If the American political experiment was modeled off any Montaigne philosophy or Greco-Roman government; then Bobby Schilling and Phil Hare are in the perfect place, vying for Illinois’17th Congressional District. Both are almost stereotypical commoners–little above high school education, some union credentials, and modest lifestyles (minus Hare’s current Congressional salary).
Bobby runs a pizza shop. Phil carries the mantle of progressivism (albeit awkwardly) from the well-received Lane Evans.
Campaign Announcement & Hare’s Legacy
Here is Phil’s recent crusade printed in a Chicago opinion column:
“I was a cutter for 13 years at Seaford Clothing Co., a Hartmarx subsidiary factory in Rock Island. Hartmarx Corp., now in bankruptcy…Do the right thing. Allow Hartmarx to be bought by a company that will keep it open for another 120 years and continue to provide its workers with the dignity of a good-paying job.”—Congressman Phil Hare
Nothing says “progressive” like sustaining only the failing businesses that you worked at.
Clinging to the Divine Right of Jobs is a misguided attempt at conveying empathy. Forcing a company to create “good-paying” jobs (minimum wages) forces employers to invest in creating whatever skill employees don’t already possess. But no amount of corporate training videos can mass produce innovation. If Hare truly cared about improving the plight of the working class (much less voters in the 17th district), he would not insist on sustaining a failing business at the expense of others.
Bryan Caplan (“The Myth of the Rational Voter”) provides better reasoning: “For an individual to prosper, he only needs to have a job. But society can only prosper if individuals DO a job; if they create goods & services that someone wants.” There is a reason demand for suit-making goes down in a recession. Who the hell’s buying suits?
On Memorial Day Bobby Schilling announced his candidacy for Congress. Here’s what Bobby should do and what his predecessors couldn’t do:
• Phil has Chicago machine politics; Bobby can have the business elite. Join or at least attend a meeting of the IBRT.
• Attend every opening or closing of businesses in the 17th.
• Establish a relationship with unions that means something–most care more about the profession and its fiscal security rather than the particular survival of a specific company. It is a common sentiment among the union types to harbor negative thoughts towards distant, well-paid union captains.
There is a fundamental problem with current Illinois leadership. There are wounds in our community that no government program can cure. Phil Hare has satisfied a small base but instilled apathy and stagnation across an entire district. Who comes to western Illinois for a dream job? How about tourism? How many of your kids boast about living in the Quad Cities, or anywhere else in the 17th?
We have been robbed of economic optimism. The mantle-bearer of the progressive cause has extinguished (for lack of a better word) hope.
Bobby has the opportunity to be a symbol representing youth and opportunity in a district where both are fleeing rapidly.