Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Cegelis Still Has Chance to Show Class

I read Christine Cegelis's concession webposting with great sadness. Sad because it read as an all-to-familiar effort by a second place candidate to take as many parting shots as possible. It is understandable for a candidate to be emotionally raw after such a bruising primary -- her campaign manager is at fault for not protecting her from her own keyboard. Candidates are remembered as much for how they cope with adversity and defeat as how they carry victory, and they should choose their final words with care. Unless she wants to be remembered for her bitterness, Cegelis should rethink these words:

I spoke with Tammy this morning and wished her luck. She’s going to need it.

All of you...proved that you are a political force to be reckoned with, and anybody who ignores that fact does so at their own peril. You sent a loud and clear message to...the Democratic Party.

the Democrat leadership had better recognize right now that the real future of this Party isn’t going to be determined in Chicago or in Springfield or in Washington.


You and everyone else who’s been part of this campaign and who voted for me – YOU are the future of the Democratic Party, and you are the best hope that this nation has to reverse all of the wrong directions that we’ve been going in.

it was real people, average Americans, men and women young and old, with the unmitigated audacity to believe that this was their Congressional District and their country. Imagine that: people trying to take control of their government.

It’s still our District, and it’s still our country, and, at least on paper, the government still belongs to us. We have to take it back. If not this time, next time. If not then, then the time after. Until then, whenever it is, we just have to keep working at it because if we don’t take control, someone else will.
I hope that Christine Cegelis will rethink the divisiveness of her remarks, and recant them soon. For one thing, as a candidate she spent plenty of time raising money in Chicago and seeking support in Washington, so her comments are disengenious at best. But more importantly, even though she may resent the DCCC for not endorsing her and may not like the fact that Tammy Duckworth got into this race, Duckworth ran a classy, issue-based campaign that never had a negative word or even made a negative inference about Cegelis or Lindy Scott.

I know Cegelis and some of her supporters may be tempted to help fullfill their own prophesy: that there will be some sort of liberal backlash against Duckworth that will end in Roskam's election. Well, the primary is over, and if Cegelis and her supporters really meant what they said about protecting a woman's right to choose and standing up for working families, Cegelis should clearly endorse Duckworth and urge her followers to join her in helping to defeat Peter Roskam. I don't have a doubt that if Cegelis had won the Primary, Duckworth would have done the same.

As for Cegelis, I still think she has a future as a Democratic elected official, if that's what she really wants. As far as I know, Democrats are still looking for a candidate to take on State Rep. Carolyn Krause in the 66th Representative District, and as I've said before, Cegelis should be slated as that candidate. Cegelis has built the name recognition and volunteer base to give Krause a run for her money. She should think of all the good she could do in Springfield on the issues she cares about, and make peace with Duckworth and the past.

28 comments:

Randall Sherman 4:42 PM  

>Yellow Dog, I suspect that the "bitterness" you detected in Cegelis' remarks was just an indication of the rancor her supporters have toward Rahm Emanuel and the DCCC. Too many of them have indicated they would not vote for Duckworth in November (thus assuring Peter Roskam victory) just to get back at Congressman Emanuel, who should never have been selected to chair the DCCC in the first place (the controversy and scandal behind some of the people who helped him win his seat four years ago will soon make Emanuel a hinderance to Democratic efforts to regain the House).

Cegelis was simply assessing the facts as they can presently be seen. Unless Major Duckworth were to run over Rahm Emanuel with a tank, it is doubtful that she can win enough of the Cegelis supportes to defeat Roskam.

So-Called Austin Mayor 4:57 PM  

Lemmie see if I got this straight:

Before the primary, the argument was that if Cegelis were the democratic nominee in the 6th District, it would be her fault when Roskam wins. And now that the DCCC candidate it the nominee in the 6th District, it will still be Cegelis' fault when Roskam wins.

I thought that the Duckworth campaign was the great vet hope for saving the 6th District from the 6th District grassroots, but now Christine Cegelis is portrayed as the true power in the district.

So confusing.

