South Bend, Indiana--International attention has focused on congressional-impersonator, Chris Chocola. Who is Chris Chocola? Even the London Times wants to know. Is he a good pillow-talker? Would he make a better used car salesman? Why does he have a look that says 'male street-hustler'? We would have to ask Big Oil and Walmart that. A regional businessman, he is a rich kid who bought his way into office.
He possesses $500,000 in WalMart stock, a retailer who exports American-jobs, while illegally-employing unregistered aliens (aka 'illegal-aliens'). Also, he has no balls whatsoever when it comes to facing his critics.
Where does he stand? Anywhere the President tells him to--he's been promised a kingdom in Hell, or at least the 2nd district. In 2004, Chocola beat Donnelly 54%-45%, which is close. Will it be closer? Don't ask Chris Chocola. He won't answer questions directly, especially about his investment portfolio (but the Washington Post was interested and published it).
How do I know Chocola won't face his critics? By being a critic of him, of course. While even a casual observer would notice this in Michiana, I recommend a quick websearch search on how many public appearances and debates he has ever done. It won't amount to much, but ask yourself how many of them allowed the public to participate? No, we're not counting partisan events, sorry. Chris Chocola won't do open appearances, and he is very difficult when approached to do so. He will not even do debates on neutral ground, only his own turf with his own rules.
If this sounds like a page from Karl Rove's playbook, you're right, it is. Bush has visited Michiana to support Chocola no less than five times, so it's no effort to associate him as a creature of the Bush administration, it is accurate. Recently, Chocola and Rep. Steven Buyer actually came out of hiding from their respective constituents, and spoke at a public-meeting on how immigrations affects social health care programs. The forum was actually created by Chocola. The incumbent is a pretty easy target, with all of his bumbling in a new paradigm--you would be hard-pressed to find a better target in a better context politically. It would behoove Joe Donnelly to confront Chocola on this, as well as to drag the war in Iraq out there, but he probably won't. Why this is so, is a mystery. Did I say Donnelly needs to bring up Iraq? If he loses, it will truly be his own fault. Back to the immigration/medical event: 'Open to the public' should have been the kept-out of descriptions of the August 23rd St. Joseph County City building event, because no comments from the community were allowed. It hadn't been spelled-out in the announcements that people couldn't question the reps and a local businessman.
It featured representatives from local hospitals, and public health organizations, including an emergency room director from Michigan City, Dr. Randy Thompson. Chocola trotted-out the 1920s specter of immigration, proposing the usual remedies of "tightening the borders", but Thompson said it would have little impact on problems faced by our emergency-room infrastructure, and that there are many other factors that affect our healthcare system. Thompson went further, according to the AP:
[Dr. Thompson] drew applause from some of the 70 audience members when he told the congressmen that he did not believe emergency rooms should screen patients to determine their legal status. "My job as a physician is that I'm here to take care of a patient," Thompson said. "I don't care what color they are, or if they're legal or illegal." (AP, 08.23.06)
It was like having a plumber judge a horse, and Chocola appeared out-of-his-depth. Besides being arrogant, this is his usual demeanor. Misjudging his constituency has been part of his approach to being a Representative, and it was clear from the meeting that he has no-clue about the concept of public-service and the common good. According to people I know who hwere therem it was like two worlds colliding, a bit like a Mexican standoff (pun intended). Worse for Chocola is that the idiot has taken it for granted that he was going to win, hands-down. But it appears it won't be so easy, and his opponent Joe Donnelly has some backing from the DCCC, a trial-lawyer's group, and Moveon.org. All three organizations have been running campaign-ads for the Democratic hopeful, while Chocola has had to pay for virtually of his.
Drop Chris Chocola an email, his machine will call your machine. That's it, though: www.chrischocola.com
How Chocola Votes on the issues: http://www.ontheissues.org/IN/Chris_Chocola.htm