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David Steinberg

David Steinberg is the New York City Editor of PJ Media. Follow his tweets at @DavidSPJM.

Seven Songs That Make You See G-d

We’ve all heard enough droning about the genius or complexity of the art world’s favorite artists; I don’t see much correlation with what time actually ends up celebrating.

Seems to me, as we age and our joys gets simpler, and I think this best comes with having children, the faith-inspiring, purpose-inspiring segment of art occupies more of you. And those types of works are simple. They will forever just come from pretty stuff layered on to simple, awestruck thoughts: “I miss you.” “Don’t go.” “I’m lost.” “I’d die for you.” “I’m so alone.” “Don’t worry, we’ll make it through.”

Despite a half-century of prattle about the perfection of Bob Dylan’s inscrutability, most never feel a rush of spirit from that, and I don’t think his defenders do, either. For the purposes of being lifted up, drawn out, that comes from simplicity. I’d bet you more likely feel spiritual joy from “roll down the windows and let the wind blow back your hair.” With Dylan, “Don’t think twice, it’s alright” lasts longer than that stuff about the dude with a Siamese cat on his shoulder.


(“Speak for yourself.)

And music, despite being taught as some pure form of human expression, gets dominated by timing and culture. A contemporary intending to bare his pain isn’t going to drop “Danny Boy” on a pan flute in 2015; he’s going to offer something based in the aesthetic comfortable to him, and digestible to his audience of normal people who aren’t making art for a living. Literally every male I know over the age of 35 lifts weights to Soundgarden. Our parents will go to their graves humming the Beatles. Conversely, the Four Tops will never, never again make a teenager squeal. “Brilliant” sounds considerably more dopey or pompous as we age, accompanied by the realization that it sounded that way to everyone else beyond 21 who had other things to do when it had hold of us.

Much of the following reflects my having been an American teenager in the 1990s — and obviously, as an editor of PJ Media, you might guess that I’ve come to loathe a significant strain of the culture behind the music I nonetheless respond to. But this generation of political and media leaders ascending and soon dominating the field is shaped by this stuff, and I don’t see some of these missing anyone. That rush of finding G-d in art came from these for me — starting with just seven, I may try another post soon if asked — and I expect their simplicity and awe-inducing properties can’t be missed. 

Next Page: Number 7 …

Posted at 1:35 am on September 18th, 2015 by David Steinberg

Blue State Blues: Residents Say ‘Enough’ to Tax Burden, Stifling Culture of Connecticut

All such adventures in statewide left-leaning rule produce similar tales, told in both citizen anger and an accountant’s ledger. Connecticut only managed to hide its maddening decline for so long due to its equally stunning tax base.

But those days are over — and it’s not just the statism, it’s the culture. New London is “New Brussels”; the distance Connecticut’s utopian-minded leaders were able to maintain from the resulting chaos of their ideology is gone. Hope can survive where geography still promises quality of life, yet few are choosing to stay and fight that entrenched one-party rule when relief is just a U-Haul and a rough week or two away.

Below, three passages help illustrate the economic and cultural situation facing Connecticut.

Noted food writer and since-departed-for-South-Carolina resident Michael Stern set off a predictable, “tolerant” rain of bigotry when he announced his reasons for fleeing Connecticut in the Hartford Courant recently. Stern couldn’t have done a finer job illustrating the creeping, lockstep hatred than some other residents did in bidding him a terrible future in a “Tea Party” state.

Below is Stern’s op-ed, after which Stern expands for PJ Media on his life decision and his newfound relief in South Carolina.

Then, this article concludes with a message from Connecticut GOP state Senator Scott Frantz. Frantz’s district includes all of Greenwich, plus parts of Stamford and New Canaan. These are some of America’s wealthiest per-capita towns, and thus home to a large percentage of the now-ravaged tax base that helped the state’s liberal governance stay afloat for so long. Frantz addresses the issues raised by Stern, and the fight he faces in Connecticut’s legislature.


Michael Stern op-ed, published in the Hartford Courant on Aug. 27 — “I’m Not Leaving Connecticut, It Left Me”:


In 1968, I came to Connecticut to attend school. Yale was fine, but my real education took place in pizzerias on Wooster Street, at picnic-table clam shacks along the shoreline and in diners from Curley’s in Stamford to Zip’s in Dayville. So inspired was I by the state’s sleeves-up eats that I made a career of reporting about regional food all around America.


I have seen a lot of the country, but no matter how alluring the scenery, the weather and the cost of living elsewhere, I always have come back home to Connecticut. My pride in living here has been downright patriotic. I truly believed that Connecticut was better than anywhere else.

That is why it hurts so much to leave.

Oh, how I will miss hot lobster rolls and apizzas! Beyond excellent food, I will miss riding horseback through the blaze of autumn; I will miss saddle pals from High Lonesome, Sunny Brook Farm, Happy Trails and Fairfield County Hounds. I will miss homes that are three centuries old, tumbledown stone walls, dairy farms and apple orchards, the Connecticut River and the Litchfield hills. I already miss the late Dr. Mel Goldstein. Heck, I might one day even miss good old New England winter!


