Friday, October 27, 2006

Where is John Shimkus?

As he quickly loses support from his most loyal fans and media editors, Rep. John Shimkus has chosen to campaign for re-election on a minimalist level. He calls it a maintenance campaign only appearing with those who would temporarily heal his broken self-esteem or students too young to vote. Others would describe his actions as saving what little dignity he has left. There are many reasons why he is toast on a sinking ship.

  • Minimalist perfectly describes the congressional record for Mr. Shimkus. He has limited most of his accomplishments to providing pork funds to a select few IL-19 recipients and the Republican agenda of Social Darwinism.
  • Veterans' legislation receives only a passing glance from him. His record rates a C+. It is a dismal score for an alleged weekend warrior and West Point graduate.
  • When he ventures away from his comfort zone, his true colors shine through. Translation: Bupkis for Illinois.
  • An accurate characterization of true Republican values that appeared in the Peoria Journal Star on the Editorial Cartoon page, and many voters in IL-19 readily identify Mr. Shimkus with it.
  • Deflecting blame is standard for the Republican incumbent. It is easy to blame senior citizens for a high deficit. Too easy.
  • His inexcusable behavior as chairman of the House Page Board has been nothing short of dereliction of duty. I don't care says it all.
  • Add all of the facts, and people begin to realize that he is a banal master of obfuscation (He has turned it into an art form!) and a pseudo-representation of the values he once held near and dear.
  • Mr. Shimkus first squeaked into Congress as a freshman with one-half of one percent of the vote. Over the years, he has shown the voters that he prioritizes his agenda of self-interests over the best interests of the people. Some look around their neglected district and would argue that they have never been his concern anyway.
These are only eight of the most obvious reasons why re-election is a pipe dream for Mr. Shimkus. His campaign is a sinking ship. His concession speech is long overdue. Dan Stover is the Democratic candidate and the better choice to represent IL-19!!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Cruising Means Losing

Sen. Richard Durbin and Gov. Rod Blagojevich attended the JFK Dinner October 20, 2006, in Collinsville. They enthusiastically supported Councilman Danny Stover (D-Centralia) for the 19th Congressional District in Illinois.

Sen. Durbin also had something to say about the demand for an apology from Rep. John Shimkus (R-Collinsville). As everyone knows, his inappropriate decisions in the Capitol Hill pages' scandal involving former GOP Rep. Mark Foley proved he lacks the leadership skills necessary to represent the people. As a result, Sen. Durbin correctly pointed out that Mr. Shimkus does NOT deserve one. He reminded everyone that the Pages and their parents really deserve a most heart-felt apology from Congress.

One day after telling the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that he probably would have done the same thing if given another chance . . . (St. Louis Post- Dispatch, 10/12/06)
According to a recent poll, 79 percent of Americans believe House Republican leaders were more concerned about their political standing than about the safety of teenage Congressional pages. (New York Times, 10/10/06)
Instead of explaining to voters why he failed to launch an investigation into whether Foley had inappropriate contact with other Congressional pages or alert criminal authorities to the possibility that a member of Congress was preying on minors, Shimkus has joined House Republican leaders in trying to deflect blame. Last week, in his desperation to avoid responsibility, Shimkus called the page scandal a political agenda by the Democrats and said the media had fallen hook, line and sinker for an October surprise orchestrated by his former friends who are Democrats and who are leading this charge. (Copley News Service, 10/4/06)
If the U. S. Military Academy at West Point has added a leadership course entitled Deflecting Blame 101, then-Cadet Shimkus must have been a stellar student! His high academic score in the class would have been enough to keep him from from achieving Class Goat.

