and comparative advantage] changes rapidly and entrepreneurs are constantly looking around, seeing how to do it better and work better. Does that make sense to you?

Christine Cegelis: It does make sense. And, you know, that would be great if that’s the way it worked. And, I always think back to my own international economics course, where we spent a lot of time exploring this, and how this really works to the advantage of everything. And then, the last day of the class, when I thought I finally got the theory down, my professor looked us in the face and said, “But, it doesn’t work that way because politics changes everything.”

Berkowitz: Really?

Christine Cegelis: [Laughter] So, it’s a great theory, but it doesn’t work-- because politics changes everything!

Berkowitz: So, you think politics swamps economics.

Christine Cegelis: It does!

Berkowitz: Stumps [trumps] economics.

Christine Cegelis: It does! For instance, China can heavily invest, their government can heavily invest in their manufacturing-- that the United States is not doing, because they’re a Communist country. They have a different political system than we do. So, they’re always going to have that advantage of having money pumped back in from the government.

Berkowitz: But, that’s the inefficiency of it, because they could put money in when it doesn’t warrant it, and therefore, they’re producing something they shouldn’t. And, China is supposed to be getting stronger because they’re in many ways trying to mimic capitalism.

Christine Cegelis: In some ways, but—and I think their government is pretty strong.
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