But I must get out.

For me, Connecticut is no longer the best place to be. Rather than feeling proud when I tell people where I live as I travel around the country, I am embarrassed. I am not going to whine about the all-too-obvious economic reasons for leaving, such as backbreaking taxes, moribund cities and gutted home values — all of which make Connecticut look like the next Detroit. What bothers me more is a matter of character. When I came here nearly a half-century ago, Connecticut was hard to define — in the best possible sense. It was a place between New England and New York — not just geographically, but temperamentally. Here I found equal measures Yankee sense and urban sensibility with heaping portions of Italian flavor and preppy-WASP seasoning, a full ration of African-American soul, and a soupcon of Jewish culture.

That mix of flavors still exists to some degree, now augmented by fresh (and delicious) waves of Latin-American and Asian influence: all good stuff. But a state is more than the sum of its contents. A state is attitude, manner and mien. And there’s the difference. Connecticut’s uncommon disposition — a paradoxical stew of hidebound and unpredictable, refined and irreverent — has been eclipsed by a dreadful sameness that makes living here all too much like living in New York or New Jersey — according to Forbes, the only two states with tax burdens higher than ours.

OK, I said I wouldn’t gripe about taxes. Instead, let’s talk guns. I never thought much about firearms when I grew up in the Midwest. But Connecticut’s heritage as home to such fabled names as Colt and Winchester inspired me to become a competitive shooter and vintage revolver collector. I used to feel quite superior to residents of neighboring states because Connecticut still had some respect for its people’s gun rights. But the Sandy Hook shootings prompted regulation every bit as onerous as that of New York and Massachusetts. This is not the forum to argue that draconian gun control is political pandering, its only effect on lawbreakers to make it easier for them to prey on law-abiding citizens. But our elected leaders’ demonization of guns and gun owners is one more good reason to leave. I do not want to live in a place where only the government and criminals are well-armed. That is known as a police state.

Placebo gun laws are just one symptom of Connecticut’s descent into banality. The problem isn’t strictly political, although ironclad Democrat domination is, for me, a big part of what’s wrong. Without effective opposition to the ruling party, we have become indistinguishable from the lockstep political correctness that defines any inexorably blue state.

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Cases in point: Dannel Malloy, Richard Blumenthal, Chris Murphy. They all have been handily elected, so I grudgingly and sadly acknowledge that they are what voters want. For countless specific acts and statements during their tenures, they make me squirm to be their constituent; beyond what they’ve done and said is the matter of personality. There is nothing about these predictable politicians that is distinctive or imaginative, nothing feisty or original or iconoclastic or bold — certainly not compared to the likes of Ella Grasso, Abraham Ribicoff or Joseph Lieberman.


The truth is that I mostly disagreed with those leaders’ policies. But even when I thought they were wrong, I respected them as freethinkers. They and generations of nonconformist predecessors were symbols of a state like no other, a state where I was once so proud to live. Their leadership reflected the independent character that used to be Connecticut’s hallmark — character that I fear is becoming history.

I am grateful I was here to savor the unique spirit that defined Connecticut and, in some small way, to contribute to it. I leave with sorrow for its loss.

Posted at 12:47 am on September 16th, 2015 by David Steinberg

Ten Years Late, America Is Completely On Board with Mark Levin’s Proposal for Supreme Court Term Limits

It’s okay to have no patience for the hero-centric model of political interest — wherein we fall in line with a leader’s opinions like a flag to rally around, neglecting that the conservative movement is about ideas, logic, and never about personality — while believing that Mark Levin’s decade of getting it right on the Supreme Court deserves some recognition.

Plenty of conservatives — and conservatism itself, via the above point — correctly predicted every negative occurrence of the past decade’s adventures in progressivism. But I’m not sure anyone else can claim to have been completely on the mark about the Court’s progression, as Levin was with his 2005 book Men in Black.

His recognition of the necessity of term limits was in Men in Black; I thought he first broached it in his 2012 The Liberty Amendments. But I did a quick search after seeing this article — currently up on Drudge — from Reuters, and there it was.

Here’s the Reuters piece:

Americans favor Supreme Court term limits: Reuters/Ipsos poll

Most Americans would support imposing a term limit on the nine U.S. Supreme Court justices, who now serve for life, a Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll has found in the aftermath of major rulings by the court on Obamacare and gay marriage.

Support for the 10-year term limit proposed by the poll was bipartisan, with 66 percent saying they favored such a change while 17 percent supported life tenure.

The two big rulings in June were widely welcomed by liberals. Nevertheless, 66 percent of Democrats, 74 percent of Republicans and 68 percent of independents said they favored the 10-year term limit idea, according to the poll.

Those numbers are startlingly large. I can’t imagine many political opinion questions that would provide such a two-thirds mandate. I think a “Deport Bieber?” poll got us there last year.