In addition to receiving support from a senior senator and the state's governor, Stover has a formal endorsement from the media:

In the Illinois 19th, which takes in a bright red swath of Illinois from Springfield southward, Rep. John Shimkus, 48, was cruising toward a sixth term until his name popped up in the investigation of the scandal surrounding former Rep. Mark Foley, R-Fla. As head of the House Page Board, Mr. Shimkus confronted Mr. Foley in the fall of 2005 over one relatively innocuous e-mail to a former page. Mr. Shimkus says he had no inkling that Mr. Foley's problems went deeper. There is a lot of guilt, he said, adding I am pretty clueless on people's private lives.
We take him at his word. His consistent support for the White House's economic policies and incursions against civil liberties is harder to accept. Since 2004, when he broke his pledge not to seek more than four terms in Congress, Mr. Shimkus seems to have settled in as a member of the go along to get along crowd.

His Democratic challenger is Dan Stover, 55, the retired chairman of the political science department at Kaskaskia College in Centralia. He says Mr. Shimkus'
shallow and incompetent investigation of the Foley affair brought a newfound attention to his race, but acknowledges he faces a dollars and lines problem. Mr. Shimkus has 10 times more dollars to spend on his campaign than Mr. Stover, and the 19th district's boundary lines heavily favor Republicans.

Still, Mr. Stover is a credible alternative for voters looking for an independent, progressive voice in Congress. He asks voters if they've
had enough of Republican control, of a misguided war, of threats to abortion rights, of unfair trade policies, of big pay raises for Congress and tax cuts for the wealthy and no increase in the minimum wage. Regardless of what Mr. Shimkus told Mr. Foley, Dan Stover is the better choice." (St. Louis Post Dispatch, 10/23/2006)

It is about time. The Post-Dispatch is supposed to be a Democratic newspaper. In the past 10 years, the editors have chosen to consistently endorse John Shimkus -- for whatever reason.

Also, the Principia College Democrats in Elsah (Jersey County) are on the bandwagon:

Tuesday, October 24, the Campus Democrats at Principia College are hosting the Post-Dispatch endorsed (!) Danny Stover and State Sen. Deanna Demuzio for a meet-and-greet. A representative from Gov. Blagojevich' s campaign will also be on hand. We warmly invite you to join us in Holt Gallery at Principia College at 7:00 PM tomorrow night for a chance to converse with these candidates and let them know what is one your mind!

As usual, the Madison County Democrats remain silent and no where to be found. They can stay that way. They have little to offer this year -- if anything.

Update: The State Journal-Register in Springfield formally endorsed Dan Stover for IL-19:

Because Illinois' 19th Congressional District has been precisely carved to remove the Democratic base in its midsection, the national Democratic Party has all but ignored candidate Danny Stover in his effort to unseat five-term Republican incumbent John Shimkus. We think this is a shame, because Stover is a strong candidate who deserves both the voters' attention and their votes.

When Shimkus ran for Congress in 1996, he billed himself as an outsider who would bring fresh perspective to the U.S. House. He pledged he would support imposing term limits in Congress and signed a pledge vowing to serve no more than 12 years himself. Shimkus now has his own political action committee, the John S Fund, which until last March was headed by lobbyist Mark Valente. Those are pretty strong Washington insider credentials. That 12-year term-limit pledge? Well, Shimkus had a change of heart last year and decided he will not honor it.

Shimkus' loyalty to President Bush on Iraq war policy was symptomatic of a Congress that abrogated its role as a check on executive power, thus allowing the administration to pursue its terribly flawed war plan virtually unhindered. Stover has pledged to take Congress' oversight role seriously. He also favors an immigration policy that punishes employers of illegal immigrants, raising the minimum wage and drug courts as an alternative to prison for some drug offenders.

We wish Stover had more national party support so his message would reach more voters. (State Journal-Register, 10/24/2006)

How true -- every word. The Southern Illinoisan in Carbondale should be next. Regardless, Rep. John Shimkus is toast on a sinking ship.

Nuf said.


Friday, October 13, 2006

Madison County Has Polling Results

Many people have probably already heard about the polling Constituent Dynamics performed for the Illinois congressional races. It is a month before the Mid-Term Election so the results for IL-19 prove that the election results can still go either way. According to the word on the streets of Madison County, the IL-19 race is closer than many realize.

There are tracking poll results for Madison County only. It is significant because it is the most populated county in IL-19 with Sangamon the second most populated. To win the congressional district, a person has to carry Madison County.

