March 16, 2006

The "Elephant in the Room"

Joe Beach writes the following on the Dispatch/Argus staff blog "Beyond Print"...
Rep. Lane Evans has missed 33 votes in the House since Feb. 14. His staff confirmed Wednesday that he has been sidelined from most of his official duties for the last month by illness attributed to his long battle with Parkinson’s Disease.

Doctors, they said, advised Rep. Evans to take the break.

Staffers say they stay in touch with the Congressman, phoning and visiting him at his Capitol Hill townhouse. Other than to say the incumbent lawmaker could walk, his staff wouldn’t otherwise describe his condition.

While they wouldn’t say when he would return to his duties, they made it clear he would not resign and would stand for re-election in the fall.

Reporters who cover the Congressman have noticed his condition become more severe over the last few years. He moves ever more stiffly, tires easily and his speech is becoming difficult to understand — all symptoms of his disease.

In the past, he and his supporters have always pointed out that Parkinson’s hasn’t kept Rep. Evans from performing his duties. Until now.

Since acknowledging his condition, Rep. Evans’ health has been the elephant in the living room at each of the last three elections. Republican challenger Andrea Zinga raised it as a campaign issue in 2004. She was roundly criticized for suggesting Rep. Evans might not be up to the rigors of the job. She was also soundly defeated.

Eighteen months later and six days before an uncontested primary election that puts him in position to stand for a 13th term, Rep. Evans’ health may now have become a legitimate campaign issue.

Rich Miller picked up this story as well.

I received some of the most vicious, hate-filled responses in the history of the blog in response to a post some time ago in which I simply mentioned Evan's illness while stressing that I didn't think it prevented him from being an effective representitive. It seems as if some blanket of denial has eveloped local Dems about this situation, which while obviously unfortunate, actually does exist, like it or not.

I think it's safe to say that all hope that this bout is only a temporary setback and Lane can recover and participate in his upcoming campaign.

The premise of my previous post was that local Dems have done a woefully inadequate job of planning for the future, and have doggedly allowed people to stand in the way of younger qualified candidates, at least as far as can be seen.

Now Lane's health is something that can't be rationally ignored any longer. What happens now? What are the different scenarios and how might they be addressed? How can his campaign combat the Republicans who will obviously use this as a campaign issue?

And please, try to deal with this rationally and calmly. What can be done if, God forbid, Lane decides that he is unable to run?


At 3/16/2006 9:41 AM, Blogger hud50 said...


You have always been a voice of complete honesty in regards to this issue. No one could ever accuse you of being anti-Evans. You are simply looking towards the future. There are many other who feel the same way.

At 3/16/2006 9:45 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If the Republican's are smart they won't mention it at all. Andrea saw just how loyal many in the the 17th are to the idea of Lane, and to attack him for something out of his control is wrong, but to talk to what the district needs, and to ask whether Lane can accomplish it, is the medium in which a campaign should be held.

The media is finally coming clean about the situation, and it is their responsibility to inform the public to the true happenings "behind the curtain" It is obvious that Lane can no longer represent us in the way he once did, and that his staff in an attempt to hold onto their power in D.C. has convinced Lane that he can still "do the job". But I feel they are doing a disservice to the 17th.

We all know how trying this is for Lane, and he has done a good job in the past, but we need more! We can't look to the past and say, “Wow he has done some great things, so we should just keep him in”. We deserve more. If this staff wants to keep in D.C. they should run for office themselves.

This is meant to be respectful to Lane, and the service he has given in the past, but what we need is leadership in the future, and we must be honest that this is not going to happen in the current situation.

At 3/16/2006 9:53 AM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Hud. Thanks for that.

At 3/16/2006 10:27 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

you gotta know when to hold em
know when to fold em
know when to walk away
know when to run

At 3/16/2006 11:23 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As much as our area would loose by not having a multiple term Congressman. It is time for Mr Evans to step aside and let another person have a chance at the position.
I in the same blog would like to thank Mr Evans for all of his service over the years.

At 3/16/2006 2:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lane has missed 33 of 66000 votes. Big deal.

At 3/16/2006 4:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Or you could say he's missed 100% of the votes since Valentine's Day. We all know that this is is serious, so lets not kid our selves, wish him a speedy recovery, in the mean time we need to think about the future

At 3/16/2006 5:58 PM, Blogger maybesomeday said...

Dope - ok here's one to ponder...

Why was it ok for now deceased Sen Strom Thurmond to break all the official 'Clerk of the House' rules (everyone knew it) and continue without question from the press or anyone else to serve for numerous terms, living "literally" in the Walter Reed hospital for months on end in various stretches and no one questioned his competence?? He was in no way competent for over one and a half terms living to close to or over age 100 before his death. I saw Strom in the Capitol about 1997 or so and he could barely walk and was blind as a bat and not able to hear. HE was being led about by a young man (assume an aide) and had his hand on the man hangning on for guidance and support and yet the folks in Strom's state were fine with it.