Posted at 3:25 pm on July 20th, 2015 by David Steinberg

He Supports WHAT? With GOP Election Tomorrow, Boehner-Supported Candidate Darin LaHood Reveals He Is Left of Boehner — and Some Democrats — on CUBA!

UPDATE, 3:35 p.m.: Ted Cruz endorses Mike Flynn –

“Mike Flynn is the kind of courageous conservative we need in Washington. When Andrew Breitbart launched BigGovernment.com to expose ACORN and  fight back against the institutional left and the political class, he chose Mike Flynn as his lieutenant. For 6 years, Flynn helped expose the media’s lies and led many fights against the Obama Administration and Washington’s entrenched political establishment. I’m happy to endorse his campaign for Congress. With Flynn, Central Illinois will have a strong voice to uphold the constitution, defend the 2nd Amendment and stand up to the media and political elite.”

Click here to read all our coverage of tomorrow’s election.


“Hard left” is not the tack that GOP establishment candidates, when being challenged from the right in a solid conservative district, generally employ as an “October” surprise.

Darin LaHood — the son of former Obama administration Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, the only Republican to serve in Obama’s cabinet — is running for his father’s former seat, which was recently vacated when Aaron Schock resigned amidst mounting evidence that he had misused funding.

LaHood has been heavily supported by House GOP leadership, including John Boehner and Steve Scalise, who held a private, $1,000-a-plate fundraiser for LaHood in May.

LaHood also received thousands in funding from the Republican Main Street Partnership, a group founded by centrist Steve LaTourette as a vehicle for coaching moderate Republicans through races in which they are challenged from the right.

LaHood also received a visit and an endorsement from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which does happen to support Obama’s plans.

Despite being the clear establishment favorite, LaHood has campaigned as the conservative in this race. Which is why his admission during a local news interview that he would challenge the House GOP — and even some House Democrats — from the left on Cuba is so bizarre. Video is embedded below — LaHood’s Cuba exchange begins at 7:35:

LAHOOD: I think in terms of opening markets for our farmers, particularly in Cuba, I’m supportive of that. You know, this is the 17th largest agriculture district in the country … when you think about the commodities that are grown and produced in central Illinois, we have to open up more markets. That’s jobs and economic opportunity for our farmers in our ag community in Central Illinois. So I’m supportive of opening up new markets, such as Cuba, for our corn and our soybeans and other products. That’s a good thing.

In the past, obviously Cuba has had some issues with human rights and other things. But I think this is a way to, you know, transition them to democracy and economic freedom and I’m supportive of it.

Cuba has, indeed, had some issues with human rights and other things, including mass murder and providing sanctuary — to this day — for dozens of Central and South American terrorists. This is why holding Cuba accountable and standing for its oppressed, imprisoned population has nearly unanimous Republican support: here’s House GOP Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy speaking on June 2 regarding a GOP leadership-supported bill to block funding for Obama to build a U.S. embassy in Cuba:

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) told reporters Tuesday the GOP is using the appropriations process to establish its priorities, which includes Cuba.

“I think we have been very clear with our challenges with what’s going on with Cuba and human rights, and we have a difference of opinion with the administration and we have a right to express it,” he said.

That bill passed, 247-176.

LaHood, whose website boasts of his conservative priorities and who has repeatedly distanced himself from his father’s centrism, would presumably have opposed it.

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Even the Washington Post’s left-leaning editorial board is now criticizing Obama’s allowing Cuba to exploit the new policy.

The election is tomorrow, July 7. LaHood’s opponent Mike Flynn has recently won the endorsements of Mark Levin, Louis Gohmert, Dana Loesch, and other conservative favorites.

I am putting in calls to the LaHood and Flynn campaigns, as well as to the offices of Rep. Kevin McCarthy and Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, a Cuban-American Republican who has led the party’s opposition to the Obama/LaHood Cuba policy. Will update here.

Posted at 11:47 am on July 6th, 2015 by David Steinberg

EXCLUSIVE: A Shocking Admission Comes From Within Darin LaHood’s Disillusioned Campaign — About IL GOP Governor Bruce Rauner Directing the Race

As we’ve reported here, those involved in the behind-the-scenes GOP nomination process — from sheriff to presidential candidate — are quite aware that the GOP leadership’s carefully chosen argument employed against conservative, grassroots challengers is perhaps the least authentic, defensible opinion you’ll hear coming out of Washington.

Conservative challengers are not engaged in a purifying “purge” of the GOP. Everyone — except the private citizen voter and donor being misled — knows the truth is the precise opposite.

Darin LaHood, the son of former Obama administration Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, is the GOP leadership/establishment favorite to replace disgraced former Rep. Aaron Schock in Illinois’ 18th District. The district is heavily conservative, and John Boehner, Steve Scalise, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and the rest of the House GOP leadership fear an actual conservative holding this seat, as one would be able to retain it and be a consistent problem for them.

