Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Theosophical Society Meeting

Last night I was given the opportunity to go and speak with a small contingent of people from the Theosophical Society. I was asked to speak by our close friend David Bland and was excited by the opportunity. That being said, I had no idea what to expect so I wrote out some notes about OTDB, Progressive politics and our mission heading into the future. In my experience, Mr. Bland is a man of action and a man of integrity therefore my expectations were very high. However, what I encountered was more than I could have ever asked for. I sat and talked with a handful of people from the Theosophical Society and I couldn't believe how quickly time went by. I began to learn about the society, which I strongly encourage you to look into (http://www.theosophical.org). This is a group who is based around three objects and I am simply going to cut and paste these objects;

The three declared Objects of the Theosophical Society are:

  • To form a nucleus of the universal brotherhood of humanity, without distinction of race, creed, sex, caste, or color.
  • To encourage the comparative study of religion, philosophy, and science.
  • To investigate unexplained laws of nature and the powers latent in humanity.
The group then listened intently to my (not so) short synopsis of OTDB and were ready with some tremendous questions. I cannot describe to you how much I enjoyed the evening and how much I learned. I strongly urge you to learn more about their group, they are truly sincere people who we could all learn many lessons from. I believe Mr. Bland would say the same thing about OTDB and doesn't that alone make all of this hard work worthwhile? When it comes down to it, we are all working together to make DuPage, and the world, a better place to live and learn. We are in great company folks, let us not forget how important that is.

Monday, August 27, 2007

I-Spy, U-Spy, We All Spy

submitted by Bob Peickert:

Further illustration that the Republicans are more than a little worried about the progress of the Democrats in DuPage County was supplied by the appearance of a surprise guest at the OTDB fundraiser on Aug. 17. None other than William Maio, one of Pat Durante’s lackeys, happened to show up at the Itasca Country Club on the night of the fundraiser (a huge success I might add). For those of you unfamiliar with Maio, he was a former trustee of Addison Township, former member of the County Board, and a now a member of the DuPage Water Commission, appointed by Bob Schillerstrom. He is also very close to the team of Durante/Ketter, known for their filing of a complaint against one of the Democratic County Board candidates.

Maio claimed to be there by happenstance and thought he’d drop in and say “Hi”. Not that we bought into that, but we nonetheless let Bill have his fun as he stood at the bar chatting with one of our members. We were even so kind as to introduce Bill to the gathering, letting Bill know how much we appreciated his interest in our efforts. These Republicans really don’t get it.

Well, the good thing about the Republicans is that they don’t know how to keep their exuberances in check, err, "mouth shut" in Durante/Maio parlance. After enjoying our fundraiser, Maio went back and proudly told Durante (chairman of the Addison Township Republican Organization) and the others how well he follows orders. He told them how he stayed at the event and chatted with our members. He blabbed to Durante and the folks at the Addison Township about how the Democrats had to raise money to pay for the complaint they filed. Problem is Maio thought his audience would keep their mouths shut. Didn’t happen. You see, several of the Republicans, including certain elected officials of Addison Township talk to the wrong people. Our “spies” told us of Maio’s report and much more.

Bill and Pat, watch out for your friends. They may not really be that loyal to you. See you at the next event. Maybe they’ll send their “sign-puller” this time. What’s his name again? Oh, yes, Steve Z***n? Or is it a guy named W****y?

Monday, August 20, 2007

A Submission as Summation

In July, OTDB submitted an entry in BlogPac's Progressive Entrepreneur Contest, with hopes of winning one of five $5,000 prize grants. Over 100 entries were submitted and other worthy causes were selected in lieu of ours (you can read about the winners at: http://www.blogpac.com/).

I wanted to post our submission essay earlier, but wasn't sure what the judges would think of that. Now that the contest is over, I feel no qualms about doing so. Please note that much of the following was written & edited between July 10-24, so there are things that are already a bit outdated (such as the number of PCs recruited) and some things referred to as upcoming may have already past.

Still, I believe this 1,000-word piece serves as a strong summation of what OTDB has done and achieved in our first 7-8 months in existence, and wanted to post it for the public record.

