Monday, December 17, 2007

Speaker Hastert and Jim Oberweis: Strange Bedfellows and the Odd Couple, Part 1.

Speaker Hastert has spent a large majority of his adult life in politics [15 years as a teacher and coach, 27 years as a politician]. Senator Lauzen has spent a bare majority of his adult life in politics [14 years providing accounting services to small businessmen and 15 years as a politician]. Jim Oberweis has spent the great majority of his adult life in business [about 30 years] and about six years running unsuccessfully for the Republican nomination for the U. S. Senate [twice] and Governor [once]. Oberweis is now running for the Republican primary nomination in the 8th Congressional District. [The Republican and Democratic Primaries for the Fall General Election and the March 8, 2008 Special Election to fill out the remainder of Hastert’s term will be held on February 5, 2008].

Hastert endorsed Oberweis for his first U. S. Senate primary run in 2002, said he didn’t have the right temperament and tone to be Senator in 2004, didn’t endorse him for Governor in 2006, but endorsed him last week for Congress.

Team Oberweis, after running for six years proudly as an outsider, non—politician, embraced Speaker Hastert, the ultimate insider, warmly as it accepted Hastert’s endorsement last Thursday. On Friday, Jim Oberweis explained that he can unite the Party by bringing Party insiders, like Hastert, together with Party outsiders, like Oberweis.

Team Oberweis castigated Senator Lauzen as a career politician, but then said it didn’t mean to use the term in a pejorative way. When asked if Speaker Hastert is also a career politician, Team Oberweis tried, awkwardly, to deny that the phrase fits.

As this reporter tells people, he tries to be sufficiently cynical in his analysis and discussion of politics and politicians to get it right, but he just can’t keep up with the politicians, outsider or insider, career or amateur.

Team Oberweis said last week it doesn’t know if Speaker Hastert will have time to campaign for Oberweis, but the Speaker will cut a TV ad for the money funds entrepreneur. The Fox Valley waits with baited breath to see the Odd Couple return to TV.
Coburn-Obama: Fluff?

Jeff Berkowitz: Jim, you took a crack at the Coburn-Obama legislation as fluff and you heard Senator Lauzen’s response that it was easy to criticize, do you see things that are helpful in that legislation—

Jim Oberweis: Oh, yes.

Jeff Berkowitz: And what would you do that isn’t in there?

Jim Oberweis: Well, when it was originally proposed, it was pretty good. Before it got passed, it got significantly watered down. And, today, there is just kind of a summary in there-- you can’t really search and get all the details and know who is connected to it [the spending] and why.

Jeff Berkowitz: Can’t get all the details of what?

Jim Oberweis: Some of the spending programs.

Jeff Berkowitz: So, you just get summaries. You would have more details of what the spending is and who is associated with it? Would that be it or would you do even more than that?

Jim Oberweis: That would be a huge step in the right direction.

Hastert Endorsement of Oberweis: how important?

Jeff Berkowitz: On the Hastert endorsement [of you], how influential do you think that endorsement will be?

Jim Oberweis: I think it is terrific. I mean it shows that I am the candidate who not only can bring together the outsiders as I have done before but now the Party is starting to recognize the need to come together, and I am getting that kind of support, also.

Jim Oberweis: Peacemaker between insiders and outsiders?

Jeff Berkowitz: But, are those insiders who you have criticized in the past. Is Speaker Hastert an insider and are you sort of working both sides of the fence?

Jim Oberweis: Yes, I am working to bring both sides together. That’s exactly what I just said and I think that’s important.

Where does Kjellander fit in this puzzle?

Jeff Berkowitz: Would that include people like [Republican National Committeeman from Illinois and insider] Kjellander, too?

Jim Oberweis: No.

Jeff Berkowitz: But, Kjellander is a friend of Hastert’s right?

Jim Oberweis: Oh, I don’t think so.

Jeff Berkowitz: You don’t think so, so he’s not associated with that?

Jim Oberweis: Look, when you’re in a public position, I think you try to be nice to a lot of people but I don’t believe Denny would consider Kjellander a—

Speaker Hastert and Senator Lauzen: Two career politicians?

Jeff Berkowitz: You’ve called Senator Lauzen a career politician. Would you also call Speaker Hastert a career politician?

Jim Oberweis: I’d call him a wrestling coach and a high school teacher who went on to serve a higher purpose.

Jeff Berkowitz: But, 27 years as a politician [for Speaker Hastert].

Jim Oberweis: Come on.

Jeff Berkowitz: But, 27 years, seriously, isn’t that---

Jeff Berkowitz: [Oberweis looks away] you don’t have an answer for that?

Jeff Berkowitz: The War wasn’t really covered in the forum. [Oberweis starts to walk away].

Jeff Berkowitz: You don’t want to talk about the War, either?
Jim Oberweis interviewed after a Candidate Forum sponsored by the St. Charles Chamber of Commerce and other local chambers of Commerce, December 14, 2007, Hilton Inn, St. Charles, IL