That’s why Scalise and Boehner threw a D.C. fundraiser for Darin LaHood, that’s why the U.S. Chamber of Commerce gave Darin LaHood their endorsement and thousands in donations, that’s why Darin LaHood told the obvious lie — what he knew the conservative 18th wanted to hear — during his debate that he would oppose the Chamber’s, Boehner’s, and Scalise’s “top priority” of passing Obamatrade, and that’s why the Chamber went further, lying to a local newspaper that Mike Flynn had sought out their endorsement.

After Monday’s final debate and the following endorsement for Flynn from kingmakers Mark Levin and Dana Loesch — recall, Darin LaHood’s campaign had only agreed to a debate if the candidates were limited to 90-second answers and not allowed to address each other — tips have been flowing to me from the disillusioned within LaHood’s campaign.

If it seemed to you, immediately following Aaron Schock’s resignation, that the state GOP and Governor Bruce Rauner were trying to clear the field for Darin LaHood, that’s because they were trying to clear the field for Darin LaHood.

Aaron Schock resigned on March 17; his final day in office was March 31. Governor Rauner then had a few days to announce the key dates for the special election.

Remember when Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. resigned in 2012? Under then-Governor Pat Quinn (D), potential candidates were given 12 weeks to gather enough signatures to make the primary ballot.

Governor Rauner instead decided that candidates could begin circulating petitions on about April 7 until April 20: 13 days, instead of 12 weeks.

Rauner also set the initial primary date for June 6. Eventually he relented and moved the date until July 7, this Tuesday. But the petition period was kept at 13 days.

A source who was working in Rauner’s office at the time — and still is — says the reason for this was exactly what it appears to be: Governor Rauner wanted to clear the field for Darin LaHood, hoping he would run unopposed.

Further, the petition dates seemed to only apply to challengers like Mike Flynn. Witnesses report that at the McLean County Lincoln Day Dinner on April 2, LaHood’s team was circulating petitions.

Five days earlier than allowed.

Governor Rauner’s undemocratic support for John Boehner’s chosen candidate appears to have gone much further than setting near-impossible dates for challengers to comply with. In a special election primary, turnout is everything. Candidates must focus on getting out the vote for this election, which is predicted to only have a single-digit percentage of district voters participating.

Obviously, having an accurate roll of likely supporters to reach out to could be the resource that decides the election.

The approximately 40 interns who have been knocking on doors for Darin LaHood have been sent out prepped only with an app loaded with address information for voters who pulled the lever for Governor Rauner in 2014.

They will be using the Red Dialer app over the next few days until the July 7 election to contact those Rauner voters by phone.

Click here for Governor Rauner’s office number: ask them why they shared their voter data with one candidate.


The nascent Darin LaHood campaign, back in late March, told potential campaign employees that it would be an easy campaign because LaHood would probably be running unopposed. LaHood was called “the chosen one.” (See below for background on that.)

Posted at 1:54 pm on July 2nd, 2015 by David Steinberg

Uh Oh, GOP Leadership: Mark Levin, Whose Endorsement Is Credited with Winning Dave Brat Race, Goes All In for Mike Flynn

On April 28 last year, Dave Brat channeled Andrew Breitbart by showing up outside and speaking to the press before a cynically staged PR event by Eric Cantor’s team was about to begin. Cantor’s team had surreptitiously — yet transparently, to folks above 18 who read the news — invited Congress’ leading House cheerleader for open borders, Rep. Luis Gutierrez, to call Cantor “the number one man preventing amnesty” with the cameras rolling.

In reality, Eric Cantor had toured with Gutierrez the year prior to discuss ideas for passing an amnesty bill.

After his defeat, Politico revealed that Cantor and Obama, among others, had been literally days away from advancing amnesty on the House floor until Brat’s win killed the project.

Brat’s savvy move to expose the event before it started got him national press for the first time, and this was about the time Mark Levin — America’s top-selling political author and a syndicated radio host with nearly 10 million daily listeners — jumped in with both feet. Brat was invited to appear on the show several times, and Brat’s name recognition, fundraising, and volunteers jumped.

Without Levin’s support, Brat very likely doesn’t sink Cantor, and Congress passes Obamagration.

So Levin stepping up is a big deal.

As I’ve been reporting here, those of you with better things to do than gain privy to the behind-the-curtain GOP primary process — we hold our nose and peek in so you don’t have to — might not be aware that the Nixonian, Clintonian tactics employed by the Cantor team last year are simply how today’s GOP leadership/consultant class chooses to operate in every single primary featuring a reliable John Boehner foot soldier vs. a conservative challenger.

They act with disdain for election integrity, for local government, and for the GOP voter who wants nothing more than an honest portrayal of the choices being presented.

On the advice of groups like Republican Main Street Partnership, they deliberately lie about being opposed to GOP leadership, about bearing conservative viewpoints that run contrary to their records, and about their always-less-funded challenger from the right being a moderate or liberal in John Locke’s clothing, while knowing that description is a precise reading of their own strategy.

Despite their self-measurements, they are in fact nothing new. Just the latest iteration of each era’s power-hungry. Hayek, the Federalist, Shakespeare, the Bible.