-- Seth


Despite the national Democratic groundswell in 2006, despite impressive Democratic gains in otherGOP-hotbed counties of Northern Illinois (Lake, Kane,Will) and despite several notable, closer-than-everraces, including one 299-vote-difference, recount-inducing contest, every elected official inDuPage County, Illinois (due west of Chicago) remainsa Republican.

Tired of seeing red on Election Day, several ardent, progressive Democrats—including unsuccessful-yet-unbowed candidates and devoted campaign workers—experienced their Howard Beale moment (“I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore!”) and then quickly realized that only action, not anger nor apathetic acceptance, would end a losing streak even the Chicago Cubs would pity.

Germinating in November 2006 and evolving ever since, Operation: Turn DuPage Blue (OTDB) was hatched with great optimism and strategic planning instantly replacing frustration and finger-pointing. Our main goal is to reintroduce DuPage citizens to the value of 2-party (at least!) politics and the subsequent dialogue that will bring about better government at all levels while putting in place an effective progressive infrastructure for the future of all DuPage citizens.

From Day One, the focus was on Precinct Committeeman recruitment, as only 122 of 735 precincts contained Democratic PCs in 2006. When one analyzes Peter Roskam’s 2-percentage point victory over Tammy Duckworth in Illinois’ 6th Congressional District (largely in DuPage County), it does not take much to realize that if half of those precincts had been filled, DuPage would already have a Democratic representative. Through the implementation of a multi-phase PC recruitment plan, OTDB has recruited approximately 75 new Democratic PCs as of July 10, 2007 and is fielding more every day.

Led by a founding Steering Committee of 12 (slightly swelled since), our grassroots, entirely-volunteer group has undertaken an array of impressive marketingand community outreach efforts considering our slimpocketbook. These have included a much-praised, regularly updated website (http://www.turndupageblue.com/), a promotional poster series (exhibit 1, below), participation in several local parades (2) including seven on the Fourth of July featuring 150 total marchers, a fundraiser that attracted 120 people without any paid advertising (3) and monthly StrategySessions (4) to which over 500 people have come to help shape OTDB plans and hear guest speakers talk about substantial issues of interest to voters.

On August 3-5, 2007, Operation: Turn DuPage Blue will welcome Camp Wellstone (5) to the College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn, Illinois. OTDB is delighted to co-host (with Greater Chicago Caucus) the initial area visit of the much-heralded 3-day progressive political training program created by Wellstone Action, an organization formed by the family of Minnesota Senator Paul Wellstone after his death in a 2002 plane crash. Roughly 75 OTDB members are already enrolled in the August camp, which will provide in-depth training in separate focus areas for prospective candidates, campaign workers and community activists.

Other upcoming OTDB events include our second PC training class on July 21, a second fundraiser on August 17, a Dems’ Day Picnic on a date to be determined, a series of monthly get-togethers or“friendraisers” to interest new people (especially Independents and former Republicans) and the rollout of petitions for committeemen and candidates for the February 5th primary.

Operation: Turn DuPage Blue is led by Chair BobPeickert and Executive Director Amy Tauchman. Peickert received 45% of the vote in his 2006 run for a seat on the completely Republican-controlled DuPage CountyBoard, despite being outspent by a 25:1 ratio. Peickert was also the campaign manager for Democrat Joe Vosicky’s bid for an Illinois House seat in District 46 which, as mentioned, came 299 votes and an inconclusive recount short of turning former Rep. LeeDaniels' district blue.

One of Peickert’s major initiatives has been to bring about a reduction in the salaries and benefits provided to DuPage County Board Members. Peickert has created and widely distributed a flyer on the matter (6), and it, along with recent press coverage, has resulted in several board members returning their$3,000 stipends.

Tauchman was a political consultant on the Vosicky race and the Office Director for Christine Cegelis’ 2006 primary race for the 6th Congressional seat (Cegelis, like Vosicky, is a member of OTDB and helped drive Rep. Henry Hyde into retirement with her far-better-than-expected 2004 run). Tauchman is also aco-founder of DAWN (7) (DuPage Against War Now), which was created before the Iraq War began and counts several thousand recipients on its e-mail list.

Another key Steering Committee member is 23-year-old Justin Heath, who possesses a Political Science degree from Ohio State and heads OTDB’s Youth Action Committee. Heath, instrumental in reaching first-time voters and other young DuPage residents, recently showcased his organizing skills by bringing a large youth contingent to OTDB’s Independence Day parade in Lisle, IL.