Anonymous,  5:31 PM  

Absurd. Cegelis is the victim in Rahm's Big Adventure, not the aggressor. If anyone has shown a lack of class throughout this race, it's the Democratic establishment as personified in Emanuel.

You can carp about her supposed lack of class just as soon as Duckworth acknowledges the hurt feelings of thousands of 6th District Democrats.

I'm not holding my breath.

CBM,  5:45 PM  

Cegelis supporters who refuse to vote for Duckworth to teach the Democratic party a lesson will learn a lesson themselves.

If they truly believe in Cegelis' platform they should do everything in their power to keep Roskam out of Washington.

Once again it appears Democrats are prepared to shoot themselves in the foot. I have no love for the GOP, but they are far better organized when it comes to these situations.

Cegelis lost. In November you will have two choices for the 6th CD, one whose platform is the polar opposite of Christine's and one that is much closer to it. The decision should be simple.

Anonymous,  5:47 PM  

Oy. The national party craps all over you, tells you to drop out, pulls out all the stops to defeat you, but you should get over it and roundly endorse the results of their efforts to screw you over.

Great idea.

And, since when does the front runner, which Duckworth was crowned as since she entered, ever say ANYTHING positive or negative about any other candidate?

Duckworth didn't take the high road here here as you imply. Cegelis' supporters were ridiculed, Cegelis called a loser and toast, and every effort was made to discredit her through. It just wasn't done by Duckworth herself.

So stuff your "Cegelis is being divisive" crap. The Duckworth campaign, ala Rahm is the one who caused this divide. And they'll live with the results of their actions.

Yellow Dog Democrat 5:57 PM  

So-Called Austin Mayor, I applaud your loyalty to your candidate, but don't let it cloud the facts. What many people were saying was that Cegelis couldn't beat Roskam, but there is no doubt she and supporters like you can be spoilers, if that's the role you want to play. Think Ralph Nader. As for true power, it takes true power to create, but very little power to destroy.

And Anonymous, I've always been puzzled by the position of "reformers" who argue that the democratic process should be open, but only to their chosen candidate. Tammy Duckworth and Lindy Scott had every right to run, and Barack Obama, Dick Durbin, Pat Quinn, Jan Schakowsky and Rahm Emanuel have the right to endorse and support whomever they choose. And please, let's stop pretending Rahm Emanuel alone got Duckworth elected. Rahm concluded Cegelis was too weak of a candidate to win, but it was Durbin who first talked to Duckworth about running.

As Barack Obama, Alexi Giannoulias, Pat Quinn, Carol Mosely Braun and other unendorsed candidates have proved, party support is great, but strong candidates can win a primary without it. Cegelis's candidacy just wasn't strong enough to stand on it's own. And if it wasn't strong enough to defeat Duckworth, despite the fact that not a single penny was spent on attack ads, Cegelis never, ever would have beat Roskam.

As for Duckworth, I think that she will keep doing everything she can to build bridges. She acknowledged that it was a hard-fought primary yesterday and heaped praise on Cegelis for her ideals. But healing any divisions within the Democratic Party is a shared responsibility.

Skeeter 6:06 PM  

For all those Cegelis supporters who plan on staying home: Good luck. Don't complain when we lose a house majority by one seat and they pass laws outlawing abortion and allowing assault weapons and cop killer bullets. You will have voted for it.

Roskam is a genuine right wing extremist nitwit. If you prefer that type of government, you don't belong in the Democratic Party anyway.

Tobias Wolff in "The Deposition" summed up people like you pretty well:

"Burke knew the story -- he'd bet the farm on it. Unions broken, or bought off. Salaries and benefits steadily cut under threat of layoffs that happened anyway as the work went to foreign wage slaves, the owners meanwhile conjuring up jolly visions of the corporate "family" and better days to come before selling out just in time to duck the fines for a century of fouling the river; then the new owners, vultures with M.B.A.s, gliding in to sack the pension fund before declaring bankruptcy. Burke knew the whole story and it disgusted him, especially the workers who'd let the owners screw them like this while patting them on the head, congratulating them for being the backbone of the country, salt of the earth, the true Americans. Jesus! And they still ate it up, and voted like robbers instead of the robbed. Served them right.

