Tuesday, March 15, 2005


Aw, Dad, you've done a lot of great things, but you're a very old man, and old people are useless.

Wow, you decide to get your head back into electoral politics and within 12 hours, look what happens:

Hyde ready to call it a career?

March 15, 2005

By Lynn Sweet, Washington Bureau Chief

In a few weeks, Rep. Henry Hyde (R-Ill.), the chairman of the House International Relations Committee who as Judiciary Committee chief wielded the gavel during President Clinton's impeachment, will announce that he will not seek another term.

The public position of Hyde, 80, an icon of the conservative movement, is that he will make up his mind for sure in April. But I am told he has decided to retire and is unlikely to reverse course.

Wow! It looks like I've got powers beyond my wildest imagination! Which actually isn't very wild or imaginative.

Sweet goes on to talk about how very very busy the estimable Hyde will be this term trying to destroy international relations:

Hyde is making United Nations reform and accountability a priority this year and had a behind-the-scenes role in promoting John Bolton to become the new U.N. ambassador, appointed by President Bush last week.

To make sure U.N. critic Bolton got the nomination, Hyde made calls to White House chief of staff Andy Card for Bolton and is pushing his Senate counterpart, Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.), the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, to swiftly confirm Bolton, who is in the cross hairs of the Democrats.

And then she talks about the Hyde Amendment (prohibiting federal funding for abortions) and the impeachment of Clinton (although not Hyde's own sexual indiscretions, which I guess would be indescreet).

Hyde won the 2004 election with 55.8 percent of the vote against Democrat Christine Cegelis of Rolling Meadows, who is campaigning full time and raising money for a 2006 contest. Democrats believe Hyde is vulnerable.

Because of Hyde's status as a conservative hero, most Republicans in the district would have given him a primary pass if he sought another term. The only Republican that might have taken Hyde on, state Sen. Dan Cronin (R-Elmhurst), said last week that he would not run.

State Sen. Peter Roskam (R-Wheaton) is exploring another run for Congress, this time in a different district. Roskam lost a 1998 GOP primary to Rep. Judy Biggert (R-Ill.). Another name floated as a possible GOP contender is state Sen. Carole Pankau (R-Roselle).

On the Democratic side, no prominent Democrat or self-funded prospect has surfaced, giving Cegelis so far an open shot.

While Hyde's district is reliably Republican, Democrats have made some inroads in recent years and the new Democratic Congressional Committee chairman, Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.), sees the district as competitive for Democrats.

For both sides, the primary line-up will likely swell if the race is for an open seat.

This creates a bit of a quandary for me (it's easier to go full-blast against a known enemy like Hyde and in support of a lone candidate on the Dem side) but also makes things that much more interesting. I'll probably be attending this fundraiser next week & will report back my findings.

But how sweet it would have been to see Hyde knocked out by a progressive woman...

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