Having already earned considerable press coverage (8), Operation: Turn DuPage Blue will continue publicizing its existence and purpose. But we are really looking forward to providing financial, strategic and“on-the-ground” support to candidates that arise to run for local, state and national offices in 2008. To date, the group has raised money through a fundraiser, small donations and sporadic sales oft-shirts & buttons soon to be for sale online at the Operation: Turn DuPage “Bluetique " (9). With more ambitious county-wide marketing expenditures, training literature and candidate financial support on our agenda, we would be enormously grateful for BlogPac’sgenerous $5,000 grant.

In the words of Chair Bob Peickert, “We’ve largelybeen funding this from our own pockets, but that’s only going to take it so far. To get where we want togo, we’ll need some benefactors and what BlogPac is offering is incredible. I can promise that the money will be put to good use in continuing to build a progressive infrastructure. DuPage County is considered a cornerstone of the GOP’s base, and turning it blue will be good for the entire country. But, to do so, we could surely use a bit of green.”

1 – www.turndupageblue.com/revolver.php
2 – www.turndupageblue.com/4thofjulypage.php
3 - www.turndupageblue.com/springrecap.php
4 - www.turndupageblue.com/junemeeting.php
5 - www.turndupageblue.com/wellstone.php
6 - www.turndupageblue.com/countyboard.php
7 - http://www.d-a-w-n.org/
8 - www.turndupageblue.com/wdcb.php
9 - www.turndupageblue.com/shop.php

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Peickert reaches out to county, believes OTDB offers important 'blueprint' for success

by Bob Peickert

I have announced my candidacy for chair of the Democratic Party of DuPage County. When Operation: Turn DuPage Blue began early this year, I had no idea of the impact that it would have. I also had no idea that we would reach the number of Democrats that we have in this short period of time. I only wish that this was started years ago. We continue to grow and we continue to give hope to the DuPage Democrats who had little before OTDB began.

If we are to succeed in 2008, the campaign started by OTDB must continue. This is why I decided to accept the challenge presented to me by the OTDB Steering Committee and run for chair of the county organization. OTDB has succeeded because of the team approach that was created. OTDB has assembled a team of experienced, talented and determined Democrats who have a will to win and they see OTDB as the organization that will make that happen.

However, nobody can achieve what we all want by doing it alone. OTDB can’t do it alone. The county can’t do it alone. If elected I will work to bring together the people from the county, township organizations and OTDB to get the job done.

Prior to making my decision public, I reached out to DuPage Party Vice-Chair Rob Bisceglie and asked him to be my running mate. I believe we could make a great team atop a re-energized and ready-to-win party structure that maximizes the possibilities for all residents of the region, from Democratic activists to anyone open to exploring how much happier a "blue" future can be.

I have yet to hear back from Rob regarding my request and hope that he will choose to partner with me in my bid.

Thank you to everyone who has already offered me their support, from the crowd at our fundraiser Friday night to others in the Democratic community who have gotten in touch. Together, to victory in 2008 and beyond!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Some Clarification about SB 662/HB 1752

by Bob Peickert
Chair, OTDB

I would like to share some insightful information about Senate Bill 662/House Bill 1752 (see post below) that was obtained by members of Operation: Turn DuPage Blue. Since this issue was first brought to everyone’s attention in the OTDB Action Blog, OTDB steering committee members have been in contact with Senators Terry Link and Emil Jones’ offices as well as Senator Don Harmon.

The recent e-mails from the Democratic Party of DuPage County contain information that appears to be inconsistent with the information that we have received.

First, HB 1752 and SB 662 began as 2 different bills and were sponsored by Democrats. SB 662 deleted important language that allowed poll watchers to receive a copy of the voting tape at the closing of the polls. HB 1752 originally dealt with the pay for election judges. Republican Senator Dan Cronin, and others, made some amendments that included increasing the number of signatures required on candidate’s petitions by 300% in DuPage County only. The Democrats agreed to this amendment. No other collar counties would have this increased requirement. HB 1752 was then merged with SB 662 and that bill was passed on Wednesday August 15.

We have been told by the Democratic county leadership that the passage of this bill was the result of the Republicans holding the Early Primary situation hostage if these provisions were not included. Our information is different. First, the Early Primary issue was passed in HB 426 and signed by the governor. Staff from Senator Link’s office confirmed that the Early Primary issue had nothing to do with SB 662, contrary to what many have been told.