* * *

"The whole country was being hollowed out like this, devoured from the inside, and nobody was fighting back. It was embararssing, vaguely shameful, to watch people get pushed around without a fight."

Tobias Wolff is right. If you vote like robbers instead of the robbed, it serves you right to get what the Republicans have in store for you.

steve schnorf 6:11 PM  

Dog, I don't think it's going to take a liberal revolt to elect Peter Roskam, one of the classiest people in the GA. He represents his constituents well, and I think they are going to send him to Congress for a long time.

Yellow Dog Democrat 6:17 PM  

Randall Sherman - I have yet to hear Cegelis or anyone from her campaign accept any responsibility for the fact that she lost. Last time I checked, there wasn't a single member of the Cegelis family listed among her campaign contributors, nor did I see your name there, but somehow it's Rahm Emanuel's fault alone that Cegelis couldn't raise enough money to run a competitive race? What -- did Rahm Emanuel call you up and threaten to break your arm if you wrote Cegelis a check?

If you folks think that your next step should be to help elect Peter Roskam and help Karl Rove keep control of Congress, then all of your talk about the wasted lives in Iraq was just cheap rhetoric, not high ideals. But the one thing you cannot do is blame Rahm Emanuel or Tammy Duckworth: you have free will, and you alone are responsible for the choices you make and will have to live with it.

Maybe you think Ralph Nader was right to run in 2000 and you can live with your role as "spoiler". Looking back, I think few Democrats would agree.

Yellow Dog Democrat 6:23 PM  

Steve - usually I agree with you. But Roskam is anything but classy. He opposes abortion rights, even in cases of rape and incest. He supports the occupation of Iraq -- still. He supports open discrimination against gay and lesbian Americans. An opponent of affirmative action, he bragged in his interview with the Illinois Leader about how Henry Hyde pulled strings to get him into law school. That's not classy, it's disgusting.

On top of that, every speech I've ever heard him make on the floor of the Senate was intended to advance himself and his political career. Everything about the guy, right down to his trips to Vietnam, is shrewd political calculation.

Abraham Lincoln 7:13 PM  

I agree with what you wrote YDD. If you're going to have a future in politics after losing, how you exit is key.

Claypool was gracious in defeat today...so were Brady and Gidwitz.

Bill Baar 7:43 PM  

Despite the lack of tangible electoral results, the netroots effort could have a devastating effect on the increasingly thin ranks of moderates within the Democratic Party. Mr. Cuellar suggests his victory should force party agitators to rethink an ideological agenda that pits so-called progressive yet marginal candidates against mainstream Democrats. "This little election," he observes, "has repercussions for the Democratic Party."

Mr. Cuellar remains unfazed by the netroots intimidation. "People ask me, 'Are you gonna change, did this scare you?' No. I don't mind bucking the system if it's the right thing for the district." Whether Democrats will tolerate such independent thinking is the great challenge facing their party.

From The Angry Left takes on a moderate Democrat--and loses. by JONATHAN GURWITZ writing on the Texas District 23 congressional seat

Sage Observer,  10:13 PM  

YDD, I was as strong a Duckworth supporter as they come, but you are way out of line (and I usually agree with your posts).

Your ellipsis totally distorted her statement and made it sound like she was focused entirely on criticizing Democrats. What she actually said was "You sent a loud and clear message to the Republican Party and to the Democratic Party. The Republicans had better watch out in November. " [emphasis added]. Where the h*** do you get off editing those italics out?

Wait a minute, as I read it more closely, you didn't even put an ellipsis where you deleted another part of her remarks:

I spoke with Tammy this morning and wished her luck. She’s going to need it. Because she’s going to be running against the full force and weight of the Republican Party – not just Peter Roskam, but Dick Cheney, George Bush, Karl Rove, Ken Mehlman and every other Republican leader and every Republican dollar they can get their hands on."

