Hartman, pollster downplay role in 13th outcome

Hartman, pollster downplay role in 13th outcome

Neither John Hartman nor a Springfield-based pollster believe that Hartman, the independent candidate in the 13th Congressional District race, is the reason that Republican Rodney Davis won the three-way contest.

Hartman unofficially got 21,241 votes in the congressional district — more than enough to make up for Gill's current 1,287-vote deficit. But both Hartman and Gregg Durham of We Ask America polling believe that Davis would have been a bigger winner if Hartman hadn't been in the race.

Durham said his last poll of the 13th District race, taken Sunday, found that Hartman was getting 3 percent of self-identified Republicans, 3 percent of self-identified Democrats and 6 percent of those who said they were independents.

He said that Davis won the race because of his support from among those independents, who made up about 30 percent of the voters in the 13th District. Thirty-six percent said they were Democrats and 34 percent claimed to be Republicans.

"And if Hartman had gotten a bigger share of those independents, we'd probably be looking at a Congressman Gill," said Durham, the chief operating officer of We Ask America. "He made it closer."

"I really think that had I not been in the election, the difference between Gill and Davis would have been larger and Davis would have won by more," said Hartman. "It wouldn't have been as close."

Unofficially, with hundreds of absentee and provisional ballots left to be counted by the 14 county clerks in the district, Davis has 136,596 votes to 135,309 for Gill. The Democrat conceded late Friday afternoon.

Hartman said he got one angry e-mail from a Gill supporter who blamed him for Gill's loss and suggested that he had taken money from Karl Rove's super PAC to split the Democratic vote.

"But it makes me think that a lot of people who were supporting David might be suspicious," said Hartman, who has insisted that he has been an independent for more than 30 years.

Hartman, an Edwardsville businessman, said he was disappointed with the outcome of the race.

"I really thought I'd do better than 7 percent," he said. "I know that people were telling me that the surveys did not have me above 10 percent, but I didn't think the surveys were capturing what I had heard so much and what I still heard right up to Election Day. People said they wanted an independent and that they were tired of what they were getting from the parties.

"Just knocking on doors the day before the election, people were saying. 'We need more independents.' There was just so much encouragement. I thought it would be so much better than 7 (percent)."

In Champaign County, Hartman drew just 6.74 percent of the vote.

"That's Gill central," he joked, referring to the 57 percent of the vote Gill got here. "My dad's view is that the petition drive and the objection to it by the Republicans (which delayed his official entry into the race until July), his view is that those guys had already won over a lot of people by the time I finally got into it. I think that was the case in Champaign County with David."

Hartman believes that many voters backed Mitt Romney for president and him for Congress.

"In Macoupin County, for example, it was 55 percent Romney and 45 percent for Obama, or something like that, and Gill got 45 percent and Davis got 47 and I got 8," he said. "That tells me that almost everybody in Macoupin County who voted for me was a person who voted for Romney."

Anecdotally, he said he felt that "people who were pretty obviously Republican or conservative would show support for me when I met them on the street. It seemed like a new face, a fresh approach spoke more to people who are Republican."

Hartman's political views aren't easily pigeonholed, though. He favored aggressively reducing the budget deficit and acting on climate change.

"After our debate in Springfield, a friend of mine was in the parking garage with a Hartman for Congress button on. Three women walked up to him and said, 'I agree with everything that guy said, but I don't want David Gill in Congress. We've got to vote for Davis,'" Hartman related. "And my friend just said to them, 'Well, you've got to start somewhere.'"

His strongest area was Greene County, where he got 10 percent, and where both Romney and Davis were winners. There, Obama got 36 percent and Gill had 33.5 percent. His poorest showing was in McLean County, an area that gave Gill 56 percent and Hartman 5 percent.

Hartman said he's not sure he'll run again. It would require him and supporters to collect even more than 5,000 petition signatures he got this year.

"I just don't know what we need to do. The people aren't happy with the way we're doing politics," he said. "Maybe there's just no way for a guy like me to win right now in this country. I got whupped. Forty-six (percent) to 7 is a pretty lopsided football score."

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rsp wrote on November 10, 2012 at 8:11 am

People don't know who they voted for. With all of the smears and distortions I expect a lot of folks to regret this election. Maybe they will try to tell themselves that it's just politics, trying to get elected. Trying to stay in office. That's a pretty sleazy way to do it.

jms wrote on November 10, 2012 at 8:11 am

I'm very disappointed that we didn't get Dr. Gill. Now we've got a right-wing tea party boy, who is probably worse than Tim Johnson. At least Johnson was independent and tried not to be overtly divisive. Davis sounds like Paul Ryan.

jms wrote on November 10, 2012 at 8:11 am

But at least we don't have Hartmann.

rsp wrote on November 10, 2012 at 10:11 am

I think Hartman would have been better that Davis.

nick wrote on November 10, 2012 at 10:11 am

Hartman was in the race to deny the seat to Gill. This was apparent from the beginning.Some of his supporters are more open about this than others. Hartman had support from groups and individuals who knew,as we all knew,that Hartman would cost Gill the election. This is indisputable. For Hartman to suggest that he wasn't in this election to damage Gill is as dishonest a statement as I have heard this political season.As for the '' pollster'' who provides the back-up singing for Hartman...follow the money on that guy.It's very clear who he represents and what groups support his agenda. This one is not complicated and it is ridiculous for the NG to write a story that is so one sided. Hartman allowed himself to be used. I'm sure that the future considerations will be very beneficial to him. This has nothing to do with the political system.This is about one man and the poor choice that he made for the sake of his own ego.

