March 13, 2005

It was the best of politicians, it was the worst of politicians

In a bit of rank plagerism, I've stolen an idea from Rich Miller at The Capitol Fax Blog and expanded upon it a bit.

Who, in your opinion, is the best politician politically around here and why? In other words, who plays the game most successfully with political skill and finess? Who wheels and deals like a car salesman? Who could fall off a log into the Mississippi and come up with a salmon in his mouth?

And who is the best politician as far as being honest and honorable and accomplishing the most for their constituents and the area?

They can be one in the same, obviously.

And lest we stay too positive around here, tell us who you think is the absolute worst in those two categories as well. Who's incompetent? Who's weaker than circus lemonade? Who's only in it for themselves or their cronies? Who's in the bag for special interests? Who's a collosal phony? You get the idea.

We'll limit it to Illinois and Iowa, though naturally, I'm assuming it will concentrate a little closer to home. And remember kids, it can be either R's or D's.

And as always, points will be awarded for originality and penmanship.

So dream up those pen names and fire up the keyboards.


At 3/13/2005 6:55 PM, Anonymous It's Miller Time said...

I would have to go with freshly-retired Sen. Denny Jacobs. He knows how to wheel and deal for the good of the district (something Lane Evans has difficulty doing because he's much more ideologically liberal). Denny combines honesty with the ability to get things done.

At 3/13/2005 7:51 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

One should bear in mind when comparing Evans and Jacobs that one is national, the other is state.
Evans often is called upon to vote on issues that affect the entire country, and as such, his ideology is of value. State pols don't deal as often with issues that are overtly ideological. There's plenty of room to wheel and deal without giving it all away.

The Dope is very grateful that Evans is liberal and shudders to think of what it would be like if we were represented in the US house by some right-wing bozo. I for one would gladly trade a person who is right on the issues and who holds liberal beliefs than some small-minded conservative who might bring in a few more bucks to a few constituents.

At 3/13/2005 7:53 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

AND... Evans can't be THAT bad a politician if he's retained his seat for so many years. Lord knows that the Repubs have thrown everything but the kitchen sink at him.
And he recently won the River City Reader reader's poll for best politician in the QCs.

At 3/13/2005 9:27 PM, Blogger Dissenter said...

This is a rather challenging assignment. I would argue in support of Senator Durbin or Senator Obama, but I believe them to be outside the scope of "local" politicians contemplated by the topic. If they were included, then I would argue that Senator Durbin is the best politically (in relation to Senator Obama, Senator Durbin has so much more experience that to award Senator Obama this praise would seem unjust at this early stage of Senator Obama's career).

The best LOCAL politician is Lane Evans. Notwithstanding that he and the Senators I considered are all federal legislators, I included Congressman Evans while excluding the Senators as local politicians, only because Congressman Evans is from Rock Island, whereas Senator Durbin is from Springfield and Senator Obama from Chicago.

Congressman Evans has accomplished so much for our area, while heroically overcoming the challenges of his severe physical challenges to do so. He co-sponsored the Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users, an Act which will likely bring sorely needed federal funding for a major highway expansion project through Whiteside County. He has aggressively sought funding for the unfunded mandate of No Child Left Behind. Though his role as one player on a minority team in the House of Representatives renders his initiatives more challenging to attain, he has nevertheless achieved significant successes in his advocacy of bio-fuels and truly cleaner emissions standards. All of this, while suffering the catastrophic effects of Parkinsons. He is a hero in the local democratic party, and he deserves our admiration.

Worst local politician? That is perhaps more challenging for me, because you, better than I, know the local Quad City politicians. For me, the worst is Republican State Representative Jerry Mitchell of the 90th District. I believe that it is disrespectful, thoughtless, and immature to refer to a state representative as "stupid," or to engage in conclusory name-calling, so I will resist the childish temptation to cast such aspersions, and simply say this: that guy is an idiot! Under Jerry Mitchell's tenure, our district has lost more industry, more jobs, and more money than under any other representative. While Northwestern Steel and Wire was closing its doors, Jerry Mitchell was arguing in favor of Weaken the Juries legislation (sometimes erroneously referred to as "Tort Reform Legislation"). While Tyco Industries just announced yesterday that it will close its plant and transfer 200 jobs to Mexico, Jerry Mitchell is busy clamoring for a fat dog registry. I had a long conversation with him once, and it actually made me dumber.

At 3/13/2005 10:31 PM, Anonymous Pops said...

