For Congress: Bill FosterCall Hell and see if it's freezing!
The race to succeed former House Speaker Dennis Hastert in the 14th Congressional District has gotten very ugly very fast. That doesn't say much for the candidates. It does suggest that a congressional seat once considered safely Republican is now in play.
You have Republican Jim Oberweis and Democrat Bill Foster running in a special election Saturday in a district that runs from the far western suburbs across northern Illinois almost to the Iowa border. The winner gets to hold the seat for less than a year. They'll run against each other again in November for a full term.
Oberweis, from Sugar Grove, is chairman of Oberweis Dairy. Foster, from Geneva, worked for 22 years as a physicist at Fermilab and started a company that manufactures theater lighting equipment.
This page is closer to Oberweis than Foster on several economic and foreign policy issues [Editor's note: D'uh, ya think???]. But we watched Oberweis in his races for the U.S. Senate in 2002 and 2004, and for governor in 2006. We've watched this race for Congress. His campaign style has consistently been nasty, smug, condescending...and dishonest.
In 2004, he ran an ad in which he hovered over Soldier Field in a helicopter and said 10,000 illegal aliens come to the U.S. each day, "enough to fill Soldier Field every single week." The number was grossly inflated and the ad smacked of fear-mongering. In 2006, he ran TV ads that used headlines from the Tribune and other newspapers to attack an opponent. But the headlines were fake. They hadn't appeared in the newspapers.
This year, Oberweis' campaign is based on the notion that his opponent is a big-spending liberal. Oberweis' TV and radio ads quote Foster saying, "There's nothing in life that you can't improve by pouring money at it. ..." Foster did say that, at a League of Women Voters debate. But the transcript makes it clear he was talking about the federal government's "poor efforts" to improve air-traffic-control safety. His conclusion: "This is one example of a place I would look to save taxpayer dollars." And Oberweis' immediate response at the debate? He said: "I find myself in the almost embarrassing position of tending to agree with Bill on some of his comments there."
The sum impression of Oberweis from four campaigns: He sees public office as an opportunity to pick a fight. Bill Foster tells us that he will be a Blue Dog Democrat -- that is, part of the moderate caucus in the House that puts a high priority on controlling federal spending and returning to a balanced budget. He would almost certainly have to take a moderate Democratic line to hold this seat from a district that gave President Bush 55 percent of the vote in 2004 and 54 percent in 2000, and elected Hastert to 11 terms in the House.
He surely will be more willing than Oberweis is to listen to people with whom he disagrees. So we'll trust Foster when he says he would emphasize transparency, responsibility and bipartisanship in government. He is endorsed.
Tuesday, March 04, 2008
Will wonders never cease?
From the Colonel's paper. The Tribune endorses a, shudder, Democrat!