Handicapped Candidates Only?

When Congressman Rahm Emanuel (D—IL—5th), head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), rallied Democratic heavy weights such as Senators John Kerry, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama to support Tammy Duckworth in her congressional primary race, the obvious was so disturbing no one inside or outside the beltway was willing to talk about it.

Emanuel, with help from Democratic Whip, Senator Dick Durbin (D—IL), recruited Duckworth to run for the congressional seat being vacated by 16—term congressman, Republican Henry Hyde (R—IL—6th). Duckworth is an Iraq War veteran who was severely injured when the helicopter she was co—piloting was struck by a rocket—propelled grenade fired by Iraqi insurgents. The attack resulted in Duckworth losing both her legs. The subject that is taboo amongst the media and politicians is the harsh reality that Duckworth's service to her country and resulting paraplegia are now being used by Emanuel and Democratic leaders for political gain.

In 2004, Hyde was surprised by Democratic challenger, Christine Cegelis, when she got over 44% of the vote. With Hyde's seat open and the congressional approval numbers at near historic lows, Cegelis would undoubtedly be competitive with her previous support combined with disgruntled conservatives. However, Emanuel decided to throw Cegelis and her established organization to the curb and recruited Duckworth to run in the Democratic primary. As previously indicated, Emanuel brought in the Democratic power players to back Duckworth over Cegelis in the race, resulting in a 4 point victory for the Iraq war veteran.

Since Duckworth's victory, the media has refused to ask the obvious questions. Why would the Democratic leadership deliberately recruit an unknown individual, who does not even live in the 6th congressional district, to challenge a well organized candidate who has already received the highest voter percentage of any Democrat in nearly thirty years? Not only is this a legitimate question, it's a necessary question the media has an obligation to ask. Unfortunately, fear of being accused of discrimination and an unwillingness to expose the shameful truth about Democrats will prevent the media from asking the appropriate questions.

From a purely political point of view, there has been recent precedent suggesting that an Iraq war veteran running as a Democrat can make a respectable showing in a Republican stronghold. In August of 2005, Iraq War veteran Democrat Paul Hackett came within 3.5% points of Republican Jean Schmidt in the second congressional district of Ohio. However, Hackett was not a political novice, having served previously as a city councilman. He also was not recruited by high powered Democrats. Hackett decided to run for Congress when he learned the seat was being vacated during a car ride home from the airport when returning from active duty.

To her credit Duckworth does have an impressive background. Besides serving her country in Iraq, she has a BA in political science and a Master's in International Affairs. However, she has recently made headlines, refusing to debate her election opponent, Republican State Senator Peter Roskam.

On August 9th, she was invited to debate her opponent in the city of Addison, hosted by the town mayor Larry Hartwig. Duckworth did not show up at the debate. "It is insulting that Tammy Duckworth would refuse to participate in a discussion of issues important to our voters," said Hartwig.

During the discussion the mayor insisted that an empty chair remain at the table, serving as a visual reminder of Duckworth's "disregard" for area voters. A few days later the Democratic candidate was a no—show at a scheduled debate in the city of Elmhurst, hosted by the local chamber of commerce. In 2004 Cegelis debated Hyde at this same event. Duckworth's unwillingness to debate the issues is drawing some national attention. Nationaljournal.com recently stated 'Duckworth's decision to turn down several debates in key towns indicates she's not as politically polished as Roskam.'

Duckworth and her handlers fear her debating the issues publicly with Roskam. She officially has previously agreed to debate her opponent, but no debates are currently listed on her website and as previously stated, she has not attended two recent debates. She does have multiple 'coffee events' schedule. These social gatherings make great photo opportunities for local newspapers to photograph the disabled veteran in her wheelchair or with her prosthesis.

As a physically disabled person, I know first hand what it's like to be wanted for yourself and than to be used for your disability. The fact is that there is no reason for the Democratic leadership to have abandoned the established candidacy of Christine Cegelis.  Sadly, these politicians believe exploiting the crippling injuries of an Iraq war veteran will grant them a better chance to capture a house seat in a Republican district. That is the ultimate form of discrimination.

Paul Miller is a conservative activist dedicated to issues concerning Israel, limited government and free market ideas. He serves as an advisor to the Illinois Republican Party. You can read his opinions at the website Paulie's Point. 