You know what they do — and you also know that if they are to lose, the truth spread wide is invariably the culprit.

Click here to listen to Flynn speaking on Levin’s show yesterday to those 10 million conservatives.

Levin isn’t the only kingmaker who jumped in for Mike Flynn yesterday.

See below for Dana Loesch — syndicated host, bestselling author on gun rights, and queen of conservative Twitter — tweeting my article from yesterday morning on the U.S. Chamber of Commerce lying about Mike Flynn “seeking their endorsement.”

In the land beyond Washington where words have meaning, here’s what actually happened: the Chamber had mailed Mike Flynn their candidate survey. Flynn answered the survey by disapproving of the Chamber’s top priorities – Obamatrade, the Ex-Im Bank, amnesty — and thus intentionally taking himself out of the running for the endorsement while disseminating his actual platform.

You know — acting with respect for election integrity, respect for the GOP voter, etc.

After I brought it up and Dana Loesch did what she does best with it, the Chamber now refuses to release a copy of Flynn’s survey answers to clear this all up:

Visit Loesch’s Twitter page: she’s still at it, and will be at it for Flynn through the July 7 election night.

Also visit Levin’s massively read Facebook feed for more Flynn support.

Below are links to my coverage of Mike Flynn describing the GOP leadership’s disreputable stewardship of the Ray LaHood campaign:

The Darin LaHood Campaign Asking the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to Lie About Mike Flynn Is Everything You Need to Know About the GOP Establishment

Darin LaHood Campaign Uses Literal Strong-arm Tactics: Manager Assaults Debate Moderator’s Colleague, Charges Filed

Darin LaHood, Campaigning: ‘I’ve Been Very Critical of D.C. GOP.’ Darin LaHood, Fundraising: ‘Come Hear Boehner, Scalise Endorse Me For $1000s a Plate’

Dusting Off Nixon Tactics? GOP Establishment Darling Darin LaHood Appears to Be Push-Polling Voters Against Conservative Candidate Mike Flynn

The race will be upon us quickly after the July 4 holiday weekend, making GOTV everything. Fundraising and volunteers and phone banks are pivotal.

Posted at 11:48 am on June 30th, 2015 by David Steinberg

The Darin LaHood Campaign Asking the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to Lie About Mike Flynn Is Everything You Need to Know About the GOP Establishment

Among private sector Americans, the rift between GOP leadership and the conservative wing of the party remains a vigorous debate to be won in the spirit of free association. Yet, as we’ve covered here time and again, the behind-closed-doors split between GOP leadership and conservatives is not about ideology, but process.

GOP leadership runs on the same iron-deficient, integrity-challenged structure that defines the Democratic Party: any tactic that advances their power is considered moral. They employed such a tactic yesterday, when the U.S. Chamber of Commerce — transparently in tandem with the campaign of their chosen GOP establishment candidate, as described below — chose to offer a quote to a local Illinois newspaper containing an outrageous lie about the conservative challenger.


Darin LaHood and Mike Flynn held their first debate last week on Wednesday for their primary campaign to replace disgraced Renaissance Faire honoree Aaron Schock. The election takes place in eight days, on July 7.

LaHood, son of former Obama Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, is the candidate favored by national GOP leadership.

Despite shaping his campaign around defending his conservative credentials, on May 18 LaHood flew to Washington, D.C., where John Boehner and Steve Scalise threw a $1000-plus per head fundraiser for LaHood’s campaign.











(Left: invitation to Darin LaHood’s D.C. fundraiser. Right: Aaron Schock, Spring Break 2005)

At Thursday’s debate, moderator Ian Bayne brought up the Trade Promotion Authority bill and the TransPacific Partnership bill (together known as “Obamatrade“), an Obama administration-crafted push which had cleared a key hurdle last week in Congress due primarily to the support of GOP leadership in both the House and Senate. The bill has received tyrannical support from John Boehner, to the hair-raising extent that Boehner followed through on threats to remove House Republicans from their committee assignments if they dared oppose it.

The bill has also been rabidly supported by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Said the Chamber in a press release:

TPA is the Chamber’s top trade priority before the Congress.

If unfamiliar, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the beating-heart target of conservative anger at GOP leadership’s fostering of “crony capitalism.” The Chamber is the muscle behind GOP leadership’s push for amnesty, which, for the Chamber’s purposes, would increase the supply of cheap labor, thus benefitting many of the largest GOP leadership corporate donors at the expense of the U.S. citizen worker.

At the debate, when moderator Ian Bayne raised the issue of this bill dubbed “Obamatrade,” LaHood answered that he would not have supported the billLaHood’s response was questionable for two reasons:

1) Considering John Boehner took the extraordinary step of punitive action against GOP dissenters on this bill, its hard to imagine Darin LaHood would get his own Scalise-headlined, Boehner-attended fundraiser if they knew LaHood would be coming to town in a few months with the intention of sinking it. It’s just as hard to imagine that Boehner wouldn’t have asked LaHood about his position prior to the fundraiser.