Political Observer wrote on November 11, 2012 at 8:11 pm

Excellent post, Nick!  It’s about time that someone came forward and revealed the truth to this forum about what’s happened in this corrupt, dirty-trick of an election.  The whole farce of “John Hartman, Moonbat Party of 1,” the so-called “Independent Candidate”, has stunk to the highest heavens ever since it was first manufactured … and now the News-Gazette’s Tom Kacich, a major player in helping to create the stench in the first place, ends up writing a hapless article to try to cover up what really was going on, by sending out the message, “Nothing to see here, Folks!  Move along, now!  Why, Mr. Moonbat actually hurt poor Rodney Davis, nearly costing him his wonderful victory!”  [Hey, by the way,  Mr. Kacich also has a bridge to sell, but it’s only for sale at a special low, low price to one of his many dedicated right-wing fans and admirers!]

It wasn’t too long ago that Kacich put on his cheerleader outfit, got out his pom-poms and showed us his deep love for Hartman in a News-Gazette “Hearts and Valentines Piece” that was a total embarrassment to the field of journalism, even by the ultra, ultra-low standards of the Nuisance Gazette:

 http://www.news-gazette.com/news/politics-and-government/2012-09-13/tom-kacich-13th-district-voters-have-alternative.html

[As you can see by clicking on the link, this “article” should be used as an example in “Introduction to Journalism” courses as a classic case of how NOT to write an article for a newspaper…]

Anyway, the problem now developing for Mr. Kacich is that in his present follow-up love sonnet to Hartman he may have gone a little too far over the top this time, and in the process, perhaps gave away a few too many clues about what’s really been going on behind the scenes, especially in his referencing the work of Gregg Durham and his fake polling outfit “We Ask America” and in his treating it as a credible source of information. 

We all owe you an enormous debt, Nick, for taking the initiative in following up on some of the clues in this article and helping us draw back the veil on the part of the picture that the Nuisance-Gazette doesn’t want us to see.  It sounds to me like the really interesting part of the story is just starting to break…but, as usual, the credit for investigating the story will go to you and the other readers of the N-G, rather than to the N-G itself.

 

johnny wrote on November 12, 2012 at 9:11 pm

Amen.  Hartman sounded like Gill with less discipline and a greater sense of entitlement.

wayward wrote on November 10, 2012 at 10:11 am

Realistically, we'll never know what the outcome would be if Hartman had not been in the race.  Instant runoff voting (IRV) might have given us a clearer picture, though it also might have just confused voters.  IIRC, Hartman spent a fair amount of time at Urbana Farmer's Market this summer, and I got the impression he was sincere about what he believed.

nick wrote on November 10, 2012 at 11:11 am

 Hartman is laced up to the Illinois Manufacturers Association. Study the links between the We Ask America group funded by the IMA. Greg Durham has been involved in Republican party initiatives for a long time. The IMA has given almost 2 million dollars to Republican candidates over the last two election cycles in Illinois,that is 90% of their total political contributions to Republicans.We Ask America has been exposed for their awful polling bias in both Nevada and Michigan.They are a joke of an organization..They are not pollsters, they spin the numbers to influence the press.The IMA employs 33 lobbyists that hammer away at an agenda that is primarily anti-worker,anti-middle class. If Hartman soon appears as the newest IMA lobbyist on their team...don't be surprised.

Political Observer wrote on November 12, 2012 at 9:11 pm

The Kacich article is really poorly written because parts of it, and especially the title, “Hartman, pollster downplay role in 13th outcome,” could easily give a reader the impression that Gregg Durham is Hartman’s pollster…whereas I think Kacich is just trying to say that Hartman wants to downplay his role in the outcome of the race and that, hey, this fake pollster, Gregg Durham, who heads up a PR firm that’s designed to do advocacy for the Illinois Manufacturer’s Association [and who Kacich wants to trick you into accepting as a credible source of information] also happens to agree with him!

But all the same, Nick, your observations are helping to draw back the veil here on what’s going on, as I noted above, and I thank you for your contributions and hope you continue to add more as this story develops further.

The Illinois Manufacturer’s Association apparently likes to create subsidiaries, like “Xpress Professional Services, Inc.,” and groups and committees that enable it to take money out of one pocket and place it in the other, shifting money around (some might say “laundering”), donating to candidates, making commercials for them, dialing their robocalls and doing PR for them, all the while putting out numbers for public consumption as though they were just a polling firm.  As far as I can see, Nick, you’ve really pegged them well in your post above.  About all I can add for now is the excerpt given in the linked article below, along with the connection to “Xpress Professional Services, Inc.,” which has had an interesting relationship over the years with Tim Johnson, Gordy Hulten and other Illinois Republicans.

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http://www.swingstateproject.com/diary/6672/on-those-we-ask-america-illinois-polls

[Excerpt]

UPDATE: So I did some research on the identity of We Ask America.  Its website only discloses that it is a division of "Xpress Professional Services, Inc."  But it does not tell the reader what exactly that means, which turns out to be quite significant.

Xpress Professional Services, Inc. is a subsidiary of the Illinois Manufacturer's Association, which is an anti-union, anti-tax, and anti-Health Care Reform industry advocacy organization. 