When Congressman Rahm Emanuel (D—IL—5th), head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), rallied Democratic heavy weights such as Senators John Kerry, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama to support Tammy Duckworth in her congressional primary race, the obvious was so disturbing no one inside or outside the beltway was willing to talk about it.

Emanuel, with help from Democratic Whip, Senator Dick Durbin (D—IL), recruited Duckworth to run for the congressional seat being vacated by 16—term congressman, Republican Henry Hyde (R—IL—6th). Duckworth is an Iraq War veteran who was severely injured when the helicopter she was co—piloting was struck by a rocket—propelled grenade fired by Iraqi insurgents. The attack resulted in Duckworth losing both her legs. The subject that is taboo amongst the media and politicians is the harsh reality that Duckworth's service to her country and resulting paraplegia are now being used by Emanuel and Democratic leaders for political gain.

In 2004, Hyde was surprised by Democratic challenger, Christine Cegelis, when she got over 44% of the vote. With Hyde's seat open and the congressional approval numbers at near historic lows, Cegelis would undoubtedly be competitive with her previous support combined with disgruntled conservatives. However, Emanuel decided to throw Cegelis and her established organization to the curb and recruited Duckworth to run in the Democratic primary. As previously indicated, Emanuel brought in the Democratic power players to back Duckworth over Cegelis in the race, resulting in a 4 point victory for the Iraq war veteran.

Since Duckworth's victory, the media has refused to ask the obvious questions. Why would the Democratic leadership deliberately recruit an unknown individual, who does not even live in the 6th congressional district, to challenge a well organized candidate who has already received the highest voter percentage of any Democrat in nearly thirty years? Not only is this a legitimate question, it's a necessary question the media has an obligation to ask. Unfortunately, fear of being accused of discrimination and an unwillingness to expose the shameful truth about Democrats will prevent the media from asking the appropriate questions.

From a purely political point of view, there has been recent precedent suggesting that an Iraq war veteran running as a Democrat can make a respectable showing in a Republican stronghold. In August of 2005, Iraq War veteran Democrat Paul Hackett came within 3.5% points of Republican Jean Schmidt in the second congressional district of Ohio. However, Hackett was not a political novice, having served previously as a city councilman. He also was not recruited by high powered Democrats. Hackett decided to run for Congress when he learned the seat was being vacated during a car ride home from the airport when returning from active duty.

To her credit Duckworth does have an impressive background. Besides serving her country in Iraq, she has a BA in political science and a Master's in International Affairs. However, she has recently made headlines, refusing to debate her election opponent, Republican State Senator Peter Roskam.

On August 9th, she was invited to debate her opponent in the city of Addison, hosted by the town mayor Larry Hartwig. Duckworth did not show up at the debate. "It is insulting that Tammy Duckworth would refuse to participate in a discussion of issues important to our voters," said Hartwig.

During the discussion the mayor insisted that an empty chair remain at the table, serving as a visual reminder of Duckworth's "disregard" for area voters. A few days later the Democratic candidate was a no—show at a scheduled debate in the city of Elmhurst, hosted by the local chamber of commerce. In 2004 Cegelis debated Hyde at this same event. Duckworth's unwillingness to debate the issues is drawing some national attention. Nationaljournal.com recently stated 'Duckworth's decision to turn down several debates in key towns indicates she's not as politically polished as Roskam.'

Duckworth and her handlers fear her debating the issues publicly with Roskam. She officially has previously agreed to debate her opponent, but no debates are currently listed on her website and as previously stated, she has not attended two recent debates. She does have multiple 'coffee events' schedule. These social gatherings make great photo opportunities for local newspapers to photograph the disabled veteran in her wheelchair or with her prosthesis.

As a physically disabled person, I know first hand what it's like to be wanted for yourself and than to be used for your disability. The fact is that there is no reason for the Democratic leadership to have abandoned the established candidacy of Christine Cegelis.  Sadly, these politicians believe exploiting the crippling injuries of an Iraq war veteran will grant them a better chance to capture a house seat in a Republican district. That is the ultimate form of discrimination.

Paul Miller is a conservative activist dedicated to issues concerning Israel, limited government and free market ideas. He serves as an advisor to the Illinois Republican Party. You can read his opinions at the website Paulie's Point.