Thursday, October 06, 2005

Unity, Schmunity

Well, it didn't take long for fellow Dems to weigh in on the slating of Paul Mangieri for State Treasurer. Mangieri, the Knox County State's Attorney, was slated in a vacuum when nobody else stepped up to seek the only statewide seat not in Democratic hands, and after outreach by the party to other potential candidates came up empty.

In his column today, Bernie Schoenberg did a good job of laying out some of the objections to Mangieri by fellow Dems, including those on the State Central Committee who even supported him in a voice vote.

Attack on one flank came from some of the Latino electeds:

State Sen. MIGUEL del VALLE, D-Chicago, said he was “really disappointed in the slate as a Democrat.” “An effort should have been made to try and identify an ispanic candidate,” Del Valle said. He knows that the chairman of the party, House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, wanted somebody from downstate to balance the ticket geographically, but del Valle said he doesn’t think that should have precluded finding a qualified Hispanic person. “They do live outside the city of Chicago,” he said. “You can’t say that you’re for diversity and then not practice it,” del Valle said of the central committee. (emphasis added)

State Sen. IRIS MARTINEZ, D-Chicago, who is one of three vice-chairs of the state party and is also on the Democratic National Committee, said she gave a voice vote, along with others Sunday, for the ticket including Mangieri. But she also wondered, “Where is the real diversity?” and said she would have loved to see a Hispanic candidate.

Now both of them said that they would like to have been considered for the spot, but if that's the case, then they should have stepped up to the plate. When I stated some time ago that I wouldn't seek the office because I didn't think we should have another Chicago Democrat on the ticket, I also presumed that somebody with name recognition and a good record would step forward. But nobody seems to want to take a shot without being the chosen one. Strange and unfortunate.

I think that the more poignant attack on Mangieri came from pro-choice Democrats troubled by the slating (once again) of an anti-choice candidate. The former head of Illinois Democratic Women, Carolyn Brown Hodge, had this to say:
“I worry about the way this country’s headed,” she said. “As we look at the face of the Supreme Court, I think we have to be very careful on this issue, and that’s why I would not want to run a statewide candidate that’s not pro-choice.
Now I know that we have a lot of good Illinois Democrats who do not support a woman's right to choice. But the fact is that we have a pro-choice plank in our party platform, and if that is the case, then we should be backing candidates that support that platform or scrap the plank. (Now that would make for an interesting battle.) And what is more troubling is that we have a number of staunchly pro-choice people on the State Central Committee, but none of them stood their ground on this issue.

I don't know Mangieri, and my comments have absolutely nothing to do with the guy personally. But this goes back to my belief that while our party is big on backing individual agendas, we aren't as committed to advancing a party agenda. Shouldn't be this way in a blue state. But at the same time, I guess that it insulates us from the constant infighting and sniping that we see coming from the Republican party.

So what it may come down to is what is healthier for a party, sprited debate at the risk of unity, or loyalty that is blind to principles? I'm not sure that I'm thrilled with either option.

15 Comments:

At October 6, 2005 at 12:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

>what is healthier for a party [?]

The parties are only healthy when there is a balance of power between them. When one gets the upper hand, they have too much power, and the infighting starts over this power.

Prolly a good thing for us non-partisan tax payers that don't trust any of you.

 
At October 6, 2005 at 1:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

In a perfect world, both parties would be stocked with officials that were doing their jobs as a means of public service, not for political gain. But since that isn't the case, there is no question that dissenters or people willing to stand up for principles are essential to the well-being of the process.

Even though I don't always agree with you, keep up the good fight Rep.

 
At October 6, 2005 at 3:16 PM, Blogger Angry Jolietan said...

sounds like elected Dems are demanding a litmus test for candidates on the abortion issue. Great way to expand the party!

 
At October 6, 2005 at 3:42 PM, Blogger Hon. John Fritchey said...

