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Profiles of Candidates for Senate: Jim Oberweis and Andy McKenna, Republicans

Jim Oberweis

Oy. Jim Oberweis. Okay, here it goes. Oberweis has sought public office a handful of times, without much success. He is, as his name suggests, the heir to the Oberweis Dairy fortune. You may be familiar with Oberweis from all the people you know who choose to decorate their apartments with those supposedly quaint-looking glass Oberweis milk bottles. Anyway, Oberweis wasn't quite born with a silver spoon in his mouth; it was about a foot or so away and he did indeed have to crawl a little bit to get at it. After taking over Oberweis Dairy he greatly expanded its operations and success. He stresses in his campaign literature and his personal appearances that he knows all about job creation because he, himself, has created jobs, an attributes he feels is unique to him among all of the senate candidates. In fact, it is not; M. Blair Hull, Democrat, has created more jobs; Jack Ryan, John Borling, Dr. Chrinjeev Kathuria, and others have all worked in the private sector where they have created at least some jobs. Hell, judging by all the overdue charges I've paid at Blockbuster I've created about seven jobs.

That wasn't quite fair. Oberweis did, in fact, start a few of his own securities-trading companies after getting his M.B.A. from the University of Chicago. He created one of the highest-rated stock portfolios in the business and edited a major financial services report he himself founded. He took over Oberweis only after purchasing it. Oberweis has a great deal of energy: he currently heads around five firms, all of which he founded, including an online trading company, and apparently is a crack chess player.

After a tepid 2003, Oberweis' campaign has picked up steam and he is now in second place according to the most recent and reliable poll, conducted by CBS.

Many of the other candidates have complained that Oberweis is unfairly, if not illegally, using his company to give his own campaign de facto in-kind donations. Let me give you an example. Oberweis the Person is now running for Senate. Say, for example, Oberweis the Company decides to use its own funds to increase advertising in newspapers and with direct-mailings, and all the ads just say Oberweis! Really big. Now you're a Republican voter, and you keep seeing Oberweis! in the newspaper, in your mailbox, and on billboards. Then you step into the voting booth and its between a guy named Ryan, ten people you haven't heard of, and Oberweis! Not quite fair, is it? Well, the other Republicans don't think so.

Oberweis has absolutely no political experience and is an awkward speaker and lacks any explicit leadership qualities (which is not to say he does not have many more sotto voce leadership qualities). He is quite conservative while at the same time occasionally deviating from President Bush's party line for more moderate positions -- for example his support of tax credits for children who support their parents in old age while not degrading the quality of public senior health care systems. He also opposed Bush's immigrant amnesty.

Oberweis has not picked up any significant organizational endorsements, nor does he have any visible, sophisticated campaign strategy, except for using his Oberweis outlets and the Oberweis name to get his name, which is also Oberweis, out to the Republican voters so they keep hearing Oberweis, think, "Oberweis the milk, or Oberweis the dude?" and then they kind of have Oberweis rattling around their head until Oberweis starts to sound pretty good, and then they vote for Oberweis for the same reason that people think if they listen to a song they have in their head, it'll go away. But this time it wouldn't, it'd be around for at least eight more months.

Just the Facts:

Born: Kane County, Illinois

Marital Status:Married

Ethnicity/Race: German-American

Education:
B.A., University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
M.B.A., University of Chicago

Employment:
1968-70, Junior High School Teacher
1970-78 NYSE-based stock broker
1978-1986 President and Founder, Oberweis Brokerage.
1986-Present, President, Oberweis Dairy
1997-Present, President, Oberweis.net, Inc.

Official Website: Oberweis2004.com

The Issues:

The Economy: Oberweis stresses job creation by making Bush's tax cuts permanent. He also feels that stopping all "illegal" immigration is an important part of economic recovery.

Healthcare: Oberweis' campaign is not very specific on healthcare, outside of his endorsement of a Medicare Patient Bill of Rights.

Education: Oberweis supports school vouchers and home-schooling. He also implies that No Child Left Behind is under-funded.

Foreign Policy/War on Terror: Oberweis strongly supports Israel and focuses his national defense rhetoric on the need to improve military prowess.

Abortion: Oberweis may be the most stridently pro-life Republican candidate.

Affirmative Action/Gay Marriage: Oberweis is opposed to any form of gay marriage or civil union. He stance on Affirmative Action is unclear.

 

Andy McKenna

Andy McKenna is a pleasant enough white guy and president of Schwarz Paper Company. He has little to no chance of winning the nomination, but even were that to happen, his chances of winning the general election would only be slightly greater than the chances of me winning it. As a by-note, I am not in fact running. McKenna has raised quite a bit of money, which is paying for the attractive commercials running late at night on Fox. Here are some true things about him:

Just the Facts:

Born: Illinois

Marital Status: Married

Ethnicity/Race: White

Education:
B.B.A., Notre Dame
M.M., Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern

Employment: 1980-81, Kraft Foods
1981-Present, Schwarz Paper

Official Website: McKennaForSenate.com

The Issues:

The Economy: McKenna calls himself the "jobs candidate." He supports Bush's tax cuts.

Healthcare: McKenna has issued no significant policy paper or statement on healthcare.

Education: McKenna has stressed his support of local control of the schools -- it is not clear how this would jive with President Bush's No Child Left Behind initiative. He supports school vouchers.

Foreign Policy/War on Terror: McKenna generally supports the President on these issues.

Abortion: McKenna opposed abortion except when rape or incest has occurred, or when the mother's life is in danger. Unlike many of the Republican candidates, however, he practices what he preaches -- he has donated a lot of money to local pregnancy crisis centers. That's admirable.

Affirmative Action/Gay Marriage: McKenna opposed gay marriage, civil union, two guys having a joint checking account, or whatever you want to call it. He has issued no significant policy paper or made any real statement concerning Affirmative Action.

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Comments

The Patriot / March 12, 2004 4:51 PM

Who the heck is Ramsin Canon? He/she/it writes in the style of the Jew, given he/she/its obvious sympathy to queer "marriage" and other issues. May this insignificant piece-of-crap website have a quick and unceremonious death.

 

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