Both Rep. John Shimkus (R-Collinsville) and Councilman Dan Stover (D-Centralia) polled at 43 percent each. This is in addition to the Time Magazine

[. . .] 54 percent saying they are more likely to vote for a Democratic candidate for Congress and 39 percent a Republican - a margin of advantage for the Democratic Party that is 11 points higher than what Time's survey found in June. (By Mark Silva Chicago Tribune)

Now voters have to decide whether they believe Mr. Shimkus and how they feel about his lack of responsibility and accountability in his version of events:

I think there's stuff that everybody would have done differently in hindsight, said Rep. John Shimkus, R-Ill., after he testified for more than three hours before the House ethics committee.

[. . .] The Illinois Republican kept the two other House Page Board members, including the panel's sole Democrat, in the dark when he confronted Foley last fall. He did so, he says, to follow the wishes of the boy's parents, who wanted the matter to remain private and wanted Foley to stop sending the boy overly friendly e-mails.

[. . .] Having 20/20 hindsight, a lot of things would have been done differently, he said.

[. . .] Shimkus has said it was the first time he learned Foley was too friendly with pages.

When the clerk showed me the excepts of the e-mail ... that this family was concerned of, that was the first time that I had any indication that I needed to address Congressman Foley, Shimkus said.

At worst, the Republican congressman, with direct oversight of teenage pages, is guilty of doing nothing to protect a sexual predator for partisan gain. At the very least, the Republican congressman is guilty of dereliction of duty. The operative word is guilty.

Closer to home, the fallout has become obvious. There are no debates on the schedule. Mr. Shimkus endorsed John Cavaletto (IL-107) in a taped video commercial. After airing once or twice Kurt Granberg (IL-107) had the commercial pulled and replaced it with an endorsement commercial from former Gov. Jim Edgar.

John Shimkus is an elected official refusing to take responsbility and accept accountability. Speaker Dennis Hastert needs a sacrificial lamb and will gladly assign that role to his very good friend from Collinsville.

John Shimkus is imploding in slow motion.

On November 07, 2006, John Shimkus is toast.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

'I Don't Care'

At the beginning of October, everyone discovered what the Republican House staff already knew. Rep. John Shimkus (IL-19) let ex-Rep. Mark Foley (R-FL) spend a lot of time with pages, including private dinner with one, after the Grand Old Party (GOP) knew Foley was a problem . That was the page class of 2001-2002. With that discovery, everyone knew that John Shimkus is toast. The June 06, 2002, video confirms the facts as they are part of the Congressional Record:

MR. SHIMKUS: I thank my colleague. Now someone who spends a lot of time with you also, the gentleman from Florida (Mr. Foley), would like to say a thank you.

Mark Foley also recounts the time when he cruised with one male page in his BMW to a private dinner in downtown Washington, D.C. The page needed permission from the Clerk of the House, Jeff Trandahl, and the Republican staffer who works for Republican Speaker of the House J. Dennis Hastert (IL-14). Mr. Trandahl joined Mr. Shimkus in 2005 to talk to Mr. Foley about the inappropriate e-mail message traffic with the first child who got this scandal started.

Everyone knew Mr. Foley enjoyed the company of young male pages a little too much, and no one had any concerns. Telling his cruising story in front of Mr. Shimkus proves that he had no issues with Foley’s proclivities either. The AmericaBlog post at the beginning of October asked very valid questions:

The thing that is frustrating to me is that I am not the bad guy here, Shimkus said in an interview with the Chicago Tribune. Leadership is not the bad guy. The bad guy is whoever had these explicit instant messages that were done in 2003 and held them. That's the bad guy ... because those instant messages are what put these kids at risk.

Mr. Shimkus, who did not inform other members of the page board about the meeting, would later say that he had ordered Mr. Foley to cease all contact with the teenager. He also had not asked Mr. Foley whether he had communicated with other pages by e-mail, but Speaker Hastert said Mr. Shimkus did.

First, why would you tell someone to stay away from underage kids if you did not think something was wrong? If you thought something was wrong, why would you not make further inquiries?