The inclusion of the 1.5% factor amendment was sold by the Republicans as a way of keeping the “rump” Republicans off the primary ballots. The amendment has been there for more than two months and was not recently “slipped in”. The 1.5% factor hurts the Democrats and helps the Republicans since we do not match up with the number of precinct committeemen they have to gather signatures. By minimizing or eliminating the increasing number of contested Republican primaries, the Republicans would have that much more money in an already bloated war chest to use against the Democrat challenges they are likely to face. We lose on 2 counts.

I and others from OTDB have been assured that the issue is not dead. Bob Babcock has been in constant communication with Senator Emil Jones office. Dan Bailey and I have been in touch with Senator Harmon. We have also had several calls to staff from Senator Link’s office. The likely solution is for a “trailer” bill to be passed that clears up or removes the objectionable parts. I have sent faxes and e-mails to Senators Emil Jones, Linda Holmes, Terry Link and Don Harmon. I also spoke to several State Representatives. They now understand our concerns with the language.

We will continue to be in communication with them and report any changes or plans for corrections to these bills.

(Thank you to Jean Kaczmarek, Co-Chair of the DuPage Chapter of IBIP, for bringing this matter to our attention over the weekend.)

Monday, August 13, 2007

Help us oppose Senate Floor Amendment No. 2 to IL House Bill 1752

State Senator Dan Cronin (a Republican from District 21) has proposed an amendment to House Bill 1752 which seeks to amend the Election Code by making the minimum nomination petition signature requirement for county offices in DuPage County 1.5% (now, 0.5%) of the number of voters in a certain category.

OTDB thinks it is egregious that such a state law would single out DuPage County, seemingly for the purposes of making it three times more difficult for Democratic, and especially grassroots, candidates to run for office.

What makes Sen. Cronin’s sponsorship of this amendment even more irksome is that he has recently written letters to the editor stating that, “It has become imminently clear that one-party rule in the General Assembly does not benefit the people we were elected to represent” (Elmhurst Press, 6/14/07) and that Illinois’ budget stalemate was “the result of one-party control of our system of governance, which eliminates the need for cooperation and good-faith negotiations” (Daily Herald, 8/7/07).

Noting how Sen. Cronin’s support for two-party politics seems to stop at his home turf, OTDB Steering Committee member Bob Babcock penned this Letter to the Editor:

August 13, 2007

To the Editor,

Simply put, the DuPage County Republican leadership seems to support un-American activities. Otherwise, why would Senator Dan Cronin feel free to tamper with elections? Certainly he believes his party would support him.

America is based on Democracy – our vote is sacred. It is at the core of what we all believe it means to be “American”. The very thought that ANYONE would interfere with the voice we are given through our vote is nothing but horrific!

However, Senator Cronin has seen fit to slip an amendment to House Bill 1752 that TRIPLES the number of signatures required on petitions for DuPage County elective positions. It doesn't impact any other county. It’s nothing less than dirty politics.

It shows how desperate Republicans are becoming in DuPage – apparently willing to stop at nothing to prevent Democrats from being elected.

We have a huge budget deficit in DuPage County. I’m told that Property Tax Assessors complain that they’re overburdened and there is not enough money to hire more Assessors. Guess what? The priority is residential property. Commercial property owners are getting a free ride!

Meanwhile, DuPage County Board members enjoy salaries for PART-TIME jobs that equal the median income for a FULL-TIME employed person in the county. Democrats are calling not only for a reduction in the number of DuPage County Board positions, but also in the salaries.

Why does this matter? It matters because there is ONE PARTY RULE in DuPage County. There is NO balance in DuPage County government. There’s no one “keeping them honest”.

Senator Cronin speaks from one side of his mouth decrying Democratic rule in the state, and speaks from the other side of his mouth while legislating against fair elections that might give Democrats a chance in getting elected to something as simple but important as the DuPage County Board because it impacts our taxes!

I remember the “cold war” with the Russians. Supposedly it was because the people had no voice in government – they weren’t a democracy.

Apparently, Senator Cronin doesn’t believe in democracy either.

