Thursday, October 19, 2006

Ooh, I hear elections are coming up

Most of my ballot choices will be easy.

My Democratic congresswoman is in tune with my stances on all the issues, and in a heavily liberal district, she's likely to garner at leasst 70% of the vote. My U.S. senators—Barack Obama and Dick Durbin—aren't due up for reelection yet.

A lawyer friend gave me this link for bar associations' guidance on judicial candidates (with the advice to scroll down to find another link for the Chicago Bar Association's ratings listed elsewhere), so I'll print out whatever's there and take it to the polling place (conveniently located around the corner in Ben's school!).

For statewide offices, there are a bunch of Democratic incumbents to vote for. The only conflict here is that I'll have to hold my nose while voting for Rod Blagojevich. Sure, he tends toward corruption—that venerable Illinois/Chicago political tradition—but he's our corrupt politician. With his bold action on key issues near and dear to my heart—requiring Illinois pharmacists to fill prescriptions for emergency contraception, initiating universal health care coverage for the state's children, and proposing universal preschool—he's built up plenty of good will. That keeps me from considering his GOP rival, Judy Baar Topinka. She's a woman, yes, but Blago's feminist political credentials are probably better than hers.

Then we have the Cook County races. The big one here is the battle for the Cook County Board President seat, and those of you who aren't from the Chicago area may not have heard about it. (Cook County includes the city of Chicago as well as dozens of suburbs, and has a population of 5.3 million. So this is a significant post.) The Dem incumbent, John Stroger, was fond of political hiring and maintaining a business-as-usual stranglehold on political reform. In the primaries, a County Commissioner with the delicious name of Forrest Claypool fought hard for the Democratic nomination, and I strongly supported him. (I didn't donate or volunteer, but trust me—in my head, the support was fervent.)

Anyway, about three weeks before primary election day in March, John Stroger suffered a massive stroke. His volunteers picked up the pace with phone calls, and a seriously ill man handily won renomination. Eventually, he made it out of the hospital and into rehab, and eventually, without ever seeing or speaking to the media, John Stroger issued a letter. Or maybe he didn't. Maybe someone wrote and signed it for him—who knows? The letter said, in essence, "I'm stepping down and I want my son Todd on the ballot in my place in November." His son Todd, whose political and executive experience is meager, who has never served on the County Board. The Democratic officials acceded to this wish, whoever it belonged to, and thus Todd Stroger is on the ballot.

His Republican opponent is Tony Peraica, and local Democratic politicians sent me a letter mentioning Peraica's anti-choice and anti-gay record. Which means Peraica's views are antithetical to mine—except that he supports the reform efforts, while Todd Stroger's whole raison d'etre is "politics as usual." Todd Stroger isn't even making much of an effort to define himself as a candidate—really, one is left to see a vote for Stroger as a vote for continuing the malarkey that's gone on, and the best way to further Forrest Claypool's reform goals is to vote for a right-winger.

So I might actually vote for a Republican. The last time I did that, it was to send a representative to Springfield, and I think he was a Rhodes scholar. Peraica's much less appealing than that guy—whoever he was—but Cook County needs some housecleaning, and continuing an unenthusiastic Stroger dynasty is repugnant to me. It would be lovely to write in Claypool's name on my ballot, but Peraica will have to fight for every vote he gets in a blue city. A friend pointed out that the County Board Commissioners tend to have a Democratic majority, and so Peraica couldn't do much harm on that front.

If you're in Cook County, what do you think about the Stroger/Peraica faceoff?

12 comments:

treespotter said...

actually, i'm not even in the US, so i guess i'm totally out of your demographic, i'm keen to know about Obama tho. keep us posted.

RH said...

I agree with your ambivalence. It feels like a vote for Todd Stroger is anti-democracy - political positions shouldn't be inheritable! But I'm not sure I can bring myself to vote for a Republican.

I'm toying with writing in Claypool, just to protest (I hear Kang and Kodos saying "Go ahead! Throw your vote away!")

Becky..Absent Minded Housewife said...

In NV we are voting on whether or not to make carrying up to 1 ounce of marijuana legal...

It's bad enough going to the casino and having Hacky McHackerson sitting next to you at the slots putting her cigarette right under your nose...I can't imagine trying to enjoy your gambling sucking up secondhand pot smoke.

Anonymous said...

A vote for Todd Stroger is a vote for Divine Right of Kings and the right of royal succession.