Second, if someone is told to stay away from kids (pages) and they've done nothing wrong, their natural reaction is to scream bloody murder. Imagine if someone asked you to stay away from children when you've done nothing wrong. I, for one, would tell this accuser to take a flying leap and I would scream bloody murder to the media and everyone else I know that this person is trying to smear me.

When Foley never questioned Shimkus' request to stay away from pages, does this not raise very large bright red flags to Shimkus? As the leader of the page program, does Shimkus not owe a duty to all the pages to make sure he's not missing something.
Responsibility and accountability are certainly missing in action in IL-19. Many have known this for years. Others prefer to remain suckers regardless of the proof: I don't care whether it was politically motivated - you're the one who cares about that. I don't care! I don't care! I don't care! -- U.S. Rep. John M. Shimkus (IL-19), on Jim Leach's morning show on WMAY-AM radio in Springfield, Illinois, October 05, 2006.

Contrary to the partisan attitude that Mr. Shimkus has used in response to his colleague’s behavior, it has no place in this issue. Ron from has this to offer:

I think it is more of a matter of trust. We expect people in a political or religious positions to be trustworthy. Regardless of their position, they need to held accountable for their actions. People that cover up for them, or lay blame on the feet of others need to held accountable. These are children that are being abused, by adults. Put the politics aside and do the right thing for these children and America.
Obviously, the pages had no reason to trust those in charge – especially the Chair of the Page Board. There are two possibilities to consider:
  1. Dennis Hastert and John Shimkus are the very good, close friends they claim to be and share information as close friends typically do (which means they are both lying).
  2. Dennis Hastert only claims that John Shimkus is a very good, close friend, has known the facts for several months, and kept the truth from the IL-19 congressman (which means that one person is a liar and the other person is set up to take the fall).
Voters have to decide what they want to believe. What is certain is that dereliction of duty runs amok on Capital Hill, and the Cadet Code is long forgotten.

Lost in all of the questions is Mr. Foley -- a very ill man. His sexual predatory behavior is a cry for help -- has been for years. Instead of asking questions, showing concern, acknowledging the signs, & providing help, the leadership did NOTHING except cover their political butts. Too few facts. Too many inconsistencies. People deserve accountability from their elected representatives not self-serving politics for a myriad of reasons: the culture of corruption, war in Iraq, tax breaks for the rich, campaign contributions from special interests, politicians doing their bidding, the Budget, trade deficits. They all abound uncontrollably.

EVERYONE knows Mr. Shimkus is toast. Everyone except Rep. Rahm Emanuel (IL-05), Chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. All he has to say about Dan Stover, his Party’s challenger against John Shimkus, is that he has a lot to offer.
Emanuel criticized Shimkus only to the extent that he said Shimkus should have
informed Democrats on the page oversight board about the suggestive e-mails a
member of Congress sent to a page.

He also declined to sharply criticize Speaker Hastert: This has not been one of his best moments, but we all get judged by the totality. In other words, voters who are unhappy with what is happening in Washington should elect Democrats.

Rep. Emanuel’s gift of understatement was lost in his more prolific, albeit misplaced, endorsement of Tammy Duckworth, his Party’s candidate for IL-06 running against State Sen. Peter Roskam (R-Wheaton). His support for her never waivers even when she puts her
entire foot in her mouth.

Ron: In the end, each of us must define what progressive means to us. And to answer my own question Am I a Progressive, you bet I am. That is why I support Danny Stover in IL-19 for Congress over John Shimkus the conservative Republican Yes man of President Bush.

The I don't care statement from John Shimkus says it all. The answer is a person that does care:

  • Centralia Office, 415 E. Calumet St. P.O.Box 1945 Centralia IL 62801Hours 9-5 M-F
  • Edwardville Office, 230 S. Buchanan Edwardsville, IL 62025 Hours 4-8 M-F 10-6 S 618-655-0111
  • Springfield Office, 206 S. 6th St. Springfield IL 62701 Call for hours 217-891-7038

Sunday, October 01, 2006

6 Hours Creates 40 Days of Excuses

The Grand Old Party's duck and cover rhetoric spins wildly after Rep. John Shimkus (IL-19) and Speaker Dennis Hastert (IL-14) hid behind closed doors for 6 hours. From the New York Times, overfriendly has new meaning:

Top House Republicans knew for months about e-mail traffic between Representative Mark Foley and a former teenage page, but kept the matter secret and allowed Mr. Foley to remain head of a Congressional caucus on children’s issues, Republican lawmakers said Saturday.

