Tuesday, February 24, 2009

IL-66: Rep. Walker Attacked by Nat'l GOP Committeeman

It's clear that newly-minted State Rep. Mark Walker (D-Arlington Hts.) has the Republicans' attention down in Springfield.

Unfortunately, it's also clear the elephants are still all-too-willing to twist facts and omit truths while attacking him. Didn't they learn anything in the wake of his win, in which he took over a seat that had been Republican for decades after the State GOP splattered him with every speck of nasty gutter-level muck they could scrape up and resorted to literally trying to paste over his good name?

The booby prize of the week goes to the still relatively new GOP National Committeman for Illinois, Pat Brady, who took over for Bob Kjellander. Why the state's National Committeeman felt Rep. Walker was important enough to attack is known only to him, but important enough Mark must be.

So what was the attack?

Mr. Brady declared that a vote to put one of a number of politcally-motivated resolutions the Republicans were tossing up -- HR 93 in this case -- to a committee was somehow lending "support to Roland Burris" and he singled out Rep. Walker even though a total of 67 Dems, including several Dems who were sponsors of the resolution, voted to put the issue in the committee's jurisdiction.

The rationale behind referring HR 93 (and its companion HR 92) to the Rules Committe is clear. Both resolutions were placed in Rules on almost straight party-line votes because the State House has other matters to attend than debating the hows, whats, and whys of telling the US Senate what to do with itself. It's not as if we aren't facing a massive state deficit, ballooning health costs, crumbling infrastructure and whole host of other more pressing matters than the latest Burris soap opera.

The fact that the Illinois Republicans' National Committeeman targeted a single Democratic State Rep while using House Republican Organization letterhead clearly demonstrates that whatever the 'sounds good' language of these resolutions is, the ulterior motive was purely political mud-slinging.

It would be as if the House Dems turned out an inflammatory press release lambasting State Rep. Sid Mathias for missing the very same vote Pat Brady complains about. Did Rep. Mathias miss the vote? Yes. But he has a very clear and reasonable explanation (he is in Israel with US Congressman Mark Kirk). But the H-DEMs didn't do that, even though they targeted Sid last year, because to do so would be petty and pointless political opportunism -- just like Mr. Brady's diatribe.

And besides, Mr. Brady's press release carries an outright lie in its opening paragraph with a cute turn of phrase:

Voting in lock-step with Illinois Democrat Leaders, newly-elected State Representative Mark Walker opposed a House Resolution on Thursday that urges the US Senate to take swift and immediate action to address the mounting concerns surrounding Roland Burris’ appointment to the US Senate. Walker’s vote to support Roland Burris is troubling in light of the recent news outlining potential perjury and play-to-play allegations, said Illinois’ Republican National Committeeman Pat Brady.

Sending a politically-motivated, time-wasting resolution to the committee where it should be debated is hardly "support" for Burris, let alone "opposition" to the resolution itself. It's simply a move to put the resolution where it belongs so that other pressing matters can actually be worked on.

More to the point, Rep. Walker hardly "supports" our junior Senator and has publicly called for Roland Burris to resign his Senate seat immediately. That, of course, means the conservatives' lies about Rep. Walker are so much bunk.

I suppose that sort of principled call to action is to be expected from a fellow who carried a petition opposing Todd Stroger while he was going door-to-door campaigning for office and who also publicly called for the former governor's ouster on the campaign trail. Indeed, just like all but one State Rep, one of Mark Walker's first votes literally on the day he was sworn in was to re-instate the impeachment panel and impeach then-Gov. Blagojevich. But, far be it from the Republican National Committeeman to consider such things when a weak attack needs to be sent out on a Friday afternoon.

Pat Brady's scurrilous press release was dutifully picked up by our friends over at the conservative echo chamber Illinois Review (who don't have the best grasp on honesty or reality themselves), though in Ill Review Editor Fran Eaton's defense she did point out up-front that Rep. Walker wasn't the only one voting on HR 93. Unfortunately, she did not include info explaining that this wasn't actually a vote "opposing" action against Sen. Burris nor a demonstration of "support" for him. (Again, several Democratic sponsors of the resolution also voted to put it in Rules.)

Such is life when all the Republicans seem to have left are smoke and mirrors. To borrow a phrase from Mr. Brady, "that's troubling and wrong."


Full Disclosure: I've known Mark for a number of years, have worked with him on various local efforts and I endorsed him and supported him as a volunteer during his campaign.

(c/p at Illinois Reason)


Louis G. Atsaves 12:57 PM  

Good heavens! Those rascal Republicans! How dare they!

Maybe Rob its time you took a breath and relaxed a bit. Your touchiness clearly reflects the mood of those who are reluctant to push Burris out of the picture. That reluctance can be construed, rightly or wrongly, as support. Even on resolutions you claim are meaningless.

Us Republicans can just sit back and watch you guys squirm now. And its a nice feeling!

Anonymous,  2:44 PM  

Thank you for proving my point, Lou.

Reluctant to push Burris out of the picture? Are you even paying attention Lou?

Rep. Walker did call for Burris to resign (so did I - check Illinois Reason) and does support the Sangamon County State's Attorney investigation into possible perjury charges. But, he also realizes the State House has work to do and those "rascal Republicans" just wanted to waste the taxpayers' time by holding up the business of the day so they could milk a political story they think favors them.

