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Sunday, March 09, 2008

A Tale of Two Districts, Parties

Last night Democrat Bill Foster won a special election to fill the vacated congressional seat of the Republican former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert. This election is sending shockwaves through the GOP leadership, because IL-14 is a solidly Republican district.

Losing the congressional seat of the former speaker to a scientist-turned-politician despite the cash strapped NRCC spending over a million dollars, and John McCain raising money and campaigning for the Republican candidate, is a bad sign. Furthermore, it was a proxy battle between Obama and McCain. Both presidential candidates went to the district to campaign for the candidates of their party, and apparently Obama helped more.

This election reminded me of something from years ago, however. Back in those dark days immediately after Bush's reelection, a certain longtime member of the Drexel College Republicans wrote a typically silly and inflammatory op-ed in The Triangle. He compared the respective congressional districts of then Democratic minority leader Pelosi and Republican Speaker of the House Hastert. The thesis was predictably obtuse; Republicans represent those "American heartland values" while Democrats represent decadent homosexual liberals from the coasts. Republicans go to church, Democrats worship the Church of Satan (that's actually in the op-ed...), etc. You get the point.

We all remember the Brooksian red state/blue state dichotomies. This op-ed was entirely unremarkable in that regard, and at the time I didn't feel it needed a response (although the following week a rebuttal was published). So I forgot about it. Until last night.

Because last night was a fitting retort to the op-ed, and indeed to the recent years of corrupt Republican rule. For Mr. Mulgrew, Hastert was the picture of America while Pelosi was an out of touch aristocrat presiding over a party doomed to irrelevancy. My, what three short years can do!

Democrats won back both chambers of congress in 2006 of course. In the process we learned just how morally corrupt the Republicans were, including that Dennis Hastert had covered up Republican congressman Mark Foley's attempted child molestation. We also learned how Hastert, as Speaker, used a federal earmark to build a highway through property he owned in IL, earning him a hefty $1.5 million profit at taxpayers expense.

Of course, we could go on, but you get the point. We are now at a place where Republican politicians and their morally bankrupt agenda are so toxic that they can't even win the vacated seat of their former speaker in a solidly "red" district.

Bill Foster is an accomplished scientist, having worked at Fermilab and on the IMB proton-decay-detector (which also helped confirm the existence of the neutrino). He is a the perfect example of the Democratic support for science and rational governence, contrasted with Republican faith-based-corruption. Congratulations to him for his victory, and to Senator Obama for his victory in the proxy fight with Mccain.

The only way I could possibly end this post is by quoting, in it's entirety, the final paragraph from Mr. Mulgrew's op-ed three years ago.
Keep up the good work, Dems! You're only making our job easier. In '06, there are more Democratic senators running for re-election in states Bush won than Republican senators running in states Bush Lost. Good-Luck!"

Click "There's more..." for the rest of the post.