Its CEO is Greg Baise, who was a 1990 Republican candidate for Treasurer, losing to Pat Quinn by 11%.  He is also Treasurer of the Economic Freedom Alliance, which has targeted Democrat Bill Foster with advertising labeling him as a "job killer" for his support of card check legislation.

Its COO is Gregg Durham, a former spokesman for the Illinois Republican House Caucus and Republican State Treasurer Judy Baar Topinka. 

The bottom line is that this is a partisan Republican pollster and an arm of the pro-business Illinois Manufacturer's Association.  There is nothing wrong with being a Republican pollster or being an arm of the Illinois Manufacturer's Association.  However, there is something wrong with the … disclosure on the website of an affiliation with "Xpress Professional Services, Inc.," which could be anything, instead of a full disclosure of the direct link to the Illinois Manufacturer's Association and its Republican principals.
-----------------------------------

itazurakko wrote on November 15, 2012 at 6:11 pm

Wow. I only wish the actual newspaper would do half as diligent a job of digging up this information as you've done here.

Political Observer wrote on November 19, 2012 at 2:11 pm

Thanks, Itazurakko...I've always found it interesting that the News-Gazette will act like a snapping, biting attack dog in going after Democrats, yet behave like a perfectly-trained guide-dog-for-the blind when it comes to protecting Republicans.

Tomorrow (Tuesday the 20th) is, I believe, the last day for absentee ballots that arrive at the County Clerk's office by mail to be accepted and eventually counted (as long as they've been postmarked by the day before the election).  So perhaps we'll actually find out how much the already razor-thin margin of "victory" for Rodney Davis has shrunk when all of the absentee votes and some of the provisional ballots have actually been counted.

Little has been made of Rodney's premature enunciation of victory by the media...his claim of a 1287 vote "victory margin," when there are far more than 1287 outstanding votes among the absentee and provisional ballot counts (whose totals have not yet been made public), was just accepted at face value by most of those in the media who were partying and celebrating his "great victory."

alabaster jones 71 wrote on November 19, 2012 at 5:11 pm
Profile Picture

Uh, why would Gill have conceded already if there was any chance that these ballots you speak of might change the outcome of the election?

I suppose the mean old News Gazette and John Hartman must have strongarmed him into doing so.  I mean, everything is their fault, right?

Political Observer wrote on November 12, 2012 at 9:11 pm

Actually, as far as the Illinois Manufacturer’s Association (IMA) creating their own subsidiary, Xpress Professional Service, Inc. to do fake polling for PR purposes, we might just as well quote what Greg Baise, president of the IMA, wrote to the members of the IMA back in 2010:

---------------------------------------------------

Of course, the IMA has long-supported pro-business candidates and causes. Thanks to the foresight of the IMA Board of Directors in 2004, we initiated a for-profit service corporation, Xpress Professional Services, Inc. (XPS).  XPS wasn’t formed only to provide another non-dues source of revenue — it was created to extend the reach and influence of pro-business forces in the political arena.  In a nutshell, XPS is a sophisticated political communications organization that is a wholly owned subsidiary of the IMA.  With just two fulltime employees, we are able to produce TV and radio ads, sophisticated polling, social media and directmail services necessary to inform and educate the public about our issues.  XPS provides us with the inhouse wherewithal to promote candidates and issues important to economic growth, and fight against those who attempt to foist initiatives upon us that needlessly make it more difficult to conduct business.

The addition of XPS to our arsenal has resulted in a vastly improved ability to be involved at all levels of the political arena.  XPS was at the forefront of the IMA’s involvement in fighting Card Check, and will play an integral role in this fall’s elections as we help those who agree that manufacturing should remain an important segment of our economy.  XPS is another arrow in the political quiver for manufacturers.  We’ll be actively involved in races large and small, and will be expanding our reach well beyond Illinois’ borders.  Unlike DC-based organizations that must work with Members of Congress daily, we don’t worry much about saying that the Emperor has no clothes.

On your behalf and for the advancement of manufacturing in Illinois and elsewhere, the IMA will be actively involved in the fall elections for campaigns at every level; from the U.S. Senate to statehouse races.  And we will fully and carefully examine every candidate and recommend those we believe have earned the support of our industry, whether they are a Republican, Democrat or an independent.  And with XPS, we’ll be getting involved in the most highly targeted races.

This election is just that important.

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Political Observer wrote on November 12, 2012 at 11:11 pm

Now, here’s the fun part: Copy and paste the following line into the search query box of your favorite search engine:

“Xpress Professional Services”  "Gordy Hulten"

What you get are a number of hits like this:

http://www.ilreference.com/donors/Springfield/235437__Xpress_Professional_Services

and this:

http://www.ilreference.com/recipients/Champaign/22836_Friends_of_Gordy_Hulten

where you can see that Gordy Hulten’s campaign committee received a total of $1,020 + $250 = $1,270 in campaign contributions from Xpress Professional Services way back in August of 2010, when Sgt. Hulten was just an appointee to Champaign’s “non-partisan” City Council:

Aug 30, 2010       Xpress Professional Services      $1,020

Aug 20, 2010       Xpress Professional Services      $250

Kind of interesting, isn’t it?  Could it be that IMA’s good friend, Tim Johnson, put in a good word for his campaign manager, Sgt. Hulten?  The IMA’s Xpress Professional Services is listed as making only 21 political contributions during the years  2005 -2012, and yet 2 of them went to “non-partisan” appointed Champaign City Council Member Gordy Hulten??!!