AJ,

That's not what I'm saying at all. My point really had nothing to do substantively with the issue of choice, but the issue of divergence of opinions.

I think that it is healthy to have these types of issues aired out. One of the things I love about being a Democrat is the fact that we are an inherently diverse group (you should see some of our caucuses).

I guess what I was thinking about is that if people are grumbling about lack of diversity or positions on issues or anything else, than do something about it. Lead, try to lead, or get out of the way.

I don't know, could just be that I'm crabby and tired today.

 
At October 6, 2005 at 8:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

First of all, we Democrats are THE big tent. That is why I am a Democrat.

As a Democrat Chairman I think Mangieri is a good choice and our committee people will be circulating his petitions and supporting him as our candidate.

I think it should also be pointed out that Mr. Schoenberg typicaly shows Democrats in a negetive light. I don't put a lot of stock in what he writes.

 
At October 6, 2005 at 9:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with the last poster, except for the fact that it wasn't Schoenberg putting D's in a negative light, it was other D's.

John, I think that the problem we have isn't about issues. It's that we are too vertical in our power structure. We should have more people with the vision and courage to be a voice for Democrats in this state, and not just fall into line blindly.

 
At October 6, 2005 at 9:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I liked John when he was running for Lt. Gov -- I think he was a good choice but other make good points about lack of Hispanic. But why not a Chinese or Indian? Anyways, he is going to get creamed by Judy is she stays in the Treasurers spot.

 
At October 6, 2005 at 9:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think that you meant Paul not John.

 
At October 6, 2005 at 11:48 PM, Blogger respectful said...

I love the pro-choicers who are for diversity except when it comes to diversity of opinion on their favorite issue! In a two-party system, positions on most issues are necessarily flexible.

 
At October 7, 2005 at 12:10 AM, Blogger Hon. John Fritchey said...

I agree with you. Obviously, the choice issue is pretty much as contentious as it gets. Which, on an aside, is why I was so proud to work with Rep. Phelps and groups on both sides of the issue to negotiate a compromise on the Born Alive Infant Protection Act.

Anyway, as I have repeatedly stated in the past, My view is that I can't ask people to respect my opinion on an issue if I'm not willing to respect theirs. Now respect doesn't mean agree with, but if we are ever going to find any common ground, it won't be by digging in our heels and closing our minds.

 
At October 7, 2005 at 12:39 PM, Blogger respectful said...

That approach is why you're so successful working with your colleagues.

 
At October 7, 2005 at 2:04 PM, Blogger Dan Johnson-Weinberger said...

It seems pretty smart to have a Downstater on the ticket. But I agree with you, John, that if no one else expressed any interest at all in running for Treasurer, then it's hard to complain that there wasn't much of a move to reflect a different constituency on the ticket than a Downstater. Besides, on the choice issue, the Gov, Lt. Gov, A-G, SoS and Comptroller are all pro-choice Chicagoans. I think a pro-life (or anti-choice) Downstater in a non-choice-policy-making position is OK by me to put a little balance on the ticket.

 
At October 7, 2005 at 11:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

While we are on the issue of social beliefs, where does Mangieri stand on guns and gay marriage?

If he is where I think he is how will that fit into the democratic platform?

 
At October 8, 2005 at 4:10 PM, Blogger respectful said...

What does the Dem platform say about guns? My guess is that since Gore lost in 2000 on that issue, his party has gotten...gun shy.

Some of the strongest proponents of gun owner rights in the General Assembly are downstate Democrats (Phelps and Bradley come to mind).

 
At October 9, 2005 at 5:00 PM, Blogger Lou Lang said...

Whats the matter with some of you folks? Why are we discussing guns or abortion? The man is running for TREASURER!!! I have met Paul Mangieri and he is a hard working energenic DEMOCRAT! He won for States Attorney when NOONE gave him a chance. Hey Democrats, either we have a big tent or we dont. Lets not act like the other guys!

 

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