Illinois CD-14

As I write this, the Republican primary to select the challenger to Bill Foster has now finally narrowed to two individuals – Ethan Hastert and Randy Hultgren. Skepticalmi put together a great overview of the background of this race here, be sure to check it out. As mentioned by acat in the comments, the election of Bill Foster to former Speaker Hastert’s seat was the result of a perfect storm of Illinois GOP incompetence, general disillusionment with the GOP by the public, and a personal intervention by the One.

Since Mr. Foster’s election to office, this liberal has distinguished himself by voting for socialized health care, voting to limit drilling off the continental shelf, voting for porkulous, voting against the Stupak amendment and just all around being a puppet of Nancy Pelosi.  Just a few highlights, garnered from Project Vote Smart reveal

  • He supported the interests of Planned Parenthood 100 percent
  • The National Taxpayers Union gave him a rating of F
  • He supported the interests of the American Civil Liberties Union 100 percent
  • American Conservative Union gave him a rating of 13 percent
  • He supported the interests of the The Club for Growth 1 percent
  • The National Rifle Association gave him a grade of C
  • He supported the interests of the AFL-CIO 92 percent
  • He supported the interests of the Service Employees International Union 100 percent
  • The National Organization for Women gave him a rating of 100 percent

As you can see, this man is no moderate.  He has no business continuing on as the representative of this district, a district that really should be an easy pick up, especially in the climate with which we are presented for the 2010 midterms.

The most recent information we have (though by no means scientific), indicates that Ethan Hastert, the son of the former Speaker, is probably positioned to win the primary. He obviously benefits from not only name recognition, but also from his father’s golden Rolodex.  As to the former, there is some hesitancy regarding the idea of an entitlement to the seat solely for the sake of his family lineage.  There does seem to be a reasonable consensus that he is more than just a name, and would prove to be a saavy politician in his own right.  Which leads to the question is this an advantage or disadvantage?  He claims to be a conservative on financial, as well as social issues.  Is it fair to judge him on the the record of his father?  Denny Hastert, though an extremely likable guy, was not shy about steering tax dollars to his pet interests.  After all, he oversaw the Republican controlled House that now infamously went on a spending spree that is now only rivaled by the present Congress.  Another potential issue which will almost certainly be raised is a question of Ethan’s judgment.  While serving on Vice-President Cheney’s staff, back in 2001, he was indicted and convicted of a DUI.  Now that was some time ago, but it does speak to at least a lapse in judgment.  In fact, if you google Ethan Hastert’s name, our friends there at Google, who create the helpful drop down list, have it listed immediately under his name…

As far as his competitor, Randy Hultgren, his voting record is certainly painful to behold.  It’s all well and good that we have candidates who pay lip service to conservative principles, but what we need are Congressmen who actually have the courage to vote those principles.  I’m all for supporting social conservative principles, but where Congress has the most impact these days is in the financial realm.  It appears Mr. Hultgren has used his time in the Illinois State Legislature to completely throw limited government principles out the window by voting for multiple tax increases (and therefore increasing the size of government).

Where does that leave us?  With a candidate who is a relative unknown, but with a relatively decent prospect of representing this district.  I would say should Mr. Hastert win, not just the primary – but the general election as well, he should be shown the errors of his father’s ways, and pointed toward starting his political career by showing he is a conservative in principle – not merely because it happens to be politically expedient at this juncture, but because it is the right thing to do.