2) Just one day before the debate, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce flew a top-level figure to Illinois. There in Peoria, the Chamber held an event to announce they are endorsing Darin LaHood for Congress.

To defuse any claim that LaHood did not welcome the endorsement – LaHood attended and spoke:


Said LaHood:

Obviously they know my record, they know what I’ve advocated for. To have them here today, to come from Washington, D.C. to represent this organization and all across the country means a great deal, and I’m proud to have it today. I think it reflects the record I’ve had in the State Senate, and the issues I’ve advocated for here locally.

Remember: the Chamber says that Obamatrade is its “top trade priority before the Congress.”

So when Darin LaHood said at the debate that he would not have supported Obamatrade, Flynn responded with a zinger:

I hope you told the U.S. Chamber of Commerce that when you accepted their endorsement yesterday.

This was, objectively, Lahood’s worst moment of the debate, a debate which was punctuated by several bursts of applause and cheer for Flynn, yet none for LaHood. This moment was even worse than the debate’s exchange on term limits, which had resulted in LaHood’s botched answer that led to a botched answer that led to a successful aggravated assault. (Pending the result of the Bloomington, IL police investigation, of course. The department is currently reviewing the hotel’s security footage.)

This was worse because term limits are not a vigorously upheld tenet of conservatism when compared to opposition to crony capitalism, “pay for play,” and amnestied labor. All of these issues, which are both promotedand facilitated by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, far outweigh the relative outlier issue of term limits in the mind of conservative voters and private sector Republicans in general.

And the LaHood campaign’s response proves they are deeply troubled about fallout from Mike Flynn’s answer that threw doubt on the veracity of LaHood’s stated opposition to Obamatrade.

In the aftermath, they chose to publicly challenge the Obamatrade exchange from the debate, and they have challenged nothing else that transpired that night.

How they challenged the exchange — as stated in the headline — is the type of textbook beltway insider, House of Cards, Primary Colors, Clintonian tactic which the GOP leadership now doesn’t bat an eye about employing.

Posted at 12:34 pm on June 29th, 2015 by David Steinberg

Darin LaHood Campaign Uses Literal Strong-arm Tactics: Manager Assaults Debate Moderator’s Colleague, Charges Filed

I posted earlier today about last night’s debate between GOP establishment candidate Darin LaHood, and conservative challenger Mike Flynn. During the debate — which the LaHood team had demanded be conducted with only 90-second answers and absolutely no conversation between the candidates — Darin LaHood stumbled answering a question about term limits.

Prior to the debate, LaHood had been promoting himself as a strong advocate for term limits, a position advertised on his campaign site:

As a Senator, LaHood fought to increase transparency and promote ethical behavior in Springfield by sponsoring legislation to create term limits for elected officials and establish higher ethical standards for lobbyist and elected officials.

However, LaHood — in one instance prior to the debate — refused to commit himself to the term limit legislation he had sponsored. The question came up again during the debate, and LaHood refused to commit himself again. A local paper documented the exchange here:

LaHood, however, pointed out he’s pushed for term limits as a state senator but avoided the question. When asked for a third time how many terms he would serve, he said, “I want everybody to serve three terms.”

At the debate’s conclusion, moderator and radio host Ian Bayne’s show reporter approached LaHood and asked the question again.

The reporter was shoved away from LaHood forcefully by LaHood campaign manager James Reis, which was confirmed by witnesses. Today, Bayne filed charges.

James Reis has been campaign manager for Darin LaHood for just a few weeks, after the prior manager was fired.

According to an insider, Reis was hired on the recommendation of Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner, who has endorsed LaHood.

The radio station on which Bayne’s show appears has released the following:


LaHood Campaign Manager Under Investigation for Aggravated Battery:
Assaulted Reporter Asking LaHood For Answers on Term Limits

(NORMAL, IL -  6/25/2015): Talk Show Host Ian Bayne’s morning show reporter on WRPW “Cities” 92.9 FM Talk has filed a police report alleging aggravated battery on James Reis, campaign manager for State Senator Darin LaHood’s congressional campaign.

Reis shoved Bayne’s reporter yesterday evening at 9:00pm while he was attempting to get a question answered from Senator LaHood. This happened directly after a congressional debate between Mike Flynn and LaHood, sponsored and aired by Cities 92.9.

“LaHood thinks that recent attacks on my program by local government gives him the right to instruct his campaign manager to assault my staff,” said Bayne. “We just want Senator LaHood to tell us how many terms he intends to serve in congress, he won’t answer, and would rather assualt us than answer the question.”

The police report can be read herehttp://www.ianbayne.com/Bayne-Lahood-report.pdf

Audio of the incident can be heard herehttp://cities929.podbean.com/e/lahood-refuses-to-answer-fistbump/

LaHood has been avoiding answering questions about term limits, but claiming to be supporting them. When pressed, during the debate, LaHood dodged the question, saying that he “supports term limits if made law” but refusing to answer if he personally will serve more than the 3 terms he pledged to support being made into law.

