David and Nancy, Rodney and John
Political candidates demonstrate their disdain for voters when they play rhetorical games.
If Dr. David Gill gets elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in the November election and Democrats retake the U.S. House of Representatives, the first vote Gill will cast will be for San Francisco's Nancy Pelosi as the speaker of the 435-member body.
If Republican Rodney Davis defeats Gill for the House seat from Illinois' 13th Congressional District, the first vote he'll cast will be to re-elect Ohio's John Boehner to the powerful post of speaker.
That's political reality, although one might not know it based on the bobbing and weaving by the Gill campaign with respect to Pelosi. Gill's campaign acts as if she's completely irrelevant to the race, and Gill professes ignorance about whom he'd support for speaker if he wins and Democrats take back the House.
"It depends who's running," Gill told a Springfield newspaper about his possible vote for the leader of House Democrats.
Obviously, Gill fears being associated with Pelosi, whom Republicans have used as a frightening symbol of Democratic Party liberalism.
While disappointing, his disingenuous response is nothing new. In fact, it's similar to the dishonest answer Urbana Democratic state Rep. Naomi Jakobsson gave in the last election when she was asked if she intended to continue to support Chicago's all-powerful Michael Madigan as the speaker of the Illinois House. Why, she said, she had no idea because she didn't know who might be running for speaker. (Madigan, to no one's surprise, ran and won, just as everyone in the state knew he would.)
It's amazing what some politicians consider to be clever evasions of simple questions.
What's ironic is that while Gill resists being linked to Pelosi, his supporters are trying to tie Davis to imprisoned former Illinois Gov. George Ryan.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is spending $230,000 in the Champaign television market attacking Davis for having worked in the secretary of state's office under Ryan in the mid-1990s. The ad also rips Davis because his name was included on the infamous "clout list of political favors" drafted by Ryan henchman Scott Fawell and unearthed in the federal probe of Ryan-related corruption.
Obviously, both sides play these games, and voters will have to decide what, if anything, it means.
But the bottom line is that the leader of House Republicans is Boehner and the leader of House Democrats is Pelosi. Whoever is elected from the 13th District — Davis or Gill — will back his party's leader.