Cronin has deceitfully added his amendment to what otherwise might be a good piece of legislation. Oppose his amendment to HB 1752 NOW. Unless you don’t believe in what America was founded on – democracy.

Bob Babcock
Downers Grove


OTDB asks that you contact state legislators to oppose -- and otherwise spread the word about -- this horribly misguided proposal sponsored by an Elmhurst-based State Senator.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Dave Diersen Versus the Volcano

Seth already beat me to the punch on this one, but let's take a second look at Mr. Diersen's rantings:

Peickert fails to acknowledge that many of DuPage County's most serious problems are caused by its elected officials and Republican party leaders who claim to be Republican, but who reject most if not all the Republican platform and who are in reality, Democrats. These RINOs blame all problems on conservatives and by their words and/or by their actions, they promote dependency on government, illegal immigration, abortion, homosexual activity, erosion of Second Amendment rights, etc.

Long ago, or so the legends say, there were tribes who used to sacrifice virgins by throwing them into their local volcano. We need to appease the gods, they would say, or else the volcano would surely erupt and bring death and destruction.

Trouble is, sometimes the volcano would erupt anyway. And if you made a comparison, you could find that the volcanoes that got sacrifices erupted, on average, with the same frequency as the ones that didn't.

For the people making the sacrifices, there could be only one answer to this conundrum.

Obviously, they weren't sacrificing enough virgins. Or maybe their sacrifices weren't high enough quality, whatever that might mean.

Diersen, of course, is a pretty extreme case even by Republican standards. But this way of thinking, if it can be called that, isn't limited to his ilk. Twenty-plus years of trickle-on economics have been devastating our country. Unthinking deregulation and upper-bracket tax cuts have made the rich richer — always the real purpose — and have left the rest of us with massive deficits, a dwindling number of good jobs, a crumbling infrastructure (last week's tragedy in Minnesota being only the latest example), and so on and so on. Yet you still see far too many Republicans telling us that all we need is more tax cuts, more privatization, more sacrifices to Mammon and everything will be fine.

Hilarious, In Name Only

Silly me, for all these years I have found it distressing that DuPage County was exclusively governed and represented by Republicans, whose views and voting records didn't represent mine. And to my awareness, most elected Republicans followed the George Bush/Karl Rove rulebook pretty lockstep.

But in my time in DuPage, I came to know a good number of decent, nice, everyday people who happened to be Republicans.

But it turns out I was wrong. They weren't good people, they were merely bad Republicans. At least according to a far-right winger named David John Diersen, who runs a website called GOP Illinois (http://www.gopillinois.com/). Seemingly, based on his response to OTDB Chair Bob Peickert's recent letter (published on this blog a few days ago) regarding State Senator Dan Cronin, in order to be a good Republican, you must be a gun-toting, anti-abortion, selfish, bigoted homophobe.

Well, to all you "Republicans In Name Only" to which Mr. Diersen so endearingly refers, I have but one thing to say: Welcome. We'd love to have you join us in helping to turn DuPage blue.

Since there is no good way to link to Diersen's post, I have provided it below. You might want to swallow your donut before you start reading.

-- Seth


Diersen responds to Operation Turn DuPage Blue Chairman Bob Peickert

by David John Diersen

Operation Turn DuPage Blue Chairman Bob Peickert fails to acknowledge that "ONE PARTY" rule by Republicans in DuPage County has brought far greater prosperity and far greater safety than "ONE PARTY" rule by Democrats has brought in Cook County or anywhere else for that matter.

Peickert fails to acknowledge that many of DuPage County's most serious problems are caused by its elected officials and Republican party leaders who claim to be Republican, but who reject most if not all the Republican platform and who are in reality, Democrats. These RINOs blame all problems on conservatives and by their words and/or by their actions, they promote dependency on government, illegal immigration, abortion, homosexual activity, erosion of Second Amendment rights, etc. They demand blind loyalty to themselves and continue to argue that Scott Fawell and George Ryan are completely innocent and that conservatives have caused, are causing, and will continue to cause all problems.

