Davis for Congress

Davis for Congress

In the local race for Congress, The News-Gazette endorses Republican Rodney Davis.

The race for election to Illinois' new 13th Congressional District wasn't supposed to be this way.

Republican incumbent U.S. Rep. Tim Johnson of Urbana campaigned for months before winning the March primary. Three months later, Johnson announced that he was withdrawing his name from the GOP ballot and retiring from politics, a surprising and bizarre move that prompted a candidate search by the district's Republican Party chairmen and the eventual slating of Rodney Davis of Taylorville to fill Johnson's empty ballot spot.

On the Democratic side, party bigwigs like U.S. Sen. Richard Durbin tried to persuade his party's voters to nominate Greene County State's Attorney Matt Goetten. Durbin et al argued Goetten would be a stronger general election candidate than Dr. David Gill, a three-time loser in his biennial efforts to win a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. But a narrow majority of Democratic primary voters nominated Gill.

So it's Davis, a 42-year-old aide to U.S. Rep. John Shimkus of Collinsville, competing against Gill, a 52-year-old physician from Bloomington, in a race marred by each side's use of negative television advertising. Frankly, if what each candidate said and insinuated about the other was true, neither would be trustworthy enough to be a jail trusty.

Independent John Hartman of Edwardsville also is running. Without funds, party backing or much popular support, he's mostly a distraction in a race that could help decide whether Republicans or Democrats will win a U.S. House majority.

The News-Gazette endorses Davis because, in our opinion, his conservative views are more in sync with the sprawling district that runs from Urbana to the Missouri border.

That's not to say that Gill is not a credible spokesman for his cause or an honest and decent man, just that his near-constant reliance on big government to solve problems is neither affordable nor effective.

Exhibit A for this proposition is President Obama's Affordable Care Act, known popularly as Obamacare.

It represents the largest and most expensive government intervention into social welfare since President Johnson's Great Society programs that were aimed at (but failed miserably in) ending poverty.

Both Davis and Gill are unhappy with Obamacare. Davis supports repeal because he views it as a hyper-expensive intrusion into the medical delivery system and doctor/patient relations that will not do what Obama claims, resulting in the rationing of care overseen by unaccountable bureaucrats.

Gill can live with Obamacare for now, but criticizes it as too modest. He wants to put every American on Medicare and abolish private insurance companies, which he claims, incredibly, can be done without "an increase in people's taxes."

There are numerous flaws in this approach, the biggest being that the current Medicare program is headed toward bankruptcy. But Gill has an almost religious belief that government-run programs offer the solution to most, if not all, problems.

Davis and Gill disagree on social programs, notably gay marriage and abortion. Gill supports both, and Davis opposes them. But those social issues are a practical irrelevancy. Abortion is a federally guaranteed constitutional right, and states are addressing same-sex marriage. The chances of passing an amendment to the U.S. Constitution banning gay marriage are less than zero.

Taxes and spending are the important areas of disagreement between Gill and Davis, and on these topics the two men follow the positions of their presidential candidates.

President Obama is promising to raise taxes on "millionaires and billionaires" to rein in his trillion-dollar annual budget deficits, and Gill had adopted the same language. But even if the taxes that Gill and Obama propose were enacted, they wouldn't raise enough revenue to significantly decrease the deficit. The real money is in the middle class (defined as incomes of $250,000 and under), and the reason is that there are far more of them to tax.

On free trade and foreign policy, Gill embraces an isolationist approach, bringing troops home, tearing up trade agreements and slashing defense spending. Davis seems to understand that this country is a world power that cannot run and hide if it's to maintain influence abroad.

We do not begrudge the candidates the petty hypocrisies they have displayed in this campaign. Running for office makes fibbers and fudgers of all who take up that challenge.

Gill denounces corporate PAC money on one hand while nonetheless relying on it to win the election. Davis insists that government has to learn to live within its means but talks incessantly about maintaining entitlement programs that are exploding in costs.

