N06, Blagojevich on the West Side
I covered Gov. Rod Blagojevich stumping for votes at the monthly meeting of Ald. "Ike" Carothers' ward organization. See Austin Weekly News (Carl Nyberg).
The meeting occured before the U.S. Attorney announced the indictment of Blagojevich fundraiser Tony Rezko.
What I didn't write about in the article was how Blagojevich seemed.
Blagojevich had a pensive quality. At one point he said that he had more friends four years ago than he had now.
He cast himself as fighting for a progressive vision. He acknowledged that politics is sometimes dirty and dishonest. He told a story about how he tricked the "Pro Life" legislators on stem cell research. Blagojevich knew the anti-abortion crowd wanted to strip funding for stem cell research from the budget. Blagojevich gave the legislature the budget without enough time for the anti-abortion legislators to find where Blagojevich put the stem cell research money. When asked about the issue, Blagojevich proudly explained, "I told them the truth. I'm not saying [if there's stem cell research money or not]."
I thought this anecdote did a good job of making the case that if you want to make progress in politics sometimes you have to play dirty.
However, Blagojevich crossed into bullshit territory when he said that he wanted his legacy to be to build a progressive movement that would sustain itself beyond his gubernatorial campaign.
Blagojevich has raised prodigious amounts of campaign funds. He could have invested in building local party infrastructure. Instead the money went to knocking his Republican oppoent back on her heals.
Blagojevich and Cook County Assessor avoided mentioning Todd Stroger, but Congressman Danny K. Davis, Commissioner Earlean Collins and Ald. Carothers all made the case for electing Stroger.
Cook County Commissioner Earlean Collins made the case to vote for Alderman Todd Stroger to be the next president of the County Board.
Collins explained that Cook County is, "one of the largest blocks of Democratic votes in the country."
"We cannot afford to have a Republican as president of the County Board if we want to get the Bushes out of office," Collins insisted.
Davis and Carothers, the sometimes rivals despite both being Democrats, also urged listeners to support Stroger in spite of any reservations they harbored. Davis said that he would be campaigning with Stroger in Proviso Township, the western part of his 7th Congressional District.
"We need Todd Stroger more than he needs us," Davis said.
Davis predicted that Commissioner Tony Peraica, Stroger's Republican opponent, if elected would, "Cut, cut, cut; downsize, outsource and privatize."
Carothers recounted how his father, former Alderman Bill Carothers (28th Ward), who was in attendance, handled questions about his qualifications for elected office. "When you vote for me, you qualify me," said Carothers.
Carothers went on to say, "we're gonna qualify Todd Stroger. The 29th Ward is going to give him more votes than the Eighth Ward (Stroger's ward)."