[. . .] Among those who earlier this year became aware of the fall 2005 communications between Mr. Foley and the 16-year-old page, who worked for Representative Rodney Alexander, Republican of Louisiana, were Representative John A. Boehner, the majority leader, and Representative Thomas M. Reynolds of New York, chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee. Mr. Reynolds said in a statement Saturday that he had also personally raised the issue with Speaker J. Dennis Hastert.

[. . .] In a chronology of the incident released later Saturday, the speaker’s office said Mr. Hastert did not recall any such discussion and had no previous knowledge of the matter. While the speaker does not explicitly recall this conversation, he has no reason to dispute Congressman Reynolds recollection that he reported to him on the problem and its resolution, the statement said.

The statement, issued after senior aides, the House clerk and legal advisers huddled for much of Saturday in the Capitol, said senior staff members in the speaker’s office first learned of the e-mail messages from Mr. Alexander’s office in the fall of 2005 and took steps to investigate.

Aides to the speaker and other Congressional Republican leaders said that the messages brought to their attention, though described as overfriendly, were much less explicit than the others that came to light after ABC News first disclosed the e-mail correspondence with Mr. Alexander’s page.

[. . .] No one in the speaker’s office was made aware of the sexually explicit text messages which press reports suggest had been directed to another individual until they were revealed in the press and on the Internet this week, the statement from Mr. Hastert’s office said.

[. . .] Representative Christopher Shays, Republican of Connecticut, said any leader who had been aware of Mr. Foley’s behavior and failed to take action should step down. If they knew or should have known the extent of this problem [emphasis added], they should not serve in leadership, Mr. Shays said.

[. . .] The leaders also said they had asked for specific rules governing the communications and contacts between pages and lawmakers and called for creation of a toll-free number for pages and their parents to report concerns. They also Besides the leaders, other lawmakers and Congressional officers who served on the board that oversaw the page program were aware of e-mail messages, though the Democratic lawmaker who serves on the board, Representative Dale E. Kildee of Michigan, said Saturday that he had never been informed.

[. . .] Mr. Alexander’s office also contacted staff members in Mr. Hastert’s office for guidance on what to do and. According to the speaker’s account, his aides put Mr. Alexander’s staff in contact with the clerk of the House, who oversees the page program. The clerk, who at the time was Jeff Trandahl, referred the matter to Representative John Shimkus, the Illinois Republican who is the chairman of the House Page Board, in late 2005, a spokesman for Mr. Shimkus said.

Mr. Trandahl and Mr. Shimkus confronted Mr. Foley, who insisted he was simply acting as a mentor to the former page, officials said. He assured them nothing inappropriate had occurred.

They asked Foley about the email,
the speaker’s statement said. Congressman Shimkus and the clerk made it clear that to avoid even the appearance of impropriety and at the request of the parents, Congressman Foley was to immediately cease any communication with the young man.

On Saturday, Mr. Shimkus’ spokesman, Steve Tomaszewski, said, Obviously Foley lied about the other e-mails. said Saturday.

Mr. Tomaszewski said Mr. Shimkus would not comment on any other conversations he had with House leaders about the matter because it was referred to the ethics committee by a vote of House Friday. A spokesman for Mr. Alexander did not respond to telephone and e-mail messages.

[. . .] Tim Mahoney, the Democrat who had been running an uphill and barely watched race against Mr. Foley, used the new attention to his campaign on Saturday to accuse the Republican leadership of covering up for him.