I've written more than my share of these concession speeches (some used, some fortunately not), and they're tough to strike the right balance between affirming what so many people sacrificed for, and for respecting the victor. She did a pretty good job, and as a Duckworth supporter I don't begrudge her one word of her statement. But by butchering her language you did a real disservice to Ms. Cegelis AND to everyone who visits this blog.

How many of the commenters above me actually read her whole statement before commenting?

No longer around,  10:36 PM  

I have to agree with Steve Schnorf on the assessment of Roskam. He's a classy person who happens to be a smart and shrewd politician; certainly that isn't reason to condemn him. I always saw him in the General Assembly as very confident in his positions and in his intellect, and almost always well-informed about the issues before him. I use to say the same about Obama; and while completely different in ideology, Roskam, like Obama, has distinguished himself from his peers in the General Assembly.

YDD, I often find your analyses well articulated, but often they're rather shallow and rely on selective, partisan reasoning. On your summation of Roskam, you simply sound bitter about the positions of a person who is your ideological opposite. But then again, it's your post, your opinion.

Yellow Dog Democrat 10:39 PM  

Great Post!! Thanks Bill Baar.

It should be essential reading for every would-be agitator.

Too many progressive organizers today forget one of the three Cardinal principals of organizing: in order to be sustainable, an grassroots organization's efforts must provide tangible benefit to its members.

In other words, keep falling short time after time, and sooner or later it is your last time.

What's the old saying about insanity? Insanity is doing the same thing time after time and expecting a different result. How about 0-17?

I'm not saying that technology isn't becoming an important tool for organizing in the information age, because it is. But in a world where less than half of Americans have internet access at home, and only 1% know what a 'blog' is, the internet cannot serve as our spinal cord and public square.

Yellow Dog Democrat 10:57 PM  

no longer around...
It is the exact same quality I hate in the Governor...Roskam comes across as a souless political animal, just feeding off a different part of the political landscape. Maybe I just don't know either man very well. But something rings...false.

For example, I see nothing classy about using race, homophobia, or religious intolerance for political gain.

And sage observer, I did include the ellipse. Cegelis was implyng two things: first, that the Deaniacs would continnue to challenge the current Democratic Party for control over the Party's future, and secondly that Duckworth would be facing Republicans alone. That's why Cegelis so clearly used the word "she" and not "we". As in "'We're going to be running against the full force and weight of the Republican Party – not just Peter Roskam, but Dick Cheney, George Bush...".

And when you are expressing faith that someone can get the job done, you don't say "Good luck. You're going to need it." The statement clearly undermines faith in Duckworth's chances.

And didn't you notice how often she used the phrase "we" versus "them", but the "them" was the Democratic Party?

Like I said, I think Cegelis has all the right skills, and she remains a political star to watch, but her star will continue to fade as long as she believes that the Democratic Party is the real enemy.

bored now,  11:30 PM  

what christine said is true, duckworth will need good luck -- hell, in order to win, she has to have phenomenal luck! she barely beat a candidate *you* argued was a lightweight. it's difficult to see how she can compete with roskam -- unless you were wrong.

which is undoubtedly the case. not even all of duckworth's supporters (read, primary voters) will be voting for her in november, since some of them were republicans who will be voting for roskam in the fall. so it doesn't much matter if all of cegelis' supporters vote for her! she's toast. whatever national attention she brings to the race won't do her much good in november.

your clarifications don't change anything. christine can easily be forgiven by *reasonable* people for not using we instead of she. it's duckworth's responsibility to reach out to cegelis and her supporters, not christine's. she has a *lot* more important things on her mind than tammy's quixotic adventure. everyone in the country knows the five elements of cegelis' support -- and we will all a witness to whether duckworth reaches out to us! i'm not holding my breathe. i doubt anyone is. (what did will rogers say about being a democrat?)

finally, your continual attempt to equate the democratic party with a few elected officials says more about you than it does about christine's future (unless you're suggesting that democrats are the party of the elite). the "mainstream democrats" (whatever that is) screwed christine. that's politics. let's not pretend that duckworth must be saved despite the hard feelings. an intelligent campaign plan would recognize the possibility for hard feelings after a primary -- and be prepared to deal with them. you seem to think that duckworth must be spared that organizational and emotional exercise, even though it would undoubtedly strengthen her. iow, you seem to have a real problem with wanting it both ways...

