Thursday, September 08, 2005

450 People a Majority Does Not Make

Bernie Schoenburg, Springfield, Illinois, wrote an article about the official announcement of Rep. John Shimkus (IL-19) to dishonor his constituents and stay in Congress as long as possible. He will be on the ballot in 2006. If his enlightened and embittered constituents of any political party allow him to remain in office, he now promises to break his term-limit pledge and be on the ballot for a seventh term in 2008.

He made his announcement quietly at a Republican Party $30-per-person fundraiser event in deep southern Illinois last weekend. It was Friday night. The typical choice when a cowardly politician wants to announce his hypocrisy and have the news media lose it in the shuffle of Friday night publishing trash. Last Friday was even better since it was the long Labor Day weekend. Journalists will only receive any announcements after business hours when they return to work the following Tuesday. It was even better when the congressman’s staff avoided notifying interested media throughout the 19th CD to expect an imminent announcement. The media would have expected something in the aftermath of recent high-profile articles of personal lobbying from Pres. Bush and Speaker Hastert (IL-14). The arm-twisting from those two must have been incredibly severe.

Obviously, the only way for a former plebe to break a solemn promise and pretend he is saving face is to quietly announce on the Friday night of a holiday weekend. That way it takes several days for any word of the decision to reach the rest of the 19th CD. In addition, Rep. Shimkus, coward- extraordinaire, avoided all questions from major media reporters. Interviews were out of the question – unless someone chooses to discuss other issues that will make him look good. He does not need reasons to hug himself, but they are always welcome.

The Pre-World Trotting Derby Banquet at the Williamson County Pavilion had 450 attendees that choose to believe a lackluster congressman pretending to work hard for his constituents should remain in office indefinitely. Misguided Republicans making excuses for the congressman are not a majority.

The real 19th CD majority is disappointed in a man that chooses to represent them only when that representation benefits his true constituency: the insurance, health care, and pharmaceutical companies -- in addition to the oil and gas industry, the energy companies, and communication technologies. He welcomed PAC money from Enron (and TRMPAC and Westar and more than the legal limit from Wal-Mart) and reciprocated by voting in favor of a $250 million tax break for the now-defunct company. His excuse was the usual: The tax break would have benefited “many companies in Illinois that provide local jobs”.

This is typical rhetoric from the man. So. IL's economic health is worse than ever. The counties of the 19th CD suffer some of the highest unemployment numbers in the state. All legislation that benefits labor is a guaranteed Role Call NO vote from John Shimkus, too.

The congressman prefers to pretend that he lifts a finger to do something. The attitude is comparable to Nero fiddling while Rome burns. Why should he care? He sleeps well at night and can still tolerate his reflection in the mirror. He is in the White House's good graces.

“When the president of the United States and the majority of your constituents urge you to run, how can you not?" Shimkus said at Friday's dinner, according to the Marion Daily Republican.
The comment is a 180-degree turn from his October 1996, comment.
Shimkus said he favored term limits because "the people want them" and because it's nearly impossible to defeat an incumbent.
He has limited speaking to his staunchest supporters regardless of whatever nooks and crannies his staff has to find them in. He has avoided the majority of his constituency that cannot wait for him to leave office with a voter-imposed term limit.

To those too near and not dear who know the true John Shimkus, this is typical behavior. He is a commonplace, duplicitous, fraudulent control-freak that works hard to maintain a facade of the competent integrity of a good guy. They know he will maintain respect for and a trust in the staff he inherited from former Governor Ryan (someone has to raise campaign contributions on federal time). To him, the rest are
his minions not worthy of even a modicum of respect. They will continue to receive the usual supercilious indifference and witness his temper tantrums. They will never receive reimbursement for John's legitimate expenses. He expects them to work for wages below poverty level and pay for his expenses -- whatever they are. Human decency is beyond his comprehension.

As some had predicted, John Shimkus has elevated himself to the kind of burdensome professional politician he actively campaigned against not so long ago. It is not a crime to be a professional politician to help the district’s constituents. It is a real crime against humanity and democracy to promise selfless service to the public trust and then selfishly remain in office perpetually leaving people with
bupkis until someone dreams up a better offer -- legitimately -- or not.

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