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Sunday, January 07, 2007




[Editor's note: With "I told you so," Part One, Andy initiated a beginning-of-the-year series of comments on some of his predictions and projections that have stood the test of time.]

(CHICAGO)(January 7, 2007) Late in December 2005 my gubernatorial campaign team began meeting to determine where our primary campaign effort should be concentrated. My recommendation: we address head-on the issue that would be decisive in November: the Iraq War.

I prepared a "dummy" radio commercial and tag line: "Mr. President, Bring Home Our Heroes." The commercial went through several roundtable revisions and redrafting before it was finally approved for production.

My view was apodictic: if Republicans did not face reality, the reality that Iraq would overshadow the 2006 elections, there was no sense in wasting time on subsidiary matters.

"Bring Home Our Heroes" hit the Chicago airwaves at the beginning of January 2006. The result was electric: an avalanche of hate mail from Republicans who attacked me for a variety of reasons from "undermining the president" to "being a Democrat," and some accusations that are unprintable. My stock response was that if Republicans refused to hear the truth from a Republican in the primary, they would most assuredly hear the truth from Democrats in November. And they did.

Rick Pearson at the Chicago Tribune, a sympathizer of old-line Republicans, unleashed a "smear team" of reporters to investigate my radio advertising and to destroy my campaign for governor with a backstabbing article that was prepared without any input from me.

Every time my campaign ad ran on a radio station across the state of Illinois there would be hate e-mails from Republicans. The writers were so desperate to believe in the failed Iraq policy that they refused to hear the truth from someone who had been in Iraq and predicted the collapse. (You can still hear the ad at, ad #2.)

"My year in Baghdad," 2003, was perhaps the most challenging of my life. I wrote and reported from Iraq not with a sense of glee, but with a sense of foreboding that everything the United States was doing would boomerang and come back to haunt us. Sadly, I was right. No one likes to predict doom and disaster and be correct.

I often sat in my apartment in Baghdad questioning myself: can I be right? Is Bremer as much of an incompetent as you think? Are his munchkins as bad as you believe? Are the conditions being created for a disaster-to-come? Every time I asked these questions I satisfied myself that my investigations and reactions and responses and conclusions were correct. And they were.

Thus, when I went on the air in Illinois as a candidate I had a demonstrable record of accurate political analysis to support the underpinnings of our campaign advertising.

Well, the rest is history. I didn’t win the primary for governor. Judy Topinka did. Topinka had entered the race after being assured by national Republican leaders she would be given a financial arsenal to compete in the general election. They lied. Topinka was given some assistance but not remotely enough to compete with the campaign cash-laden incumbent governor. Today Topinka is auctioning off the memorabilia of her life in politics in $2 and $3 increments.

And the entire election turned on Iraq. Many independents voted against Republicans simply because they were Republicans. President Bush, in attacking the Democrats, inadvertently "nationalized" the election against local Republican candidates as well. Solid Republicans across Cook County and Illinois went down to defeat.

The reality is that if Bush had stopped to listen to the heartland, where real people live and work and struggle, he could have won the 2006 election. "Bring Home Our Heroes" was an iconic ad, iconic in its reflection of reality. But few in the Republican Party were listening. In Washington, Republicans had become so arrogant and corrupt and lobbyist-laden that they lived in a semi-presidential "bubble." The bubble burst on election night.

Now 2008 looms. I am weighing my options. Maybe people will listen better this time than they did the last. Stay tuned to to see what's coming. In Illinois in 2006, as in Baghdad in 2003, I was a helluva of an analyst and prognosticator.

------------------------------------------Chicago-based Internet journalist, broadcaster and critic Andy Martin is the Executive Editor and publisher of © Copyright by Andy Martin 2007. Martin covers national and world politics with forty years of personal experience. Columns also posted at;; Comments? E-mail: Media contact: (866) 706-2639. Andy is a graduate of the University of Illinois. He was a candidate for the Republican Party nomination for Governor in the 2006 primary.


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