Thursday, August 16, 2007

Hastert’s decision and is anyone editing the Chicago Sun-Times?

Reporting yesterday on tomorrow morning’s announcement by Former Speaker Hastert as to whether he will hang them up at the end of this term, Chicago Sun-Times Columnist Lynn Sweet says, “… Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) on Friday is expected to announce he will not seek a 12th term. “

Lynn is playing it cautiously and not going out on a limb, unlike CBS-2 News Mike Flannery's prediction earlier this week that Hastert will not seek another term.

Most of the pundits are implying, if not predicting, that Hastert will not seek re-election. And, he may not.

However, some reliable sources say Hastert may surprise everyone and announce he will seek re-election. The Republican leadership may want that, in part because Cong. Ray LaHood's decision not to run for re-election in his downstate seat already forces the Republicans to defend one open seat in Illinois. Who needs another, they ask. Surely, they would like to postpone the Hastert seat vacancy for two years. Yes, Hastert got only 60% of the vote in 2006, but of course, that was a terrible year for Republicans in general, and Hastert specifically. The 60% was down from his previous U. S. House record of never getting less than 64%, except in his first election in 1986 when he squeaked by with a 52-48 margin of victory ]. Further, senior Illinois Democratic staffers tell this reporter that Hastert, if he runs again in 2008, is not vulnerable.

Moreover, Hastert and Republican leadership may come up next year with a candidate they prefer over the current crop, and they could ease Hastert out of the seat in a special election at that time. For example, State Rep. Tim Schmitz (R-Geneva), said to be preferred to the current crop by Hastert, would not have to risk giving up his state house seat in a general election. On the other hand, State Rep. Linda Chapa LaVia [D-Aurora], viewed by some as the strongest potential Democratic challenger, might also be more apt to run in a special election, for the same reason as Schmitz.

Who makes up the current crop of Republicans to replace Cong. Hastert? Wealthy investment fund entrepreneur and three-time failed statewide candidate Jim Oberweis [who upset Hastert-Bush enormously with his illegal immigration views], State Senator Chris Lauzen [R-Aurora] [A member of the Fab 5, but whose independence and strong conservative ideology has never played well with Hastert] and relative unknown and said to be moderate-- Geneva Mayor Kevin Burns.

The Chicago Tribune's Pearson and Zuckman tell us Hastert recently has “shown signs,” of “favoring Oberweis as his replacement.” Yes, Oberweis has hired a Hastert staffer, or two. Will that get dairyman Oberweis the endorsement? I don’t know. Maybe Oberweis will sponsor a big time "Freedom Foundation," in the Speaker’s name. Now, that might be more like it.

Sweet tells us on the Democrat side, “Three Democrats are already in the race in this nominal Republican district [What makes this a "nominal Republican district," to Sweet]: businessman and scientist Bill Foster; Jonathan Laesch, the 2006 Democratic nominee, and attorney Jotham Shepard.” [Emphasis Supplied].

Jonathan Laesch? Who might that be? Oh, maybe Sweet means John Laesch. Close, but no cigar.

Jotham Shepard. Who might that be? Oh, maybe Sweet means Jotham Stein. Not very close, clearly no cigar.

It is humorous how some Chicago newspaper publishers and editors deride blogs because they claim the bloggers’ lack of editors result in no quality control.But, is anybody editing the Chicago Sun-Times?

First, there was the Sun-Times major editing/writing/nepotism error of last month.

Now, the Sun-Times can only get one out of three candidates in the 14th CD Democratic Primary correctly identified. Getting a hit one out of every three times may be a good baseball batting average, but getting one out of three candidates right in publishing a newspaper is not so good. As JFK would say, “I, uh, think we can do better.” JFK was right. The Sun-Times can do better. **************************************************************
Jeff Berkowitz, Show Host/Producer of "Public Affairs," and Executive Legal Recruiter doing legal search can be reached at You may watch "Public Affairs," shows with Presidential Candidates Richardson, Obama, McCain, Giuliani and Cox and many other pols at