Lane Evans is in a class by himself. I voted for Evans (and the great Paul Simon) everytime I had the opportunity. I first dealt with Evans 20 years ago and he helped me right a wrong perpetuated by a cumbersome useless military structure. I called myself a staunch conservative Republican at the time but I had nothing but respect for these two giants. A year ago that same useless structure tried to take away my rights again but a visit to the Evans office halted the attempt in it's dirty tracks. Selecting and maintaining the right staff is another reflection of his worth. Obama has a young staff and I'm sure it will be a very good one. Durbin's staff leave something to be desired based upon my experiances. Two Bushes, war for Iraqi oil, spending that makes LBJ look like a piker, more government control over my life that ever before are just a few the reasons that brought me into the Democratic party. Another local person of courage is Pat O'Brien, candidate for mayor of Moline. He will listen to you on the phone, in a group meeting, in your garage, wherever! He showed his moxie recently when he voted against the new library. I will comment on other comments once they start rolling in! Till then, goodbye from Pops!

At 3/13/2005 11:00 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Hey Pops, welcome to the show!

At 3/13/2005 11:25 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

dissenter, I'm laughing my ass off. That last line... TOO funny.

At 3/13/2005 11:51 PM, Anonymous Johnny Paycheck said...

Great challenge!

Tom Railsback, the 17th District Congressman from the mid-1960's until the early 1980's when the right-wing Republicans ran him out of office. Now he was an honorable public official. A liberal Republican who fought for open housing and civil rights and voting rights, as a member of the House Judiciary Committee he played a leading role in the impeachment of President Nixon.

He also keep the door wide open to organized labor up here, and I think maintained a strong level of integrity throughout his career.

Let's see, you've got to put Lane Evans in high regard. His strong integrity and commitment to causes is admirable in this age of blow-dried hair politicians.

John Gianulis. Hell, he took over the county when it was Republican and transformed it into a Democratic county.

Denny Jacobs. Strong voice for our region. Candid, honest, genuine.

Mark Schweibert, Rock Island Mayor.
First-rate, top notch on policy and representing the city. Rumored to be ready to run for Congress on the Democratic ticket if there is an opening.

At 3/14/2005 12:19 AM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

There's gotta be some horrid public officials around here, even if it's in the past.
Who was that R.I. alderman that was thrown out of his house and living on the streets or something and got caught because he didn't even live in R.I.? I don't recall the details, but it was a weird situation.
Has this area had only laudable, straight-arrow poltiticians? Surely that can't be true. Maybe they've just not been caught at anything too huge.

At 3/14/2005 8:40 AM, Anonymous Fly said...

Incompetent? I'd have to go with Davenport's alderman Keith Meyer. The guy's not stupid. And I probably shouldn't pick on him since he has that hearing problem. But he's sometimes so inarticulate that he's borderline incoherent. He tends to jump all over the lot topic-wise. He's got a perspective sufficiently atypical that he often comes off loony. He shows no sign of being able to work with most of the other aldermen (although I think that works both directions). And he's been almost totally ineffective (barring a few 6-4 or 5-5 votes where his one vote mattered to the outcome). If he doesn't take this particular prize, he's certainly set the bar awfully high for any other potential prize-winner!

At 3/14/2005 10:22 AM, Anonymous jodie said...

Jacobs' office works for the people more than any other politically held office in our region. His staff is the best!

At 3/14/2005 1:47 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Meyers is definitely NOT your typical politician, nor do I think he's ever wanted to be. He's done some terrific things in the past, and he's certainly to be commended for being so civic minded.

I'm sure he aggrevates other alderman due to his eccentric style.

He's often a square peg in a round hole, but The Dope knows him to be a gentle soul who is guided by trying to do what he believes is best for Davenporters.

But you're correct in that he certainly belongs on a list of politicians who are the worst at politics. He's terrible at playing the game and appears either wilful or clueless when it comes to going along with the unwritten rules.

But he's certainly not corrupt or dishonest by any measure and has spent the majority of his life trying to help others.

At 3/14/2005 10:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think Rock Island Mayor Mark Schweibert is outstanding.

Also, let's not forget Silvis Mayor Lyle Lohse. He quietly gets the job done.

And former State Rep. Bob DeJaegher, who started the health clinic for the poor, certainly deserves mention as being a good public servant.

At 3/15/2005 7:55 AM, Anonymous Fly said...

To clarify: It was never my intention to malign Meyer's integrity, only his political skills (which are virtually non-existant). I tend to agree that he's a good guy with a good heart.

In fact, I'm watching the line-up develop of candidates for this cycle. And it's possible that I'll be working (probably small stuff) to help Keith keep his seat.

At 3/15/2005 1:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Capital Fax says Denny Jacobs is in the hospital. He is my all time favorite politician and I hope he gets well.

At 3/15/2005 3:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Viva la Denny! Get well soon, Senator!

At 3/15/2005 6:27 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

And thanks Fly. I realized you weren't lumping Myers in as a corrupt politician. Just wanted to make the distinction.


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