Many of DuPage County's most serious problems are caused by RINOs who want to build patronage armies by promoting programs that attract people to the county who have serious health and/or financial problems and who lack education and/or job skills. Supporting the people who they attract, people who need/demand costly government services and who tragically, are far more likely to commit crime, is costing all DuPage County governmental entities more and more each year. In the past, people (like Dave and Karen Diersen who did not move to DuPage until 1978) did not move to DuPage until they could afford to live in DuPage. But now, people who could easily afford to live in other areas with a lower cost of living move here because they are attracted by thousands of extremely generous welfare programs - all promoted by Democrats and RINOs. A major reason why the cost of living is high in DuPage is the high taxes needed to support recent arrivals who have serious health and/or financial problems and who lack education and/or job skills.

Outrageously, some RINOs spend most if not all their time badmouthing real Republicans - outrageously, the more planks in the Republican platform that you support, the harder that you work to elect candidates who will advance the Republican platform, the harder they work to demonize you. Outrageously, some RINOs spend all of their time badmouthing me, badmouthing the GOPUSA ILLINOIS email that I send out every morning, denigrating my credentials and accomplishments, trumpeting my weaknesses, ascribing evil motive and bad judgment to everything I do, and arguing that I never was, I am not now, nor I ever will be a member of the news media or a conservative leader. People who want to improve DuPage County should elect precinct committeemen, municipal officials, township officials, county officials, state officials, and federal officials who really are Republicans, not Democrats or RINOs. Republican Precinct Committeemen should elect party leaders who really are Republicans, not Democrats or RINOs.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

An Open Letter to Illinois State Senator Dan Cronin (Republican, Dist. 21)

Dear Senator Cronin:

As a Democrat in DuPage , I compliment you on your observations in your letter to the editor of Aug 7 [Daily Herald, see below]. In referring to the state budget negotiations, you allege: “This is a result of ONE-PARTY (my emphasis) control of our system of governance, which eliminates the need for cooperation and good faith negotiations.” You make this claim despite the fact that Republicans are represented in Springfield – your party holds 22 of 59 Senate seats and 51 of 118 in the General Assembly. You go on to say that “For the past 50 years, with few exceptions, Illinois has been governed by both Republicans and Democrats who were compelled to work together and compromise.”

Senator Cronin, wouldn’t it be great if in DuPage County, where 50% of the citizens are Democrats but all of our officials are Republicans, we could “work together” to solve some of the county's growing problems? And, wouldn’t it be great if we had same the kind of TWO-PARTY system of governance in DuPage that you advocate for in Illinois.? As you know, DuPage is not without problems. Bloated salaries and benefits for Republican county and township officials, budget deficits, cutbacks in services, proposals to raise taxes, and threats of home-rule are all problems that should have input by local Democrats who have for years been shut-out of the county's decision-making process.

Let’s work together, Senator Cronin, to elect just 6 Democrats to the county board; the Republicans currently have all 19 seats and would still be the majority, a broader majority than the Democrats now hold in our state legislature. But this would still bring us closer to the TWO-PARTY system of governance that you so eloquently espoused.

Two party government in DuPage County... deal or no deal, Senator Cronin?

Bob Peickert, Chair
Operation Turn DuPage Blue


For reference sake, this is the text of Sen. Cronin's letter in the Daily Herald on Aug. 7:

Democrats’ poor legislative record

As I wrote this letter, the General Assembly was 60 days past its scheduled adjournment day, setting the shameful record of the longest overtime session in Illinois history.

With no year-long budget negotiated, once again we are privy to a disgraceful display of irresponsible governance and a failure of leadership.

This has been a frustrating, difficult session. By refusing to compromise on some of the state’s most pressing issues, Gov. Blagojevich and Democrat leadership in the House and Senate have broken their promise to the people that they were elected to represent.

I believe that our experience this year is a clear demonstration of the ideological differences between Republicans and Democrats.

It is my opinion that Illinois lawmakers are citizen legislators who should come to Springfield and work diligently to do the work of the people in a reasonable, responsible time frame before returning to their families, jobs and lives.

What we are witnessing is a fundamental change in state government, courtesy of the Democrats. Under their watch, government continues to grow. The legislature is meeting more often, moving toward a full-time legislature dominated by people who are committed to bigger government, more programs and higher taxes. This is the result of one-party control of our system of governance, which eliminates the need for cooperation and good-faith negotiations.

For the past 50 years, with few exceptions, Illinois has been governed by both Republicans and Democrats who were compelled to work together and compromise. I ask that once again Republicans are allowed to demonstrate our ability to govern.