Here’s another interesting search result:

------------------------

https://www.opensecrets.org/politicians/expend.php?cycle=2010&cid=N00012890

 

Results Plus Consulting                              $63,706                29

Xpress Professional Services                     $56,761                  3

Results Plus Consulting, Inc                       $2,000                    1

Friends of Gordy Hulten                               $1,000                    1

-----------------------------------

In 2009 - 2010, Tim Johnson paid out $56,761 to Xpress Professional Services, in a total of 3 payments.  Johnson has used the company over a period of years for polling, advertising, printing, robocalls and other uses.  You can also see Johnson’s $1,000 campaign contribution to Gordy Hulten’s campaign committee, as well as the $63,706 + $2,000 =  $65,706 that Johnson paid to Gordy Hulten’s shell company, Results Plus Consulting.

 

DEB wrote on November 10, 2012 at 11:11 am

The article makes no sense. The headline and the reporter says that both We Ask America and Hartman say Hartman didn't affect the outcome. The quote from the CEO of We Ask America, however, is "and if Hartman had gotten a bigger share of those independents, we'd probably be looking at a Congressman Gill," said Durham, the chief operating officer of We Ask America. "He made it closer."

It sure sounds as if the pollster is saying Gill might have won without Hartman in the race. Would be nice to hear more about what the pollster found and less from Hartman about his impressions from canvassing neighborhoods.

wayward wrote on November 11, 2012 at 10:11 pm

Hate to put a damper in the conspiracy theories, but you can look up Hartman's filings at http://www.elections.il.gov/ElectionInformation/CandDetail.aspx?Candidat... .  A couple of people (who appeared to be Republicans) raised an objection to his petition, which was ultimately withdrawn.  The John Fogarty law office in Chicago, which requested a copy of his petition, has made donations to Republican candidates.  So I'm not sure that the GOP was too crazy about Hartman being in the race either.

If you look at the Champaign County election results, it looks like "Undervote" also picked up a few percent.  This and the votes for a candidate who had no chance of winning could have been a form of protest.  Campaign managers seem to believe that attack ads and robocalls provide the biggest bang for the buck, and IL-13 was a nasty and expensive race.  The votes for Hartman may have simply been an extended middle finger from the people who were tired of both campaigns.

Political Observer wrote on November 13, 2012 at 1:11 am

Uh, maybe I'm missing something in your argument...I don't see any damper on anything here?!  Your link doesn't say what the complaint was, does it?

Here’s a better article that says what the complaint actually was about:

---------------------------------

http://www.thetelegraph.com/news/local/article_893f08bc-f945-11e1-af22-001a4bcf6878.html

“Hartman said it was his "sheer determination" and the willingness of citizens to support an independent candidate that enabled him to personally collect 5,096 signatures. Hartman submitted an affidavit in the hearing process that included daily entries of his personal journal detailing his efforts.”

----------------------------------

So, do you think that Hartman really was able to personally collect 5,096 signatures?  It would be interesting to see his personal journal to see how he supposedly did it…Maybe he deserves a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records?!

The article says that, “The objectors were represented by John Fogarty, a Chicago attorney who is counsel to the Illinois Republican Party,” so the attempt to dump Hartman indeed had official blessing from the top of the Republican Party.  But Nick earlier in this discussion thread wasn’t writing about Hoffman’s candidacy being an official Republican Party takedown of David Gill, he was writing about Hartman’s supporters, and how they knew what was going on and how they knew that Hoffman would hurt David Gill more than he would Rodney Davis. (It would be interesting to see the actual petitions Hartman filed and see if he was trying to get disgruntled Goetten supporters to back him.)

There are a number of things that suggest that Hartman is far more similar to David Gill than to Rodney Davis, so he would tend to draw off more of Gill’s support than of Davis’ support.  For example:

----------------------------------------------

“Hartman ran as a write-in candidate against U.S. Rep. John Shimkus, R-Collinsville, in the 19th Congressional District in 2006.”

http://www.thetelegraph.com/news/local/article_0811abef-c41d-5309-ac03-43131c073101.html

------------------------------------------------

along with the fact that Hartman worked for a Democratic congressman when he lived in Washington, D.C.  from 1985 to the mid-90s. (Even though he claims to have been an Independent for over 30 years.)

wayward wrote on November 13, 2012 at 10:11 am

So you're saying that the Republican Party knew that Hartman would do more harm to Gill than to Davis, and therefore they tried to get Hartman kicked off the ticket?  That doesn't make any sense.

If you think that running against Shimkus makes a candidate similar to Gill, you should really check out the "Democrat" who ran against him this year.

http://will.illinois.edu/news/spotstory/shimkus-faces-anti-abortion-oppo...

Political Observer wrote on November 14, 2012 at 5:11 am

>"So you're saying that the Republican Party knew that Hartman would do more harm to Gill than to Davis, and therefore they tried to get Hartman kicked off the ticket? That doesn't make any sense."

No, I'm not saying that at all!  (I'm not sure why you would think that that was what I was saying?) I don't know what the Republican Party knew about Hartman that early in the race.  (How could anybody know what Hartman was up to that early? He hadn't done any campaigning yet.) 