The best way to judge this race is to get a sense of the candidates. Gill, as one of his local supporters wrote, is a "full-throated liberal," with all that entails. If that's what people want, he's the man. But the 14 counties of the new 13th District do not constitute a "full-throated liberal" district, like, say, Berkeley, Calif. It's a moderately conservative district, and Davis is a better fit to serve as its representative in the U.S. House of Representatives.

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rsp wrote on October 28, 2012 at 8:10 am

Davis supports repeal because he views it as a hyper-expensive intrusion into the medical delivery system and doctor/patient relations that will not do what Obama claims, resulting in the rationing of care overseen by unaccountable bureaucrats.

Our medical care is already being rationed. 

STM wrote on October 28, 2012 at 8:10 am

Yes, rationed by insurance companies who add more unnecessary cost and no value to our health care. If insurance companies ran our Dept. of Transportation, we'd be driving on dirt roads and Rodney Davis would be telling us how great they are.

wayward wrote on October 28, 2012 at 9:10 am

"The chances of passing an amendment to the U.S. Constitution banning gay marriage are less than zero."  So for this reason, you're saying that Rodney Davis's opposition to gay marriage doesn't matter?  I'd guess the chances of everyone in the US getting Medicare-like health coverage are also less than zero, but Gill liking this idea is a problem?

pk1187 wrote on October 28, 2012 at 2:10 pm

In a district filled with universities, there is no reason that we should elect a man who holds such anti-science beliefs as Rodney Davis. After the terrible drought we had this past summer, he still says that science does not support global warming. He does not support women's rights. He does not support choice; he wants to push his radical beliefs onto us all. He touts how government healthcare helped his wife, and in the next sentence decries giving everyone healthcare. Pure hypocrisy there. Why shouldn’t people have to pay for their own insurance? The way the system works now, people show up at the ER or convenient care and then the rest of us foot the bill. How is that fair to me and the rest of the people who have insurance? The republican policies during the Bush era are what gave us the deficits and debt that we have now, and he wants to return to those. 2 unfunded wars and tax cuts for the rich represent the majority of the federal government’s debt and current deficits.

Davis will not represent us well. He has no new ideas and his plans will return us to the terrible policies of the past. All he can do is recite the standard talking points of the republican party like a robot. I'm truly surprised that he hasn't been caught making a rape gaffe yet since he holds the same views as the rest of the tea party wackos.

I am seriously considering cancelling my subscription after reading this opinion piece in the paper today. I cannot believe that you would endorse such a terrible candidate for congress.

Political Observer wrote on November 01, 2012 at 5:11 am

I have some questions about the News-Gazette's endorsement of Rodney Davis.  RIght after Davis graduated from Millikin University with a bachelor's degree in Political Science, he went to work for the felon George Ryan in Ryan's Secretary of State's office, back when Jim Edgar was Governor.  Thus Davis was at Ground Zero of the Driver's Licenses for Bribes Scandal, which took place in George Ryan's office, and that scandal was one of the things that later sent Ryan to prison. However, amazingly enough, Davis didn't see or hear anything funny going on among his co-workers at the time, who were taking the bribes and giving out the bogus licenses.  In fact, he was completely oblivious to the whole scandal then, and acts like it never even occurred now.  Davis even said in his recent WILL radio interview with Craig Cohen that in the 4 years he worked there, people were doing a great job in the Secretary of State's Office!  So did the News-Gazette give Davis some Bonus Endorsement Points for the excellent way he's been able to avoid any taint from his association with the felon George Ryan, despite working for him for about 4 years when the scandal was going on?

Also, when Rodney Davis temporarily served as the head of the State of Illinois Republican Party, he was right in the middle of an interesting money laundering-type scheme that was conducted in almost the same way that Tom DeLay was able to finance the Republican Party organization in Texas, in the scheme that took Mr. DeLay from Dancing with the Stars to Doing the Jailhouse Rock in the Federal Penitentiary:


This "send some money out, get some money back routine" was a very lucrative deal for the state-level Republican Party, and it enabled them to avoid the limits on campaign donations from a married couple with the mega-bucks. Since Rodney apparently hasn't been indicted yet, does that give him some additional Bonus Endorsement Points from the News-Gazette for his innovations in party fund-raising?