Keep in mind that Strom was one of the most racist sexist nasty men in the world and in the Senate in his day and I never had any use for him. Strom was shamefully disgusting on so many levels and yet got a free pass on anything he chose to do. His friends also get away with saying disgusting things in public that I won't repeat - anyone remember Trent Lott's foot in the mouth statements at Strom's party years ago? Well I do.

For heavens sake, Lane Evans is in 250% better health than Strom was his last two terms in the US SEnate and I hope that Lane sees fit to continue as long as his mind is able to read and comprehend and vote on the issues. I agree with his record and am comforted that he continues to serve me and my family and this district. We are blessed to have Lane in office.

You know, it's funny how quickly the Lane haters jump onto this and assume a lot of nasty stuff and make up rumors. Even those wanna be ambitious crums in the Dem party should be ashamed. Yes, you know who you are out there -- several of you in high positions to include Mayors!!!!

I still say Thank Heavens for Lane Evans!! Let him be able to continue to serve and I am grateful to Lane for past, present and future service!

At 3/16/2006 9:48 PM, Anonymous The PFC said...

I'll say this, I'm glad to know that while I'm overseas Lane has my back in D.C. So as long as he is still wanting and willing to serve I've got his back. Hooah!

At 3/17/2006 12:44 AM, Anonymous Bollee said...

I saw the article on Lane Evans in this mornings Argus, it saddened me reading it.

Twelve years ago I was Vice-President of the Islander Little League at Hodge Park. Then as now I was looking to promote Rock Island Baseball. I was looking for a celebrity to throw out the first pitch on "Opening Day".

I did not know Senator Lane Evans then and when I called his office and spoke to one of his staff, Phil Hare I think, they informed me he would love to come.

Despite some recent foot surgery that had required he where a temporary cast, on he limped from the parking lot to the pitchers mound. Taking the microphone in his hand Lane spoke to the one hundred players and fans who had decorated the park with red, white and blue banners and dozens of balloons for his appearance.

For the life of me I can't remember what his words were, he did throw a strike though.

There were no photographers (except parents) or press-media at the ballpark, it wasn't political, it was American. I have never forgotten that favor, and despite more often than not taking the opposite view on issues with Senator Evans, I continue to vote for him.

I fear that Senator Evans decision to run again may prove to be unsuccessful.

And I hate to see a great guy like him take this kind of beating.

This election will test the Rock Island County Democratic machine.

At 3/17/2006 12:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is a shame that Lane has Parkinson's. I hope it truly is his wish to run again and not his staff looking out for themselves. He has served his district well and deserves the respect and rest he has earned!

At 3/17/2006 6:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

anon 12:32 what would Phil Hare do with himself?

At 3/18/2006 2:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lane's decision to run for re-election was his and his alone. Lane is not led by anyone. He has enough integrity and respect for his constituents that he would step down if he felt that he couldn't serve them effectively. Just because Lane is slowed by PD does not mean that he is not working for us. I fail to see the logic in saying that he should quit just because his movements are slow and his speech is getting rough. He does a fine job, travels a difficult district often, and his staff is impeccable. I say Thank Heavens for Lane Evans and I look forward to working to re-elect a truely great public servant.

At 3/19/2006 8:12 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Today's Dispatch is more than happy to publish a Lane bashing letter from --no shocker here-- none other than a former staffer for former Rep Tom Railsback....

Well they are probably still crying about Tom loosing his own Republican primary.. and trying to blame it on anything but Tom's own mistakes.....

Talk about a bunch of whiners. The guy who wrote today sounded quite self serving and was totally talking trash and making it up as he went along. He even admits he hasn't lived in the QC area since Tom lost. So what in the heck does he know about our area? Nothing.

Lane is my Congressman as long as he wants to serve and I will vote for him proudly!!

At 3/19/2006 10:05 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I called his office for help once and it was a joke. I guess they only are good if you are a veteran.

At 3/19/2006 3:04 PM, Blogger maybesomeday said...

Man Dope -- who is the anon republican that wrote in about Lane's office??

I have personal experience calling for help at the District offices and I also know for a fact that Lane's staff sometimes even handles cases for Scott County residents because the dufous Congressman (Nussle) over there could care less about average people. Nussle and the like only care about rich and powerful businesses. Lane and his staff care about you and me.

Lane and his staff care for Veterans and many other causes and have the finest casework system in the US Congress. They have helped my folks out with Medicare issues before that were so confusing I could not have figured it out myself. Anyone who says anything bad about Lane or his staff and their work is a crack smoker who hasn't been paying attention -- or they are just plain nasty negative Republicans who want their party to have the seat.

What planet is that silly anon from? And why are they anon anyway?? Because they have absolutely no credibility - that's why!!

At 3/19/2006 7:36 PM, Blogger Huntooner said...

I believe that FDR was, if not the absolute greatest, then certainly among the top 5 Presidents in US history. And we all know, FDR did it all despite a crippling disability.

Anyone can become ill and miss time at work. I believe that Congressman Evans still has the ability to decide when he no longer feels able to represent the people who elected him.

I had a frank conversation with my own doctor about the current state of Lane’s illness, and the likely progression for Congressman Evans as well, and I'll feel confident voting for him again.

It’s a shame really to see this kind of thing, in every way.


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