Audio from Bayne’s program containing debate audio can be heard herewww.ianbayne.com/Lahood-debateaudio-Bayne.mp3

A story in the local paper about the debate, documenting LaHood’s avoidance of the question on term limits, can be read herehttp://www.pantagraph.com/news/local/gop-s-house-hopefuls-showcase-conservative-positions/article_df8f1db6-2fd6-5334-9ec9-2b96d4e1a46c.html

The July 9 primary will determine the Republican that will replace US Rep Aaron Schock in congress.

Cities 92.9 is a Limbaugh/Beck/Hannity/Levin affiliate. Bayne’s program has been on the air just over one year, and has recently attracted attention for the mayor of Bloomington’s refusal to answer questions from the program, opting to file a civil charge to restrain anyone from the program from asking her questions about city government. The civil charge was dropped on June 10. Cities 92.9 is on the web at www.Cities929.com.

Posted at 5:32 pm on June 25th, 2015 by David Steinberg

Darin LaHood, Campaigning: ‘I’ve Been Very Critical of D.C. GOP.’ Darin LaHood, Fundraising: ‘Come Hear Boehner, Scalise Endorse Me For $1000s a Plate’

As reported here yesterday and by Katie McHugh last week, and as mentioned yesterday by Ace and picked up by kingmaker Mark Levin last night, it’s time to reconsider any fist-pumping you might have done when Rep. Aaron Schock announced he was stepping down in scandal.

Aided by the national GOP, the Illinois’ GOP’s behind-the-scenes behavior — both before and after the resignation — show a party that isn’t so much following its obligation to police itself as much as one that realized Schock was quite terrible at dodging those external and internal controls. Leadership settled on Darin LaHood as a suitable replacement, and coached him towards their spineless, voter-disdaining strategy of publicly condemning leadership in preparation for joining it.

Last night, Darin LaHood had a first debate with Mike Flynn. Accept the term “debate” in its loosest definition. LaHood originally rejected any such forum, and has been self-parodically urging the district to “Vote Early” in the already-open early balloting, as if doing so could possibly be of any benefit to the voter, the democratic process, or to anyone but the candidate who fears he might later slip up or be further vetted:


(“Vote NOW. I respect your intelligence.”)

Further, LaHood insisted that the debate rules only allow each answer to run for 90 seconds, and that the candidates be barred from … speaking to each other. Namely, the requests of a self-assured public servant who intends to be accessible.

During the debate, in response to a question regarding the candidates’ opinions of House GOP leadership, LaHood said the following:

 I have been very critical of the Republicans in Washington.

This was, of course, not news to House GOP leadership in Washington.

Because about five weeks ago, Darin LaHood flew from Peoria to Washington for a one-hour cocktail event at 27 D Street, SE, at which he was very critical of GOP House Majority Whip Steve Scalise and GOP House Speaker John Boehner, both of whom attended the cocktail event, having agreed beforehand to listen to his impending critique and perhaps sponsor it and deem it worth several thousand dollars per head VOTE EARLY VOTE DARIN:


Interestingly, Darin LaHood’s first major campaign funding came from the Republican Main Street Partnership, an organization founded by former GOP congressman and Boehner ally Steve LaTourette as a vehicle for supporting centrist, establishment Republicans and advising them on how to defeat challenges from the right.

Check their list of members and review those members’ prior campaigns: so far, Republican Main Street Partnership’s advice has generally proven to have been “pretend you oppose groups like Republican Main Street Partnership.”

Posted at 12:04 pm on June 25th, 2015 by David Steinberg

Dusting Off Nixon Tactics? GOP Establishment Darling Darin LaHood Appears to Be Push-Polling Voters Against Conservative Candidate Mike Flynn


Of course, the establishment, amnesty-supporting U.S. Chamber of Commerce has picked this very moment to endorse Darin LaHoodLaHood enthusiastically accepted the endorsement.

That’s the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, people, not just the local Peoria Chamber of Commerce.

I will add much more here in the coming days, but trust me now on this one: this is being considered an important national election by House GOP leadership. They badly want to retain this seat as a rubber stamp vote for Boehner.

They didn’t want Schock gone for his corruption, just for his instability.

Folks — I was the first columnist last year to recognize the Dave Brat campaign as the right tool at the right time with which to strike a blow against national GOP leadership that would actually affect some change. The GOP leadership/Chamber of Commerce/Obama push to enact amnesty was coming to a head within days. Then Brat won, and they’ve been stymied for over a year. And just this morning, I was sent this article from The Nation: Before Eric Cantor lost, he was ready to find a way to restore complete federal oversight — meaning the Eric Holder/Loretta Lynch DOJ — over elections in some southern states. This section of the Voting Rights Act was recently struck down by the Supreme Court.

The truth, as Katie McHugh has begun to reveal, is that LaHood may be as corrupt as Schock. The GOP just decided to cut their losses with Schock and to install another foot soldier.

I’ll publish here what I can of what I’ve discovered. But trust that a Mike Flynn win is not a local win — it’s a national blow against Boehner approaching the importance of the Brat victory.