But -- (at least until he fell out with his father-in-law) so also was a vote for Blago -- or Lisa Madigan -- or Dan Hynes -- or Dan Lipinski -- or George W. Bush, come to that.

Orange said...

Anon, I'm not in Lipinski's district, but disdain the way he assumed office. Lisa Madigan definitely benefited politically from her father's connections, but at least (a) she's qualified to be Attorney General and (b) she didn't assume her parent's post. Hynes, well, he's "merely" the state comptroller.

Todd Stroger stands to pick up an inordinate amount of political power, or to be a tool of those who wish to wield that power.

Mignon said...

Have you ever been involved with (I don't mean dating) The League of Women Voters? I just started going to meetings last month and find their efforts meaningful and informative. I know this doesn't address your Stroker/Pariah quandry, but I hate not commenting...

(Did you see Obama on Oprah yesterday? I was glad to see him sucking up only a little... And the no-corporate-jet thing is cool.)

Mary said...

The tribune has given a lot of coverage to this mess & I'm addicted to watching Chicago Tonight - Peraica has appeared there many times and given his side of things. Stroger can't even be bothered to show up as if the annointment by his father & the rest fo the machine means that he doesn't need to have a stand on any issues (and he doesn't). He also seems to shun attention the way a rat shuns daylight. Peraica has said that he will do nothing to change access to abortion clinics in Cook County and I think that with a strong Democratic council he would have a hard time accomplishing that anyway. I'm a Democrat to the core & I'm voting for him. Also - I got my MA in Poli Sci from UIC and studied under Dick Simpson, former alderman & reformer - he has had pieces published in the Sun Times endorsing Peraica - I trust his judgement. He should know Peraica- he studied under Dick Simpson as well.

A note about the Gubenatorial race - think about voting for the green party candidate. I don't think Topinka has a snowball's chance in hell, but you might be able to feel better about your vote if you don't give it to either one of the slippery ones.

apologies for any typos... no spell checker on here.

Anonymous said...

I'm a dem thru and thru having worked for the party in two election cycles, but i'm splitting my ticket for the first time this year. I'm voting for Rodogno for Treasurer b/c she smart, qualified, hard worker, and articulate. Her opponent seems to have mob ties and for treasurer I think that is a BAD. THING. Treasurer pretty much handles the discretionary spending and investing for the state. It's asking for more than trouble in this state. In the gov's race I am still undecided. I'm going to need a job in our fair state next year, so, self interest says Blago... But fuck that sucks. I like JBT, I had one funny incident with her at the capitol and have fond memories of her Eli's cheesecake and gorilla slipper days. It's worthwhile to vote green b/c it's looking like Whitney might get into the double digits and that's good for Illinois to have a third party to help straighten out our ballot qualification procedures. Complicated. Otherwise, voting D all the way down the ticket.

Anonymous said...

Oh, I'm a downstater.

Lucky Star said...

I finally got around to stopping by and you're talking POLITICS. Bleh. So, I cruised down to the awesome, bullet-point post about Ben...jamin. Much more my style! A couple of (admittedly belated) points: 1. My boys are also less-than ideal in their fine motor skills progress, so let's choose not to fret together. 2. He is, however, shamefully behind in the tooth-loss department! Max has lost (and replaced) all 4 of his front teeth, and Oliver has replaced 3 of his lost 4. So...neener-neener? What's my point?? Just beinga dork, I guess.

Anonymous said...

Here in PA I'm about to vote for an anti-abortion Democrat, because he HAS to be better than Rick Santorum. We got a flier from the Green party today pointing out that Casey and Santorum aren't all that different on many issues, including gay marriage and the war in Iraq and abortion rights. I know that...and yet I cling to the hope that Casey believes that evolution should be taught in science classes and that the Bill of Rights is a good thing.

The local Clean Water Alliance did a door-to-door poll a few months ago and asked who I planned to support. I said I was going to hold my nose and vote for Casey. She said "It's amazing how many people are saying that".

Jenni

Ginny said...

I'm in Cook County. The Daily Herald's poll says Peraica is ahead. The Trib's poll says Stroger is ahead.

I can't vote for Stroger. I can't not vote for anybody but Stroger. Does that make sense?

If I write in Forrest Claypool, I will feel like I voted my principles, but my vote will waste other peoples' time, and be wasted itself.

If I vote for Peraica, I vote for someone whose values are 180 degrees different from mine. But, a vote for Peraica is not a vote for Stroger.

Dammit, why the hell didn't the Loony Party field a candidate? Then my conscience wouldn't exactly be clear, but I'd have more fun voting.