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Proviso Probe

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Mark Pera speaks to DFA in Oak Park

Mark Pera and his wife, Leslie, attended the local Democracy for America meeting at La Majada in Oak Park. Pera is running for Congress against Dan Lipinski in the Democratic primaryin February, 2008.

I interviewed Pera before, but it was good to see him field questions from others. Both he and his wife are physically attractive people. Pera's wife is a management or financial sector professional currently working on privatizing portions of the United Kingdom's health care system.

Pera made it clear that he's going to be a consensus builder and rejects strident, ideological politics. The good of this is that he will probably be a productive member of Congress. The bad is that I could definitely see him getting behind something like the Iraq War because the Beltway class portrayed opposition to the war as being limited to extremists. Pera did refer negatively to “extremists” within the Democratic Party.

In my previous interview Pera emphasized getting involved in transportation issues. The district includes Midway Airport as well as rail lines and Interstate. In front of DFA Pera showed passion for environmental issues. Since he prosecutes and litigates environmental and utility matters for the Cook County State's Attorney it makes sense for him to serve on a committee dealing with these issues.

Pera reiterated a few issues where he contrasts with Lipinski. Pera is pro-abortion rights and pro-stem cell research. Lipinski is opposed to abortion even in cases of rape and incest. Pera is for rapidly withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq. Lipinski has been mostly supportive of Bush's Iraq policy.

Pera took heat from the audience on various issues. Pera favored improving access to health care, but didn't provide details about how to do this. He cited Hillary Rodham Clinton as being a health care expert with unlimited access to other experts and she has yet to formulate a plan. Pera's wife seemed quite influential on his thinking about health care. Pera criticized countries with universal health care systems because of issues of “rationing” health care. I criticized this language forcefully and argued that the U.S. system performs poorly by any measure. After hearing from the audience Pera and his wife seemed to be rethinking their position on health care. They seemed most persuaded by the argument that health care costs were stifling small business and big business.

Pera also described Iran acquiring nuclear weapons as a threat to U.S. security. He prefers diplomacy, but would be open to using military force.

I tried to give credit to Pera for doing a good job running Lyons Township High School. He's the president of the board of education. Pera demurred and said credit should go to the superintendent and other professional staff.

Pera also took some grief over gay marriage. Pera favors civil unions, not gay marriage.

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  • I think "open to using military force" is too strong. What I got from his statement is that no one is going to take military action off the table.

    One thing he could do would be to cite the current reputable estimates on how long it will take Iran to acquire nuclear weapons. What I "know" about this is from reading cunningrealist.blogspot.com in which the CR ridicules people who say there is an imminent threat from a nuclear Iran with a post about how such people must have their own Personal Intelligence Service.

    CR then quotes the latest estimates from our own agencies which put the time at around 10 years. I don't know if this is the actual current estimate.

    If in fact the estimates are around 10 years, then this would be a way for Pera to speak rationally about nuclear Iran by saying there is no credible imminent threat according to our own estimates, criticise the neocon war-drum beaters, but by being conversant in the latest intelligence estimates short circuit the "weak on national security" critisism.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:31 AM, July 12, 2007  

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