Friday, November 07, 2008

10-4 on 11/4/08

I’m about post-election analyzed out for the week. You can listen and/or watch my interpretations and the perceptions of other political junkies from panels and interviews in which I participated this week:

And here's a recap of the most common and obvious questions discussed:

What does President-Elect Barack Obama’s win mean for Illinois?
  • Read Illinois IssuesPRE-election analysis here. reporter Dan Vock reminds readers that while Illinois officials form their wish lists, this state won’t get its fair share of construction dollars or other earmarks unless the state General Assembly and the governor finally approve a capital plan. Also, Obama has "railed against earmarks," Vock writes.
  • In the next year, we'll also watch for Obama’s presidency to affect Illinois tourism and Illinois scrutiny. And he could increase awareness about life in urban areas, as well as the effort to protect the Great Lakes and, maybe, just maybe, the effort to bring FutureGen to Mattoon. Whether that all translates into more money for Illinois, however, will be interesting to watch.
  • If Obama continues to recruit Illinoisans to his cabinet in Washington, D.C., then the vacancies left by those state and Chicago officials will enhance the domino effect already in play.
  • Obama ’08 completely changed the ground game and the technological savvy required of political campaigns.

What is the future of the Illinois GOP?

Former Illinois Gov. Jim Edgar says his party needs to move toward the center, particularly when recruiting gubernatorial and U.S. Senate candidates. That’s with the understanding that some politicians should continue representing their conservative Illinois districts.

Edgar also says the thing that concerns him the most is that to be a viable political party nationally, the GOP has to secure the Hispanic vote. “We’re going to have to show a little more sympathy and understanding and try to bring Hispanics in more party roles and run them for office and show that we appreciate them being part of the Republican Party.” Either way, the state GOP will have to overcome perceptions of the national Republican Party, which Edgar says took most of the blame in the court of public opinion for killing immigration reforms a couple of years ago.

Political scientist Paul Green of Roosevelt University says the Democratic wave rippling through the nation is sustainable, and it’s not exactly created by what the Democrats are doing. “It’s what the Republicans are not doing. You have a Republican Party that’s fighting against itself.”

He, like Edgar, says the middle is where the GOP needs to aim if it wants to attract and retain new individuals in Cook and Lake counties. He points to the reelection wins of two moderate Republicans in the Chicago suburbs: Rep. Rosemary Mulligan of Des Plaines and Rep. Beth Coulson of Glenview. Both survived targeted races. “And they’ve been able to withstand the Democratic Party because their issues and their positions are much more aligned with the people living out there,” Green says.

He adds that his philosophy on what the Republicans should do resembles what he wrote for Illinois Issues in 1978: Downstate holds the key to victory. Right now, he says, downstate is irrelevant. If Democrats carry Chicago, suburban Cook County and a few of Chicago’s surrounding counties, then there aren't enough people downstate to help Republicans win a statewide election.

“So the Republican Party has to decide does it want to remain divided, or does it want to find itself back to where it used to be — a party of small government, lower taxes and business growth? If they do that, they have a chance to rebound. If they keep talking about abortion and guns and gays and stem cell research, they are going to keep losing.”

Will Con-Con 2008 turn into Con-Con 2010?
Read Wednesday’s post to see what Con-Con supporters say. They are unlikely to pursue legal action to reverse or redo Tuesday’s 68 percent “no” vote. But they likely could pursue legal action to clarify the process of future referenda.

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