Monday, March 06, 2006

Better than Hannity & Colmes: Berkowitz and Scott on TV and streaming

Tonight's City of Chicago edition of Public Affairs features Lindy Scott, the only male candidate in the 6th Cong. Dist. Democratic Primary. The shows airs tonight at 8:30 pm on Cable Ch. 21 [CANTV] through-out the City. You can also watch the show right now at your computer at the Public Affairs Cinema Complex [See here].

Lindy Scott, an Evangelical Wheaton College Professor, claims to have somewhat more centrist views than his opponents that could give the presumptive Republican nominee, conservative State Senator Peter Roskam [Wheaton], more of a run for his money in this Republican mostly DuPage County District than could his more traditionally Democratic opponents, Major Tammy Duckworth and Christine Cegelis.

Scott gives as examples his support for parental notice, with judicial bypass, on the issue of abortion [both his opponents oppose parental notice] and his greater encouragement than his opponents of programs making it easier for pregnant women to "choose life," over abortion, e.g., federal aid for day care centers, etc. Like his Democratic Primary opponents, Scott does not want to overturn Roe v. Wade, even though his wife and he would not personally choose to abort a fetus.

Scott claims that a ban on abortion would be unfair, in that rich people could more easily circumvent it than poor people. Further, he claims a law making abortion illegel would be similar to America's 20th Century efforts at Prohibition [of consuming and selling alcoholic drinks], in that so many people currently oppose making abortion illegal that the ban could not be enforced.

Contrary to what most think, not only is Scott perhaps the most articulate candidate in the 6th CD Democratic Primary, but he has professionals running his organization and campaign workers covering most of the important precincts in the District, or so he claims. Scott argues Cegelis' organization is weak, and points to a complete shake-up, in those at the top of the organization, just a few weeks ago. Nevertheless, given the resources Prof. Lindy Scott is up against, especially those possessed by the Duckworth campaign, it would be quite an upset if Scott were to pull it off.

In light of his emphasis on youthful volunteers and voters, such an upset would be analogous to Senator Gene McCarthy knocking LBJ out of the presidential race in 1968 by McCarthy's surprisingly strong [if not winning] performance in the New Hampshire Democratic primary, where the motto to whip McCarthy's supporters with facial hair and more into shape for then conservative New Hampshire was, "Get Clean for Gene."

Major Tammy Duckworth, who ducked our show, is one of Scott's opponents. Duckworth, an Iraqi War Vet, has the support of the National Democratic Establishment. That support includes Barack Obama cutting ads for her, nationally known Obama media guru David Axelrod making the ads, Obama direct mail and message guru Pete Giangreco preparing the direct mail and Senator Dick Durbin [who is credited with the idea of bringing her into the 6th CD race] raising money for her, as is Durbin's colleague, Senator John Kerry. DCCC Chairman Rahm Emanuel is throwing a lot of resources her way--as Duckworth, who lost her legs while flying a helicopter in Iraq, fits the Emanuel model of putting up War vets in contested congressional races, allowing such Democratic candidates to more easily overcome the perception that Democrats are "weak on national security, defense and anti-terrorism." The above describes the resources that are already supporting a strong Air War for Major Duckworth.

Running the Campaign and helping to find and whip ground troops into shape is Billy Weinberg-- well known and well liked in Chicago politics and who has to his credit, among other prior positions, that of former Communications Director for Cong. Luis Gutierrez, who is thought to be gearing up to take on Mayor Daley next year.

In short, the good old boys put together a "turnkey campaign," for Lady Duckworth. Yeah, hard to imagine, but grin and bear it. Obama now joins Durbin, Emanuel and Kerry as a "good old boy."

Christine Cegelis, who is very proud of her 44% - 56 % performance against then thirty year incumbent Cong. Hyde in 2004, is trying to pull a Bean, that is a Cong. Melissa Bean [D-Barrington]. Like Melissa Bean after her loss to Cong. Crane in 2002 in the 8th CD, Cegelis never stopped running after 2004, thinking she could win it in 2006.

Emanuel, Durbin and Obama didn't think Cegelis could raise the money needed to win against a dollar rich Roskam and they decided they would rather raise it for Duckworth. They thought she was the better candidate, for the aforementioned reasons-- that is, she is a vet with a more attractive personal life story--at least to them, one that resonates across the country, or so they would argue by pointing to the national money that is rolling in for Duckworth.

Further, Duckworth may be a more dynamic and better speaker than Cegelis-- which could be important-- as Roskam is generally viewed as one of the more articulate Republican debaters and speakers in Springfield, which characterization would be to damn with feint praise. But, seriously, Senator Reter Roskam is a good speaker and the Dems know it, even if they don't want to concede it.

Moreover, liberal Democratic legislators in Springfield speak of Peter Roskam as personable and likeable, even if not one with whom they often agree. In short, whoever wins the Democratic Primary in the 6th CD will have his or her work cut out for them in the general election, and they know it.

Meanwhile, Cegelis has loyal and significant labor support, the netroots, and just hardworking folks who like her and don't like being told who to like by, if you will excuse the expression, a bunch of "outside agitators." Those outside agitators are either from areas outside of the 6th CD, or worse, from outside of Illinois. Shades of Alan Keyes. Further, both Scott and Duckworth may not have such a strong voting record in terms of their voting in prior Democratic primaries and in general elections, which is somewhat of a negative. Hard to energize people to vote for you, when you have not always bothered to do so in the past.

Further, Cegelis does have name recognition and relationships built up during the last four years, and she has been working and living in the 6th CD a long time. Duckworth, on the other hand, lives outside the District in the portion of Hoffman Estates that, while near the 6th CD portion of Hoffman Estates, is still in the 8th CD-- and Duckworth has not lived in the general area surrounding the 8th CD all that long.
If nothing else, this will be an interesting two weeks for Democrats in the 6th CD.

Meanwhile, Republican presumptive nominee and state senator Peter Roskam continues to spend his evenings counting his dollars, licking his chops in anticipation of the money VP Cheney will raise for him next week [Dick, please check your guns at the door] and spliting his days between walking the precincts and walking the Rotunda.
Jeff Berkowitz, Show Host/Producer of "Public Affairs," and Executive Legal Recruiter doing legal search can be reached at