We have been and will continue to be ready to work to bring a conclusion to this difficult overtime debacle that continues without direction, guidance or any semblance of leadership.

State Sen. Dan Cronin

Monday, August 6, 2007

Wellstone Success

Many OTDB members spent their weekends attending Camp Wellstone at College of DuPage. It was a tremendous event with incredible speakers and great students. We all had the opportunity to learn a new path being taken by the Progressive movement made both popular and successful by the late Sen. Paul Wellstone. This new grassroots strategy aims to win elections using a bottom-up strategy that empowers communities and activists. That being said, the whole weekend was based around the brilliant (however, often forgotten) idea that we have the ability to improve our community. Wellstone grads are taught that winning elections is only one step toward bringing better resources and better lives to our communities.

The size of the group was absolutely amazing, well over 100 people paid to give up their entire weekend in exchange for sitting in a classroom for 21 hours over 3 days. The whole group ate meals together and had a couple of sessions together but mainly we were split into three different groups. One group was a training for community activists, while I was not in this group I heard amazing stories about the enthusiasm in that room, not for electoral politics but for making the world a better place. I can tell you from personal experience that they were having a great time, walking by their classroom repeatedly taught me that they are one loud, fun-loving group. Honestly, these new activists are going to return to their communities ready to make change and I have little doubt they will do exactly that. The second track was for campaign workers, these are the people who willingly spend their own time and money just to get other people elected. That being said, the campaign worker group worked on many things from finance to media and everything in between. I can assure you that these newly trained campaign workers will go on and run and work for numerous successful campaigns around the country. If you are considering running for office anytime soon I urge you to go out and find these Wellstone graduates and beg them to work with you. If you have to, get down on your hands and knees and kiss their shoes because I can promise you it will pay off in the end. These newly trained campaign workers are a force to be reckoned with and I cannot wait to see what the have planned for all of us. Finally, I was in the candidates track with 25 of the most amazing people I have ever met. Remember that kid in 1st grade who talked too much and when asked explained that he/she wanted to be President? Well there were 26 of those kids in one room together all weekend. Our classes were mind blowing, the ideas that the presenters shared were so cutting edge that they directly contradicted what I learned in electoral politics in college just over a year ago. Just one example, they talked at length of the importance of basebuilding, going to our often-ignored supporters to ask for help, ideas, volunteers, everything one could imagine. That directly contradicts the idea that you should use all your resources to pay attention only to undecided voters. I loved the new ideas, because of course being elected means that you represent every member of your respective district and that if you only pay attention to 20% of that district you have failed (no matter if you win or lose the election), and done so in an ugly, disrespectful way. Our goal of being elected is really a goal of bringing, first hand, a better life to all Americans. This is a level of morality that few current politicians have and that they all must learn going into the future. If the fail to learn these lessons quickly they will all lose their jobs.

The Camp Wellstone experience is something that I will look back on as changing my life. We all learned theories of how we make the world a better place through the use of politics. Politics is not the engine of American life; rather it is a machine we must use to improve the lives of all Americans. Any use of the machine for any other reason is disgusting, politics will no longer be a corrupt system of selfishness. No, I can promise you, with the help of Wellstone graduates politics well have one purpose, and only one purpose, to improve the lives of every last American, no matter if they are blue or red, undecided or they don't even vote, male or female, immigrant or naturalized citizen, evangelical or agnostic. It doesn't matter, we are all Americans and we must all work together to reclaim the post of the most important hegemon in the history of the world.

Thank you to Camp Wellstone, the College of DuPage, Amy Tauchman, Adriana Barboza, Erik Peterson, Pam Costain and every other trainer or organizer involved in this amazing weekend. Additionally, I learned so many things from other students that I will look to for advice and support well into the future. If you ever have the chance to go to Wellstone training I strongly recommend you take that chance. Maybe we will even end up in the same classroom, I will certainly be back to learn even more from Wellstone Action, the students and the passion everyone shared all weekend.

“A politics that is not sensitive to the concerns and circumstances of people's lives, a politics that does not speak to and include people, is an intellectually arrogant politics that deserves to fail.”
-Paul Wellstone.-

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Fun in Libertyville

Former Congressional candidate Lee Goodman meets some anti-abortion demonstrators, and asks them some pertinent questions.