Friday, October 26, 2012

Uncivil Servants

Two of the ugliest races of Decision 2012 is not garnering national attention, but it's making Chicago and the outlying area feel emotionally spent. As a result of redistricting, seven-term incumbent Judy Biggert (R) is running the closest race of her political career against former congressman Bill Foster (D). Biggert's old turf was decidedly suburban and overwhelmingly Republican, now it's about 50/50 yet only slightly more urban. Considering that Judy is a grandmother in her mid-70s, there's also the question of whether she'll serve in Congress for much longer if she wins in two weeks.

Where Biggert and Foster are fighting for their political lives, another local race has turned into a barrage of name-calling and character assassination. Over in the redrawn 8th District, local war hero Tammi Duckworth (D) is running against Tea Party incumbent Joe Walsh. This race has become less about the issues than the candidates themselves; a recent debate was particularly personal and decidedly ugly. Walsh accused Duckworth of relying too much on her military background to evoke sympathy (she's a double amputee), while Duckworth has fingered Walsh as a misogynist and a woman-hater. Yeesh.

Granted, at this point the outcome of the election is all but set, and anyone expecting widespread turnover or any semblance of change will be disappointed. The GOP will keep the House, the Democrats will still (barely) control the Senate, and it appears Barack Obama will defeat Mitt Romney by a hairsbreadth. Not to be a negative nellie, but... enjoy four more years of gridlock.


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