But I think the natural reflex of the Republican Party may have just been to throw Hartman off the ballot if they could, just to make things a simple 2-person race.  Remember, they were doing this ballot challenge right after Hartman turned in his petitions...they only had a limited time window in which they could even challenge the petitions.  How did they know at that point in time what Hartman was later going to do in the race?  Maybe they thought he was some kind of Democratic dirty trick / plant...e.g. How could they know he wouldn't take positions similar to those of Rodney Davis, and try to siphon off some of Davis' support?  Or suppose he campaigned with positions that were more Democratic than Republican, and thus more similar to David Gill's, as he did...but suppose he then subsequently dropped out of the race, and endorsed David Gill, saying that after being in the race, he had come to appreciate David's positions and respected him too much to continue in the race and possibly siphon off some of his votes?  (i.e. for all anyone knew when Hartman entered the race, he might have just done so just to have attacked Rodney Davis, who's basically a clone of the guy, Shimkus, that he previously ran against.  In a situation like that, you could have had a 2 on 1 attack on Davis for much of the campaign, both in campaigning, in debates, in media coverage, etc.)

>"If you think that running against Shimkus makes a candidate similar to Gill, you should really check out the "Democrat" who ran against him this year."

That's a poorly-written article; there are a lot of crucial details left out.  For instance, Angela Michael is known to be a life-long Republican who's affiliated with Randall Terry, another life-long Republican...and Terry has been arrrested over 50 times for various anti-abortion demonstrations that he's organized over a long, long period of time.  In a Republican dirty-trick by Terry, he ran for President in Democratic primaries just so he could prevent television stations from rejecting his gross anti-abortion commercials, which he ran as local commercials in some TV markets during the Super Bowl, including in the St. Louis market.  (Terry has bragged about this kind of thing to the news media at times, actually boasting that he's gaming the system and doing dirty tricks to further his holy anti-abortion agenda.)  I don't see how two Republican politicians doing dirty tricks and gaming the system make any kind of point for your argument.

Hartman is a candidate with positions more similar to a Democratic politician than to a Republican candidate.  He frequently makes it known, for example, that he favors an increase in the gas tax...How many Republican candidates have ever advocated for an increase in the gas tax? (That's pretty much a disqualifying positon for a Republican candidate these days.)  He doesn't want to repeal the Affordable Care Act...that's pretty much a disqualifying positon for a Republican candidate these days.  He's willing to raise taxes to get rid of budget deficits...that's not a Republican position...it just goes on and on.  You can go right down the list of all his positions on the News-Gazette questionnaire and they tend to be close to the positions of David Gill, and differ from those of Rodney Davis. 

You say that you've talked to Hartman (e.g. at a Farmer's Market) and he seems to be a genuine candidate to you.  Are you at all sorry for signing his petition after the way the election turned out...or do you really buy into this argument that Hartman only hurt Rodney Davis?

wayward wrote on November 14, 2012 at 7:11 am

You say that you've talked to Hartman (e.g. at a Farmer's Market) and he seems to be a genuine candidate to you.  Are you at all sorry for signing his petition after the way the election turned out...or do you really buy into this argument that Hartman only hurt Rodney Davis?

You might want to work on your reading comprehension.  First, chatting with a candidate briefly at Farmer's Market isn't the same thing as signing his petition.  As it happens, I didn't sign Hartman's petitions and couldn't have.  But it did occur to me that someone who showed up numerous times and sat for hours in the heat probably believed in what he was doing.  Second, I clearly stated in an earlier comment that it was impossible to tell exactly what the results would have been if Hartman hadn't been in the race.  Maybe Gill would have won, maybe Davis would have had a bigger margin, or maybe there would have been more undervotes.  I wish Hartman hadn't run this time because there would have been more clarity in the Gill-Davis contest.  But everything I've seen indicates that Hartman was there on his own steam rather than being planted there to help Davis.

Political Observer wrote on November 13, 2012 at 2:11 am

“Campaign managers seem to believe that attack ads and robocalls provide the biggest bang for the buck, and IL-13 was a nasty and expensive race.  The votes for Hartman may have simply been an extended middle finger from the people who were tired of both campaigns.”  - Wayward

 

Well perhaps...But, you know, Wayward, that comment reminds me of a story a friend used to tell.  Years ago he knew a guy, John Q. Public who was going to buy a new car.  Having narrowed his choices down to Brand A and Brand B, John approached my friend, told him of the 2 alternatives he was considering, and asked for his advice.  However, John then added that everybody he’d talked to so far would only say negative things about one brand or the other, and he was tired of hearing negative comments, so he was only interested in hearing positive comments about one brand or the other.  My friend thought for a short while, and then said, “I’m afraid I can’t really be of any help to you in this situation, John.  I’m very sorry, I’d like to help you out, but there’s really nothing that I can say to you that would help you make your choice.”

Well, you may have guessed by now where this story is going:  John went ahead and bought Brand A, but it turned out to be a total lemon… It was the worst car he’d ever bought.  The next time John saw my friend, he went on and on about how he couldn’t believe he’d totally wasted his money on such an incredibly rotten car.

My friend agreed with everything John said, and then added, “John, I know exactly how you feel, because I bought a Brand A car myself, and had exactly the same problems that you’re telling me about  right now!  Brand A really was the worst car *I* ever bought, as well!”

John was amazed when he heard this, and said, “But wait a minute, here!  You’re telling me that you had exactly the same problems with a Brand A car that I’m having right now, but yet you didn’t tell me that before I bought one myself?!”