Finally, it looks like Rodney Davis' secret plan for creating new jobs in Illinois involves gutting the Clean Air Act of 1990, so that the high-sulphur coal found in Illinois can once again be burned in power plants (and thus once again create acid rain in the NE United States and in Canada).  Does Mr. Davis get some additional Bonus Endorsement Points from the News-Gazette for this innovative job plan as well?


Political Observer wrote on November 01, 2012 at 4:11 pm

Regarding the money laundering-like transfer scheme that Rodney Davis hatched while temporary head of the Illinois Republican Party, I should have also included a link to the article that's excerpted below.  (Both articles are by Doug Ibendahl, a Chicago Attorney and a former General Counsel of the Illinois Republican Party.  The one above details the money transfers that were used to bypass the contribution limits specified in Illinois law, while the article below expresses his surprise that Rodney Davis was selected by the party bosses anyway.)


“Party Hack Behind IL GOP Money Transfer Scheme Gets Nod for Congress”

[Excerpt]  Davis, who as long-time right-hand-man to Congressman John Shimkus and State GOP Chairman Pat Brady, has played a major role in making the Illinois Republican Party a national laughingstock. Most recently Davis helped orchestrate a quite possibly illegal contribution funneling scheme which has become a growing embarrassment to the party.

The discredited and unqualified Davis was inexplicably chosen over Erika Harold, a former Miss America, Harvard Law School graduate, and now a highly respected practicing attorney. The good-old-boys decided to reject the potential GOP rising star in favor of one of their own.

Today's vote was shameful, but not all that surprising given the decrepit condition of the Illinois GOP.


Doug Ibendahl is a Chicago Attorney and a former General Counsel of the Illinois Republican Party.



Sid Saltfork wrote on November 03, 2012 at 10:11 am

What was the purpose of the News Gazette's endorsement?  It was clear based on previous "news" articles that the News Gazette had already endorsed Davis.  Odd that the one, and only newspaper in a small media coverage area with a major university in it clings to ultra conservative views.  With no competition, the News Gazette holds a virtual lock on print "journalism".  The News Gazette's endorsement of Davis amounts to a political advertisment with the election a mere three days from now.  I get more information for influencing my vote from the comments on the opinion rather than from the opinion.

Political Observer wrote on November 03, 2012 at 10:11 am

Well don’t forget, Sid, the News-Gazette parent company also owns WDWS radio, the station that broadcasts a 5-hour hate-fest of disinformation every Monday to Friday, with 3 solid hours of Rush “Dittohead” Limbaugh, followed by 2 solid hours of Sean “Insanity” Hannity (and by “solid” there, I mean it in the sense of “solid waste“). They benefit financially from dumbing down the heartland and winning the race to the bottom.

I too have learned far more from the reader comments here than anything else the News-Gazette has provided in its articles. If you’d like to see more information on Rodney Davis, click on the links below. There’s more information on his advocacy for acid rain, his employment by George Ryan in the Illinois Secretary of State’s Office while the Bribes for Driver’s Licenses Scandal was going on, and other topics that the News-Gazette “accidentally forgot to cover.”





Sid Saltfork wrote on November 03, 2012 at 3:11 pm

Tomorrow the News Gazette endorses their candidate for President.   Want to bet $10,000 that it is Romney?  They could have made all of their endorsements in June instead of keeping the public in naive suspense.

Political Observer wrote on November 03, 2012 at 9:11 pm

Well, you're right, Sid, there's absolutely no suspense about who they're going to choose. Still, sometimes it's entertaining to see the zany antics and contortions the Three Stooges who come up with these endorsements have to go through to try to provide some justification for their choices...like when they said they couldn't possibly endorse a Democrat for the Illinois state house or senate until the leadership of the 2 chambers changes!...

Now that they've endorsed "Acid Rainman" Rodney Davis, it'll be interesting to see if they start doing big promotions on Dirty Air in general and start railing against people involved with the  American Lung Association and the Illinois Lung Association as a bunch of Kenyan Communists who have no proper birth certificates!