It is now clear from all the reports coming in from across the country that the Republican leadership team has been well aware of this problem with the pages for well over a year, Mr. Mahoney said at a campaign stop at Palm Beach International Airport. It looks to me that it was more important to hold onto a seat and to hold onto power than to take care of our children.
Many are calling for the long-overdue resignations of Speaker Hastert and Rep. Shimkus. It is too late for them to withdraw from the ballots. There is one question that should be on EVERYONE's mind: If the Republicans cannot keep a few teenagers safe on The Hill, how can they keep the rest of Americans safe from anything or anyone????

IL-19 constituents should tell their congressman exactly how they feel -- in person. Here is his schedule for October:

  • 10/14 – Carmi Corn Day Parade, 5:00 p.m. start, Line-up begins on College Blvd (across from the high school)
  • 10/21 – VFS Fundraiser, 4:30 - 6:30 p.m., home of Bob Winchester Rosiclaire, call him to make a reservation.
  • 10/26 – Vandalia Lions Club Halloween Parade, 7:00 p.m. start, Vandalia
  • 10/30 – Annual Pasta Party, 5 - 7 p.m., Michael’s Restaurant, 415 Broadway, Highland, Contact: Jen Dillman
  • 10/31 – Halloween Parade, 6:30 p.m. start, Edwardsville, Line up at the Middle School
Remember: The power is really in the hands of the voters -- especially the really scared ones like Ron:
Mr. Shimkus, who chairs the Board, knew about these allegedly inappropriate e-mails from a fellow congressman to a minor for months (11 to be exact) and did not lift a finger, excuse me he said he took immediate action; what a phone call to the guilty party?

Would the Prosecutor in a murder or robbery case take the word of the guilty party? No he would make sure that the investigation was thorough, Shimkus held the position of the Prosecutor, with the House as the Judge, and he dropped the ball.

[. . .] It seems that the treasurer of Shimkus' campaign PAC, Mark Valente III, also lobbies for a gamut of interests, including the North American Coal Corp, Shimkus didn't find anything wrong in this. (one wonders at the United Mineworkers of America UMWA endorsement of Shimkus, in view of the fact that his PAC treasurer was on the payroll of the opposition to their supposed positions on labor).

Shimkus also dismisses suggestions that lobbyist-campaign connections are improper. Valente never lobbied him after he became his PAC treasurer, Shimkus said. I could not even tell you who he represents, he said.

Shimkus conceded that Valente's role as treasurer for him and other lawmakers probably gives him cachet with clients, who understand that it means he has a financial connection to those who hold power. That is Washington, Shimkus said.

Indeed, there is little question that lawmakers are likely to return a lobbyist's call more quickly if that lobbyist also volunteers for their campaigns and helps bring in campaign cash. And there's little doubt that lobbyists use their treasurer or other campaign titles in pitches to clients, as proof that they are wired in with Washington's power players.

IL-19 has seen the evidence of all these scandals and lies, they have seen and heard that Shimkus lied about limited terms, they can see that he is involved in the alleged cover-up of the Foley scandal, that people in his organization are lobbyist for the very firms he is supposed to govern.

A recent article in an IL-19 paper talked about Shimkus as a likeable guy, a real lamb. Yea right, a Wolf in sheep clothing. So who is afraid of the big bad wolf, I AM!
The best way to end being afraid of the big, bad wolf (that is an insult to the species, too!), donate to Dan Stover:
  • 10/03 – Fundraiser at Ramon’s (Beer and Nachos) 5 – 7 p.m., 1711 Collinsville Road, Collinsville
  • 10/08 – Fundraiser at Andiamo¡ (Ham and Beans), 5 – 7 p.m., Hosted by Sen. Dick Durbin, 204 South Sixth Street, Springfield
  • 10/12 – Fundraiser at Eastside Design (Appetizers), 5 – 7 p.m., Special Guests: Sheila Simon & Perry Knop, 4700 Broadway, Mt. Vernon
It is money well spent, cheap to Shump Dimkus at twice the price. Donate to the better person for the job!


Update: during the past 48 hours, the Stover Campaign has been running itself -- for a very good reason. Hat tip Michael!!!!!

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