As Katie McHugh wrote Sunday evening, the July 7 GOP primary vote to replace corrupt pheasant-aficionado Aaron Schock in Illinois’ 18th District is not the populist, throw-the-bums-out celebration of constitutional republicanism that James Madison had in mind. Instead, the primary is yet another example of the great unraveling of Republican party leadership, which — under John Boehner and the GOP consultant class — has become the power-hungry, unbridled government force the GOP was intended to displace.

I was contacted by a politically active 18th District voter yesterday, a participant in this primary who is aware of the platforms and history of the top candidates: Darin LaHood, the GOP establishment’s preferred candidate for the seat and the son of Obama’s former Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood; and Mike Flynn, an editor at Breitbart.com, which can not plausibly be mistaken as a moderate or progressive outlet.

The voter received a call from number 309-265-0588.

This is a local Peoria number being used by Venture Data, a Utah-based survey research firm. (It’s common practice when conducting political phone surveys to “mask” the call’s origination point by using a local number.)

The voter’s story describes a textbook example of a push poll being used to aid the fortunes of Darin LaHood. (The call is described below.)

Not being associated with push polls is considered to be of primary importance to survey research firms’ reputations, not to mention the candidate’s campaign itself. Indeed, Venture Data’s website includes a prominent link on their site to a page detailing their push poll policy:


Clicking that link brings you this:

Venture Data L.L.C. is a survey research company based in Salt Lake City, Utah. The company operates call centers located in Salt Lake City, UT, Eugene, OR, and Kent, OH. We, the ownership and staff of Venture Data, are committed to providing our clients with accurate consumer and voter opinion data. We use industry standard scientific methodologies and practices for telephone based survey research to collect opinion data.

We recognize that in the heat of highly charged election campaigns tempers will flare and accusations of impropriety are likely to fly.

In light of this, we want to make it clear that Venture Data L.L.C. has never conducted nor participated in what is commonly referred to as “push polling.” Our activities are strictly limited to conducting telephone survey research wherein we gather the opinions of a limited number of representative voters and deliver that data to our clients. We adhere to strict methodological standards.

You’ll find a quick, basic definition of “push poll” at Wikipedia, but it’s one which you can confirm with a polling professional, as I did yesterday. Essentially, testing the effectiveness of a negative political message — which is legitimate, if distasteful, research — is most easily distinguished from the activism of a push-poll by whether or not the firm is making an effort to gather actionable data.

If the caller doesn’t take the time to learn anything about you that could be used by the campaign — demographics, etc. — you’re probably being push-polled.

If the caller asks questions containing obvious negative misinformation about one candidate which the opposing candidate could never plausibly use on the campaign trail, you’re most definitely being push-polled. A candidate is paying a firm to misrepresent itself as being engaged in data collection, when they are actually trying to secure your vote with a privately told lie.

(Read this excellent Larry Sabato article from 1996, where he explains that the push poll was pioneered by Richard Nixon. An argument can be made that today’s Boehner/McConnell/”GOP Establishment” tactics in general were pioneered by Nixon, too.)

The 18th District citizen tells me that the caller from Venture Data did not attempt to gather any information that might be plausibly used by a campaign.

He says the caller asked him only one question before following up with several questions painting Mike Flynn in a negative light to conservative voters, questions with zero basis in Mike Flynn’s history or campaign. Again, the argument that these follow-up questions are legitimate attempts to test negative campaign messages is negated when the messages are complete fabrications which Darin LaHood could never plausibly use during his campaign against Mike Flynn

That last part is easy to discern, since Mike Flynn has written a few hundred words of his political opinions each day for years at Breitbart.

This is the one initial question, with the wording to the best of the voter’s recollection:

For the July 7 primary GOP election, do you now support Darin LaHood or Mike Flynn?

That’s the extent of the actionable research conducted by Venture Data on this call. “Darin LaHood” was never mentioned again on the call. The voter answered:

I’m supporting Mike Flynn.

Then came the follow-up questions:

Would you be more or less likely to support Mike Flynn if you knew that he supports gun control?

Knowing Flynn’s platform includes unwavering support for Second Amendment rights, the voter, flustered, says he replied:

Who do you work for?

He says he repeated this question several times over the next minute, never receiving the answer.

The caller then asked another question on an issue LaHood could never plausibly use against Flynn during the campaign:

Would you be more or less likely to support Mike Flynn if you knew that he supports amnesty?

After this question, the caller says that he was fed up, understanding this was not a legitimate phone survey but an attempt to privately smear Flynn among otherwise uninformed voters. The caller asked a couple more questions about being “more or less likely to support Mike Flynn,” to which he simply answered “more likely” to convey the point that he would be voting for Mike Flynn no matter what.

I called Venture Data yesterday afternoon to ask questions about this poll violating their stated policy. I was directed to leave a voicemail, which as of now has not been returned.

Posted at 12:09 pm on June 24th, 2015 by David Steinberg