Tuesday, November 2, 2010



I sent the following missive to a very good friend of mine, a San Franciscan, a Democrat, and a guy with a great handle on national politics, in response to his request for my thoughts on today’s election. While I am reluctant to make predictions, or at least outright predictions, and am perhaps a touch reluctant to reveal whom I vote for, I think my writers might enjoy this particular exercise in crystal ball gazing and might be surprised by some of my selections in this contest, so I decided to post it in redacted form:


First, I was going to e-mail you today on another matter. I don’t think you are much of a baseball fan, but I wanted to congratulate you on the Giants’ great victory in the Series. I suspect your dad is quite happy about it. I am, even though I care not a whit about baseball once we venture very far from 35th Street, and then only due to historic/cultural concerns rather than out of any genuine enthusiasm for that most boring of sports.

On weightier matters:

I try not to make political predictions. That having been said, I would guess that the conventional wisdom is about right while the more enthused among the Republicans are getting carried away. I would think a pick up somewhere in the low to mid-50s is about right while people talking 65, 70 seats in the House are a bit overly febrile. Having said that, the Journal said this morning that “close to 100 seats are at least marginally competitive.” If that is true, the huge blowout that the more spirited are predicting and hoping for might just happen.

In the Senate, the GOP holds onto Kentucky (the one I really care about) and picks up Colorado, Pennsylvania, Arkansas, Wisconsin, and Washington, which is not enough. Reid hangs on; he always manages to hang on. Note he beat Ensign by less than 1000 votes last time. This is the one, however, I think I am most likely to be most wrong on. Murkowski doesn’t win the write-in; it’s just too tough, especially with a name as tough to spell, for those who don’t live in Chicago, like Murkowski. But we won’t know for a long time.

Brown and Boxer win in your state. Brady and Giannoulias win in my state. But my predictions for Illinois are very shaky; these are both very close and I could just as easily predict the opposite in both races. However, I think Quinn loses largely because he won’t carry Chicago by 400,000 votes, widely accepted as the necessary margin of victory in order for a Democrat to win the state. Why? First, he’s going to have trouble in the “machine” wards on the fringes of the city, where the voters like Brady’s social conservatism and the bosses are not going to be busting their hindquarters for a guy who’s made his career telling the world that they are moral pygmies while he is an ethical giant. (See, inter alia, my 10/23/10 post, AFTER ALL, THEY’RE BOTH IRISH-CATHOLICS, RIGHT?). Quinn will carry those wards, but not by enough. Similarly, while he will carry the black wards overwhelmingly, he won’t run up the totals he needs due to simmering resentment over passing over Art Turner, the runner-up in the lieutenant gubernatorial primary, in order to select Sheila Simon, whose qualifications are more than exhausted once when gets past her last name.

I see nothing but gridlock in the next Congress. It would be instructive to see how things went from ’94 to ’96, when the GOP controlled Congress and thought it might have a chance to win the White House in ’96. As I recall, the serious compromising that made Clinton a great president (After Bush, I have come to regard my former nemesis as a great president who I really wish was back in the White House.) didn’t get underway until after the ’96 elections, but my memory is foggy on that one. As I said, though, examining that era would give us clues as to how things will develop over the next two years. Of course, you know with my political philosophy that gridlock is a wonderful thing, my fervent hope for the future of our Republic. Even when Clinton and Gingrich were compromising, both were thwarted in their more enthusiastic efforts to grow government in their particular direction.

Personally, you will be happy to know that I will be voting for several Democrats, mostly for the relatively obscure offices of Attorney General (But the incumbent AG for whom I will vote, is Lisa Madigan, Mike’s daughter, so this is an important, but by no means close, race. She will draw more votes than anyone in the state of Illinois. She is immensely popular and is being widely urged to run for Mayor. I suspect she won’t, but if my namesake wins reelection, she will be thinking hard about running for Mayor.), Comptroller, and Secretary of State. I’m voting for Jesse White for Secretary of State because Jesse, and amiable hack and protégé of former 42nd Ward Boss George Dunne, Richard J. Daley’s successor as Chairman of the Cook County Regular Democratic Organization, is widely loved, mostly for the Jesse White tumblers, and has done a reasonable job with that snake pit bastion of patronage we call the Secretary of State’s office in the Land of Lincoln. The Republican candidate for Comptroller is Judy Baar Topinka, who is, ironically, very much one of the boys who have driven our state to bankruptcy by making it their personal piggy bank. Voting against her is tough because she is a real piece of work whom I personally like very much. However, her being endorsed by AFSCME was the last straw for me. One could make the same arguments against voting for Madigan and White, but they are Democrats so one would expect them to be endorsed by AFSCME and to be agents of the evil cabal that has driven our state to bankruptcy. For a Republican to be endorsed by AFSCME requires a degree of obsequiousness that would make a mule gag. And Topinka’s opponent is a dentist, so he actually does something rather than run for office and preen for the cameras, unlike just about every other politician.

Of course, I’m voting for Brady for governor. He’s a conservative and a businessman, my kind of guy, though I have some suspicions about the mental horsepower at work there. But we all had the same suspicions about one Ronald Reagan, and he turned out to my liking, perhaps the second best president of my lifetime.

Now, for Senator…I can’t vote for Giannoulias, an incompetent, weasely, dyspeptic, narcissistic, ingenuous type of person about whom one can easily have frightening dreams. But I can’t vote for Kirk; he was way too much of a cheerleader, to put it nicely, for Bush and is one of those guys who sees it as the country’s duty to go to war with the entire planet in order to make us safe from the latest boogeyman under the bed. So there is no way I can vote for this guy. I’ll vote Libertarian for this one.

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