Anonymous,  7:45 AM  

I'm sorry, but Duckworth was brought into this race by a soul-less political animal from Chicago, so nice try YDD.

You read why too much into "good luck, you're going to need it." But then again, you've been a Duckworth hack from day one, so this is not at all surprising.

Anonymous,  8:01 AM  

YDD -- Roskam using race for political gain? You are certifiably insane. A demagogue. If you are referring to affirmative action, the majority of Americans are opposed and certainly the majority of residents of the 6th. You Dems are the racists by favoring the status quo in crappy city schools that ensure that some African Americans have trouble reaching their full potential.

Anonymous,  12:06 PM  

The Cegelis supporters are still so ready to blame other people for their own mistakes. They never agreed that Cegelis was a lousy candidate to start with, so the moitives for finding someone who could win in November were attributed to the Netroots vs. DLC struggle, which it seems the netroots also invented.

Chrisitne ran a lousy race. Her entire campagin was a negative towards Tammy, whil Duckworth ran a postive campaign based on the issued. If the Cegelis peolpe arfe pissed, maybe they should be pissed at Lindy Scott.

Grow Up you netroots jerks. Politics were here before the interent, maybe it's time you shut up and learn some lessons.

Sammy Esposito 12:22 PM  

Well said, Yellow Dog. I've watched this primary battle from afar and I've been fascinated by the self-defeating zealotry of the Cegalis forces.

Wake up people! It's a Republican freakin' district. You need a candidate who will appeal to non-ideologic centrists – that’s the only way a Dem can win. Harness your emotion and start thinking rationally.

bored now,  1:58 PM  

anon 12:06 falsely posits: "The Cegelis supporters are still so ready to blame other people for their own mistakes. They never agreed that Cegelis was a lousy candidate to start with, so the moitives for finding someone who could win in November were attributed to the Netroots vs. DLC struggle"

well, we've established you don't know what you're talking about. i've always said that cegelis was a flawed candidate, but one who brought a special dimension to the race that real people/voters identified with. i *also* said that i find it fairly disconcerting that republicans repeatedly offer up flawed candidates -- and win! so the flawed candidate criticism says something about the democratic party, not the candidate themselves. (i suppose one of the implications of this is that the "establishment" democrats are inherently weak.)

yes, it's ok to admit that the democratic party is in reverse. let's face it, democrats are unable to support anything but "perfect," "electable" candidates while republicans firmly believe that they can win almost anywhere! critics like anon 12:06 (and ydd) seek to institutionalize that raging weakness by harping the flawed candidate syndrome instead of a.) teaching democrats how to win, regardless, and b.) teaching candidates how to be better (candidates). no, i don't actually assume that either of you can contribute to making the party and it's candidates better -- i assume that's why you're here (and repeating your silly critiques).

so let's not pretend that y'all actually care about democrats winning elections, because not only is this criticism a tautology, it also marks the permanency of democrats as a minority party in this country. yes, yes, i know that illinois is different (it skipped the reagan revolution, it has a gop that never quite adjusted to the new world and it's riddled with scandal) and if the only thing you care about is springfield, then that's fine. find your perfect candidates -- but stay the hell out of the congressional races. because springfield might be insulated from modern campaign techniques, but congressional races aren't. what y'all do in springfield and in the legislative races isn't applicable anywhere else...

anon 12:06 then concludes: "Chrisitne ran a lousy race." if christine ran such a lousy race, but duckworth could only *barely* beat her, that says a LOT more about the flaws that duckworth carries than anything else. i suppose duckworth only ran a slightly *less* lousy race!

but we already know that duckworth is toast. and it's not her flaws that will bury her in november, it's her campaign "strategy" (i use the term loosely in this context). how many votes did roskam get? how many votes for democrats? hmmm...