By the by, you can construe anything you want out of the tiniest bit of malarkey. Doesn't mean you should, but you can.

In other words, can Reps. Kirk's and Mathias' current trip to Israel be construed as "support" for something nefarious? I s'pose. But it'd be a petty and childish thing to do.

Doing that would be about as silly as claiming that Rep. Walker just saved the state tens of millions of dollars with his procedural vote on HR 93 (since the resolution also calls for a special election which is a statewide unfunded mandate at this point). It's true, but also such a stretch as to be ridiculous.

As I pointed out in my post above, the last time the State GOP "construed" something against Rep. Walker it only served to give him a bump up so by all means keep encouraging your allies to act petty and childish. That's just as much your right as it is mine to point out how ridiculous your colleagues are acting.

Good luck with that.

Louis G. Atsaves 11:39 AM  

Keep squirming Rob. This isn't a Republican problem notwithstanding your spin. It is a problem Democrats have.

Leaving the garbage can overflowing in your Democratic Kitchen won't remove the stink. You have to remove and dispose of garbage on a REGULAR basis. Not on a pick and choose or whenever you feel like it basis.

That "worthless" resolution sure made a bunch of Democrats touchy!

I do enjoy watching you folks squirm! Maybe its that awful smell in the kitchen? : -)

Anonymous,  5:56 PM  

Lou wrote, "You have to remove and dispose of garbage on a REGULAR basis."

Facts are stubborn things.

Dems impeached and removed Blago.

Republicans stood by and, at most, complained about George Ryan (let alone George Bush's many abuses of the law).

And one way or another (by kicking him out of the Senate if he's found guilty of perjury or during the 2010 primary which is less than a year away), the Dems will be removing Burris in due time.

That said, did you even read the resolution in question Lou?

What you call a "worthless" resolution was co-sponsored by several Dems so it's unclear why you're not grasping the concept here. (And "worthless" is your word. I called the out-of-order rhetoric the GOP wanted to have over the resolution in order to suck out some more political chits a waste of time.)

Given Rep. Walker's publicly stated opposition to Burris and support for the Sangamon County investigation, it's odd that your unelected National Committeeman would concentrate on that aspect of HR 93 alone.

Then again maybe Pat Brady realized that in addition to lying about Rep. Walker he'd be tossing in a heaping bucket of hypocrisy if he brought up the special election portion of the resolution, seeing as how Mr. Brady himself was not elected despite the GOP's base desire for a direct election of its party's National Committeeman.

So much for Republicans supporting "the will of the people".

Louis G. Atsaves 11:29 AM  

Nice try Rob. My use of the word "worthless" was my attempt to trim down your "politically-motivated, time-wasting resolution" so I wouldn't have to bother retyping all that. My apologies if "worthless" did not correctly summarize your comment about the resolution. Give me the correct word and I will use it.

"Dems Impeached and removed Blago":

1) Using actions he performed years earlier before being handcuffed and arrested as a basis for his impeachment;

2) After unanimously (perhaps excluding Rep. Jack Franks and a tiny handful of others) supporting his reelection. I didn't see Democrats sitting him down and telling him not to run again. Ryan didn't stand for reelection because in good part, Republicans made it clear they didn't want him to.

And only Democrats impeached and removed Blago? Republicans were barred from both chambers?

By the way, the "base" of the GOP is not demanding direct elections of folks like Brady to their positions. A few extreme right wingers are who claim to be the "base," such as those you like to tangle with over at Illinois Review. That red herring you can save for another posting on the appropriate topic.

As I said earlier. You take out the trash and dispose of it instead of letting it pile up!

I don't know your pal Walker. He may be a nice guy, even an outstanding fellow.

But don't complain to me that the trash is piling up around you (and him) and stinking to high heaven. You, Walker and others need to take some sustained action. Otherwise, that trash keeps piling up!

Keep on squirming! :-)

Anonymous,  3:02 PM  

Hey Lou, it's not my fault that your party's unelected National Committeeman chose to single out one State Rep and lie about him.

Mr. Brady could've singled out Franks (since you mention him too) or Mendoza, etc. since they were actual sponsors of the resolution yet voted the same way Walker did: to put the resolution where it belonged, in the committee.

And I think all those folks who reliably support Republicans will be displeased to learn you just threw them under the bus ... though maybe they're used to it.

Anonymous,  3:10 PM  

PS: Both Walker and Sen. Dan Kotowski (their districts overlap out here in the suburbs) did not support Blago's reelection.

Try again.

Louis G. Atsaves 3:16 PM  

You are repeating yourself now Rob. Our "unelected" State Senator who can't keep his story straight has got to go. And are you telling me that Walker and Kotowski put out mailers and press releases endorsing Judy Barr Topinka? LOL!

Rather than argue about it, just start cleaning up and throwing out the trash! Time is a wasting! : -)

Anonymous,  5:02 PM  

It does seem to be a pattern that when partisans such as yourself are unable to grasp a concept it's necessary to get repetitive.

To wit: As I've said all along, Rep. Walker and I agree w/ you about our unelected US Senator and not having his story straight. Walker and I have both called for his resignation. I can't make it much more clear than that, now can I?

And it was not Topinka. It was a Dick Devine write-in.

Read the news before opening your mouth and inserting your foot there Mr. A. ;)

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