Well, my friend replied, “Don’t you remember, John?  You specifically told me that you didn’t want to hear anything negative about either brand, so even though I wanted to tell you how bad Brand A is when you came to me for advice, there really wasn’t anything I could tell you, was there?”

wayward wrote on November 13, 2012 at 10:11 am

So "John" narrowed his car choices down to two brands that he'd heard only negative things about and was surprised when he got a lemon?

Political Observer wrote on November 14, 2012 at 6:11 am

I typed too fast...the word "only" shouldn't be in there.

But maybe you're just deliberately trying to ignore the point, so I don't know if it's worth it to even make the effort to try to clarify things for you.  I guess I'll give you the benefit of the doubt, and hope I'm not just wasting my time.

As for me, when I'm trying to make a decision, I'd like to hear as much information, positive or negative, before deciding what I'm going to do.  The critical factor to me isn't whether the information is positive or negative, it's whether it's accurate or not. So is the information true or false?  If it's false information, I don't want to hear it, regardless of whether it's positive or not.

Thus, I guess I don't really understand why some people get so bent out of shape when they hear negative information about an issue, as long as it's accurate information.  If Democrats have accurate negative information about Rodney Davis, are they just supposed to suppress it because it's "not nice" to tell people that Davis was working in George Ryan's Secretary of State's Office right at the time that the Bribery for Driver's Licenses Scandal (that much later helped to send Georgy Ryan to prison) was going on?

wayward wrote on November 14, 2012 at 8:11 am

As for me, when I'm trying to make a decision, I'd like to hear as much information, positive or negative, before deciding what I'm going to do.  The critical factor to me isn't whether the information is positive or negative, it's whether it's accurate or not. So is the information true or false?  If it's false information, I don't want to hear it, regardless of whether it's positive or not.

Uh huh.  That's why I'd prefer to get my information from more credible sources than ads.  But maybe that's just me.

Thus, I guess I don't really understand why some people get so bent out of shape when they hear negative information about an issue, as long as it's accurate information.  If Democrats have accurate negative information about Rodney Davis, are they just supposed to suppress it because it's "not nice" to tell people that Davis was working in George Ryan's Secretary of State's Office right at the time that the Bribery for Driver's Licenses Scandal (that much later helped to send Georgy Ryan to prison) was going on?

That particular attack wasn't all that effective since the Secretary of State's office is a relatively large employer.  It'd be like saying, "Local Candidate X worked at UI at the same time as the admissions scandal!"  Of course, lots of the ads attacking Gill were even more ridiculous -- there was one accusing him of wasting taxpayer's money even though he'd never held office or been employed by the government.  The problem is that when people are bombarded with specious attack ads againts both major party candidates in a race, voters can get fed up and cynical.  Hartman could have scored some votes by simply being "none of the above," regardless of what he actually stood for.

Political Observer wrote on November 14, 2012 at 10:11 pm

Wayward: “Uh huh. That's why I'd prefer to get my information from more credible sources than ads. But maybe that's just me.”

My response: Oh, I see! You’re implying that *I* just get my information from David Gill’s commercials, which supposedly aren’t at all credible, while *YOU* get*YOUR* information from **far more credible sources!**   Wow!...OK, thanks for setting me straight on that one!  (One sure can learn a lot on this forum!...I'll come back to that a bit later, below!)

Wayward: “That particular attack wasn't all that effective [the information about Rodney Gill being on Ground Zero of the Driver’s Licenses for Bribes Scandal] since the Secretary of State's office is a relatively large employer. It'd be like saying, "Local Candidate X worked at UI at the same time as the admissions scandal!" “

My responses:

1.  OK!  Thanks!  Gee, I didn’t know that the Secretary of State’s Office employed as many people as the UI does!  I really had no idea that it was that large an operation! That’s sure an interesting “fact” to know!  Yeah, if that's true, then I can see that poor little Rodney must certainly have been a virtual unknown there, with all those thousands of other employees toiling away!  [Snark!]    ;-)

2.  Hmmm…So the **more credible sources than ads” that you get your information from turn out to be the **Dishonest and Dissembling Press Release the Rodney Davis campaign sent out to supposedly “debunk” the truthful information about the Driver’s Licenses for Bribes Scandal???!!!!” (Is that it, or do you also have confirming information from Fox News, Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter, as well? Heh-heh-heh!…) 

3.  Here’s an interesting look at the issue that you may want to take a look at, if you haven’t already seen it: 

-----------------------------------

http://www.thereisaway.us/2012/11/is-rodney-davis-being-honest-about-his.html#!/2012/11/is-rodney-davis-being-honest-about-his.html

“Is Rodney Davis being honest about his relationship with George Ryan? Selective amnesia about raising thousands from Ryan managers and large donation to Ryan campaign.”

[Excerpt]

Davis donated to the Ryan campaign fund at a time when employees were pressured into doing so. In fact, the supervisor of his department, Deb Detmers, testified in court that she was pressured to meet quotas for selling fundraising tickets to employees she supervised.

Let me restate that. The supervisor of Davis' division pressured her employees into buying fundraising tickets for the Ryan campaign fund, and she also gave significant support to the Davis campaign. Davis must have had some kind of super anti-corruption Cryptonite suit to remain untouched by everything going on around him.