Anonymous,  5:17 PM  

Roskam will win regardless

Nobody likes Rahm, but he did win almost 90% of the vote in his own district, so his district must like him
He does come off creepy but he clearly is effective

bored now,  5:37 PM  

i personally don't have a bad *impression* of rahm. from staffers in dc and the thompson building, i am told he is quite friendly, even willing to listen. but from people who live in his neighborhood and have children in the same school, i am told he is a cold fish. you know what? i don't care.

but rahm and i disagree about strategy and tactics. first of all, his theory that democrats should go around buying congressional seats sounds -- hmmmm, what's the word? -- elitist. how can such a system not be corrupt? when i criticize tom delay for being a schmuck, it's not just because he's a little creepy, it's because he's ruining the american political system.

i can't say i see any difference between tom delay and rahm emanuel.

secondly, i really don't like the idea of rahm recruiting republicans to run as democrats against declared democratic candidates, just because they have money. it just looks so unseemly. and it pisses off the base.

finally, i simply do not buy rahm's tactical theory that all you need is media, the grassroots be damned. i think he's stuck in the dark ages somewhere, and he really doesn't understand what has happened to the republican party and conservative movement in the last 25 years (but that's because he has spent a lot of it in illinois). he's just like terry mcauliffe, who deleted the party activists file because the dnc didn't have enough room on their computer. is the party that incredibly stupid that they didn't think to add another hard drive? (it's a rhetorical question.)

rahm seems willing to gamble the future of the democratic party. those who criticize him probably aren't...

Conservative Republican,  6:06 PM  

I AM JUST LOVING THIS!!!

YDD, you are just reaping what you sowed. You must be a paid consultant for Duckie. Rahm and Duckie ran the risk of Cegelis's sour grapes and knew it. And now you are a flack to try and "reason" the victims back into the fold.

Not that it will help... Duckie + Cegelis + professor dude still didn't get enough votes to surpass the votes Roskam got in the primary.

And get a load of your hate rhetoric against Roskam. I LOVE IT. PUH-LEEEASE come into the 6th District and knock on doors and scream into suburban families' faces that "Roskam is against gays getting married!" It will save me some doorstops on the Roskam campaign.

Finally, as to Duckie's "classy" campaign. Spare us. "Classy" like Duckie barging into private, Catholic Marionjoy Rehab with that has-been Georgia Senator and exploiting the place for press without their permission? Yes, let's have some more of that class. (Pssst... How do we keep this guy YDD on Duckie's Rahm-funded payroll?)

Yellow Dog Democrat 4:46 PM  

conservative republican - Roskam isn't just against gays getting married. He voted to allow restaurants to refuse to serve them, hotels to refuse them rooms, landlords to refuse to rent to them, and employers to be able to fire them, just for being gay. I think YOU should go talk to voters in Wheaton and see how they feel about that.

Delver_rootnose,  3:05 AM  

ydd I will respond to you last comment first.

Conservative republican is right about the district and gays. It would save the republicans some stops esp. in Wheaton. Do you know anything about Wheaton College you know the place where you can get expelled for suggesting that maybe god doesn't hate gays. You can be straight and get thrown out for saying the above.

In response to your ealier comment I note the conspicous absence of Cegelis supporters blaming Scott even though a spoiler argument could be made so any sour grapes toward duckworth doesn't have anything to do about her right to run just who and how she was brought into the race. If she ran the race on her own like scott did and won then I really think there would be unity. I would have not even minded the last minute petition passers from Rahm et al because Duckworth couldn't do it until she left the active service if that is all the support she got but that was not all. They provided her the help and money they refused to Cegelis from the start.

Beryl Jacobson,  2:51 PM  

I'm a long-time loyal Democrat (over 40 years) and I supported Christine Cegeles in the primary. I'm not happy that the big boys from DC pushed an outsider with no political experience (only voted once) candidate on the 6th, but I know that Tammy Duckworth's positions are much more in line with mine than any Republican. So come November I will gladly vote for Tammy. But YDD, you've got it all wrong -- I think your post is the one without class.

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