Monday, April 17, 2006

COLUMN: Congress

Well, it finally happened. After umpteen years serving our district, Lane Evans is calling it quits.

I've always thought that Lane's done a bang-up job for the area. I grew up in Galesburg (town motto: "If you've got jobs, we know a place in Mexico you can move them to!") We went through the hardships of a near-constant town recession, and we watched as Lane stood up, time and time again, and fought for us underdogs. Sometimes it worked. A lot of times it didn't. But the man was always there and always fighting. I like the guy.

You have no idea where I live, but if you're a Rock Islander, you probably know my apt. - rain or shine, election or no, I've had a Lane Evans for Congress sign in my window. I'd like to tell you it's because I'm politically minded. In all honesty, my late great cat did a number on my blinds the week I moved in and the sign just covered up the evidence from my landlord.

Point is, Lane's stepping down. And that means a myriad of people are stepping up and jockeying for the Democratic nod of the cap. Rock Island mayor Mark Schweibert was crying on the news the other night. Phil Hare was crying in our paper. Mike Boland's preparing to weep any minute now. All these guys and about a dozen more are looking for Lane's job.

The Democrats of the District, meanwhile, aren't even sure of the procedures to go about picking a new guy. Or so they claim. Me, I think they're stalling. The signs are perfectly clear. I'm a smart fella. I've been reading between the lines. They couldn't be more obvious. I wasn't going to... but, gee, since you're all being so pushy...

Okay, Democrats, fine. I'll be your candidate. I'll run for that Congress thingamajig.

And the Shane 2006 Campaign could work. Let me tell you how:

* THE MARKETING. The slogans come so easy, don't they? "Vote for Shane, he's a brain, he ain't no pain, your trust he'll gain, so don't complain, join the campaign!" Quad City Republicans need to face the brutal harsh reality: you can't rhyme a thing with "Andrea" OR "Zinga."

* THE ISSUES. I know how to sternly say words like "education," "health," "economy," and "veterans." I'm also pretty good at impressive-sounding non-sensical outbursts: "The community needs to be in synergy!" Then I can use your campaign funds to hire a staff of those kids we used to cheat off of in poli-sci classes and let THEM fill in the blanks. It's gold, baby!

* THE CHARISMA. I vow as your candidate never to pander to the community. You won't find me kissing babies for votes, no siree. Instead, I vow to ONLY kiss attractive girls. Besides, babies get all kinds of colds and cooties and stuff. I remain cold-free... to better serve the community. And the attractive girls.

* THE EXPERIENCE. I've sat through "Dave," "Bob Roberts," "Air Force One," "The Distinguished Gentleman," and I'm pretty sure I saw "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" one time in Civics class. Thanks to Schoolhouse Rock, I can still sing the Preamble to the Constitution to this day. And, if it means your vote, I might even stop on C-Span for a second or two next time I'm channel flipping.

* THE LESSONS LEARNED. Jobs - yes. Stinky pork processing plants - no. Got it.

If elected, I vow to make an impact on the community. I'll fight for this area every week, then make fun of it every weekend in this column. It's a win-win, right?

"But Shane," you say, "If picked as a candidate, you couldn't keep doing your column, could you?" Well, there IS that thing about equal media space for all candidates and stuff. But I've got a solution: Pick me as your Democratic candidate, and we'll simply tell Ms. Zinga that she's free to write a weekly humor column for the paper as well. Problem solved.

I tell ya, I'm your guy. Unless I'm not, in which case, to the chosen candidate I offer one very important question: Can I have one of your signs before my landlord sees these blinds??

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