Davis was a Republican precinct committeeman, active in campaigns, and a candidate for office when employees were expected to participate in the Ryan political machine, sometimes on state taxpayer time. Managers in that same political machine were helping the Davis campaign. As the DCCC ads say, that would put Davis "in the middle of it."

Based on his own statements, and documented evidence, we know that, while working for the Secretary of State, Davis:

    Was granted a leave of absence to run for state elected office.

    Served as a Republican precinct committeeman.

    Donated to Ryan's campaign fund.

    Was on the clout list so Ryan would remember his name.

    Saw George Ryan at multiple political functions outside the office.

    Had Ryan managers as major campaign donors.

    Had a supervisor who pressured employees to donate to Ryan's campaign.

An anonymous, low-level employee is someone who people appreciate for pitching in a few bucks toward office Birthday parties, not someone who raises thousands of dollars from management.

Can anyone really believe that the head of a political machine like George Ryan's was unaware that one of his employees was running for an elected position that would vote on his office's budget, and in the process, raised thousands from his management staff? It's simply absurd.

Several news outlets in the district have engaged in the "both sides are doing it" cliche in regard to misleading campaign ads. [Yeah!...And so are some people right here in the News Gazette article discussion forum as well!  Heh-heh-heh!]  The ads attacking David Gill are dishonest because they grossly mischaracterize his position on Medicare. The ads tying Davis to George Ryan are called misleading because...well...they just are because Davis said so.

The reality is that Davis has a case of selective amnesia regarding his time working for Ryan. The ads about George Ryan and Rodney Davis are not only accurate; they merely scratch the surface.

[End Excerpt]------------------------------------

wayward wrote on November 15, 2012 at 9:11 am

OK!  Thanks!  Gee, I didn’t know that the Secretary of State’s Office employed as many people as the UI does!  I really had no idea that it was that large an operation! That’s sure an interesting “fact” to know!

Where exactly did I say that the Secretary of State's office employed as many people as UI does?  I said that SoS is "a relatively large employer."  Per its own website, it employs 4000 people.

http://www.cyberdriveillinois.com/about_us/home.html

Let me restate that. The supervisor of Davis' division pressured her employees into buying fundraising tickets for the Ryan campaign fund, and she also gave significant support to the Davis campaign. Davis must have had some kind of super anti-corruption Cryptonite suit to remain untouched by everything going on around him.

Davis was a Republican precinct committeeman, active in campaigns, and a candidate for office when employees were expected to participate in the Ryan political machine, sometimes on state taxpayer time. Managers in that same political machine were helping the Davis campaign. As the DCCC ads say, that would put Davis "in the middle of it."

Yes, the Secretary of State's office was notorious for that in the past, and other state agencies certainly weren't free of patronage.  But low-level employees getting squeezed to buy tickets to fundraisers are generally going to be considered less culpable than the higher-ups who are applying the pressure.  The badly-done ad I saw just mentioned that Davis worked at the Secretary of State's office during the time of the truck driver scandal.

rsp wrote on November 15, 2012 at 10:11 am

Regarding the ad about Davis and his connection to George Ryan, about all the ad did was say he worked in the secretary of states office during the time the corruption was going on. It needed to give more information. As it was it was too easy to discount the ad. It made it sound like everyone who worked there at that time was corrupt. Well, they weren't. Because it didn't show how he was different it lacked credibility.

There were ads that were ran against Gill that I thought commited slander. The one claiming he was fired for something illegal was way over the top. I had to look that one up. I couldn't tell from the ad if they were saying he had done something illegal or not. Never had a complaint filed against him. The disagreement with the hospital was over beliefs but you would never know that from the ad. The ad sounds like he commited a crime.

wayward wrote on November 15, 2012 at 10:11 am

Yeah, some of the ads attacking Gill (including the one you mentioned) made me wish that there were consequences for airing slanderous ads.  The ad pointing out that Davis worked for the Secretary of State's office during the truck driver scandal just seemed poorly-done.

I'd be curious how many of the people who voted for Hartman did so because they agreed with his views versus how many had no idea what he stood for but just wanted to make a "neither of the above" statement?

alabaster jones 71 wrote on November 12, 2012 at 5:11 am
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I am very disappointed that Rodney Davis will be our next congressman.  I have zero faith that a man who has spent his entire career in politics, and who has learned from the likes of George Ryan and John Shimkus, will be anything but a rubber stamp for his party and for the interests who paid to get him elected.

Yet, despite my disappointment with this race's outcome, I am still glad that Hartman ran, even if his candidacy enabled Davis to win.

Over 7% of voters in this district--over 21,000 people--rejected the ignorant fallacy of partisan politics and picked an independent.  Even if Hartman was a planted candidate meant to siphon votes from Gill, I still consider that a small victory.

Political Observer wrote on November 13, 2012 at 1:11 am

Now there's a thought!  Maybe we have a market out there of 21,000 potential customers for a pair of bumper stickers.  The one on the left side of the bumper reads, "I helped elect the Rotten Rodney Davis, but my vote was a moral victory for third parties!"... While the one on the right side of the bumper reads, "Honk if you like making everything much, much worse in order to achieve moral victories!"

alabaster jones 71 wrote on November 14, 2012 at 4:11 am
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Gives me an idea for a bumper sticker for self-proclaimed "liberals" and "conservatives":

"I still engage in splitting because I still haven't evolved from my chimpanzee ancestors!"

