Rep. Schakowsky’s extreme values
In several interviews, Rep. Jan Schakowsky has sought to disparage my campaign by linking it with the Tea Party movement. In today’s Daily Northwestern, she comments: “I think in general his views, as someone who has been endorsed and participates in the Tea Party movement, are not consistent with the vast majority of the district.”
In another recent article, published online by Chicago Magazine, Rep. Schakowksy declared: “Tea Party-endorsed candidates don’t share the values of the 9th Congressional District.” But Rep. Schakowsky’s argument about “values” cannot stand.
The basic values of the Tea Party, as I understand them, are opposition to rampant big government spending in Washington, and support for the U.S. Constitution. The majority of people in the 9th congressional district–and in America–share those values.
In addition, numerous polls show that the Tea Party movement enjoys broad approval among Americans. A Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll in December 2009 showed that the Tea Party was more popular than either the Democrats or the Republicans.
It is also interesting to consider what Rep. Schakowsky’s own political values are, and whether they “are consistent with the vast majority of the district” that she represents.
According to the non-partisan National Journal, Rep. Schakowsky is the “most liberal” member of the U.S. House of Representatives. The non-partisan website Govtrack.us concludes that Rep. Schakowsky is the most left-wing member of either the House or the Senate, the far outlier on the radical extreme of Washington’s political spectrum.
Yet the 9th congressional district does not even make the top 50 most Democratic districts in the United States, and is only the 5th most Democratic in the Chicago area.
In addition, it is instructive to examine some of the groups and individuals that Rep. Schakowsky has associated herself with during her congressional career.
Rep. Schakowsky has been endorsed by the Democratic Socialists of America, and enjoys a continued relationship with that group. She has also connected herself to the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a group linked with Hamas and pro-terror, anti-Israel views. Last year, Rep. Schakowsky traveled to Honduras to support the attempt by former president and would-be dictator Manuel Zelaya to return to power. She embraced him, though his anti-Jewish views were by then a matter of public record.
Rep. Schakowsky has emerged as a leading champion of J Street, a left-wing group that claims to be pro-Israel, but which refused to support Israel during the Gaza war and which recently dropped the “pro-Israel” description from its college organization. Israeli ambassador Michael Oren recently said of J Street that “it not only opposes one policy of one Israeli government, it opposes all policies of all Israeli governments.”
Rep. Schakowsky was also one of the few Democrats who voted to continue federal funding to ACORN last year, even after the group’s corruption was exposed. She was a leading supporter of disgraced former governor Rod Blagojevich, and her congressional campaign contributed $28,000 to Friends of Blagojevich from 2000 to 2006. She even courted his support for her Senate ambitions before he was arrested in December 2008.
To borrow a turn of phrase from President Barack Obama: if Rep. Schakowsky wants to have a debate about who represents the values of the majority of the 9th congressional district, that’s a debate I’m ready to have. Her values are extreme–and out of touch.