Wednesday, November 3, 2010

So Long For Now, Joel Pollak, And Thank You

The following is a "final" message from Joel Pollak, his "thank you" note to voters and supporters in his battle against Rep. Jan Schakowsky in Illinois's 9th Cong. District. Pollak is a class act and ran a brilliant campaign. Unfortunately, Joel Pollak lost. Less than one in three voters in that district, apparently, are rational enough to understand how radically socialist Jan Schakowsky is, or how destructive her policies have been. UPDATE, Nov. 5, 2010: (Video) Pollak Tells Tea Party To Stay The Fight; Slams Schakowsky That said, we look forward to Pollak's next political move (I'm betting there will be one). He's established himself as a first-rate campaigner, a deep thinker with a firm grasp of the issues, and one helluva nice guy. So while Joel Pollak has written us a "thank you" note, it is we who owe him a debt of gratitude for having the courage to take on a battle that he must surely have known he had little chance of winning. We thank Joel Pollak for speaking truth to power, challenging the status quo, shaking up and waking up a lot of the voters in the 9th District, and for the opportunity to know that young people of his quality and stature walk the land. Thank you, Joel Pollak, for giving us hope. Joel Pollak's "Thank You" message, followed by his concession speech: This morning, I woke up early to meet commuters at the train station, as I have done for the past five months. My wife Julia joined me at the Park Ridge Metra--not to ask for votes, but to thank everyone for their support. It was wonderful to see familiar faces, and share smiles and hugs. I am so proud of what our campaign has done for the people of our district. Winning would have been sweeter, but running has been a great blessing! I never imagined that by standing up to Barney Frank last April at Harvard that I would have the chance to stand up for the people of our district, and for so many Americans. Our campaign has given courage to those who were once afraid to raise their voices. We have not just been part of a national movement; we helped create it and push it forward. I am so grateful for what we have achieved--and for what is yet to come! I want to thank each and every person who has helped our campaign--going door to door, making phone calls, stuffing envelopes, hosting coffees, putting up signs (and now taking them down again), and just being there for us. I also want to thank all those who donated to our campaign, and made it possible for us to provide the strongest and best alternative for our community. You gave so generously, and our democracy is stronger for it! There are a few regrets--aside from the result. This morning, the hosts on WIND 560 AM asked me how my conversation with Jan Schakowsky went last night. The truth, I told them, was that I hadn’t spoken with her at all. Our campaign called hers twice, then I left a message conceding the election. There was no return call, no acknowledgment of the choice made by over 50,000 people in the 9th congressional district. It was, unfortunately, a fitting end to Schakowsky’s campaign. I respect the choice made by two-thirds of the voters, and I respect the effort made by my opponent to earn their trust. Yet I do not respect--nor should we tolerate--the means by which she sought it. I am less concerned about the false and negative mailings, the last-minute funding for long-neglected local needs, and the behind-the-scenes political maneuvers than I am about the clear ethical violations she committed in this election. In September, Schakowsky claimed credit for saving Devon Avenue from “going dark” by stopping foreclosures by United Central Bank. The reality is that she intervened at the behest of influential political contributors who were responsible for multiple loans, few of which involved property on Devon. In my view, Schakowsky violated the ethics rules of the U.S. House of Representatives. I will continue to pursue that complaint. Yesterday, Schakowsky electioneered inside several polling places inside the district, handing out candy to election judges and greeting voters inside the “campaign free zone.” She even discussed helping an election judge obtain a congressional internship. That is simply unethical, and possibly illegal. Her behavior did not swing the result, but showed a clear disregard for the integrity, privacy, and fairness of the electoral process. Then there is the ShoreBank scandal, which reinforced the idea that Chicago politicians exist to reward their political cronies and contributors. Our campaign succeeded in stopping a federal or state bailout of ShoreBank, but not an insider buyout by Wall Street firms under pressure from Schakowsky. The Inspector General of the FDIC is already investigating, and I intend to provide whatever assistance I can to the inquiry. These ethical concerns remain, even after all the votes have been counted. In the days ahead, as we wind up our operation and prepare for the next challenge, I will continue to fight corruption, to stand up for the people of the 9th congressional district, and to be a voice in support of the new leadership our country has elected. We have not brought about a fresh start--not yet--yet we have given our country a fighting chance at renewal. Below, I have included the published version of my concession speech from last night. Thank you to all who stayed to celebrate with us, even after a long day and a difficult outcome! I have not yet made a decision about running in 2012, yet I have decided to keep our campaign’s infrastructure going. We will stay in touch, and we will let you know when we have decided to take the next step, as well as what that next step will be. For now, I wish to offer my deepest thanks once again for your devoted help and friendship throughout this wonderful campaign! And for the many political struggles that lie ahead, here and elsewhere, I offer a passage from the Bible that has given me strength and comfort often throughout this campaign: “ see horse and chariot--a people more numerous than you--you shall not fear them, for the Lord your G-d is with you...” (Deuteronomy 20:1) With best regards, Joel *** *** *** *** *** *** Concession Speech - Joel Pollak - November 2, 2010 - Skokie Holiday Inn Ladies and gentlemen: Thank you all for all that you have done. Tonight’s result is not what we hoped to achieve, but this campaign has been all--or almost all--that we hoped to create. I have called Rep. Jan Schakowsky to congratulate her on her victory. She campaigned hard, and worked to earn the trust of our district for another term. I did make clear that I objected to some of her tactics. That is a subject for another night. Tonight, across our state and our nation, voters are repudiating the radical agenda that this Congress enacted. That struggle is not over. We cannot allow our government to keep expanding its control of our economy. We cannot allow our government to spend our nation into financial collapse. We cannot allow our government to undermine the security of our democratic allies by attempting to appease our authoritarian enemies. There are many hopeful candidates throughout America that are celebrating tonight. There are many that join us in our disappointment. But we have all been part of an historic effort by the American people to restore the values of our Constitution and the institutions of our democracy. We have elected new leaders who will represent the people to Washington, and not Washington to the people. That is cause to celebrate. We have much to celebrate in our own campaign as well. We smashed all previous fundraising efforts in our district, by nearly 10 to 1. We recruited more volunteers and built a bigger online campaign than any campaign had done here before. Most of all, we provided a real choice to the people of our district--and a real voice. We spoke directly to the people of our district, when the local media would not convey our message. We showed that there is a political cost to siding with radical organizations like J Street. We exposed corruption across Chicago and prevented a bailout--the only campaign to have done so, anywhere in America. We listened to people who had never been heard before--and we helped them hold their representative accountable. This campaign was not a contest of personalities, but a contest of ideas. I am proud of it--and proud of you. I am so grateful to the many thousands of people who contributed to our effort and lent a hand. I would especially like to thank Alan Dershowitz, Paul Ryan, Vivica A. Fox, Tevi Troy, and Gary Sinise for lending their voices to our effort. I would like to thank the many volunteers who worked so hard alongside us each and every day. And I would like to thank my outstanding, inspiring campaign staff. You have honored yourselves tonight. Most of all, I would like to thank my parents, Raymond and Naomi, and especially my wife, Julia. This campaign involved so many sacrifices, and she bore them with strength and courage. She is my Airman--always ready to face the greatest challenge to defend the greatest principles. She is true to the heroism of her Hebrew namesake, Yael. Thank you again, to all who fought alongside us for the fresh start that our district deserves .