Has a nice ring to it, no?

Political Observer wrote on November 15, 2012 at 12:11 am

And you're going to try to sell that bumper sticker to "conservative" supporters of creationist Rodney Davis...with the word "evolved" in there?  Heh-heh-heh!  Good luck with that!

Perhaps you might like to stop back in 2 years during the next Congressional election season, and see how many people think it's "splitting" for "liberals" to characterize Rodney Davis as the Man in Black in a Black-and-White world.  I think Davis will do an excellent job of covering himself in Black paint over the next 2 years, even as he tries to convince everyone he's the epitome of Mr. Clean in everything he tries to do.  It'll be just like when he sat down for a radio interview with WILL's Craig Cohen and described his being on Ground Zero of the Bribes for Driver's Licenses Scandal as, "People doin' a great job in the Secretary of State's Office!" ...and like when he then went on to describe the supposedly "tragic story" of Peabody Mine #10 near his hometown of Taylorville being closed down, "all because of Government Regulations"...just because the "Government said so!"...(without his ever mentioning that those burdensome "Government Regulations" he referred to were the Clean Air Amendments of 1990 that passed through Congress with a large bipartisan majority and were proudly signed into law by President George H. W. Bush, to limit the high-sulfur coal of mines like Peabody Mine #10 that were causing serious problems with acid rain!)

Political Observer wrote on November 15, 2012 at 12:11 am

But, that said, I think there will also be major efforts in the media to try to prop Rodney up, to claim that the Black paint covering him isn't really there, and to do a massive PR job to try to make him seem like a jolly good fellow,  In fact, I think we may already be seeing an omen of what's to come in the next 2 years, right here in the online world of the News-Gazette:

For instance, suppose you go back to the main page of the online News-Gazette.  As I write this, in the Section labeled, "The Most," in the folder labeled, "Most Commented," there's an article that's titled, "Davis willing to discuss tax loopholes, not rates."

The problem with that article being listed in the "Most Commented" section is that, not only does it have zero comments, but when you go down to the bottom of it, you find a statement that says, "Comments for this post are inactive."

Strange, isn't it, that an article that we're not allowed to comment upon and that accordingly has a total of zero comments at the end of it can be labeled as one of the "Most Commented" articles?!

alabaster jones 71 wrote on November 15, 2012 at 4:11 pm
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Yes, I know, secretary of state's office, acid rain, yada yada yada.  So you have mentioned.

The election is over.  We will have to put up with at least two years of Rodney pandering to his base and doing whatever his party leaders tell him to do.  In two years, Democrats will presumably run some spineless party hack of their own against him (Mike Frerichs, I'm guessing), and then we'll have two spineless party hacks to choose from.  Democracy in action!

alabaster jones 71 wrote on November 16, 2012 at 7:11 am
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"The problem with that article being listed in the "Most Commented" section is that, not only does it have zero comments, but when you go down to the bottom of it, you find a statement that says, "Comments for this post are inactive.""

There is a pretty simple explanation for that.  Several people had commented on that article, and the discussion apparently became uncivil enough that the comment privileges were disabled.  Since, from what I have noticed, the "Most Commented" tab is only refreshed once a day, that article still showed up under the tab even though there were no longer any comments on the article. 

I didn't see the comments on that article before they were deleted, but there is a thread about it in the discussion forum and apparently some of the commenters had made violent statements.  The News Gazette often disables the comment sections on an article when the discussion becomes too uncivil.

There have been quite a few articles on this site over the past few months with comments bashing Rodney Davis, and I never saw any of them get censored.

rsp wrote on November 16, 2012 at 8:11 am

Some articles get left in the "most commented" with comments inactive and seem to stay there while another story is being commented on and never gets there. Some people are suspicious because it seems so arbitrary. What people don't realize is that the comments are still there, we just can't see them. 

 

johnny wrote on November 12, 2012 at 9:11 pm

Amen.  Hartmann sounded like Gill with less discipline and a greater sense of entitlement.

alabaster jones 71 wrote on November 15, 2012 at 8:11 pm
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Another note for Political Observer:

If you really want to place blame for Gill's loss, you might want to save some of the blame you're placing towards Hartman and place some of it towards the Democrats as well.  The party's power brokers did not provide as much support to Gill as they did for numerous other congressional candidates in Illinois this year.  I think it's pretty clear that they thought he was the "weakest link" out of all the congressional challengers they had in competitive races in the state this year, and that the worst case scenario was that Davis would win and they could run someone who they think is stronger than Gill (i.e. Mike Frerichs) against him 2014.  I think they view Frerichs as a guy who can hold this very competitive district for a long time, and they didn't feel the same way about Gill.

rsp wrote on November 16, 2012 at 12:11 am

Or more likely they thought Gill would be too independent. Also they waited too long to get students registered which hurt all democrats in this district. I suspect they learned that lesson. 

alabaster jones 71 wrote on November 16, 2012 at 7:11 am
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"Or more likely they thought Gill would be too independent."

Good point, that probably worked against him as well.

I suspect that he would have been a lot like Tim Johnson in that sense.  Like Johnson, he still would have voted party line most of the time, but I think he would have shared Johnson's independent streak, as well as Johnson's general lack of interest in playing along with much of the typical Washington groupthink and gamesmanship.  

Rodney Davis, on the other hand... why would he say no to his party's leadership on anything?  They are the only employers he's ever had.